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Canberra, all covered in slime

By 11 January 2014 45

screenshot

Last week I let pestiness post a call to arms for Canberrans to join her faction in Google’s game Ingress.

Thus intrigued I fired up the copy of Ingress on my phone that I’d flunked out of training with a year ago.

The software has upgraded a few times since then, which I suspect is why it worked better.

Sadly though, last year I’d joined The Resistance which means I now have the joy of getting my arse handed to me by a whole bunch of new Englightened users who have strikingly similar screen names to a bunch of RiotACTers.

The social aspects have yet to materialise here in the Resistance. No-one has approved my application for the Google+ circle and most of my interation has been my phone beeping to tell me my resonators are being obliterated.

But I’m merely a humble level 4.

It is great fun however, and it does keep making one want to get outdoors (albeit staring at your phone).

Now that I know what to look for Anzac Parade this morning was verminous with Ingress players.

The emphasis on local art, memorials and landmarks might have some unintended consequences as administrators mistake the surge of attention.

It goes particularly well with riding a bike. This in turn leads one to cycle one handed, with earphones in, staring at a phone screen.

I’m pretty sure the Big Book of Clever Things To Do does not devote a page to this.

The nice thing about being utterly overwhelmed by the slime in this part of Canberra is one can still collect XM Bursters (think bombs) from Enlightened Portals and then set them off in the middle of Civic when the enemy resonators are thick on the augmented reality ground.

Kaboom! A phone screen so full of damage numbers it looks like it’s going to bleed red.

It’s worth noting the game is creepy as hell. Going 16 hours without logging in gets a note of concern on login from the controller “It’s been 16 hours, I was worried about you”.

It feels at times unpleasantly real, which is probably part of the appeal.

If Google was some sinister entity set on world conquest this might well be part of it.

On the other hand the dogs love the long walks and it gets me out of the house.

If a hellish domestic situation hasn’t yet driven one to seeking out anonymous sex at public toilets; Ingress might well be a useful halfway house.

And if you are joining up then think about it, surely Canberra needs a bit more Resistance?

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45 Responses to Canberra, all covered in slime
#1
Wyvernsridge4:00 pm, 11 Jan 14

Get hold of some of the books by Charles Stross, particularly the “Halting State” series. That’s where this came from …. and a pointer to where it might go!

#2
billius4:04 pm, 11 Jan 14

All you have to do is ask on comms to join the Google+ community. We just need to match up your in game name to your Google+ name (this stops slimes from infiltrating our community as they’ve previously attempted) by posting your initials.

#3
Varthrax4:22 pm, 11 Jan 14

Hi johnboy,

It’s great to see that pestiness’ post a few days ago has generated an influx of new players and, it would seem, get old players back out on the streets! Too bad some of them chose to be the evil ‘slimes’ and not the join the Resistance.

As one of the moderators for the Ingress Resistance Canberra G+ community, I can assure you that your application, like anyone else’s, will be approved once you complete the proper process. You can appreciate that we’re mindful of who is approved to to the community given that this is warfare and we can’t have our plans spilt to an enemy who is already overwhelming us! I’ve tried to contact you about this via Google Hangouts… so have a look. :-)

Hopefully I’ll see you out there on the field soon. The best part of this game is getting to know people you might never have met if it weren’t for Ingress.

#4
justsomeaussie4:50 pm, 11 Jan 14

Ingress the game also known as google invading every part of society by creating a “game” which people willingly collect information, pictures and map environments, free for google.

Google whose business model is one of selling ads, selling data, information, about you to others.

http://www.applieddatalabs.com/content/hidden-side-ingress
http://www.blorpy.com/post/42296373187/speculation-into-google-ingress-and-data-collection
http://stko.geog.ucsb.edu/comp2013/comp2013_submission_10.pdf

“When you use a service for free, you are not the customer but the product “

#5
johnboy5:33 pm, 11 Jan 14

So for everyone’s benefit where is the recruitment procedure laid out?

#6
Pestiness6:00 pm, 11 Jan 14

Ohhhhh johnboy… restart with enlightened. We’ll look after you. :)

Thanks for keeping the postson ingress coming regardless of your poor faction choice.

#7
Pestiness6:03 pm, 11 Jan 14

Btw… the freakiest comms message I’ve copped after no logging in for a few days was ‘I was beginning to think you don’t like me’. Overly-attached gf much?

#8
poetix6:41 pm, 11 Jan 14

So, if we eliminate everyone from both sides, will the world be a better place? Discuss with examples.

(Kelpies are exempt, of course.)

#9
Mordd11:40 pm, 11 Jan 14

The second the iPhone app comes out I will be joining the Resistance and helping lead the charge to make Canberra blue again.

Although I note my emails to the resistance gmail address have gone unanswered, is there anyone coordinating the Resistance in canberra atm?

#10
MonarchRepublic1:50 am, 12 Jan 14

No idea what I am doing, but have taken out an enlightened resinator. Broke the link they established. Strength to the resistance!

#11
curmudgery11:13 am, 12 Jan 14

From the foregoing, it seems Ingress is some kind of a computer-based, multi-user interactive game where players can adopt an evocative nom de guerre and pretend to be someone they’re not and perform clever, possibly audacious acts in cyber-void without involving self. I assume a high score would carry bragging rights.

Should players ever re-assess the value of their time, Vinnies are looking for volunteers.

#12
MERC60012:54 pm, 12 Jan 14

curmudgery said :

From the foregoing, it seems Ingress is some kind of a computer-based, multi-user interactive game where players can adopt an evocative nom de guerre and pretend to be someone they’re not and perform clever, possibly audacious acts in cyber-void without involving self. I assume a high score would carry bragging rights.

Should players ever re-assess the value of their time, Vinnies are looking for volunteers.

Thank you Curmudgery. I didn’t have a clue what it was all about. Am still not a 100%.

Perhaps I should get out more ?

#13
wildturkeycanoe1:40 pm, 12 Jan 14

This is how Big Brother takes control of the world, by making people go places and do things they normally wouldn’t do, just because everyone else is doing it or because they have nothing better to do with their lives. Because you no doubt have to have your GPS turned on all the time, [they] can keep tabs on you 24 hours a day. Soon enough there will be hackers who can track the members of the opposition by use of this technology, and follow them home to egg their house. Scary stuff people.
The only benefit of this that I can see is techno addicts getting some fresh air and exercise instead of sitting at home on their PC, so it isn’t all bad.

#14
CrankyGit10:44 pm, 12 Jan 14

wildturkeycanoe said :

This is how Big Brother takes control of the world, by making people go places and do things they normally wouldn’t do, just because everyone else is doing it or because they have nothing better to do with their lives. Because you no doubt have to have your GPS turned on all the time, [they] can keep tabs on you 24 hours a day. Soon enough there will be hackers who can track the members of the opposition by use of this technology, and follow them home to egg their house. Scary stuff people.
The only benefit of this that I can see is techno addicts getting some fresh air and exercise instead of sitting at home on their PC, so it isn’t all bad.

It’s also a game. Besides, “Big Brother” doesn’t need your GPS on constantly. Smartphones already collect plenty of information about you, where you go, for how long, and combine this with the various ways they track your online usage, they really don’t need your position to within metres to know what to market to you.

#15
Mordd9:17 am, 13 Jan 14

Ah good, the Resistance people have gotten back to me, their contact is “resistance.canberra@gmail.com” for anyone else interested.

Some useful links posted in the prev. article:
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2014/01/a-year-of-google-ingress/
http://allthingsd.com/20131012/google-is-working-on-ingress-for-ios-but-it-wont-be-ready-until-2014/
https://support.google.com/ingress/?hl=en#topic=3261401

@ justsomeaussie / wildturkeycanoe

The worst accusation I can see from those articles is that google is getting us to collect free data on pedestrian routes using the game, which from what I can gather, no-one playing the game has any issue with really, especially since most of us google maps in our lives from time and it benefits us to have accurate maps. Hardly the dark evil overlord come to control us all lol. Personally I say whoever at google came up with the idea of this game as the way to get better pedestrian route data is a genius and im sure got a big fat bonus for inventing ingress and good on them for doing it!

As to why play? Anything that gamifies healthy exercise is a good idea in my book, and its educational, social, free, what more reason do you want?

#16
Mordd10:00 am, 13 Jan 14

Lol, I finally got this comic, it’s an ingress joke! http://xkcd.com/1143/ :)

#17
Primal11:05 am, 13 Jan 14

If anything, I think analysing my wanderings in the game world would set Google’s algorithm development back a few years… so am I resisting Google as well? It’s a two-for-one bargain!

#18
thatsnotme1:16 pm, 13 Jan 14

wildturkeycanoe said :

Because you no doubt have to have your GPS turned on all the time, [they] can keep tabs on you 24 hours a day.

Rubbish. GPS functions are only activated when something on the phone needs to use the GPS. On Android phones, you can see it happen – the GPS symbol at the top of the screen appears, blinking until it has a fix. If GPS were active 24/7, you’d have no reason to worry about big brother – your phone would be almost permanently sitting in the one spot, while charging.

#19
Gungahlin Al2:50 pm, 13 Jan 14

So disappointed you didn’t ditch that blue account and flip over to green…

But I have to correct the impression you have given that the green team has the upper hand. There are apps available that summarise portal numbers and ownership across an area. This app typically shows that the smurfs occupy around two thirds of the portals.

As of right now, from the 864 portals of Level 4 and above, 532 are blue/smurf, and 332 are green/frogs. Importantly, there are 0 green Level 8s to 24 blue, and 42 green Level 7s to 153 blue.

So we are facing an uphill battle, but it is one we are gradually making headway on. When I started playing in November, Civic was permanently blue. Any work we did to change that was almost instantly erased. But now things are starting to get more balanced as we gain ground and numbers.

Some other areas remain strongholds for the smurfs (for now), and we’ve even been accused of “audacity” when undertaking operations in these areas, and have been chased around and around town by one smurf in particular in his car who forgets it’s a game…

As we get new people on board, we will work with them to get them advancing up to the top level, so we can really start to even the playing field, which has been stained blue for far too long…

For those concerned about the underlying premise of the game, Google is upfront about the reasons. It says clearly in one document (the explanation you can show cops when they start asking you questions at 2AM!) that the game purpose is to crowdsource information of places of interest around the world.

And that information really opens up a lot for you in your own area, and for exploring new places. I’ve just spent a few days in Wollongong and for the first day there I relied almost completely on Ingress to find my way around. I just followed the portals, smashing everything blue and building up everything green. I found so many really cool art pieces around town, and all sorts of other places of interest that I would have missed completely if I’d relied just on tourist maps. I was then able to take the family back to some of these places like tiny back laneways and parks to show them some of the treasures I had found.

Will Google look for ways to use that information for profit? If course they will. Are we bothered? Not I – we’re enjoying a game. A game that helps us (requires us, even) to meet many new friends, opens up a great social environment, and get a stack of exercise along the way. How many people can say they pigged out over Christmas but still lost weight? My hand is up!

BTW, some of these “social engineering” aspects would make great thesis research topics for post-grads.

I urge you to reconsider JB. We’ll make a special effort to get you back to where you are at and beyond – so nothing is lost by starting over. :)

#20
johnboy3:09 pm, 13 Jan 14

NEVER!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LonKGuS9uuQ

“You may get stabbed in the head
With a dagger or a sword
You may be burned to death
Or skinned alive, or worse
But when they torture you
You will not feel the need to run for
Though you die, La Resistance lives on”

#21
Gungahlin Al3:22 pm, 13 Jan 14

johnboy said :

NEVER!!!!

Sigh.
See you on the battlefield then…whereupon I shall smite you.
Don’t suppose you are going to share your handle?

#22
Solidarity4:24 pm, 13 Jan 14

wildturkeycanoe said :

This is how Big Brother takes control of the world, by making people go places and do things they normally wouldn’t do, just because everyone else is doing it or because they have nothing better to do with their lives. Because you no doubt have to have your GPS turned on all the time, [they] can keep tabs on you 24 hours a day. Soon enough there will be hackers who can track the members of the opposition by use of this technology, and follow them home to egg their house. Scary stuff people.
The only benefit of this that I can see is techno addicts getting some fresh air and exercise instead of sitting at home on their PC, so it isn’t all bad.

It’s only for poor people obviously, being Android only. I’d much rather the poor people do this kind of stuff rather than what they usually do – Rape, vandalise, steal etc

#23
tommy4:40 pm, 13 Jan 14

Solidarity said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

This is how Big Brother takes control of the world, by making people go places and do things they normally wouldn’t do, just because everyone else is doing it or because they have nothing better to do with their lives. Because you no doubt have to have your GPS turned on all the time, [they] can keep tabs on you 24 hours a day. Soon enough there will be hackers who can track the members of the opposition by use of this technology, and follow them home to egg their house. Scary stuff people.
The only benefit of this that I can see is techno addicts getting some fresh air and exercise instead of sitting at home on their PC, so it isn’t all bad.

It’s only for poor people obviously, being Android only. I’d much rather the poor people do this kind of stuff rather than what they usually do – Rape, vandalise, steal etc

Rich people can play too now on iOS – http://appstore.com/ingrios

#24
johnboy5:13 pm, 13 Jan 14

Ingrios doesn’t interact with Ingress data though does it?

#25
tommy7:00 pm, 13 Jan 14

Forums say the ios app connects to the world Android uses.

otherwise have to wait for Google to release the official version for ios this year

#26
Mordd10:15 pm, 13 Jan 14

1. I would be VERY WARY of the “ingrios” app, the official ingress site states quite clearly that connecting using 3rd party apps or services is a big, big no-no and can result in perma-ban from the game.

“If you violated the Ingress Terms of Service, including Section 2. Use of the Products – Permissions and Restrictions, you will be sent a termination confirmation. For those who may have not read the section closely, this includes, but is not limited to, falsifying your location [b]and/or accessing Ingress clients or backends in an unauthorized manner including through the use of third party software.[/b]“

Best thing to do is wait for the official Ingress iOS app to come out, or grab a $50 android handset fro ebay if you really can’t wait like to me get playing.

I look forward to seeing you on comms JB once I get my android phone this week, viva la revolution!!

#27
Varthrax11:11 am, 14 Jan 14

@ Gungahlin Al – Nice try on providing some statistics to try and back your false claims about the Enlightened being under the pump. Like any stats of this nature, they were captured a point in time after a very well coordinated day of operations by the Resistance – something necessary to restore balance in the glorious Capital and something that was only short lived.

@ everyone else – do not use apps like Ingrios. There are apps like this which appear to be legit but are not. Any interaction through them may result in a permanant ban. Wait for the iOS version.

@ those who worry about ‘big brother’ – go ahead and worry but please don’t try and throw a negative light on the game. It’s fun, the people who play are really decent people for the most part (yes, even the Enlightened) and we’re not out there to ruin anyone’s lives. Educate people, sure, but don’t discourage them.

I have noticed a lot of new players on both sides joining the game in the last fortnight. I believe that part of that is thanks to The RiotACT.

See you on the battlefield.

#28
Grail1:48 pm, 14 Jan 14

Varthrax said :

@ everyone else – do not use apps like Ingrios. There are apps like this which appear to be legit but are not. Any interaction through them may result in a permanant ban. Wait for the iOS version.

So the iOS version is coming … when?

Also, how much data does Ingress use when you are out in the field fighting for the good guys?

#29
Cantabile1:56 pm, 14 Jan 14

I’ve just finished reading Halting State and then these posts come along… I’m in! Colour me green, this housewife is off to hack the planet*

*local shops

#30
Mordd9:53 pm, 14 Jan 14

Grail said :

Varthrax said :

@ everyone else – do not use apps like Ingrios. There are apps like this which appear to be legit but are not. Any interaction through them may result in a permanant ban. Wait for the iOS version.

So the iOS version is coming … when?

Also, how much data does Ingress use when you are out in the field fighting for the good guys?

I have a daily google alert setup to email me now with any mention of “ingress ios” in a news article posted, so as soon as the official app comes out I (or im sure another player) will make sure an article gets posted here notifying you all.

Also I plan to write a intro field guide in a few weeks time, something like “my first 2/3 weeks in ingress – new player guide” and post it here which will hopefully answer a lot of the questions i’ve had myself and you guys have about the practicalities of gameplay, including things like “how much data/battery does it up” etc.. etc.. There are good online guides but it takes a lot of reading to get answers to some basic new player questions, so hopefully I might be able to condense some of that into a single source from the perspective of a brand new player. Hold me to it!

P.S. If anyone has a $50-60 old android phone they are looking to sell, PM me with details, cheers.

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