Appel: Even after 2 years, it’s still good

There’s something to be said about Griffpatch’s many games. Insane quality and continuous breaking of Scratch’s limits all add up to some amazing and well-crafted experiences. It’s no wonder that he is the most followed user on Scratch. Heck, he even made one of the most well-known Scratch projects ever, a 2D recreation of Minecraft.

And on December 21st, 2020, Appel was released to the world.

The main menu of Appel, version 1.4.
The main menu of Appel v1.4

It was a platformer, but unlike the millions of generic, copy-pasted, carbon-copy platformers, this one was scrolling, had enemies with a bit of rudimentary AI, boss fights, and a freakin level editor. And shortly after launch, it blew up, thanks to the Griffpatch bless/curse (“even if he shared a blank project, it would still get extremely popular”). 

And it’s easy to see why.

First off, it was a true, original platformer on a site dominated by popular generic platformers, and for most of us, that was extremely refreshing.

Take this:

A generic platformer project.

and compare it to this:

The beginning of the second level of Appel.

There is a big difference there, right? 

Everything about Appel has that Griffpatch charm, and that rubs off in a lot of elements. Well, here’s why Appel is still good, even after two years have passed.

Unique levels

Appel’s core levels provide a lot of challenges. Although it might seem brutally hard at first to successfully jump up a wall without getting impaled on some spikes, after a good amount of practice, you’ll eventually make it up. This is aided by your ability to stick to ceilings, so you can jump-attack enemies and safely observe the patterns of things like crushers and moving platforms. Even then, there are checkpoints absolutely everywhere in each stage, and they’re often placed right before difficult platforming segments.

The enemies play a big role in this too. Some can be easily bopped on the head, and they explode into bits. Others wear spikes on their head that result in you getting bopped in the foot and exploding into bits. 

Solid platforming

Again, this game is a platformer, so what’s a platformer without platforming? Sometimes, you’ll fall off platforms and have to either respawn or make your way back up again. It’s oftentimes like a typical Mario game. There are also bits where you can do some additional platforming to get around hard spots.

Compared to a typical generic platformer, where there are some basic jumps and lava to avoid, Appel has things like spike pits and enemies that charge or gang-rush you. Some you can defeat, others you can’t. All in all, good levels.

Decent controls

How are you supposed to play a game if you can’t control it? Appel works really well in the controls department. Appel uses the mouse to navigate menus and use the level editor (more on that later!), and the arrow keys for actually moving (for right-handed people, at least). Left and right arrows/A and D keys are move in their said directions, the down arrow/S key is crouch, and the up arrow key/W key is jump. The easiest way for me to use this (and i will write this as “right-handed/left-handed”) is put your middle-finger/ring finger on up arrow/W, and pointer/pinky on left arrow/A, and right-ring finger/left-middle finger on right-arrow/D, and press with the needed finger to move. 

Appel controls nicely. They are not exactly tight by any means, but they are at least fairly responsive, which is good because you’ll be doing a lot of reflex actions here. If you use TurboWarp and a controller, you will experience some slight delay but it won’t detrimentally affect your experience.

Creative gimmicks

As I said before, Appel isn’t your typical lava-and-platforms game. There’s stuff like crushers that, well, crush you and force a respawn, but in some levels you can ride on them to access secrets for more collectibles. There are big blocks that if you get too close will actually flip over and smush you if you don’t get away fast enough (this is sometimes used in puzzles to make it possible to cross some gaps). There’s plenty more, but I’ll let you play the game and figure out how they work.

Level editor and fan-made levels

One of Appel’s many features, alongside the main story, is a level editor where you can make you own levels. You have stuff like enemies, obstacles, terrain, apples, a lot of what the game has to offer at your command, and you can build whatever you like, and then save, play and even share them.

The Appel level editor, as of version 1.4.

There’s a whole plethora of levels out there for you to explore, and by simply looking in the level repository, you’ll definitely find some you like. 

Well, that’s kinda why I think Appel is still good, even after 2 years. If you want, I highly recommend playing the game for yourself. Have a great rest of your day/night/whatever.

The Unshared Projects Bug – For Better Or For Worse?

Recently, The Scratch Team made an update that fixed a bug that allowed unshared projects to be viewed and downloaded using external viewers like TurboWarp and the official scratch-gui development instance.

This has been controversial for a number of reasons. Let’s go over them.

Your unshared projects are actually private!

This is the biggest reason I got behind this. When you open the project page on one of your unshared projects, you get a message saying “This project is unshared, so only you can see it.”

This message gives the impression that nobody can view your project unless you choose to make it public. However, with the unshared projects bug, this isn’t the case. If the project’s ID gets out in any way, anybody can load it up in TurboWarp and see your work. This can be especially bad if your project is still a WIP, or it’s something you never intended others to see. Even worse, people could export the project as an SB3 file, and distribute it by other means, like uploading it onto their Scratch account.

This makes the bug a major privacy issue. If any other website had a bug like this, it could be trouble. Imagine If Google Drive had a bug that allowed anybody to access your private files without needed to prove they were the owner of them?

Collaborations may be a little tougher now

The first time I heard of this bug getting patched was when I noticed a little topic called “Consider Collabs” in the Suggestions forum. This brings up the problem that collaborations rely on the unshared project bug to share stuff with each other without having to publically release the project containing it. I can completely understand this.

Some people want to keep their whole collaboration a secret, like when a series finale is in the works, and you want to prevent people from spoiling the ending before it is officially finished.

Just remember that TurboWarp, which popularized the usage of the bug, is a very recent creation and collaborations are not impossible with the bug patched. TurboWarp’s developers sum this up nicely:

It’s okay to share unfinished projects. Scratch is 15 years old while TurboWarp is two years old. Collaborations happened just fine during the 13 years without TurboWarp and will continue just fine.

TurboWarp Documentation, “Unshared projects are no longer visible”

This community is really adaptive. I’m sure that people will quickly find a new way to stealthily share assets and code with each other without the project leaking.

A potential vector for inappropriate content has been sealed

I know this may be a stretch, but this bug may have been abused by people to distribute rule-breaking content, like inappropriate projects or links or usernames to unmoderated chat websites.

People frequently look for ways around the Scratch filter, and this may have been one of the ways people did this.

That’s all I have to say on this bug. Thank you for reading :D

Ocular and Aviate: Battle of the Status Sites

Ocular and Aviate.

Two websites that do the same thing. Statuses. Basically, just text strings that are tied to your Scratch account and can be displayed on various websites via their API.

They may seem the same, but they are very different.

Let’s get into it.

Ocular was spun off Jeffalo Post Viewer by, well, Jeffalo sometime in 2020 as a searching tool for the Scratch forums. It’s handy if you need to look up duplicates, past answers, or get someone’s forum posts to view their track record.

In October 2020, My-Ocular was released, which introduced the custom color and status features to the website. In 2021, it was merged with regular Ocular.

After signing in to Ocular, you are given the ability to react to posts, star them, and access the dashboard, where you can set your custom color and status.


Aviate officially launched in April 2022, so it’s not that old. It’s exclusively a status website, no extra features here.


Now, let’s get into the differences.

Aviate has more versatile statuses, allowing you to fetch statistics like your post count or followers from your Scratch account or even do simple math through dynamic components. Ocular also has components, except they aren’t as powerful as Aviate’s, all they let you do is either insert a randomly-selected joke or how many Ocular users there are, and that’s it.

However, Aviate’s adoption is small in comparison to Ocular’s.

For example, Postpercent displays Ocular statuses on user statistic pages and a certain browser extension has an Ocular integration addon that shows statuses on Scratch user profiles and forum posts. If you want to see all of the websites that show statuses from Ocular, then check out its usage gallery.

Aviate was rejected from being added to the same browser extension because, well, they already had Ocular integration. Not very many websites display Aviate statuses, and that’s a shame, since the dynamic components let you create some really cool things. Heck, even the creator of Ocular stated that he liked the concept.

So, which one is better? I’ll let you decide.

Fun fact: The “Current Status” thingy on this very website’s home page is powered by Aviate!

Stop Bashing Generic Platformers

Generic platformers. The square-shaped player character, the aggressive EDM music, and the easy levels, Start to finish in 5 minutes.

One of MANY generic platformer games.

These seem to get popular FAST. In most conversations about platformers, the record 259 likes in 3 hours is often brought up. That kinda gives you an idea why these projects dominate the explore page.

Dominate the explore page. Therein lies the rub. Most people hate these games for a reason.

These actively push out REAL projects made by people who aren’t aggressively fame-hungry, with actual creativity.

Heck, even I don’t like them.

[2022-06-07 12:37:42] <LandonHere> how most of the scratch community feels about generic platformers:
[2022-06-07 12:37:49] <Penguin_> hahaha yes
[2022-06-07 12:37:51] <craM02029> yes
[2022-06-07 12:37:58] <craM02029> actually
[2022-06-07 12:38:07] <craM02029> thats 40% of the scratch community
[2022-06-07 12:38:11] <LandonHere> ok
[2022-06-07 12:38:24] <craM02029> 60% is always like: EPOC NEW GAME!!!1111
[2022-06-07 12:38:55] <LandonHere> the remaining 40%: [no comment]
[2022-06-07 12:38:57] <Penguin_> i've taken to calling generic platformers "cloutformers" and the cube character "the clout cube"
[2022-06-07 12:39:04] <craM02029> ok
[2022-06-07 12:39:05] <LandonHere> ok

In all honesty, these projects aren’t the best of the community. And for that, they receive a lot of hate.

And therein lies another rub. Some community members tend to hate on these projects. And there’s another major problem with generic platformers. The hate they get.

Hell, even the term “generic platformers” is a derogatory term for what their creators call them, which is often just “platformers”.

The core of the problem is that we hate on these projects because they get popular and the Scratch algorithm plasters them over the Explore pages and the “What the Community is Loving” row on the front page.

And where’s one of the places people go to find inspiration for their next project? The Explore and Trending pages. Creators see these platformer projects, think “Hey! I can make that too!” and see how insanely popular these things can get. Then, they make their own, and release them into the world.

Here’s why platformers don’t deserve as much hate as they do: They are made, by real humans, who want attention. It’s human nature to want to be seen, and that’s amplified up to a trillion on online platforms. People like these projects, and they also like supporting up-and-coming creators.

And, what about the people who don’t like these platformers? Well, don’t be a damn troll and make comments toward these projects and their creators. MAKE YOUR OWN GAMES! The whole point of Scratch was to make coding more accessible and easy to learn. You could easily make your own platformer or puzzle game, with your own unique gimmicks and features. Maybe you’ll have some luck and get popular, and make it onto the explore page. Maybe if enough people do this, someday, people will realize originality is the way to go, and ditch attempting to make what’s popular, and make what they want.

Maybe someday.

The TFH/TFP/TFA Problem

TFH, TFP, TFA….how many studios for forumers need there be? All of them have become a mess. Drama, people repeatedly creating clone studios…all for a group of people who do stuff on the Scratch forums for fun.

(DISCLAIMER: All of this is my opinion. I do not intend to cause any more trouble, I want to express how I feel with all of the forumer stuff.)

For me, I started foruming wayyy back in the long-forgotten year of 2020, and I never knew that there was a group for the very 3l33t people who had thousands of posts and were literal ninjas and SOMEHOW buried your posts before you even posted at all. Of course, without knowing all of this, I posted on the forums, and gradually continued to get better.

About a year after my first forum post, I submitted a The Forum Helpers application after procrastinating on it. I had met the requirements a long time before, but I didn’t jump on it immediately. I was accepted, and I joined the studio shortly thereafter. And well, nothing really changed.

And then came the Forum Participaters. It initially started as a parody of TFH, but shortly became a group for those who could not join the actual forum helper group. The requirements for joining are a lot less strict. I joined because, hey, it’s good fun!

Even, later on, came The Forum Assistants (the name choice tho), created by a TFH reject. I received the invite for it just out of the blue, and I joined because…well…who knows at this point…

First off, HOW MANY FORUMER STUDIOS ARE NEEDED? TFH is for the high-level forumers, and TFP is for those who are forum users who want to be part of a group. Of course, most people don’t care about this and will just join for the status symbols, but for those participating in these communities…
I am ever trying to reduce how many studios I curate, meaning I leave studios when I feel I don’t interact with that community much anymore or the studio is not relevant to me (or it’s just not relevant anymore at all, like what happened with Whirl Cat). Of course, I joined TFP for the funny hahas and shortly thereafter stopped interacting with it. TFA…I don’t interact with it at all because I already am a part of a forumer community that is larger. I may casually open the studio now and then in Firefox to see if anything interesting has happened, but most of the time…nothing. And most of the time, most people who are active in the studio are often in other forumer studios like TFH. I don’t like jumping between several pages to continue a conversation, but when conversing with the same people in 3 DIFFERENT STUDIOS, that’s a problem.

Another major issue is the drama. I’m no stranger to this, particularly because the Mineral Fish fandom experiences minor bouts of this often (two particular people warring over op perms in our IRC channel, forum character profile griefing, roleplays between “villains”…), but TFH experienced two major moments just a few weeks ago.
The first one was a list of “annoying” forumers that was posted onto a GitHub repository. This was supposed to be secret, but from what I can gather, someone (who we will be getting into later) leaked the link in one of their posts, resulting in a nuke being dropped on TFH. Although the original repo was deleted sometime during the drama, someone else has created another repository and reuploaded the list, alongside a video. The video contains a slideshow of comments from the TFH chaos set to the “I fought the law and the law won” song. After watching the video, it made me think about why this group exists, and how one list of “annoying” users results in literal fallout. Like, not only was it complete chaos, the repository description calls itself “the list that caused TFH to crumble”. That moment really made me rethink what this group is all about. It went downhill for a bit when someone’s ego was damaged a little bit. Oh sure, this list was pretty rude, but couldn’t this just be reported to GitHub instead of being brought up on Scratch? That would have stopped this mess.
The next one is hard to understand, and it was hard for me to get information other than scrolling through comments in the studio alongside forum posts. The same person who leaked the list also was rejected from TFH for not having enough posts and decided to try and get an exception, which of course, did not work. So now, they assumed the studio was all against him, and well, chaos ensued. I can’t really put my finger on it, but this was a screwup. It got most people thinking, was this a studio for forumers, or “professional, constructive, perfect” forumers? We are all unpaid people, who are browsing forums on a children’s coding website. Should there be more room for people to join and learn from others? Or are there going to be actually good forumers, who can’t join this coveted group because of a few minor mess-ups? Of course, this person didn’t just have a few mess-ups, but…it still made me think how lucky I was to be even accepted into this group.

The same thing happened rather recently, with the creation of The Forum Assistants, which was created by a TFH reject on July 22nd, as stated earlier. However, the reason for rejection isn’t very clear, but apparently poor constructiveness and attitude? Of course, those are things that mean a lot on the forums, but the rejection reaction was, a little overdrive, and the reject created a whole new studio, and there a system for applying, but if the owner sees you around the forums, thinks you are good, you are invited? O….K….? Now, this I don’t think was needed. The Forum Participaters had a valid reason for existing and was actually pretty funny for a while, but The Forum Assistants was just created out of spite of being rejected. Of course, I have since left.

But all of this has an over-arching problem: are we, the forumers, those who have our own culture, words, and concepts, taking this too seriously? Again, we are all unpaid, browsing and posting on the forums of a children’s programming website. Should we be more open to those who are joining this culture, and help them, and ourselves, or are we going to do nothing, and continue to let the forum helper concept go up in flames? We all have our issues, but we need to know how to fix them, learn from our mistakes, and be better than we were.

The Love and Favorite Problem

Brief disclaimer: This post isn’t targeted toward a certain person or group of people.

It also isn’t entirely made for entertainment purposes, as it addresses an issue on Scratch.

With that out of the way, let’s begin. Loving and favoriting are staples of the Scratch website, and they can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. Now, this isn’t the thing I want to talk about.

The reason I am writing this is that many users are baiting others into giving a project false loves and favorites. Some projects even use detector scripts to trigger rewards. I don’t mean people asking others to love and favorite,

I’m going to explain this system:

  1. Users are first baited with some sort of reward (such as free coins, level skips, additional levels to play, etc.), or the project locks up until it is loved and favorited.
  2. If the user does give in and gives the project false loves and favorites, a detector will see this and grant the reward.
  3. If they don’t, the project will pressure the user into doing so.

Because of this, a project could get front-paged, even if it isn’t all that good, all because of players wanting something that probably wouldn’t last that long. Loving and favoriting is supposed to show that the user likes the project.

Also, many projects keep pushing you to love and favorite. If you have played the Nintendo 3DS game Rusty Slugger’s Real Deal Baseball, you may remember that if choose to pay full price for an item in the shop, the shopkeeper may pressure you to haggle and get a lower price. (If I talk about this in the future, I will call it “Annoyance or Expense”) Many Scratch projects do similar things, such as withholding a valuable or necessary item or displaying annoying messages on-screen.

I can understand project creators wanting fame, but baiting users into giving you it probably just makes a bad digital citizen. Just be nice to people, make good projects, and just be a nice person. If your projects use this system, I ask that you remove it, as this isn’t the way to true fame. And if you see other projects using this system, please don’t report it, rather you should write a comment pointing it out, and if you want, you can link to this article.

See you in the next project,