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.
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!