Tinytown Changelog | 02/24/2021

Git Gud: Our team has spent the last six months ramping up on React and Firebase while getting familiar with the ins and outs of mobile development. It’s been quite the ride to go from practically no knowledge of Javascript or coding at all to being able to ship a polished, functional app to the App Store and Play Store. If you’re a designer looking to dip your toes into the world of programming, we highly recommend starting with Harvard’s CS50 class and then moving on to Stephen Grider’s wonderful Udemy courses — starting with his JS bootcamp.

SFO → SEA: While we’re fully decentralized and remote, our team now officially resides in Seattle. The move was a long-time coming, but last year’s unprecedented fire season in California was too much to bear. We absolutely loved our time in San Francisco and we hope the city makes a speedy recovery once Covid-19 is behind us.

Off to the races: Amidst learning React and relocating to Seattle, we somehow found the time to build and ship the very first version of Tinytown to the App Store and the Play Store this week. This first release went out to a small number of Early Access members, which will help us iron out some bugs and provide feedback before releasing to the wider Early Access group. We expect to be releasing updates on a weekly basis moving forward. If you haven’t already signed up for Early Access, you can do so on our website.

Welcome to Tinytown: The app has a proper onboarding experience now, which welcomes you to the world of Tinytown and guides you through our very short version of the “Tutorial Level” (eg. navigating to your location and signing in with your Twitter account). For those patient enough, there’s also a hidden Easter Egg in the onboarding screen.

LOUD NOISES!: You can now shout from the app using your Megaphone and have users around you see your shout pop up on the map. The Megaphone is just the first of many items that you’ll have at your disposal in Tinytown. It is in more ways than one, our version of the chainsaw or the crowbar: useful in close quarters and made available right from the beginning of the game.

Tweet Your Shouts: You can now send your shouts to Twitter by selecting that option in your Megaphone Settings. You can also opt-in to have your location information added to each tweet that you send from Tinytown.

Helpful Links: We’ve added a new About screen with useful links in case you’d like to request new features, provide feedback, join our Discord server, or follow us on Twitter.

Wololo: We’ve added a fog-o-war around your location to show you how far you can see on the map. This is a useful feature from real-time strategy games that give you an incentive to explore the map around you.

App Redesign: First impressions are everything, that’s why we decided to give the app a fresh coat of paint before we even released it to Early Access. We changed everything, from the map style to our color palette. While we liked the dark, neon, cyberpunk style of our previous design, we wanted the app to lean more into the colorful and fun styles of classic video games like Zelda and Mario.

Components Galore: We’ve built quite a collection of React components over the last few months, from Chips to full-screen Bottom Sheets. We’ve added Buttons (to be used where FABs are too big), Dialogs, Cards, Menus, the Shout Box, and much more. These reusable components will make it easier for us to build new features moving forward.

Animation Library: We’re big fans of motion design on the Tinytown team, so we’ve gone a little overboard with animations in the app. To help us stay sane as we sprinkle more and more animations throughout the app, we’ve started building a library of reusable animations that we can plug into any component.

And much more: We’ve added a ton of little details and improvements that would take too long to outline individually but are nonetheless very important to us. Little things like the waves on the water or grass on the map, improving performance by enabling Hermes on the Android app, several refactors of our state management logic, or detecting whether the user is using a mock location provider.

Google Sign-In: If you don’t have a Twitter account, fret not, we’ll be adding the ability to sign in with a Google account in the next few weeks.

Shout Expiration: Staying true to the ephemeral aspect of a real shout, the shouts in Tinytown only stick around for a certain period of time — one week to begin with. Starting next week, any shout that’s older than a week will be removed (both from the map and from our servers gasp).

Notifications: We’ll be adding the ability to receive a notification if someone shouts close to your location.

Delete Your Shouts: Sometimes you might shout something that you later regret shouting, this feature is for those shouts.

Photo Shouts: Other times, you’d rather shout with pictures instead of words, this one is for those shouts.

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