Transformice is an online Flash game, developed by Tigrounette. Like the others, it was first launched on Jeuxonline.info (Official Thread - Thread part 2).
This minigame is not the first, and has well-known predecessors. In fact the Extinction games (by the same author), in particular Aaaah, were the first to start the concept of these very simple online games, user-friendly and accessible to everyone. We can mention among others: Fortress, Bouboum, or Dead Meat, which were also very successful.
In this page, we will follow the history of Transformice thanks to two other minigames who are his/her big brothers: "Aaaah" and "Poisson".
Thus the adventure began in April 2008, with the launch of Extinction.fr, and “Aaaah”, a minigame of an extreme simplicity. As always, the announcement of the game’s release by Tigrounette was published on Jeuxonline.info (Official Thread).
The goal of the game of Aaaah is the core of all Extinction minigames: Characters at the bottom-left, which must reach their rallying point (here, it was a pharmacy or an infirmary) at the top-right, all this, helped by a guide who draws a path on the map, thanks to their mouse.
Their weapon? The scream! The space bar allows them to holler “Aaaah!”, scaring away all the nearby characters who are pushed back.
Here is a screenshot of a basic part of Aaaah, on an unspecified map:
Aaaah evolved over a long period of time, but the goal of the game was never changed (unlike TM which already includes new game modes). The addition of the contamination (a player which is contaminated cannot finish the round any more, and can contaminate other players) was the only major innovation. With Aaaah, it was possible to create maps oneself thanks to the map editor. The official maps, of reduced number, had properties which were not possible to create with the editor. However, certain players had become Masters in the creation of maps, whether on the aesthetic level, or on the technical level.
The true ancestor of Transformice is the minigame “Poisson” (Fish), which some may not have known because of its extremely short lifespan. It constituted the “first TM version”, and was put online during a few months, before closing definitively to make room for the small mice that we know well.
Thus Poisson was a minigame similar to TM, although less advanced graphically. The characters were small fish (which had made their first appearance in Aaaah for April 1st) which had the annoying tendency to slip on all tilted surfaces:
Once logged in, you entered the fabulous world of Poisson, and you found yourself drowned in a horde of wild fish, who desperately tried to enter the fish tank, their single hope of freshness, and therefore, of survival:
The rules of the game, very similar to those of Aaaah, remained simple and basic: The fish begin at the bottom-left of a map, and must enter the tank in the top-right. They are helped by a guide, who could place objects everywhere, but was not physically present in the game (unlike the shaman of Transformice).
Here are two screenshots of the game: (the first, with only one fish which was guide, but gives you an idea of the appearance of the game):
One finds certain elements of Transformice there, in a basic design: The planks, the ball, the crates… Attaching objects by anchors was also preserved for TM, although they no longer appear in the object list. The object panel in Poisson, shown on the left, allows you to see the evolution of the design, and the evolution of the concept of guidance. The range of maps, much more restricted in Poisson, is still pretty similar to the basic maps of Transformice.
Besides the absence of the fishmonger on the game, there’s another major difference between the fishmonger and the shaman: The fishmonger enjoyed an additional weapon called Freeze Time, which was absolutely not preserved for TM. Indeed, it was enough for the fishmonger to press the space bar so that time (and players) froze during a few seconds. He could then place objects and build without being bothered by fish.
Poisson only brought one major innovation compared to Aaaah (besides its fresher design): The way of guiding, by placing objects. The goal of the game and the concept itself remained very, even too similar to that of Aaaah. Transformice, without losing the spirit of its Poisson ancestor, made new blood and becomes more and more complex every day to the delight of the players.
Since development didn’t go very deep, Poisson remained at a beta stage, but had gained many more players than it looks. Its concept and its design, sober but sympathetic, had attracted many players from Aaaah, having found in Poisson an extra fun dimension.
Transformice quickly succeeded Poisson after it closed, at the beginning of May 2010, once again taking a similar concept but largely improved, and much more thought out. The new restriction of catching cheese before going in the hole opens up much wider possibilities for the future of the game. The guidance mode is also a small revolution, since the guide is now present on the map.
Transformice is a game with a bright future, eager to bring innovations, and to surprise the players thanks to a more interesting and researched concept.