Pokémon Go: Developer are testing a new look for ‘nearby’ Pokémon

The “Nearby” tracking system in Pokemon Go — the one that’s supposed to let you actually figure out where Pokemon are hiding without walking aimlessly — has been broken since day two or three after launch.

It went from kinda working with a functional-if-confusing “footprint” system (three footprints = far, one footprint = close) to not working at all (all Pokemon showing three footprints regardless of distance) to just being totally removed.

An update rolled out for Pokemon Go users tonight, and the change log mentioned that a new nearby tracking system was being tested with “a subset of users”.

The “Nearby” drawer now has two sections: Nearby, and Sightings.

“Nearby” Pokemon are those which happen to be close to nearby Pokestops. Tap one of those and the map zooms out to an overhead view, showing you which Pokestop you should head towards. It’s like they looked at the now-banned Pokevision and said “Well, if you can’t beat’em…” The Pokemon you’re looking for should be near that Pokestop; according to most reports, they’re usually within about a block. Pokestops now have circles around them similar in sizing to the one around the player’s — if a Pokemon is within that circle, it counts as “Nearby” that Pokestop.

Pokemon in the “Sightings” section have grass behind them rather than a Pokestop image — this means they’re in the wild and not immediately near a Pokestop, and you’ll have to hunt for them without any built-in guidance. Tapping a “Sightings” Pokemon doesn’t seem to do anything at the moment, and they don’t necessarily seem to be sorted by distance (hopefully this changes)… so you’ll still be walking a bit aimlessly, albeit with the knowledge that it’s not near a Pokestop.
It looks like Niantic, the company behind the smash-hit smartphone sensation Pokémon Go, is working on a big, huge upgrade to the way you find nearby Pokémon, finally fixing a big frustration for players.


In the release notes for the newest Pokémon Go app update for Android and iPhone, Niantic teased that “we’re currently testing a variation of the ‘Nearby Pokémon’ feature with a subset of users.”

The news comes not a moment too late: Pokémon Go players have been up in arms since Niantic removed the game’s first version of the Nearby Pokémon feature, following a two-week-plus period where it simply didn’t work at all.

Right now, it seems like different players are seeing different things. As Kotaku reports, it looks like most players are seeing a new “Sightings” menu, which merely shows you which Pokémon are nearby, though it’s also said to be more responsive and accurate than the old version.

Me, personally, I’m seeing something else. And the upgraded Pokémon tracking system I’m seeing is cooler and way more potentially useful than either the very first system, or the one that Kotaku is seeing.
Pokémon Go developer Niantic rolled out a new update for the Android and iOS game today that fixes bugs, lets players change their trainer’s name and updates the design of the “nearby Pokémon” feature.

The update (version 0.33.0 for Android and 1.3.0 for iOS) is now available from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

In addition to a number of fixes for things like the iOS battery saver mode, curved Poké Ball throws and a bug that prevented certain experience bonuses, some players will see a variation of the nearby Pokémon user interface. Niantic says it’s testing the new UI screen with an unspecified subset of Pokémon Go players.

Players can also change their Trainers nickname, but only once. “Please choose your new nickname wisely,” Niantic said in the update’s patch notes.
Added a dialog to remind Trainers that they should not play while traveling above a certain speed. Trainers must confirm they are not driving in order to continue playing.
Made improvements to the accuracy of a curveball throw
Fixed a bug that prevented “Nice,” “Great,” and “Excellent” Poké Ball throws from awarding the appropriate XP bonuses.
Fixed achievements showing incorrect Medal icons.
Enabled the ability for Trainers to change their nickname one time. Please choose your new nickname wisely.
Resolved issues with the battery saver mode on iOS and re-enabled the feature.
Added visuals of Team Leaders Candela, Blanche, and Spark.
We’re currently testing a variation of the “Nearby Pokémon” feature with a subset of users. During this period you may see some variation in the nearby Pokémon UI.

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