New in v0.93.3! Major back-end changes & performance tweaks

The v0.93.3 APK represents some major changes to the Pokemon GO codebase – but not a whole lot of the changes will interest our travelers!

The update brought many back-end updates, but few clues to upcoming features… Regardless, here are the changes the Silph Road team observed.

Let’s dig in!

1. A New Map Renderer

Map “tiles” in Pokemon GO are chunks of map data ‘stitched’ together like a quilt from the Google Maps API, likely with a waived usage quota thanks to Google’s investing in Niantic (and Niantic even beginning as an internal Google project!).

But in this update, new code has appeared to handle the layers of data being stitched together. All of these have new code to handle their display:

  • buildings
  • parks
  • water
  • road features

This likely won’t mean much to our average traveler, but it may reflect an update to the Google Maps library, performance optimizations, or something else entirely.

2. One GO Plus tweak

One small tweak to the GO Plus has appeared in this update, and that’s the addition of one new attribute:

  • PgpSetProduct

which may be a way to log the product/device making the bluetooth requests. This is a guess, however, as nothing else hints anything to the GO Plus ‘product’ being used.

3. New Despawning Optimizations

A change has appeared in how objects are pooled and despawn in the app. This is not necessarily applicable only to overworld spawns, but this would be a case we would expect it to leverage.

See if you can spot any improvements to bugs where Pokemon don’t despawn on the overworld!

4. PTC Authentication Tweak

A new attribute has been added to the PTC authentication code:


This may simply be used for internal logging, but its addition points to continued efforts on Niantic’s part to improve PTC login reliability. Might the outage this morning have actually been caused by a back-end update on Niantic’s servers preparing for this client-side rollout? Hmm…

5. QR Code Reader Tweak

The ZXing code/barcode reader utility is employed in Pokemon GO. Previously, the codes that could be entered or scanned had several restrictions and data sanitation parameters included – and an additional one has just appeared today: ALPHABET.

This most likely means the codes entered/scanned will be restricted to a pre-approved set of characters.

Why make the update? It may simply have been a routine update to the library, but a precursory search on our part points to this being a custom Niantic addition. Might we see more use for QR codes or redemption codes in the coming weeks and months?

6. Database Tools Replaced

The 2nd largest update code-wise in this APK is the removal of the Mono.Data.SqlExpressions library (and other data management tools) and their replacements.

There’s no telling why Niantic might have replaced its data management tools, but it may point to the app updating to match their platform updates.

We might even see performance improvements from this change – keep an eye out whether things feel zippier!

7. Unity UI .dll Removed

This is an interesting change to observe. The Unity game engine (which Pokemon GO is built on) has a UI (user interface) library built in.

Niantic has opted to remove this .dll entirely, likely because they are using a custom or 3rd party interface implementation.

Removing the .dll entirely may improve performance, and it’s certainly a major change to the codebase, representing a massive chunk of the APK’s metadata.

And that’s it! No other notable changes to graphics or audio files have been found. Though notably, in the UI a new fix is out so Pokemon with single genders display their gender options properly in the Pokedex!

Despite all the major application and platform changes this round, the Quests code branch remains safely out of the APK thus far. We can’t lie, however, that our anticipation for this feature is growing. We look forward to future updates. Might we see them in coming weeks? Time will tell…

See if you can spot any performance improvements, travelers!

Until next time, we’ll see you on the Road.

– Executive Dronpes –