The PokéNet story: How to launch an app in less than a week

Everyone knows that when there is a new next big thing out there, that the people who are able to move the fastest are the ones who are best able to take advantage of the new trend and make money off it.

And the next big thing in the App Store for the last few weeks has been Pokémon Go – a worldwide phenomenon that has people hunting Pokémon on their phones in parks, malls and colleges in the millions.

And, of course, a number of guides have sprung up in the App Store to help players do better in the game. One of the first was the PokéNet app, created with the Shoutem app builder.

Creating an app for fetching Pokémon

The Appency team, who made the app, expected that the normal features of the Shoutem app maker would have to be customized to design the app for the Pokémon players – but thankfully the modules in Shoutem are customizable enough that they can be adapted to a wide number of uses beyond their original intent.

Mockups of different screens in PokeNet app

Which features does the new Pokémon app have?

The new PokéNet app improves the experience of Pokémon Go players with features like a special PokéVision map that helps them to locate Pokémon quickly and shows super spots with the nests of rare Pokémon.

  • Social Wall – The PokéWall
    The main area of the app uses the social network features of Shoutem to build an interactive experience for players called the PokéWall – something that most guide apps do not have. Users can post pics of their Pokémon finds, ask other players questions, and get notifications from the administrators. If trading is added to the game, the social wall becomes a great place to find other players who have what you need.
  • People Module – Comparing Pokémon characteristics
    One of the most important aspects of the Pokémon Go game is understanding the differences between the various Pokémon that you can catch. Using the People Module, Appency built both a Pokedex (a guide with details of all the creatures in the game) and a “Battle Strength and Weakness” guide that shows users the best way to attack other users’ gyms in the game.
  • News Module – Tips, tricks and recent updates
    Two different sections use the news module in Shoutem – “Tips & Tricks” gives the Appency team editorial control in placing articles into the app for how to play better, and the “Pokémon News” section is populated by pulling an RSS feed from a Google News search about Pokémon.
  • Places – Nests with rare Pokémon
    In the first version, places were used to create a database of super spots – locations that have many PokéStops, such as Central Park or the National Mall. As the game progressed, it became clear that what was most important was finding the nests of rare Pokémon. Using an online database and user submissions, the PokéNet app created a network of over 500 rare Pokémon nest locations geolocated into a map so players know where to find that elusive Pikachu!
  • Websites – Unique features
    Some of the unique Pokémon Go features would have required custom programming. Features like server status updates and the PokéVision map (a map that tells you where all the Pokémon in your area are spawning and how long they will be there) were extremely demanding to build. Thankfully, a few enthusiastic Pokémon players developed these features. Through the Shoutem app maker, Appency was able to integrate these new features to provide added value to PokéNet users.

With the support of the Shoutem team, submission into the app stores was rushed through, and the app was published within a week of Pokémon Go’s initial launch. The app has received a lot of attention in both the App Store and GooglePlay. If you’re a Pokémon trainer yourself, you might want to take a look!