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Taking Comments To A Whole New Level!

As the iSpy community grows, so does our desire to communicate with one another. Not that its been impossible (where there's a will, there's a way), but we hope that these new features will inspire fun conversations around the interesting things we see on our iSpy adventures.

New Commenting System

iSpy CommentsiSpy's new comment system is tightly integrated with the comments you are already familiar with. Previously you could only comment on a mission when you were solving it, now you can comment on any mission anytime you want from both the website and mobile website (iPhone app coming soon).

There are lots of interesting ways to utilize the new commenting area. A few may include:
  • Let another player know what you think of their mission. (eg. Beautiful photo!)
  • Solved the mission but didn't have time to leave a comment from the app? Now you can leave a comment when you get home.
  • Have trouble solving a mission? Ask the creator for a hint!
  • Notify the creator that their mission is no longer there and should be deactivated

Replying, Mentioning & Notifications

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? I dunno, but if you mention another player or leave a comment on their mission they should definitely hear about it! There are two ways to be notified of a new comment:
  1. If you comment on another player's mission they are notified
  2. If you mention another player (by adding an @ sign in front of their username) they are notified
For example, Mulvaney and Casi would be notified if I commented on Mulvaney's mission with:
"Amazing spot, I should take @Casi here".

I would be notified if Mulvaney replied to my comment with:
"@GG be sure to go on a weekday when there are less people"

If Mulvaney wanted both Casi and I to be notified, he could have said:
"@GG @Casi be sure to go on a weekday when there are less people"

As with other forms of notification we take special precaution to ensure users privacy. You can also adjust your email notification settings on your profile at anytime.

Comment While Verifying

One thing we're really excited about is commenting while verifying! I'm sure like us you've seen a few creative and startling missions while clicking through the verify screen. Now you can let players know what you think about their mission/solution while browsing through recent iSpy solutions.

Want to try out the new comment stuff? For unknown reasons "Turtle Ride" has been our mission of choice for building and testing. So to keep the spirit alive head on over to "Turtle Ride" and let us know what you think.
By: Greg G. on Apr 06, 2011

New Update Puts iSpy On The Map!

iSpy iPhone MapToday we are happy to announce iSpy for iPhone version 1.2 is available in the iTunes App Store (visit the App Store on your iPhone and run your updates!). This update is sure to change the way you play and experience the game forever!

Exploring your city just got a whole lot easier with iSpy's beautiful new map view. Here are a few great ways to utilize the new map:
  1. Now you know exactly which direction to go explore because you can see where you are in relation to the missions around you.
  2. See a spot on the map with a bunch of overlapping images? Its probably a great spot to explore/solve lots of missions.
  3. Going on a trip? See if there are any interesting missions in that area before go and bookmark them.
  4. Dream of visiting a far away land? Pan over to another country and tap "Load Missions Here" to see what people all over the world are doing with iSpy.
  5. Travel back in time! Seeing the missions you created/solved on a map brings back some great memories.
That's not all! Besides the map, there are a bunch of features and tweaks:
  • See how long its been since a mission was created
  • Pull down on the list view to refresh it with new missions in your current location
  • The create button was moved down, front and center
  • Sort mission lists by distance or time (iOS4 only)
  • Stars are changed back to bookmarks. Sorry about the confusion!
  • Minor bug fixes
The easiest way to get the new iSpy is to visit the App Store on your iPhone and run your updates! or you can download it here. If you have any questions or problems we're always available to help at http://community.ispyapp.com.
By: Greg G. on Apr 06, 2011

Nightly Rankings

We've made a few improvements to the ranking/leaderboards that allow us to calculate the rankings every night! Ideally it would run on the fly every time you earned points, but this is a step in the right direction right!?

So from here out rankings will be calculated at 12am PST every night (morning?). Remember, Experience Points (XP) for solving missions are not awarded until your solution has been verified by the community. So depending on the time of day you were out playing, your score may not reflect your full P's (points) until the following day.
By: Greg G. on Apr 06, 2011

Geoencode Your Missions On Flickr and Twitter

One of the coolest new features of iSpy 1.1 is the ability to post your missions directly to your favorite social networks. We currently support Facebook, Twitter and Flickr (and are open to more if we get any requests).

Flickr, Twitter, Facebook

We've been testing sharing features for a few months now, but sharing actually got a big update today(yup, less than one week after launch)! Now your Flickr posts and Tweets are geoencoded with your mission's location. This brings a lot more context to your updates by not only telling people what you saw, but where it is directly on Twitter and Flickr!

Here is an example of the first mission geoencoded on twitter and flickr.

To take advantage of this new feature, be sure to opt-in to each services geo-privacy settings. Select "Anyone" on Flickr's geo privacy settings page and "Add a location to your tweets" on your twitter account settings. Privacy is always a concern when sharing your location, so be sure to read each service's privacy statement carefully.

Give the new sharing features a shot next time you create a mission and let us know what you think!
By: Greg G. on Dec 21, 2010

Easing Up On Difficulty

You might have noticed in iSpy v1.1 that difficulty is no where to be found. If you are a long time iSpy player, this might come as a shock. Difficulty has been one of the core features of iSpy since the beginning, but turns out it lead to more confusion and frustration than anything else. Lets take a minute to explain why we removed difficulty, and what to expect from this change.

Originally difficulty was used to "hide" a mission by expanding its playable area. We thought this was a cool game mechanic (and still do), but calling this mechanic "difficulty" caused a lot of confusion. Players would associate high difficulty with tiny, difficult to find objects. Turns out that these needle in a haystack missions became MUCH more difficult when the haystack had a half mile radius.

Simply changing the word difficulty to hide or something similar would have solved some of the confusion, but the real reason we had to let difficulty go was the frustration. Solving difficult iSpy missions was frustrating. Turns out, the best part about iSpy is the "eureka!" moment when you come across the object in the real world. It doesn't matter how high the difficulty is. We hope that by removing difficulty you will be able to solve more missions in the short time you have each day for exploring and playing iSpy.

So what does this mean? First off, there is still a circle on the map. The circle is based on the phone's GPS accuracy when the mission was created. Second, the amount of XP you earn for solving a mission is still based on difficulty. Keep an eye out for a full point overhaul in the future.

Keep in mind we haven't ruled out the difficulty mechanic entirely. There is a chance it may come back at some later stage, but for the time being, difficulty got a whole lot easier.

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback regarding this big change, we started a discussion thread located here in our new GetSatisfaction community.
By: Greg G. on Dec 13, 2010

iSpy Gets a Birthday Update!

The long anticipated iSpy v1.1 is finally here! This update was a year in the making, just in time for iSpy's 1 year birthday. We have lots of new stuff planned to make iSpy even better, so expect to see regular feature updates through out 2011. Lets get this party started with the new 1.1 features:
  • Completely redesigned UI
  • Stunning retina display support
  • Neck breaking speed improvements
  • A slick walkthrough that guides you through the app your first time
  • The coolest "Loading..." icon you've ever seen in any app ever
  • See unsolved, solved, created and starred missions all on one screen
  • Activate and Deactivate your missions
  • Always see 31 missions regardless of distance
  • Pictures taken with iSpy can optionally be saved to your iPhone's camera roll
  • Facebook, Twitter & Flickr integration to share missions with friends
  • New sign-up & log-in screens
Whats all this mission stuff? We've found that there is some confusion when talking about this crazy game of games. So from here forward, an iSpy Game will be referred to as an iSpy Mission. So iSpy is a game where you create and solve each other's missions. Make sense?

Big thanks to everyone who stuck with us through the long updateless year. We promise to make it up to you in 2011. Also, special thanks to the iSpy team for the hard work and sleepless nights that went into getting 1.1 out the door.

What do you think of the new iSpy? We'd love to hear from you. Share your Ideas, Questions & Problems on iSpy's new GetSatisfaction community.
By: Greg G. on Dec 13, 2010

Thumbs Up Or Thumbs Down

"How did you take this picture!?" JaMoFo wrote in today very confused about this iSpy game of the clock tower at AT&T Park. He stumbled on it while verifying Mulvaney's solution (go figure). While I won't give away my secret (yes it's real and I challenge you to take the same one) it did bring up a good question about verifying.

In the description of the game I wrote "Gotta get the clock up close". Mulvaney's solution is clearly taken from far away, so do you give it a thumbs up or thumbs down? We are purposely vague about the rules for verifying. That's because it's up to you and the rest of the iSpy community to decide. We take your votes, average them out, and when it reaches a certain threshold, award the points (or not) depending on the consensus of the community.

Be sure to read the game's description when verifying and don't be afraid to give someone a thumbs down if you think they solved the game incorrectly. In the end, truth always prevails.

By: Greg G. on May 25, 2010

iSpy Game "The Master" On The Amazing Race Finale

iSpy Game "The Master" Shows Up In Season 16 Finale Of The Amazing Race

At SplitP we are big fans of the TV show "The Amazing Race". They basically invented Real World Gaming. This week in the Season 16 Finale, remaining teams flew to San Francisco where one of their final tasks before crossing the finish line was to solve a popular iSpy game!

After climbing Coit Tower teams were instructed to find a Yoda Fountain. Turns out, The Amazing Race wasn't the first one to discover that fountain, Mulvaney created that mission months ago and called it "The Master". A few weeks back, casi and I explored The Presidio and solved that game as well! Too bad it wasn't the same day The Amazing Race teams were there.

Mulvaney's Original ImageCasi's Solution
By: Greg G. on May 13, 2010

Control Your iSpy Games

Today we launched a couple new features to give you better control over your iSpy games. Now you can:
  1. Delete your iSpy games
  2. Toggle your iSpy games between active and inactive

Deleting iSpy Games

If you're not happy with one of your games for any reason, delete it. Deleted games are gone forever so be careful! Also note, this will remove any XP you earned for creating the game.

Deactivating iSpy Games

But what if you don't want to delete a game completely? Maybe you want to continue sharing the game's webpage but don't want players to play the game. In this case, simply deactivate it. Only active games will show up in the community list for other iSpy players to see. You can toggle games between active/inactive as often as you like. There are many interesting ways of using this feature and we are excited to see how you use it.

For example, this weekend at MacWorld 2010 a San Francisco artist re-created sculptures of Greek Gods rocking out to iPods. The sculptures were only there for the weekend, but made awesome iSpy games. So we created iSpy games of these sculptures and then deactivated them after the event was over. I can still share the website link to these games with my friends, but I don't have to worry about it showing up in the community play list now that the conference is over.

Login to the iSpy website to see the new buttons on your games. We hope to integrate them into the mobile apps soon.
By: Greg G. on Feb 15, 2010

A Solution For Solutions

When solving an iSpy game, the picture you take does not need to be EXACTLY the same as the picture the creator took. It simply needs to contain the object you are looking for. Your photo may be taken from a different angle, distance, perspective or even throw yourself in the photo (in fact we encourage this)! For example, the following is a valid solution to the game "Cazal or Cazam?":






It is fun to see other player's solutions to a game, so last week we started displaying players' solutions alongside their review. Zacke73 mentioned in the forum that the solutions can be a "spoiler" and he's right. Usually the object you are looking for is a small part of a much larger area. Since you use clues in the picture to find the object, seeing other player's solutions could give away the object's location! The difficulty of each iSpy game should remain the same regardless of how many people have played it.



Instead of removing players' solutions from the website we re-worked it and added a new feature. You will now only see solutions on the website when you are logged in and:

  1. You created the game

  2. You already played the game



We also added an extra bonus feature. If you can see the solutions for a game, hover over the thumbnail to see it larger.



By: Greg G. on Jan 21, 2010

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