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Posted 2:00pm

Introducing Travel Bug, a new Discovery app for PS Vita

TravelBug Logo

We are really excited to present Travel Bug, a new PS Vita Discovery app available for free download later today.

The premise of Travel Bug is simple. You first hatch a bug, then name it, then, using near, send it out on an adventure. Once it’s out in the real world, you will get regular updates as it meets strangers on its travels until it comes back to your PS Vita.

So let’s talk about the intrepid explorers: the Travel Bugs.

The first time you start the app, you will see a little larvae sitting on a leaf of your Home Tree. Tap it and it will hatch your first Travel Bug. You can name it and dress it up with items from the bug shop, then it’s time to send it out on its first adventure.

Although you start with just one bug, you can then go hunting for others. If you hit sync in the game, you will activate near, which will gather any nearby bugs and pop them in your net. Here you can check out the bugs and decide if you want to help them out on a journey.

TravelBug Leaf  01_V2 (2)

All of the bugs that you help will appear on spare leaves on your home tree where you can tap on them and find out more about them, and even see if they are on a secret mission.

We see the bugs as one of the ways in which a player can be represented to others in the Travel Bug community. You are able to personalise them with items from the shop, and you are also able to add a message to the bug for others to see and share.

As the Travel Bugs represent other people, you also have to take care of them. Each bug needs feeding to keep it happy (make it very happy and it may give you a secret surprise). If you neglect a bug it will eventually leave and travel back to its owner.

We knew that we wanted the Bugs to explore the globe, but that would only be possible if strangers would be willing to pick up Travel Bugs and help them travel further. To do this we had to offer an incentive to get involved.

So, we decided that everyone who picks up a bug and helps it on a journey will get rewarded with Bugmiles for the part of the journey you help contribute, and also a share of the Bugmiles that the Travel Bug collects upon completion of its overall journey.

Once we had this co-operative currency loop working it started to feel good, but then we found another potentially even more satisfying reward for helping bugs out on their journey. Every time you drop a new Travel Bug you have to take a photo of it. This photo will then get shared with everyone else who has helped that bug on its journey when they next start up the app. This ensures that you’ll likely have a range of surprises waiting for you, whenever you turn it on.

We’ve had a great time developing Travel Bug, and we hope that you all download it from the PlayStation store and create your own bugs and help others on their journeys. There is so much more we want to do with Travel Bug and we would love to hear your feedback. In the meantime please post your favourite pictures on Facebook and let’s start seeing where these intrepid little bugs will end up next!

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Comments

62 Comments 14 Author replies
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FrIeD-GoAt 28 November, 2012 @ 2:01 pm   1

hah, what an idea, looks interesting. Will get.

spagetti69 28 November, 2012 @ 2:02 pm   2

Tired of bugs in games nowadays.

Dante_Zero 28 November, 2012 @ 2:10 pm   3

Amazing. Great to finally see apps now rolling out on psvita. Any word on Imaginstruments and wake up club?

    Fred Dutton 28 November, 2012 @ 2:26 pm    

    Imaginstruments should be with you some time in December. Wake Up Club won’t be far behind – if not next month, then very early next year. The teams are working hard to get them finished and polished up!

supersmith2500 28 November, 2012 @ 2:13 pm   4

Interesting app, does it work with wifi models too or just 3G?

Any news on Wake Up Club? :(

hahaha i hope not like equilibrium where u need to pay to get almoast everiting u need . consept = funy

lol no bugs! travel bugssss!

no bugs! travelbugs! ^^,

The idea is brilliant, I wonder if the game itself will be too.

Why o why wasn’t GPS included on the WiFi model. :( Too many times when I am synced to my phone my Vita has no idea where I am. :(

Turn GPS on, on the phone. Works perfect for me.

Really cute art style, will be trying this out later today.

Are this the bugs from Skyrim that are used in the app?

Not sure about the purpose of this tamagotchi like game but will try it.

do we need 3G????????

PLEASES ANSDWER

No, of course you don’t need 3G!! near works on WiFi, this app uses near.

It will work with WiFi as long as some WiFi hotspot near you is registered with Skyhook. If like me you use your mobile phone a lot an no WiFi locations registered with Skyhook are nearby you are (CENSORED) out of luck, like me. That’s why I wish I had gone 3G just for the A-GPS hardware which is missing from the WiFi only Vita.

infoxicated 28 November, 2012 @ 3:08 pm   17

I’d be interested, but NEAR’s reliance on Skyhook means it’s fundamentally flawed. Each day I manage “500 miles of travel” because Skyhook thinks my home network is in Gosport and no matter how many times I report my actual location to Skyhook it makes no difference.

Such a shame that a device with built in GPS can be hamstrung by something like Near and it’s reliance on a shonky location look-up service.

whiteylfc 28 November, 2012 @ 3:09 pm   18

Any updates on Netflix in the UK and/or Europe?

It’s been out in the US for months now, really don’t understand why it’s taking so long to be released over here!

    Fred Dutton 28 November, 2012 @ 5:28 pm    

    No update I’m afraid. It’s Netflix who make the app – not SCEE. When I hear something I’ll pass it on, of course.

Infox, this is the common error. The WiFi only model does not have GPS. It relies purely on WiFi location with Skyhook. Only the 3G model has the GPS hardware which is why near as you say is flawed on the WiFi only model. It’s a real shame GPS wasn’t included in the WiFi only model. I assumed when I got my Vita I assumed tethering to my phone would work, trouble is it doesn’t always work due to Skyhook and lack of real GPS data.

Just use GPS on your phone? That works fine…

There is no GPS on the WiFi only model, only WiFi location services via Skyhook. If your Vita is WiFi only its using WiFi location services. Not GPS.

I’ll say it again.. use GPS on your phone to locate you via the 3G network – then using mobile hotspot set one up for your Vita.

Job’s a good ‘un. Works perfect for me.

If there is a way to use the phones GPS then is love to hear how..?

Haha, did you guys take this idea from geocaching.com or what?
It’s just like the Geocaching Travel Bugs that travel from geocache to geocache around the world.

Also, there should realy be an Geocaching app on the PS Vita.
That would be cool.
I’m should groundspeak would be ok with it.
Make it happen Sony :)

Frodo, its more likely that you have a WiFi hotspot in range that’s registered with Skyhook. But if you get accurate GPS data from your phone to the Vita is love to know how as that doesn’t work for me.

Switch on GPS on your phone. Connect to the 3G network. Connect Vita to your phone’s 3G network.

I’ve done this in several places and it’s always been spot on to where I was at that time. Almost perfect in terms of placement.

I guessed this was because it was using GPS to pin point my whereabouts through my 3G connection so anything using that connection also knew where I was?

Is this not the case? If not, why does it work so accurately when I do it?

I don’t believe it can work like that. For example where I am there are no wifi hotspots so if I have GPS on my phone enabled or not I get an error in Near. You might just be in a densely populated area with lots of Skyhook registered hotspots. The data can be pretty accurate. I could be mistaken but I don’t think the Vita can interrogate the GPS signal of the mobile.

Dirtyshubb 28 November, 2012 @ 4:55 pm   28

Nice to see more apps coming out, but i am wondering is there any news about the Netflix app for UK? It has been out for ages on the US store.

Konkalonka 28 November, 2012 @ 5:37 pm   29

TRAVEL BUG is in the store for Every vita

declan__watson 28 November, 2012 @ 5:58 pm   30

Hey there blogers
Hello Fred I just recieved an email on my iPod about a special offer from sony about a ps vita deal. I signed up to inside ps vita got an exclusive deal about a ps vita and 8gb memory card for £30. I was wondering I you could give me abit of info on it. Thanks. LongLivePlay Sony Make.Believe

wow! you can only have 2 bugs and you must pay for more? + pay for clothing? “free to try” not “free to play”

    Craig Howard 28 November, 2012 @ 11:45 pm    

    There is no need to pay. You Just drop a bug and when others pick it up and drop it off once they think they have travelled far enough you will get a picture and some miles.

    Also you can earn miles by picking up other bugs and takin them on a journey, when you have travelled and want to drop them off (by taking a photo) you will get the amount of miles travelled as a reward.

    You also get a share of any subsequent miles travelled by bugs you have helped out as they continue their current journey.

    Travel Bug is a social title, helping others rewards you handsomely with pictures and Bug Miles.

AlucardDHK 28 November, 2012 @ 7:59 pm   32

Any news on when the Youtube app and Playstation Mobile will be available on other countries, like Portugal?

AlucardDHK 28 November, 2012 @ 8:04 pm   33

Arg, disregard my last post, wrong browser tab, wrong topic >_<

DAVIE222:
You can get more than 2 bugs, just earn them ingame.. It’s all free, you only need to pay if you’re in a hurry and do not have some minutes to try the game first! :) Thanks sony for giving it away! :)

woah woah woah.., i just had a look at the trophy list.., does that world beater trophy LITRALY mean be the very very top in the planet of a leaderboard.., on earth????? how the heck people supposed to get that? :(
on a side note.., the app DOES look pretty fun.

why isnt anything for USA?

My bug is packed and ready to go!

Now I just need someone to take him somewhere :(

Can I pick up and drop my own bug further away?

Craig Howard 29 November, 2012 @ 10:00 am   38

Near has a pretty large radius, I’m sure your bug will be out on a Journey soon. Also Bugs do return home after a while if no one picks them up

AlucardDHK 29 November, 2012 @ 11:39 am   39

@Jamishio:
I’m an EU citizen. When i look at the US gaming market (not just Sony, the whole market), i see the US get more games, get games released earlier (although that’s been less and less of an issue, no longer we have to wait anywhere near 6 months for an EU release) and get to buy them far cheaper. Do i really need to explain how absurd it is to say that missing on a couple of freebies equals to the US not getting anything???

@Craig Howard:
Any plans to update the game to make it possible to Near your bugs to people on your PSN friend list? I live in a relatively small town (roughly 21.000 people) and Near only shows one person near me. I fear Darwin will get nowhere >_<

    Craig Howard 29 November, 2012 @ 12:23 pm    

    We are looking at doing updates to Travel Bug and I have noted your idea. We have to be careful though, as the game side of the title is to earn Bug miles by sharing it. Maybe a system that will allow you to transfer to a Friend on the PSN list to start your bugs journey could work?

    Again thanks for that, its something for us to think about.

Tsubaki_14 29 November, 2012 @ 11:45 am   40

haha this is so cute xD I’ll check it out once I can!

So, we get to take a picture of our bug before it goes on its journey, but can other people also take and send pictures of our bugs in their locations?
It would be cool to see where our bugs travel to. It would be like receiving a travel postcard :)

    Craig Howard 29 November, 2012 @ 12:26 pm    

    Yes that is exactly how it works :) You get photos of every stop of your bugs journey. Also every Travel Bug you pick up and help will also sent picture postcards to you from their onward journey!

    We have already had some quality photos come in and posted them to Facebook :)

@ craig

you say travel bug works with wi-fi for all vita’s can you explain more detail.

i take it wifi only can go out use wifi Hotspots also if we no way near a hotspot we just press the NEAR button we be offline but when we go home we will be able to see what we pick up. Yes. :|

    Craig Howard 29 November, 2012 @ 2:47 pm    

    Yes, you need WIFI to synchronise with NEAR. However you can still take a photo where you want, you just need to sync with Near to register where you dropped it.

    For example, you could be at the top of the Eiffel tower, take a photo of your bug and release it, then Sync with Near when you get back to the hotel etc

    You will need an active data connection (WIFI or 3G) to pick up bugs though. Luckily Near has a good range so it should be quite easy to find other bugs.

AlucardDHK 29 November, 2012 @ 1:05 pm   43

@Craig Howard
Yeah, that would be a big help. Maybe you could set a hidden counter or timer before allowing to send them to your friends, and reset the counter after sending it. For example, if no one in your zone picked it up after 5 days you could spend bugmiles (preferentially free the first time) to allow it to show up on your PSN friend’s Near. Whatever distance they went wouldn’t count so it would just be a new starting point for its travels.

Either the game didn’t spread that well around here or I’m living in a more rural area than I thought. Using Near never found another bug so far. Other gamers yes, but no bug. And Travel Bug constantly asks me to use “near” then.

No surprise that nobody picked my bug either I guess. Or how do I send him on a mission?

    Craig Howard 29 November, 2012 @ 2:50 pm    

    The game was only released yesterday, so hopefully over the next few weeks more people will have installed it and dropped bugs. I dropped one off in a Cafe in town, and it was soon picked up. Maybe travel to a busier spot initially to increase the chance of your bug being collected.

    If a bug isnt collected, they do return back to you after a short time

Skookie30 29 November, 2012 @ 2:46 pm   45

I can’t take a photo of my bug before it starts its long Jornery to god knows where if you see “little tim” give him love & care will yea? :)

Skookie30 29 November, 2012 @ 2:55 pm   46

I change my pose though the the camera button does not work do we not allow to take photo of our bug but other ppl bugs then?

    Craig Howard 29 November, 2012 @ 3:45 pm    

    Yes you take a photo of a Travel Bug to drop it. The camera button is greyed out for a short time when the help dialogue comes on. It will then go white and you can take a photo. To Drop the bug you press release, or you can retake the photo again by pressing the camera button.

Skookie30 29 November, 2012 @ 2:58 pm   47

In other words the camera on the vita is not highlight to take my bug before I let it lose? :|

my bug is lost! i released him yestaday and he aint returned home yet :( did someone squash him??

Skookie30 29 November, 2012 @ 5:27 pm   49

Well my little tim Journey is on hold till Friday because I’m on the wrong nat type :(

MikeJR_e2ipi 29 November, 2012 @ 7:51 pm   50

Ok I think I get it. I create a bug, take a pic, someone else picks the bug up through near in the same area and then takes another pic that then comes back to me, right?

What if the person who picks my bug up goes to a bad side of town? On a serious note, what are the copyright terms on the photos as well as filtering process?

gameszoid 30 November, 2012 @ 2:12 pm   51

hi i have travel bug and i live in Pakistan: Karachi sadly near doesn’t work here and i don’t know how to use the gps and i really like this game but it uses gps and i don’t know what to do i cant go on a journey either help please and help me with my near problem

Asif_wani96 30 November, 2012 @ 4:15 pm   52

I have created a bug and dropped it in my home…..
will the bug walk off on its own or someone has to first pick it up and drop it somewhere ?
and if several days pass and my bug isn’t picked up, will i be able to view my bug again for customization ?
as AlucardDHK said and i too think it will be more convenient if we drop the bug through messages and make it travel a LOT FURTHER so that greater bugmiles are earned !!!
please pay heed :) i would be grateful…..

    Craig Howard 3 December, 2012 @ 3:18 pm    

    Travel Bug uses near. This hunts for bugs in a large radius, so if you drop it in your house there should be a good chance that it will be picked up by another local Vita user.

    If a bug is not picked up it will return home after a couple of days.

    We are listening to the feedback and will look at fixes / feature updates :)

POLSKAPUNK20 30 November, 2012 @ 10:32 pm   53

sounds good fun.

Anyone else having a problem posting to facebook? It’s just not appearing on facebook for me?

spacemonkey15 1 December, 2012 @ 4:04 pm   55

Its a nice little app (as is t@g) but something really bothers me with Near, Travel Bug, T@g and that is the constant “do you want to sync your location”, “you need to open near and sync”, “you must wait for near to finish”, “sync your location” messages that have to be acknowledged during use of the software.

Why can you not just remove the constant popup messages and have it sync and so on with Near as a background process ?

All the minimise app, open near, sync near, minimise near, open app, sync app and the constant popup messages whilst using the apps are very very annoying.

I’ll get off my soap box now ;O)

    Craig Howard 3 December, 2012 @ 3:23 pm    

    The messages are all required as we use near. There is no way in Travel Bug that we can stop these messages due to Sony requirements. We are constantly in contact with Sony to see if we can enhance the Travel Bug experience.

THEDAZ-3000 2 December, 2012 @ 1:21 am   56

This is a cool program and my kids live creating new bugs and sending them off however the biggest problem with some of the games which rely on NEAR to trade or share goods is that NEAR needs to be integrated into games and apps and do everything automatically rather than take u from the game screen into near then ask you to press the update button etc. unless u specifically want to use NEAR I think u really should never have to see the program during gameplay , just needs to be more seemless. Travel Bug is a great app though thanks heaps for making it :-)

40 pers near lot peopel have the game but mi bug fly 0
+ i not find 1 other bug !!!

Hello,

thanks for this great and fun game.

There are some serious… bugs in the game and it crashes very frequently.
There are two major problems that need to be solved:
1) If someone finds one of your bugs, they can keep them as long as they want and maybe never release them. I currently have 5 bugs traveling and they are stuck somewhere since the game was released! An option to auto-release a bug after X amount of time (e.g. 2 days) would be great.
2) Clicking the “find bugs” button won’t always search the Travel Bug servers but asks if the user wants to check “near”. Instead of doing this just one time and then check the servers, the game keeps checking only “near” and it never finds any bugs (just gifts).
3) The scoreboards trophy needs to be re-vamped, as 99% of the players will NEVER be able to get it. If the top user in the leader boards keeps playing, no one will ever pass his scores, and even if someone does, it will only be 1 or 2 people. What about the other thousands of players? I’d suggest adding a new leader-board table with rewards, that resets every week or month. (e.g. best players of the month get some nice unique clothes).

Thanks for your time. Keep up the excellent work. :)

    Craig Howard 3 December, 2012 @ 3:32 pm    

    Hi BoBKiD

    Answers below

    Point 1 – This is designed for a reason. Feeding a bug can allow you to take the bug on a journey (I have a friend taking a bug to Dubai next week, he is feeding him as he knows he will earn a lot of miles when he drops them). The risk he has is that he is spending his miles keeping the bug happy, else the bug will leave and return home.

    Point 2 – Travel Bug replies on near, and this behaviour is a character of how it works. We will investigate to see if there is anything funky we are doing that can compound these issues.

    Point 3 – We are looking at this and will look at changing this in the future.

breakXedge 3 December, 2012 @ 1:20 pm   59

In addition to what BoBKiD posted I have to say that scoreboards are not working properly. I’ve been playing for several days with the scoreboard not updating for me. When it finally updated (just a few minutes ago) it didn’t count all the points I made…

Hi sorry to bother you I’m finding i have a bug (no pun intended) I tap find bugs it asks to “Launch “near” to see if any Bugs are here?”, I do i sync near then return to the game which only responds by asking to launch near to find bugs again.

I’m taking this is not normal?

Same problem here, first launch Near picked up 3 bugs into my net, allowed me to choose 1 and the other 2 vanished. Since then I haven’t been able to find any bugs despite travelling an 80 mile round trip in NW England and syncing a ton of times. Near either just loops back to net screen which asks to start near if you select return to game or stays open and doesn’t return to game if you select to continue near to finish updates etc. Weird. also the link to ps store has no content still. Love it but it’s flawed atm. Hope you guys can fix it!

My bug has done nothing since I released it. Also i haven’t seen any bugs created by any other users and the leaderboard has no data on it. Anyone else having such issues?