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
Not everything is based in Flash, however! You can still have an enjoyable Neopets experience playing Neopia's many Flash-free features. Restocking, "PHP games" (such as Food Club, NeoQuest and Scarab 21), the Money Tree, stamp collecting, galleries, the Battledome, the Neoboards, and many more features don't use Flash to begin with and are already future proof. You can also find a list of Flash-free games available to still play on our Game Guides Index.
Flash Officially Discontinued
As of January 12, 2021, Flash has officially been discontinued. A "kill switch" was added by Adobe to the Flash Player software that automatically prevents any Flash content from being viewed starting on January 12, 2021.
So, what's next? Our official recommendation here at Jellyneo is the same as Adobe's recommendation: uninstall Flash Player from your computer. Here are instructions for how to uninstall:
We do not recommend attempting to prolong the life of Flash Player. At this point onward, Flash isn't receiving any security updates, meaning that by running Flash (which has had notoriously bad security—and is one reason it's being discontinued), you are placing your computer at risk. (We would not recommend running Flash on the same computer you may use for any online banking or making any purchases, for example.)
What does this mean for Neopets?
In short, it's not bad news! Neopets has committed to converting all major Flash-based content to newer web formats that can be enjoyed without Flash. (And a chunk of features, such as Customising your Neopet, have already been converted.) They will be continuing that in 2021, and we encourage you to keep an eye on the frontpage of Jellyneo—we'll post an update each time TNT releases new updates on their end.
For the most part, many existing features do not rely on Flash to work. Things like NeoQuest, the Battledome, the Kadoatery, the Neoboards, restocking, most dailies, and many more, were never Flash-based to begin with and can continue to be enjoyed after January 12, 2021.
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.
As of January 12, 2021, Flash may not be re-enabled in any browser.
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.)
The new mobile-friendly website design began rolling out to all Neopians in June 2020 (after a month long closed beta), and has been receiving monthly (if not more frequent) updates.
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!
This list is no longer being actively updated.
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)
- Customisation (May 2020, with site redesign beta)
- Selection of Flash games (May 2020, with site redesign beta)
- Mystery Island world map (July 2020, with site redesign beta)
- The Wheels (August 2021, with site redesign beta)
- Neopia Central, Terror Mountain, and Kiko Lake world maps (October 2021, with site redesign beta)
Plus, much of Neopia was already Flash-free to begin with! Restocking, "PHP games" such as Food Club, NeoQuest and Scarab 21, the Money Tree, the Battledome, and many more features don't use Flash to begin with and are already future proof. You can find a list of playable games here.
Looking for a list of games to play that do not require Flash? There's many dozens still available to play! For a full list, check out our Game Guides Index where we list all of the games that can be played without Flash today:
Still to be Converted
Here are some of the other major Flash-based features we are expecting to be converted:
- Remaining world maps
- More Flash games—we could see some less popular games retire
- Some dailies, such as Qasalan Expellibox and Kiko Pop
- 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:
- Advent Calendar Animations (2000 through 2016) (2017 onward was already Flash-free!)
- Old Sidebar Button Ads
- Old Layout Banner Ads
- Classic Neopet Info Animations
- Neopets Pronunciation Guide
- Plots: Remastered
We are also planning on preserving the following content if we can:
- Animated Neogreetings
- Old versions of world maps, in all their HQ Flash glory
- More, as we come across it!
This article was written by: Dave