Kin Social Platform

Kin is a social network application specifically targetted at larps (Live Action RolePlaying games).

Larping has been growing in popularity for the last twenty years, and the games themselves have increased in complexity and demands of their participants. But the dedication required is at odds with people dealing with their everyday lives. And while the games are supposed to simulate fictional realities, the depth of these realities often relied on the amount of inter-participant preparation each individual participant was capable of committing to.

For years it was a notion that the power of social networks could be leveraged to engage participants, where they are, at the level of commitment they are comfortable with. After experimentation with several of the existing open source social networks, we decided to pour the effort into creating our own platform, heavily inspired by the mastodon; Facebook.

The first version was based on WordPress and the BuddyPress plugin, along with a few other customizations. But we quickly discovered that performance was lagging severely behind, and so it was decided to scrap that solution in favor of a homegrown application.

Kin is custom built to suit the needs of larps. That means there’s a focus on forced sharing of dramatic events (as play can only happen based on knowledge possessed). Kin is currently available in English and German, but translations for French, Czech, Danish, Polish and more are in the works.

It’s all about the features, baby

Kin has most of the necessary features for a social network to function, User profiles, timelines, status updates, likes, private messaging, group messaging, and much more.

The idea has always been to mimic the social networks we see in real life, and so we spent a great deal of time and energy trying to learn how reverse engineer the ideas and concepts from popular social media, like Facebook and Twitter.

This was both fun, but also a learning experience. It’s often interesting trying to deconstruct the methods and functionalities of existing platforms. It’s kinda like watching the sausage get made.