Tometo 0.2 & Happy New Year!

Sat Jan 11 2020 Written by  aun

Hi all! It has been a while since our last blog post, and approximately 2 holidays have since come and gone, plus a new year!! Wow!!! I hope you all had a good start into 2020.

We have been at work on Tometo, or at least working as much as the holiday schedule allows. Family reunions and other stuff always takes up a bit of time. The important thing is that we are ready to release another update to Tometo! Tometo 0.1 has seen a small amount of bugfix and patch updates (it's at 0.1.2), and we have also been working on some larger features, which all coalesce into the new release — Tometo 0.2. Here's a list of things this release contains:

Invitations

We haven't really talked about this before on here, but moderation is a key part to what we consider a smooth operation of a social network-style website. One of the things to consider in this regard is how open we want registration to be. Spam registrations are a real thing to consider (just look at basically any WordPress blog), but it's also useful for combatting targetted harrassment. To this end, we've decided to implement a closed invitation system (for now), which gives every registered used 10 invitations to pass around to their friends. To sign up, you need to have an invitation code in form of a URL, through which you can then sign up. This is what it looks like:

As a registered user, you also have a screen where you can manage invitations and view the ones you've created:

We've tried to keep this system as simple as possible. The benefit of an invitation system where users can directly invite users is that every user has to claim responsibility for the invitations they hand out. If you end up inviting a user that does some stupid shit and gets banned, the fault lies partially with you for having invited them. This also allows us to draw a tree-like structure to trace where bad users have been invited from, and hopefully chainban entire subsets of users if they all turn out to have abused their invitations for malicious purposes. But those features are for the future.

Voice Customizations

This one is straightforward: You can now generate text-to-speech in different voices. This includes Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, (Mandarin) Chinese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish and Vietnamese. You can set the language per Avatar, but not per single Status. We will try and add more voices, but we're kind of limited by what our speech generation backend supports (for example, some voices have no male-sounding and female-sounding versions, only one of the two).

What's next?

Here's some ideas what we could work on in the next update:

  • Experiment more with 3D Avatars (I have a proof-of-concept style experiment at this branch, but we can go further)
  • Add a user/avatar display or profile page
  • Work on more moderation features

We're all just sort of getting back into the spirit of things after the holiday season, so we haven't actually planned anything yet, but if anything interesting pops up, we'll write an update post here!

Call for Designers and Artists

Working on Tometo, our team has noticed that none of us are really great with design. The visual look of the website has gone through multiple iterations, but honestly most of those were scrapped because they were inconsistent and ugly in design. It would be really nice to have someone with a good eye for visual design and website structure, maybe even someone who knows HTML well enough to come up with plans to implement new design ideas!

This is not a paid position (I wish we had money), so we're not going to force anyone to do anything, but just hanging out in our Discord and being a point of contact for the team if anything design-related comes up would be a huge help! If you're willing to do more, we can talk about that, too.

On the other side of the coin, we're starting to get into the realisation stage of how we want Avatars to look as 3D models. I don't think anyone of us has any significant 3D modelling experience, so while I can figure out how to get the model on the website, I have no idea how to animate certain parts of models. We're not asking for someone to create a model from scratch or anything (if we do that we'll properly commission someone to do it), but again, sharing your knowledge about modelling and related disciplines in our Discord would be a huge help!

If you are interested in any of this or just want to make yourself known to us, you can send me a DM on Discord at aun#6867, or just introduce yourself in our Discord server. I look forward to seeing you there, and with that, a happy new year to all!