End of Flash Support
You have likely heard about the ending of Flash support, and you may be wondering how that affects Neopets. Since Neopets started back in 1999, a large portion of the site has relied on the Flash plugin to bring Neopia to you. Flash experiences include:
- Most world maps (such as the Explore map, Terror Mountain, Krawk Island, etc.)
- Most Neopian games (such as Meerca Chase, Kass Basher, etc.)
- Old plot movies and comics
- Old Advent Calendar animations (2017 and later years were Flash-free!)
- Customisation of Neopets
End of Flash Announcements
Starting in 2020, web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox will begin to completely remove support for the Flash plugin, meaning that those browsers will no longer be able to display the Explore map or play Flash-based games.
Here's a statement from Google about Chrome's Flash plans:
Chrome will continue phasing out Flash over the next few years, first by asking for your permission to run Flash in more situations, and eventually disabling it by default. We will remove Flash completely from Chrome toward the end of 2020.
From Saying goodbye to Flash in Chrome, July 25, 2017
Here's a statement from Mozilla about Firefox's Flash plans:
Flash will be disabled by default for most users in 2019, and only users running the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) will be able to continue using Flash through the final end-of-life at the end of 2020. In order to preserve user security, once Flash is no longer supported by Adobe security patches, no version of Firefox will load the plugin.
From Firefox Roadmap for Flash End-of-Life, July 25, 2017
You can also read the full Firefox Plugin roadmap for the full transition timeline.
Both of these announcements were made in tandem with one from Adobe, the company that maintained the Flash plugin.
Why is Flash going away?
Traditionally, Flash has been a very buggy security mess since its mass adoption in web browsers. It was frequently used as an attack vector to gain information from consumers who were running it, and on top of it, security updates were slow to come out, leaving many users vulnerable. This is one of the not-so-mentioned reasons as to why Flash is going away (you won't hear Adobe talking this up, for example).
In other words, in the early 2000's, Meerca Chase would have only been possible with Flash, but today it's possible to create Meerca Chase in a web browser without Flash and still have a comparable experience.
In the meantime, until Flash is completely disabled, Neopets still runs a portion of site features using Flash, and so you may want to know how to re-enable Flash so you can use those features.
As of October 2019, both Firefox and Chrome require action in order for Flash features to be displayed.
As of Firefox version 69 (released September 2019), you may no longer allow Flash to always be activated. Instead, you must choose to activate Flash during each browsing session (in other words: each time you open up a Firefox window).
Re-activating Flash is easy. Simply look for a large grey rectangle, such as the one below, and click on "Run Adobe Flash" to activate the Flash plugin. From there, you should be able to use the game, world map, or whatever, as normal.
You cannot choose to "always allow" Flash to activate. You will need to activate it periodically as you browse Neopets.
As of Chrome version 76 (released July 2019), you must re-activate Flash on a website-by-website basis in order to use it.
To do so, click the (i) icon in the top URL bar:
If you only want to run Flash on the single page you are viewing, choose "Allow" in the Flash option dropdown.
If you want Flash to run all across Neopets.com, click on "Site Settings" instead:
And then choose "Allow" on the Flash dropdown:
As of 2019, you must re-activate Flash on a website-by-website basis in order to use it in Microsoft Edge.
To do so, click the (i) icon in the top URL bar on a page with a Flash feature:
Then, click on the "Allow Adobe Flash" link:
You will then need to refresh the page for Flash to fully activate.
Flash is not available on Apple mobile devices, and it hasn't been officially available since the iPhone's release. (See "Thoughts on Flash" from April 2010 for Apple's stance on the Flash plugin.) For a few years, there was a special browser app you could download (called Puffin), that would allow you to see Flash content, but that app has since been discontinued.
It is not currently possible to view any Flash features on Neopets with an iDevice.
The Neopets Team is already hard at work on switching existing Flash features to be Flash-free. We are currently optimistic that Neopets will still be playable in a post-Flash world.
What does it mean when Neopets is "converting" a Flash feature? It simply means they're re-building the feature using new web technologies. You will frequently see "HTML5" thrown around to describe what the converted feature is built with. However, HTML5 is only one of the building blocks used. Other post-Flash web technologies include:
- SVG Graphics
- And more!
With the conversion away from Flash, Neopets is also going mobile-friendly. Since Flash is not supported on mobile devices, simply migrating away to other web technologies makes Neopets more usable on mobile devices, but Neopets is taking it a step further by creating a brand new mobile-friendly website.
The new mobile-friendly website was announced at the 2019 Comic-Con Neopets after party. (This is not a mobile app—you will need to use your phone's web browser to access the mobile-friendly website.)
You can view a video demo of the new mobile-friendly website below:
TNT has also posted a lengthy note about the ending of Flash and what that means for Neopets:
Special serious announcement from Scrappidoodledandy!
Scrappy here to give you a little update on what’s going on here in Neopia. There’s a lot of rumors and speculations going around, so I want to be very upfront with you guys on what our plans are at the moment for moving our lovely home to mobile.
As we are all aware, all this flash has got to go. Largest part of that being the customization that allows us to make our Neopets look all spiffy. We’re currently working on moving all the art over and are hoping to get a beta version out to you guys early this summer. Once that is up and running you will be able to customize your lovely pets on any browser at any time!
Another topic of discussion here is all our games. The plan right now is to move these over in batches, starting with about 10 games and moving more from there. We want to be able to bring over all of them with time but starting small will be quicker and let us take your guys feedback moving forward!
Of course, there has been other parts moving as I’m sure you all have noticed, such as the maps and other events using flash. We are hoping to get all these converted as soon as we can, focusing around the maps first and foremost then moving onto the other pieces from there.
I am also aware there has been many mentions of an app and while that is not out of the picture, we have decided to focus on moving away from flash and make that our top priority first. Along with moving away from flash, we are making a mobile friendly browser version to improve user experience when on a mobile device. This is another area we will want to release test versions as soon as we can and get all your feedback to improve moving forward.
Those are most of the updates for right now! I wanted to be very upfront with you guys here because since this is all to improve your experience, we want to make sure we can get your feedback and let that guide us each step of the way! I will be setting up a time soon to jump on the boards, so we can have a more open discussion about this as well but wanted to start with an update here!
As always, stay cool Neopians!
The following Flash features have already been converted to be Flash-free:
- Advent Calendar animations (since 2017)
- Altador world map (July 2018)
- Meridell world map (July 2018)
- Brightvale world map (August 2018)
- Lost Desert + Sakhmet world maps (November 2018)
- NC Archives Wheel (May 2019)
Plus, much of Neopia was already Flash-free to begin with! Restocking, games such as Food Club and NeoQuest, the Money Tree, the Battledome, and many more features never used Flash to begin with and are already future proof.
Still to be Converted
Here are some of the other major Flash-based features we are expecting to be converted:
- Remaining world maps
- The Customisation system (both the Closet/Customisation App and the Neopets you view on lookups)
- Some Neopian games—we could see some less popular games retire
- Some dailies, such as Qasalan Expellibox, Kiko Pop, and the Wheels
- Some NC Mall features, such as Wonderclaw and Patapult
Preserving Other Flash History
There's a large amount of historical content that is Flash-based, and we do not anticipate TNT will convert this content to newer web technologies. Instead, we are taking initiative here at Jellyneo to convert the content ourselves and preserve it for historical purposes.
Here are some items we've already preserved, with links to the galleries to view them:
We are also planning on preserving the following content if we can:
- Animated Neogreetings
- Old plot comics and movies
- Advent animations from before 2017
- Old versions of world maps, in all their HQ Flash glory
- More, as we come across it!
This article was written by: Dave