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Pokemon GO: New Ditto Details, Sponsors, Tracker Tweaks and Something Shiny

v0.47.1 of Pokemon GO has begun propagation, and with it came very few formal release notes:

- Fixed an issue where the Egg-hatching cutscene animation would sometimes be briefly visible from the map view.

- Minor text fixes

Certainly nothing to write home about! But... under the surface, there are a few unwritten changes taking place. Here's what we've learned:

1. DITTO IS COMING (VERY) SOON

New code for Ditto has been added in spades. Code showing the following has now appeared:
  • Ditto appears to be able to be 'encounterable' in the wild. It is not clear whether this is enabled yet, or whether it will appear as Ditto before capture, but the species is almost certainly 'capturable' (as opposed to acquirable only through non-wild-encounter)
  • Ditto appears to be able to be used in battle
  • Sounds for different Ditto effects have appeared (not included, so as not to spoil the effect!)
  • A background graphic for Ditto has appeared (dark purple)
  • A small 'spotlight' graphic has appeared for ditto that may indicate a different appearance either on the map, or elsewhere

It is possible that Ditto is now in the game. We are unable to confirm either way, but this update appears to have given the client everything it needs to handle Ditto interactions. Keep it together, travelers.

2. THREE NEW 'SPONSORS' HAVE APPEARED... BUT THEY'RE UNUSUAL

To add to the known sponsor list (MCDONALDS, POKEMON_STORE, TOHOSOFTBANK, and GLOBE), three new 'sponsors' have appeared:
  • SPATULA
  • THERMOMETER
  • KNIFE
This could possibly be placeholder names/icons for sponsored retail/restaurant locations that will play host during a promotion. Or, they could be used for a future event in other ways. Notably, no new graphics have been added client-side for the three items, so it is unclear whether they are simply icons to appear in PokeStop photo-discs, or have other purposes.

3. TWEAKS TO THE NEW NEARBY TRACKER

New code now appears to show that the NEARBY tracker (currently being tested in San Francisco, Arizona, and Seattle) will hide the SIGHTINGS radar when a minimum number of NEARBY Pokemon are detected. The minimum number is unclear, but anecdotally, it may currently be a single one. The code appears to be able to adjust this parameter - perhaps indicating Niantic is continuing to refine the feature.

Logic has also appears that informs the client whether or not to show the NEARBY Pokemon tracker at all, possibly referencing the geofence, or if there are no POKESTOPS with spawns in range.

PURE SPECULATION AHEAD!

4. SOMETHING ...SHINY...

We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, as we're working with crumbs, travelers. But for the first time, the phrases SHINY and RARE have appeared in the APK.

There is a new audio file that plays when a wild Pokemon is captured that is deemed RARE by the game (it's a little more enthusiastic than the normal 'you did it' music after a capture).

Finally, there is a decent amount of new code segregating Pokemons' materials into "default" and "shiny" materials. Materials, for those unfamiliar with game development, are specifications for how surfaces appear, reflect light, are colored/tinted, etc.

If it's true that a SHINY material has been introduced, it is possible that tinted versions of Pokemon may begin appearing.

However.

There are currently no new Pokemon sprites for the Pokedex/Sightings/Nearby tracker, nor elsewhere in the game. We might have expected to see alternate SHINY sprites in this update if "shinies" were truly going to become part of the collecting game.

Take this one with a big grain of salt, travelers. But we'll be keeping an eye out for traction on this front.

5. COMBAT TWEAK?

We have seen no change to the move DPS or species CP values, but a small amount of new code referencing moves/attackers has appeared. This currently remains unexplained, but may point towards future changes to the combat system.