I found out that about 4 months ago, Tiny Tower turned 5 years old. And that they are releasing it back into the app stores. The release promises a lot of new floors, better graphics, better management and best of all, the ability to save your tower into the cloud and share bitizens with friends. This made me remember my experience playing it back around 2012 (I’m unable to verify when I started playing, but this is a good guess) until the game stopped running around this time last year late August 2015. So after a few weeks or months when I started playing, I was starting to run into a problem with my tower: it was getting pretty tall and finding bitizens was getting harder. Around this time I was also interested in knowing how to work with Google Spreadsheets. I had this awesome idea. What if I combined them together?
If the process does not interest you and you want to just see the result and my findings, scroll until you hit the last screenshot where you can read further.
So I went about making this spreadsheet, and looking at what kind of data I want in it. The main idea was simply to find which two floors you could find a named bitizen on, which were either his apartment floor where they reside, or the place of work if they work. I easily allocated columns for this data. Note that the first Floor values are where their residential floor is.
I am well aware one can find a citizen rather trivially by sorting them by their name and then tapping the citizen you are looking for to see where they work. This works especially well if one’s tower is organized I to categories.
But there can be a lot more information that I can track. I could see if they have their dream job (which at that point made them sell more), and if they have stats that are worth using for other floors. So I added that. I also noticed that there are a set amount of floors to build, so I could also track which things I build on which floor, and the floor will automatically fill itself in if I write their names in the bitizen part of the sheet. So I had some columns for that too.
As you may notice there is color coding as well. For the Dream column and the Area column after it, and since I didn’t want to input them myself, I started making conditionals which checked whether the Current Job and Dream Job were the same value, and what area the Dream Job was in. From there the values are colored according to what the result is using Conditional Formatting. Now that I been doing some of this automatic magic I figured it would be really cool to go back to the stats and figure out an easier way to input them, which will still allow me to sort them by what they are good at, and eventually count how many 9s, 8s and 7s they had, which also led me to also get their total worth. I came up with an idea to input it once as a 5-digit number, then have formulas which separated them into their respective columns. Google Spreadsheets has the left() and right() functions which do just that.
The last thing I did before Tiny Towers was taken down for about a year was create a bar graph to be able to visually see all the bitizen’s total values so I could evict the lowest ones out. I kept one bitizen which came in with the lowest numbers possible though:
A bitizen with no stats at all sounded impossible at the time. It just didn’t feel right. This bitizen is doomed to feel not just unhappy but sad (with a frowny face), as they do not have a stat value of 5 or higher to not be sad even if they were given their dream job. So it was amusing to see (and keep around). On the opposite end my highest valued bitizen came in at a value of 41:
Anyways this is where I stopped making changes to the spreadsheet and kept the same format until the service for the game had to suffer some downtime for about a year. When I picked the game back up, I was eager to fix a lot of the things I just didn’t get around to doing before. The typeface is smaller and so are the cells, which allow me to fit more into the screen space. I also added a column for the residential apartment names, so moving floors around wouldn’t be such a painful process and requires me to adjust just one Floor column while the rest adjust themselves. Another significant change is that I put the Input column next to the names of the bitizens. It used to be on the far right, which interrupted the flow of inputting text into the cells. I then added some columns to track the costumes and a formula to calculate what level elevator I have if given the motor speed. I also made use of Google Spreadsheets absolute cell referencing, which you do by simply adding dollar signs in front of the cell values that are constant. Finally, to stop me having to ‘fill’ formulas downwards (especially for the Dreams column which would automatically fill H for empty cells) I added some conditionals to the formulas which sets them blank if certain other cells are blank as well. This also allows me to use the Filter tool without any issue. There’s some other slight edits which aren’t worth mentioning really, but overall the resulting spreadsheet looks and works much better than before:
A lot of this documented process is mostly interesting for me to see, as I really started with a very simple spreadsheet at first, but it then taught me a lot in what I could make happen on Google Spreadsheets and what works best.
I recently took a look at the TinyTower subreddit, since that became a thing after people can trade bitizens, outfits and give each other bux by visiting the towers. There’s even a collective Google Spreadsheet for trading bitizens for dream jobs and one that tries to track the stock quantities. This game guide links to a spreadsheet that tries to track (re)stocking as well. I have seen three others create spreadsheets that track their bitizens (here, here, here if you are interested), so the idea is not new but I think I have made a pretty decent looking spreadsheet that works pretty well!
I made a copy of the spreadsheet so you can view and copy yourself to use for your own Tiny Tower if you wish.
If you want to read more about Tiny Tower then you can start at the Wikipedia page since it has all the good details for what happened when. I got to hear about Tiny Tower being back from this TouchArcade post. If you are looking for more in-game information, then the unofficial wikia is your best bet.