Backstage columns

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In February 2003 Disney started issuing newsletters to advise players of planned expansions/enhancements of the game. Many felt at the time that this move was an attempt to placate many players who were complaining that the game was too limited and needed to be developed.

Below are the original articles as they appeared in the Backstage Columns newsletters which were precursors to the Toontown Times newsletters currently distributed. These are presented as a historical record - the concept of Cog HQ's for example has moved on considerably from these early concepts.

Issue 1, February 20, 2003

TTBS1 Top.jpg

Welcome to the first Toontown Backstage column. This column has been created to keep you informed about everything that is going on with the Toontown development team.

First, we would like to extend our thanks for playing Toontown.
We have enjoyed bringing this world to you and appreciate all the feedback that you have offered. The support from you, the fans, is what kept this project alive long enough to get to where we are today.

When Will There Be New Content?
Over the past six months, the entire original development team has been completely dedicated to finalizing Toontown’s operational plans. Since the start of the Sneak Preview, we have been focusing on fixing bugs, increasing server stability, hiring our live team, formalizing customer service tools, conducting market research, and all the other unsung work of turning a game into a commercial product. The good news is most of the heavy lifting is behind us now and we have started to get back to what we truly love – creating new game content!

In This Issue
This first issue of Backstage briefly discusses where we are with Cog Headquarters thus far. We have many other new and exciting game features planned that we will be sharing with you in this forum in the weeks ahead. We have also created the Coming Soon section to give all players a sneak peak at new features that are nearly finished and will be released soon after testing and adjusting on the test server. We hope you will enjoy seeing our work from development to finished product.

Thank You, The Toontown Development Team

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Cog Headquarters is shaping up to be a much larger design than originally anticipated. The team is incredibly excited to finally be working on Cog HQ. We think we will have some really new and engaging experiences to offer when everything is complete

Current Design
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The story concept centers on the Cogs taking Toon prisoners. The Cogs have created permanent embankments on the outskirts of Toontown and are capturing and holding storekeeper Toons hostage. Groups of Toons will need to battle their way through numerous complex and unique areas to reach the final confrontation and rescue the captured Toons.

Current Status
High-level game design is just about finished and we are starting to work on concept art and blocking models for some of the larger elements that will make up Cog HQ. We will start mocking up some of the more experimental game play systems soon, and release them to the test server when we have something solid enough. We will be updating this section periodically in the upcoming months with more details and screenshots of Cog HQ as they are available.

Cog Headquarters will not actually be one building, but rather an entire neighborhood in itself. Outside the main HQ building will stand factories that create the Cogs. Pictured above is a screenshot of a blocking model of the “Arm Factory”. Toons will be able to group up and enter the factories to battle Cogs inside.

Current Status Continued:
TTBS3 Graphic.jpg
Factories will not be simple 1-5 story buildings like the Cogs build on the streets, they will be complex arenas filled with traps, conveyor belts, doors, switches, and other surprises.

One of the goals of Cog HQ is to bring some new environments and gameplay challenges to the advanced player. Pictured above are some concept sketches for the building interiors around Cog HQ. We’d like to provide some areas outside battle that involve a little more action and strategy. There will be more dynamic and interesting rooms inside Cog HQ that the Toons must navigate and battle through.

Hope you have enjoyed this first behind the scenes look at the Toontown development team. We’re working hard to bring these new and exciting features to you – we think it will be worth the wait! We’ll post more details about Cog HQ and other features we are cranking away on soon!

- The Toontown Development Team

Issue 2 Issue 2, April 30, 2003

Toon Estates To Open
Start Saving Beans

This issue provides a sneak peek into the Toon housing and estates. We are still in the conceptual stages, so designs and functionality will probably change as this project evolves, but we want to give the players and fans the inside scoop on what's coming next. A word to the wise: start saving those jelly beans!

Toon Estates Current Design

Each Toontown account will have an estate - this is where the individual Toon houses for that account will live. The estates will be huge, and in the future, we'll make them expandable. The houses themselves will be small but will also have the ability to be upgraded and expanded in the future.

There will be a whole slew of things to do in your new home - you'll be able to play new games, stash your jelly beans in a private bank, use your jelly bean collection to purchase goodies for your humble abode, and keep a wardrobe of fashionable Toony clothes in your closet. More importantly, it's a safe haven, like the playground, where you can heal and rest-up after difficult battles. No COGS allowed here!

Current Project Status


The exterior and interior design options for your Toon's house are the current primary focus. We've already completed several house models, but there's still a few in the works. Lots of furniture pieces have been spec'ed out, and we've got even more designed on paper. The banking and closet interfaces are also finished, but we still need to hook these up to model.


Now that your Toon has a place to call home, he/she needs a way to get there. Some Toon animations are in progress - they can currently open closets and walk through doorways. Sitting on chairs and sofas is still in the very early stages of development (a Toon's gotta rest!). The ability to travel home via teleporting is working, and we'll be adding a "Go Home" button to the map page. Finally, your friends will be able to teleport to your house when you are home - start planning your house-warming party!

Thanks for keeping up-to-date on our status. We hope you have enjoyed this peek into the new and exciting housing developments!

- Toontown Development Team

Issue 3, June 2, 2003

Attention Shoppers
Catalogs are coming!

Welcome to a new issue of Back Stage. So much is going on with the new emotions, housing, and expert tasks that it seems impossible for any more to possibly fit into the Toon-i-verse. But there is more -- so much more! Now there are catalogs where you can buy cool new items to spice up your Toon lifestyle and décor.

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Now that every Toon has his or her own house all the fun stuff will have to be purchased, so you have to check out these catalogs! You'll receive a new issue filled with must-have items each week, delivered right to your mailbox. By the way, did we mention every house will have its own mailbox and phone?

Toons will be able to browse the catalog over the phone, with an operator, for goodies big and small.

Once an item has been selected for purchase, the operator will place an order and the required amount of jelly beans will be deducted from your bank. Large items will take longer for delivery -- some things are heavy, so please be patient!

As new featured items appear each week, older items will become available on backorder. New super-cool big-ticket items such as a fishing pier, an entire themed bedroom set, a wacky fireplace, a bathtub bed, or an organ piano will be available roughly once a month. Smaller goodies such as chairs, end tables, and wallpaper will be on sale more frequently. You can even buy portraits of your Toon pals to hang on the wall! So make sure to save up -- those big-ticket items will cost you big piles of jelly beans, but trust us, they're worth it!

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Other fun stuff available for sale in the catalogs will include new ways to communicate with your Toony pals. In addition to the standard set of emotions that every Toon can do (wave, happy, sad, angry and sleepy), with the catalogs you'll be able to sign up for acting lessons that add new emotions and phrases to your SpeedChat menu.

Soon your Toon may be shrugging, winking, and taking a bow! There will also be clothes and effects for sale, such as a big head or small Toon.

As you can see, we have been extremely busy with all kinds of new exciting projects. So stay Toon-ed -- and, as always, thanks for playing!

- The Toontown Development Team

Issue 4, June 18, 2003

New Fish Species Migrating To Toontown

This issue of Backstage puts the focus on fishing! Once just a relaxing easy way to pass time in the playground, fishing will now require precision and expertise -- not to mention gadgets aplenty and bonus healing power!

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Our artists are designing a whole slew of new creatures to swim in the ponds. Models are currently being built for some of the new fish species. Once a fish has been caught, you can choose whether to throw it back in the water or take it to your estate to keep as a pet. You will even be able to take a dip with your new fishy friends.

We are considering making fishing a bit of a game in itself, so that your fishing skills will sharpen with practice. The more you fish, the better you get. Just like the ice cream cones, catching fish will heal you faster after a challenging Cog encounter.

And what would any sport be without lots of doodads? We are currently designing new rods, lures, and bait to be purchased through the weekly catalogs. Specific rods, lures, and bait will attract certain fish. Some fish will be more rare than others and the rarer the fish, the more healing power it will have.

As always, we are continuing to try to make Toontown as rich and entertaining as it can be. We hope you are having as much fun playing in Toontown as we are building it!

- The Toontown Development Team

Issue 5, July 29, 2003

Cog Headquarters Part II

Robots in their pre-Cog state without their business suits will patrol the streets of Cog HQ.

All of the hard work on Cog HQ is starting to come together. We have started creating the interiors of the factory buildings. Each factory will house assembly lines where the Cogs are being manufactured. Toons will be sent on Cog part recovery missions to the factories in effort to stop the Cogs before they can propeller off into Toontown.

As we mentioned in the first issue of Backstage, Toons will work their way through each building, past a series of obstacles -- up and down elevator lifts, across conveyor belts, through doors -- while dodging heavy Cog-building machinery. We are in the process of building the obstacles within the factories and starting to get an idea of how the Toons will navigate their way through.

In effort to go undetected by Cogs, you will need to think, act, and look like a Cog. To do that you will wear a Cog suit and travel in disguise. New tasks will be assigned for you to recover the pieces. Various Cog parts -- arms, legs, feet, etc -- will be acquired at the final battle in each factory when you will come to blows (or rather pies) with the big-boss-Cog.

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Your Toon body will be replaced by the suit, with your head and name still showing. View Video

Once all of the pieces have been found and your suit is complete, you will be able to gain access to the very well guarded main headquarters building. Don't even think about trying to go in without your suit: security cameras will spot you and Cog Goons will drag you right out the door.

Thank you for following up on the Cog HQ development. We are extremely excited about the progress so far and will continue to keep you updated on its evolution from concept to full-on Toontown neighborhood.

- The Toontown Development Team