Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Poptropica: Behind-the-scenes images!

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we're honored to be publishing a few guest posts at the official Roald Dahl website. We'll be taking you behind-the-scenes of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Island on Poptropica to show how we turned the classic book into an all-new interactive experience.

Read our first post on!

There's even more that we didn't have room for on the Roald Dahl site, so we're pleased to show you even more production artwork from the making of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Poptropica. Enjoy!

Character Sketches

We made several freehand sketches for each character before rendering any of them in Flash. This allows us to more quickly look at several ideas for each character.

You can see how each version of a character shares the same basic characteristics, but small differences can make them look dramatically different.

Inventing Room

The Inventing Room, where Violet Beauregarde chews the gumball that will turn her into a giant blueberry, didn't undergo too many changes from concept to execution. Here you see the designer's initial concept:

And here is the final version. You'll see that the basic layout and gameplay remained the same, while details such as the doors, signage, and coloring were all adjusted as production went on.

Chocolate Room

The Chocolate Room, where Augustus Gloop gets sucked into a pipe, is a famous scene in the book, and a difficult one to recreate in a game. We needed to balance the gameplay needs (a puzzle involving pipes and valves) with the artistic needs (the Chocolate Room is described as a lush, outdoorsy scene with rivers and valleys). That's a lot to pack into one scene!

First, the designer did a whitebox, which is just a scene in outline. This allows us to efficiently tweak the layout before putting in all of the visual details.

Once that was settled, we could add the flair.

TV Room

Another famous scene, the TV Room is much different than the rest of the factory because it's pure white instead of multi-colored. That made the design task easier in some ways, and more challenging in others. You can see the difference a few details make between the initial concept:

 And the final version:


The neighborhood where Charlie lives was an important scene to get right. Charlie's drab, ramshackle home needed to be a big contrast from the wonders of the Chocolate Factory that he would visit later. Unlike the strong, smooth shapes of the factory, Charlie's house is saggy and barely holding together. The tall buildings in the background provide another contrast -- they're not too fancy either, but in much better shape than Charlie's house, and physically separated from it by the fence.

But the lights are on in Charlie's home, which lets you know there's still a loving family inside.

Main Street

Last but not least, our Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Main Street is where the chocolate factory itself was located. This was important, and so it was one of the very first things we designed for this Island.

 Can you spot the differences between the first version and the final version?

We hope you've enjoyed this look behind the scenes at our Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Island. It's free to play on Poptropica.

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at!

avatar image