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August 13, 2014 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Behind the Scenes of Pirate101 Puppet Shows

Yarrr, Pirates! Have you ever wondered about the makings of the Pirate101 puppet shows? They’re one of our favorite aspects of the game, and today artist and animator Robert Lovelett is here to share the makings of puppet shows.

My name is Robert Lovelett (Donkey Hotay in the forums) and I am the lead artist and animator for the puppet shows in Pirate101. I am thrilled when fans tell me that the puppet shows are one of their favorite things about the game. I hope that they inspire people to use animation to tell their own stories.


The first stage is called pre-production. Writers create a script, and I meet with them to offer my input. After we agree on a script, the puppet show goes to sound to record the rough audio, which I then put in the animatic. An animatic is an animated storyboard. It helps me figure out what works visually for the puppet shows, from scene composition to the rhythm and timing of the animation. I use a program called Adobe Flash to create the puppet shows.


After I get feedback and approval on the animatic from the writers and art director, I move on to the production stage. Production involves cleaning up my initial sketches with final lines and adding color. The production stage can be very tedious, but it pays off in the end. It is very rewarding to see an idea go from script to a refined, moving illustration.

The last stage is polish. By this point, I get the final audio from sound with the official voice actor combined with sound effects and music. If necessary, I tweak the animation’s timing to match the final audio and make minor visual changes. The key thing about the polish stage is that it is optional, but can really add to the quality of the animation. One of the biggest examples where polish paid off is the Armada puppet show. Initially, it had a saturated color palette, but after consideration, it was changed to a palette that shifted to grey and monochromatic, to match with the shift in tone from humorous to grim.


I hope this gives you a glimpse into how the puppet shows for Pirate101 are made. You would be amazed how many resources are available on the Internet to learn animation. If you have an interest, I urge you to explore these resources to learn as much as possible about animation!


Leave a Comment
  1. Chrissy The Blesser / Aug 13 2014 10:58 am

    Really great post Robert and fantastic job on the puppet shows. I have always loved them and our ability to re watch them whenever we need a giggle or to appreciate the wonderful artwork again or to re familiarize ourselves with a plot detail for a message board question. We DO have to keep Blind Mew on his toes after all. 😀
    Thanks for doing this. It has been long awaited.

    • Rob Lovelett (@roblovelett) / Aug 15 2014 4:52 pm

      I’m very happy they have some replay value. Yes, there are plenty of easter eggs in a lot of the shows. Hopefully blind mew doesn’t mind too much being asked what’s the deal with so and so. Haha.

  2. Bryan Gonzalzez / Aug 13 2014 11:45 am

    Pirate101 great job n the puppet shows I enjoy all of them also when are you going to realease the new world I am dieing to find out

    Thanks Bryan Gonzalez/piratebryan

  3. Beatriz Abbott / Aug 13 2014 12:35 pm

    This is fantastic and informative! I’m a huge animation nut and the puppet shows are such a delight. I never get tired of watching them.

  4. Queenbubblez / Aug 13 2014 1:00 pm

    Oh I love the puppet shows! they are so good!

    • Anonymous / Sep 26 2014 5:50 pm

      i love them too

  5. Anonymous / Aug 13 2014 1:24 pm

    I like puppits

  6. Anonymous / Aug 13 2014 1:25 pm

    I am going to play p101 now

    • Anonymous / Aug 13 2014 4:10 pm

      ive aready been playing it lvl 54

  7. Calamity PixieShade (@MandaFayKratz) / Aug 13 2014 2:52 pm

    I love the puppet shows they are always so humorous and I have to admit the timing is wonderful. My favorite is Aquilus’s face after seeing the wizards fire a pet out of a cannon. I like to pretend it is Decius’s face when we discover a new hybrid. 😛 I also keep seeing green alien puppets each time a new world is mentioned. Is that a hint perhaps to an unseen world? Keep up the good work. Love them! ~ Clumsy Calamity

    • Rob Lovelett (@roblovelett) / Aug 15 2014 5:01 pm

      I thought it would be funny to have a different perspective on wizard pet training. I like to think that Pirates are kinder with hybridizing and good nutrition. Green aliens? I have no idea what you mean. 😉

    • Ashton / Aug 22 2014 10:19 am

      I also have the question about the green alien puppets. I think in a future update, KingsIsle will give us a space-themed world. Though that might collide with the pirate theme lol

      • Chrissy The Blesser / Sep 19 2014 1:52 pm

        What? You have never heard of space pirates? ;D

  8. cruel richard witman / Aug 13 2014 3:41 pm

    LOVE pirate 101 cant wait till the next update

  9. 'Quick' Quincy Urswick / Aug 13 2014 4:06 pm

    What I would like to know is the identity of the female member of Kane’s court… the one sitting to his right? We’ve been told about Kane, and encountered the others, but I don’t recall her being mentioned beyond her appearance in that puppet show.

    • Agente Fuego / Aug 13 2014 5:57 pm

      I suppose she must be the ”Queen” of the Armada. She looks like she has privileges being the only one with a seat besides Kane.

  10. Anonymous_2 / Aug 13 2014 4:53 pm

    Can you make a puppet show on the Prawn, captain Gordan, and Aztecia madness? that would make things really funny.

    • Anonymous / Aug 15 2014 3:00 pm

      I agree, that would be helpful in understanding the history of each type of people

  11. bumbling noah mitchell / Aug 14 2014 7:23 am

    my name on pirate101 is bumbling noah mitchell

  12. Fair Ashley Holystone / Aug 14 2014 10:32 am

    Oh my goodness gracious, this is so awesome!

  13. Anonymous / Aug 14 2014 1:44 pm

    lol my favorite puppet show is eagilles

  14. Practical Gorman Whitman / Aug 15 2014 2:13 am

    Fantastic, Robert. The puppet shows has, I can agree, good polish, coloring, and animation. I didn’t know you were Donkey Hotay in message boards because I never ever see you write a message on message boards, but thanks for informing me. Anyway, how did you get the idea to do puppet shows, as well the polishing, scripting, animating, and coloring? How is it you have the tools to create the shows to make the minor and major details? And you know the background on the sides of the screen (like a Monquistan puppet show, there are monkeys on the sides, and others based on the world), why did you create the backgrounds? And, you make a wonderful puppet show maker. I’d appreciate it if you’d answer my questions above. 🙂

    • chris / Aug 31 2014 2:47 pm

      pirate101 is awesome so s wizard101

      • chris / Aug 31 2014 2:48 pm

        ya it is

      • chris / Aug 31 2014 2:49 pm

        puppet shows are awesome

  15. Anonymous / Aug 15 2014 10:11 am

    Wow the puppet shows are awesome!!!!!!

  16. Anonymous / Aug 15 2014 2:58 pm

    From Leah Abbott + the “Abbott Crew” (Leah, Madeline, Zoe, Roslyn, and Payton Abbott)

    Some of my favorite qualities of the whole game are puppet shows, and companion promotion quests. The quests because they reveal some of he history of the companion, like Sarah Steel and her relationship with her uncle, or her history with the Black Pearl, or Bonnie Anne being from Albion, and most of her family being radicals. One thing I would like to see is a puppet show about the more common companions, like Bonnie Anne, the Kraken Skulls companion (Sarah Steel, Mormo, Barnubus, Emmet, and Luois LeBuisqe), Ratbeard, and Catbeard, among some others. My idea is that, programmed to the type of pirate, swashbuckler, witchdoctor, etc. they would recieve a different puppet show each.

    • Rob Lovelett (@roblovelett) / Aug 15 2014 7:01 pm

      Those sound like some great ideas for puppet shows. Since I am a team of one, as far as the art and animation, it would be a lot of work and I don’t know how only I could do it when there are more pertinent shows involving the main storyline. if you check out KingsIsle’s youtube page, there are videos called Rogue’s Gallery which are sort of what you are looking for.

    • Leah and the Abbott Crew / Aug 16 2014 7:07 am

      A different puppet show for the Kraken Skulls companion

  17. Leah and the Abbott Crew / Aug 15 2014 7:33 pm

    I forgot to mention my favorite puppet shows! My favorites are Gortez (by the monkey priest I forgot his name), MooShu (by Wan Mo), and Napoleguin. Napoleguin my favorite because of the comedy, and the things Catbeard says inbetween parts.

  18. fisher / Aug 16 2014 2:00 pm

    puppets are like my favorite

  19. pretty lucy collins / Aug 16 2014 4:12 pm

    i love your puppet shows ❤

  20. Anonymous / Aug 17 2014 5:22 pm

    i love the pupit shows they are relly cool

  21. wizzy159 / Aug 17 2014 5:48 pm

    wow this is cooler than cool

  22. wizzy159 / Aug 17 2014 5:51 pm


  23. aven frank / Aug 18 2014 9:07 am

    my favorites are Bonnie Anne El toro fan flanders and gracei conrad.

  24. Anonymous / Aug 18 2014 4:12 pm

    I like the puppet shows

    • Bloody Isaac Orne / Sep 27 2014 9:22 am


  25. hunter / Aug 19 2014 8:02 am

    kingsisle does great job in this been playing game for long time even without crowns or membership BUT IT WAS FUUUNN i was playing for 2 years hehe and i WILL NEVER quit 😀 with or without crowns

  26. IAN MACMILLLAN / Aug 21 2014 11:47 am

    hey Robert I think you did a good job on the puppet shows ! I also like your work as donkey hotay of la mancha my mother is crazy about that joke and im listing to the sound track of “MAN OF LA MANCHA” I think your cool : )

  27. Anonymous / Aug 25 2014 9:52 pm

    i like wizard a lot

  28. Hazel N' Van / Aug 26 2014 11:00 am

    I love the puppet shows! Spent an hour watching the ones I’ve earn.

  29. Anonymous / Aug 29 2014 2:26 pm

    wow am inprest with all you have done with this game its a lot better then wizard the only down is there are not as maney worlds and the game is short

  30. diligent william gunwale / Aug 29 2014 11:22 pm

    i really like the puppet shows, i always see them when i am traveling in skyways or in strormgates, i always get in a windlane and put a puppet show so that i dont get bored

  31. Anonymous / Aug 30 2014 3:00 pm

    some puppet shows are better than others, but they are all pretty good. I enjoy getting new ones as much as the next guy, and I know a lot of people do.

  32. Michael / Aug 30 2014 4:08 pm

    I apologize on redirecting this conversation a tad bit, but I must say I LOVE the puppet shows in Pirate101. Good job Rob! Anyways, does anyone else really want a Castle/Kingdom1011? I know I would. Back to the puppet shows. My favorites are definitely Catbeard’s. They are always so funny and never get old to me.

  33. Captain Rosethorn / Aug 31 2014 7:41 am


    You are really talented in being a one man band with the puppet shows. I never would have guessed or even expected that one man does all of that. That is really awesome! Hope you never get overloaded as you continue to fill us with the joy of the shows. I do love the little details like the audience watching. When I rewatch the shows, I look to see if the crowds are reacting to the events on the screen but they probably don’t. I can’t really tell since it is hard to see them when the lights go out. Still, that would be fun but alas extra work. Maybe someday you’ll have your own crew and you can sail the skies preforming the puppet shows the world’s over.

    • Rob Lovelett (@roblovelett) / Sep 10 2014 5:05 pm

      Thank you for the compliments. Its unfair to say only I do the puppet shows. I am just the main animator and artist on the shows. I had several other artists help clean up, polish, and complete the initial shows at launch. Along with the writers, sound, production, art directors, I am just one man on a team.

      I’ve thought about having the theater patrons react/interact with the shows, but I think it would detract by taking the viewer’s attention from the actual show.

      Haha I would like my own crew. 🙂

  34. Fiery Gavin Ashburn / Aug 31 2014 1:47 pm

    o, o

  35. Amber Owlbreeze / Sep 1 2014 3:11 pm

    that’s so cool!

  36. Anonymous / Sep 17 2014 4:16 pm

    puppets make me laugh XD ………………………………………………………………… And cry ……. sometimes …… just sometimes you know. 😀

  37. RY468 / Sep 17 2014 4:18 pm


  38. Anonymous / Sep 20 2014 4:40 pm

    ;D i love puppets they make me really laugh ;D

  39. Anonymous / Sep 21 2014 12:40 pm

    WORDS JUST CANT DESCRIBE everytime I log in I re watch all the shows 🙂 I AM SOOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOUR WORKS! keep doing them! I like ALL the puppet shows YOU do

  40. strong eric walker / Sep 22 2014 2:03 pm


  41. DarkQuincy / Sep 22 2014 7:52 pm

    Agh this inspires me so much! It makes me want to do redraws, sort of like the polishing stage. The puppet show illustrations are one of my favorite parts of the game and I love hearing more about it! Such amazing work 🙂 I hope to see more in the future!

  42. daniela / Sep 29 2014 6:43 pm

    wow i already drew one and it helped me alot.thx

  43. zane / Sep 29 2014 8:40 pm

    pirate101 is sweet i just got crowns and more powerful

  44. Anonymous / Oct 2 2014 10:39 am

    i like tuttles! Just kidding, love the puppet shows and keep up the good work Robert

  45. Anonymous / Oct 6 2014 9:56 pm

    you are so cool

  46. aven frank / Oct 13 2014 11:10 am

    Pupet shows are one of my favorite things about the game in fact their on top of my favorites list keep up the good work Robert you are awsome.!!!

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