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The original Tavern

When February 8, 2019 –

Experiments are a series of pre-alpha tests being conducted by RocketSnail prior to the launch of Box Critters.

They are called "experiments" because RocketSnail likes to use the word prototypes for games after it releases from beta.[citation needed]

Experiment #1

Experiment #1 was launched on February 8, 2019 at 13:00 Pacific time. In a single room, the Tavern, players could login, move around and chat with other players as a hamster. The link for the experiment was originally only shared with members of RocketSnail's beta mailing list, but a link to it was later added to his main Box Critters page. The experiment was originally located at https://rocketsnail.com/boxcritters/hamster, but it was moved to the main boxcritters.com page on February 17.

Throughout the experiment, RocketSnail made several improvements to Box Critters, such as improving the chat filter, and fixing the room boundaries. Error messages and auto-reconnection were also added. Other things worked on include:

  • Message filtering and safety
  • Server stability (less crashing)
  • Improved login with errors
  • AFK (Away from keyboard) detection
  • Chat logging
  • Larger screen

Experiment #1 also worked on RocketSnail's Tesla, inside Minecraft, and inside the CPI Phone of Club Penguin Island.[1][2][3]

On March 17, 2019, the spritesheet for the Hamster was updated.

RocketSnail added the snail critter for himself to use on March 20, 2019.[4]

Experiment #2

RocketSnail held a poll on Twitter to let the fans decide what to test during Experiment #2.[5] Items and inventory won with 56% of the votes.

RocketSnail stated it would take 3-5 weeks to build Experiment #2.[6]

As part of Experiment #2, RocketSnail developed items and an inventory system.[7][8][9] The hat he created to test with is a Viking Helmet, similar to the one he wore in Club Penguin.

On April 10, 2019, Experiment #2 was officially released with 14 items, codes to unlock them, and an inventory system. It also started the Free Item of the Week.

The 14 items launched with Experiment #2 were:

On April 17, RocketSnail added a popup when each code is entered, displaying the official name of the item and its icon.

On April 28, a small screen view was added to the game, allowing for scrolling across the room when in portrait mode. The inventory icon would not show, meaning you had to turn the device landscape in order to access it. The small screen view was removed one day later. Dark mode was also added on April 28.

On May 3, items worn by a player are now persistent, meaning the current outfit is not cleared upon logoff.[10]

On May 16, the Bridge was added, accessible via the /join command, in preparation for the launch of Experiment #3.

Experiment #3

On the page for Experiment #2, RocketSnail states that "for the third experiment I am planning to add a new hidden room, a second critter and chat logs." He later followed this up on Twitter by saying, "it is time to start exploring."[11]

Experiment #3 will also add monsters and villains.[12] Two concept ideas for a crab villain have been shared.

It will be released sometime in May.[13] It will officially introduce the Beaver critter.[14]

A sneak peek of the new room was released on May 14, 2019.[15] The Tavern will close with the start of Experiment #3 and reopen at a later date, with a new room taking its place.[16]

On May 16, the Bridge was added to Experiment #2, accessible via the /join command, in preparation for the launch of Experiment #3.

Experiment #3 officially launched just one day later with client version 52-exp3.[17] It made the Bridge the default login room, and moved the Tavern to only be accessible via the /join command.

Later that day, RocketSnail tweeted "Welcome to Experiment 3 - Rooms!" stating that "over the next couple weeks I be adding a number of rooms to explore."[18]

As of July 18, 2019, there are around 48,700 registered accounts. The daily, weekly and monthly active user counts are 912, 3,230 and 9,370 respectively. The busiest time of day is 1pm Pacific Time, and 32% of players play on mobile.

Post-Experiment #3

"Experiment #4"

In an email to content creators on July 18, 2019, RocketSnail stated Experiment #4 will "introduce [a] lite RPG game and hopefully the Critterball minigame. The new lite RPG game "will allow players to unlock items and weapons". "A small shop" will be added so that players can "buy items with your coins" that are earned from minigames. Additionally, "the number of codes to unlock items will reduce as the number of in-game items increases.

"Experiment #5"

In an email to content creators on July 18, 2019, RocketSnail stated Experiment #5 "will update the registration system. The new system will allow you to change your Nickname and update your email." Parental controls, mute players and reporting will also be added.

Continued experimentation

Using numbers to label experiments and updates slowly disappeared, with RocketSnail eventually stating that players found the numbering confusing and that everything in the game is an experiment.[19]

The aim for the experiments is to test various technologies and find out what works and what doesn't.