Ingress is a GPS based game, a sort of MMO where you play yourself in augmented reality.
With elements of capture the flag, tower defence and even (to a small degree) role-playing, Ingress has captured the imaginations of millions of players worldwide.
I am genuinely surprised that it has taken me this long to write about it. I play Ingress daily, it is a part of my daily routine – a part of my life… and yet, I would only class myself as a casual player.
I have travelled to other cities and even met friends that I would not have met if I did not play the game.
After 3+ years I am still only level 14, with a current level cap of 16. I have seen friends start the game and achieve the maximum level in around a year.
The game has evolved massively since I started playing both in terms of game-play and coverage.
In the early days, agents (the term used in game for players of the game) could submit “portals” – places of interest that can be captured, held and even linked to other portals to gain points within the game.
Portal submissions are no longer accepted (there are rumours this is a feature that may well return) but I did manage to rack up 118 successful submissions while they were.
The only way agents can improve or add to the game currently is by the creation of missions.
Missions (created from the Mission Authoring Tool) are a further incentive to play the game – if you didn’t find the game addictive enough to start with.
I have created 39 missions, including 3 single line “banner” missions, I’m awaiting acceptance of these missions by Niantec (the organisation that created/runs Ingress).
Banner missions are by far the most interesting, rewarding and challenging form of mission.
A mission is a collection of 6 or more portals (or way-points from Google Field trip – but that’s another story) with actions that must be performed on them.
Actions can be sequential or performed in any order and range from a simple “hack” to capturing, upgrading or “modding” a portal.
Agents may even be requested to enter a pass-phrase related to the portal or area they are near.
The only reward an agent receives for a mission is a badge; badges are images created by the mission author and collecting them results in progress to wards the achievement of an in-game medal that aids towards an increase in level.
Banner missions creatively break down larger images into a mosaic of badges that, when collected in sequence, display the larger image in the agent’s in-game profile.
The Huddersfield banner mission is the first banner I have attempted and was created by a respected local agent from my team (Enlightened/Green), J0nny.
At 24 missions, this banner is not the largest I have seen (I came across a 60 mission banner in Eastbourne!); 24 missions across Huddersfield was still quite a challenge.
It took me 2.5 hours and led me, meandering, around Huddersfield, hacking my way through portals that have been familiar to me for years.
I tracked my progress using MapMyWalk as Ingress gives a useless estimate of 15 minutes per mission- this map should give you an idea of how long it takes a 40 year old, overweight Yorkshireman.
Starting at Huddersfield railway station, the missions lead you North, out of town under the viaduct and up towards Greenhead Park.
A spike up through the park then pulls back into town past the Civic centre and Town Hall then down to the University campus.
You have an opportunity here to drop into the Queensgate indoor market; I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of books from the excellent (and Ingress friendly) Kapow Comics.
A circuit of the campus (challenging at the moment due to the construction work in progress there) eventually brings you back into town and around St. Peter’s park before heading back to the railway station.
There is limited parking available at the station itself, so you may want to consider coming in by train.
If you are planning on attempting a banner like this, it is important to make sure that you are going to start at mission 1 and that you are starting a brand new line of mission badges, otherwise the overall banner will be askew when complete.
If you’ve made it this far and you’re not an Ingress player, well done.
If you fancy taking up the game then consider trying it out; it certainly gets you out more.
Also, choose Enlightened (Green/Frogs) over Resistance (Blue/Smurfs)… help us immanentize the eschaton… Hail Tsathoggua…