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Ingress in Canberra. A new player guide

By 17 January 2014 20

Welcome readers, as I attempt to introduce you to the wonderful world of Ingress, which is currently taking off in Canberra and worldwide. You may have seen two ‘strange’ articles on here recently relating to Ingress, and have wondered what it is all about. This is my attempt as a brand new player to help explain Ingress. So far I haven’t gotten into the ‘field’ yet – still arranging an Android phone to use – but I have read extensively about Ingress online now so far so hopefully that’s enough to make this article informative.

What is Ingress?

Important to note first up – Ingress is FREE TO PLAY!

Ingress is a near-real time augmented reality massively multiplayer online pervasive game created by Niantic Labs, a start up within Google, currently for Android devices, but, expected to be available for Apple’s iOS in 2014. The game has a complex science fiction back story with a continuous open narrative.

The gameplay consists of establishing “portals” at places of public art, landmarks, cenotaphs, etc., and linking them to create virtual triangular fields over geographic areas. Progress in the game is measured by the number of Mind Units, i.e. people, nominally controlled by each faction (as illustrated on the Intel Map). The necessary links between portals may range from meters to kilometers, or to hundreds of kilometers in operations of considerable logistical complexity. International links and fields are not uncommon, as Ingress has attracted an enthusiastic following in cities worldwide amongst both young and old, to the extent that the gameplay is itself a lifestyle for some, including tattoos.

Game Background

The game makers’ framing device for the game is as follows: Earth has been seeded with “Exotic Matter,” or XM, associated with the Shapers, a mysterious phenomenon or alien race which is neither described nor seen (and which thus functions as a MacGuffin). The in-universe motivation for the Enlightened faction is their belief that the Shapers are working toward a powerful enlightenment which will uplift all mankind. The Resistance believes that it is protecting humanity from Shaper ingression.

Understanding or following the backstory is not required for gameplay, although it makes it more interesting. If you enjoy RP (roleplay) content you will the backstory, if that’s not for you then a cursory reading may make some game terms make more sense but otherwise is not required per se.

Why Play?

Apart from the gaming aspect which appeals to many, the game involves lots of walking about (healthy! driving isn’t forbidden but isn’t encouraged) and visiting local cultural, artistic and community landmarks, helping you to better get to know some of the hidden or not-so-hidden gems in your home town (or the city where you are visiting). There is a big social aspect to the game, and players will regularly meet up to engage with each other and teamwork is a big part of the game (although possible to ‘solo’, the game is more fun with others).

Basic Gameplay

A player using the mobile app is presented with a map representing the area nearby. The map has a black background while only roads are represented in grey and the entire map is completely unmarked. Visible on the map are portals, Exotic Matter, links, control fields, portal keys, and items that have been dropped from a player’s inventory.

Players must be physically near objects on the map to interact with them. The mobile client represents the player as a small arrow in the center of a 40-meter oval which represents the perimeter within which direct interaction is possible.

Players are rewarded with AP (Action Points) for actions within the game. Accumulating AP beyond certain thresholds grants you higher access level i.e. access to stronger items. The access levels are number 1 through 8 with 8 being the highest as of January 2014. Niantic Labs announced that they will introduce missions and higher levels to the game.

What do I need to get started?

First of all, you need an Android phone. iOS support is coming very soon, hopefully early 2014, and I will announce in a specific news post on here when the iOS app has come out. Keep in mind the following – to work with Ingress, the phone must have a minimum 480×800 screen resolution, a GPS and be running Android 2.3 or higher.

This means any Android phone from the last few years (expect ultra small models) will generally work. From looking around at second hand phones recently, I found a number of older HTC Desire phones going for around $60-90 which fit the bill quite nicely and were quite a good phone in the day, or ask around your friends and family, you probably know someone with an older model that would work you could borrow if like me you have an iOS device and don’t want to wait for the iOS app.

NOTE: There is a non-official app called Ingrios for iOS – this is NOT associated with the game and using this app to access the game will result in a ban from Ingress – don’t do it, get an Android phone or wait for the official iOS app.

Second, many players use an external battery recharge pack for their phone, as gameplay will drain your battery, most people will get 2-4 hours play time on a full recharge, due to the GPS and Wifi/Bluetooth being active while the game client is active.

There are a LOT of different options out there for this, so after some extensive research on my part, I am going to personally recommend the ‘Satechi ICel 5200 MAh (2 Amp) Battery Extender Pack And Charger’. This device is very well reviewed, and should give about 1.5-3x (conservatively) full recharge for your phone depending on the size of your phone battery, and is $49.95 shipped, which is the best price I can find for a quality charger given many 1000 MAh models go for around $40 at most retail stores. The only place I could find to order this particular one from was here: http://bit.ly/1atLMun

Different people will have different opinions on the best recharger, if I find a better option I will update this article to reflect that, so please comment. Note this isn’t needed to play the game, but if you get serious about Ingress, an external battery recharger is something most players use.

Lastly you need a mobile plan with a good data package, as playing the game will burn through your mobile data. I would recommend at least a 1-2GB data allowance / month for a moderate player, and you will want more if you get serious about the game. I don’t want to endorse any particular provider over another here, so the best thing I can say is there are many good options for cheap prepaid sim plans with good amounts of included data, just do a bit of google research and you will find something that suits you.

Where to from here – Getting Playing

If you have an Android phone already, head to the Google Play store and download the Ingress app to get going. You will need to pick a team, Enlightened or the Resistance, and changing team isn’t easily done, so take a moment before deciding which team to pick (the further reading links may help you make up your mind).

Most of the communication for Ingress happens either in the game client or on Google+ (being a Google made game), so head on over and sign up at the Canberra Ingress google group: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111105705477540202146

Or to get in touch with the specific side in Canberra you want to join, email: ‘canberra.enlightened@gmail.com‘ OR ‘resistance.canberra@gmail.com‘.

To get a grasp on the gameplay, I recommend reading: https://support.google.com/ingress/#topic=3261401

Then I recommend watching the video series here to get a *very basic* background on the game terms and what has happened so far in game: http://www.gamezebo.com/news/2014/01/07/ingress-google%E2%80%99s-location-based-game-coming-iphone

To delve right into the depths of the game background and maybe find special game codes, check out the following two links:
http://www.nianticproject.com/ – the official project page for the game.
http://decodeingress.me/ – A community based site that analyses the game info.

Next up: Part 2 – Joining the Resistance – the next guide in the series will detail my journey as I hook up with the Resistance in Canberra and my experience as a new player in the ‘field’ – stay tuned! Hope you found this article useful, please ask any questions you have in the comments.

ED: This bit seems to have been inexplicably missed [NSFW]:

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20 Responses to Ingress in Canberra. A new player guide
#1
johnboy4:09 pm, 17 Jan 14

Viva La Resistance!

#2
Mordd4:22 pm, 17 Jan 14

ED: This bit seems to have been inexplicably missed [NSFW]
- LOL, south park never gets old.

XCD fans may also enjoy: http://xkcd.com/1143/

#3
Ben_Dover4:52 pm, 17 Jan 14

Ingress is a near-real time augmented reality massively multiplayer online pervasive game created by Niantic Labs, a start up within Google, currently for Android devices, but, expected to be available for Apple’s iOS in 2014. The game has a complex science fiction back story with a continuous open narrative.

I recognise all the words, but not in that order.

#4
Grail5:16 pm, 17 Jan 14

The Kogan charger: $60 free delivery for 11000mAH http://www.kogan.com/au/buy/universal-11000mah-power-bank/

Kogan also have some cheap phones with their “Agora” brand, $169–$199 for 5″ screens, low end is 480×800, high end is 720×1280. The low end has 4GB of storage, the high has 8G, all have microSD card slots.

(is it just me or does Kogan’s phone brand make me expect to see fuzzy, warm, cuddly phones and then get really disappointed when they are utilitarian, no-nonsense shiny plastic & aluminium things?)

#5
Gungahlin Al5:18 pm, 17 Jan 14

Very good summary Mordd.

On the phones, I wouldn’t bank on the rumours of the iOS version, as I haven’t seen anything official along those lines. However, as someone who was firmly embedded in the iPhone way, I can vouch for the Android choice being a very sound one. I looked hard at the app alternatives before taking the plunge almost a year ago. But I haven’t regretted it in the slightest and will never go back to the closed shop of iOS. I can tailor my phone how I like to work rather than how Apple believes everyone must work. And the game is a bonus…

On the power banks, I bought an 1100mAh one this week from Kogan for $59 delivered. Played solidly from 7 to 12 last night, with the phone battery cooking at almost 60 degrees. Finished with a full phone and 40% in the power bank. The biggest point is that a 1A outlet won’t cut the mustard. Your phone will still go backwards while playing. The Kogan one has a 1A and a 2.1A.

On accounts, I had a 1.1GB plan and have bumped that to 3.1GB. My monthly Ingress app usage can be around 800MB, plus a couple hundred for viewing the intel map, which is a mongrel service that manages download very poorly. It is probably the most complained about aspect of the game.

On choice of game handle: a couple of people recently have started playing with names based on obscenities. Don’t do it. Kids play this game, including mine. Your faction will shun you, report you, and you’ll have to start over.

In-game comms: you may feel like doing some sledging when someone smashes your portals minutes after your built and fielded them. Don’t. Be polite. You are never sure how it will be taken on the receiving end. And don’t be a creep. Remember: all sexes, all ages. Stay classy.

Hope to see you in the green faction comms soon!

#6
poetix5:44 pm, 17 Jan 14

This is, I think, the third thread on this subject. Seems like the fiftieth, doesn’t it.

Geeks are certainly earnest and energetic, in their own sweet* way.

*In this sentence, sweet is to delightful or pleasant what Dutch licorice is to a lolly.

#7
Mordd11:37 pm, 17 Jan 14

Grail said :

The Kogan charger: $60 free delivery for 11000mAH http://www.kogan.com/au/buy/universal-11000mah-power-bank/

Ok that is probably a better option than the one I found, I knew this would happen lol, too many different options out there even though I spent the better part of 2hrs researching it before recommending the one I did lol.

Gungahlin Al said :

Very good summary Mordd.

On the phones, I wouldn’t bank on the rumours of the iOS version, as I haven’t seen anything official along those lines. However, as someone who was firmly embedded in the iPhone way, I can vouch for the Android choice being a very sound one. I looked hard at the app alternatives before taking the plunge almost a year ago. But I haven’t regretted it in the slightest and will never go back to the closed shop of iOS. I can tailor my phone how I like to work rather than how Apple believes everyone must work. And the game is a bonus…

On the power banks, I bought an 1100mAh one this week from Kogan for $59 delivered. Played solidly from 7 to 12 last night, with the phone battery cooking at almost 60 degrees. Finished with a full phone and 40% in the power bank. The biggest point is that a 1A outlet won’t cut the mustard. Your phone will still go backwards while playing. The Kogan one has a 1A and a 2.1A.

On accounts, I had a 1.1GB plan and have bumped that to 3.1GB. My monthly Ingress app usage can be around 800MB, plus a couple hundred for viewing the intel map, which is a mongrel service that manages download very poorly. It is probably the most complained about aspect of the game.

On choice of game handle: a couple of people recently have started playing with names based on obscenities. Don’t do it. Kids play this game, including mine. Your faction will shun you, report you, and you’ll have to start over.

In-game comms: you may feel like doing some sledging when someone smashes your portals minutes after your built and fielded them. Don’t. Be polite. You are never sure how it will be taken on the receiving end. And don’t be a creep. Remember: all sexes, all ages. Stay classy.

Hope to see you in the green faction comms soon!

The iOS version ‘coming in 2014′ is officially confirmed by Google and is happening, the only question is wether this will be early/mid/late 2014. This is the article everyone is quoting on that which was an interview with the Ingress product manager for google.http://allthingsd.com/20131012/google-is-working-on-ingress-for-ios-but-it-wont-be-ready-until-2014/

You are right the Kogan power brick seems the better option, yes if you have a newer phone you will want the 2 amp charging port (older devices like my iphone 4 would be ok on the 1 amp port though) and this will charge older devices even faster as a 2 amp port is more designed for tablet recharging speed. The power brick I featured does have a 2 amp port ut is half the capacity of the Kogan one for $10 less, although that price included shipping so im not sure how much the Kogan one comes to with shipping included.

@Poetix – that’s um, very poetic lol. Good thing I like dutch licorice :P Better get used to the Ingress articles now, these first 3 are only the tip of the iceberg, in 2016 The-RiotACT gets renamed The-IngressACT :P

#8
Mordd5:33 am, 18 Jan 14

I’ll be in game soon, picked up a HTC Desire S on ebay for a good price and in lieu of an external battery pack ordered a 2700MAh replacement battery to use instead of the 1450MAh that comes with it. See you all in the field later this week!!

#9
Aubergine8:21 am, 18 Jan 14

poetix said :

This is, I think, the third thread on this subject. Seems like the fiftieth, doesn’t it.

Geeks are certainly earnest and energetic, in their own sweet* way.

*In this sentence, sweet is to delightful or pleasant what Dutch licorice is to a lolly.

+1,000,000

#10
Agent_Q7:53 pm, 18 Jan 14

Mordd said :

I’ll be in game soon, picked up a HTC Desire S on ebay for a good price and in lieu of an external battery pack ordered a 2700MAh replacement battery to use instead of the 1450MAh that comes with it. See you all in the field later this week!!

Great to hear, Mordd. We have a team of our best agents standing by to provide assistance, gear, good company, and beverages on hot days like today… viva la Resistance!

#11
curmudgery11:53 am, 19 Jan 14

If it takes off, I hope it keeps going. (That should please everyone.)

Vinnies is still looking for volunteers, by the way.

#12
Grail12:11 pm, 20 Jan 14

poetix said :

This is, I think, the third thread on this subject. Seems like the fiftieth, doesn’t it.

Geeks are certainly earnest and energetic, in their own sweet* way.

*In this sentence, sweet is to delightful or pleasant what Dutch licorice is to a lolly.

IMHO, Ingress is much more interesting to read about than photos of people who parked too close to the lines in the parking lot.

#13
Grail12:14 pm, 20 Jan 14

Mordd said :

The iOS version ‘coming in 2014′ is officially confirmed by Google and is happening, the only question is wether this will be early/mid/late 2014. This is the article everyone is quoting on that which was an interview with the Ingress product manager for google.http://allthingsd.com/20131012/google-is-working-on-ingress-for-ios-but-it-wont-be-ready-until-2014/

Where’s the official confirmation from Google? There is one interview on All Things D which everyone is quoting, but I haven’t found anything from Google/Ingress/Niantic.

I’m on a strict “no new shinies” diet until my rental portfolio is back in the black, so while I’d love to go buy a 5″ face-slab and a Kogan power brick to go with it, I just don’t have the spare money to pay for this free game :)

#14
aceofspades1:37 pm, 20 Jan 14

poetix said :

This is, I think, the third thread on this subject. Seems like the fiftieth, doesn’t it.

Geeks are certainly earnest and energetic, in their own sweet* way.

*In this sentence, sweet is to delightful or pleasant what Dutch licorice is to a lolly.

She says in a forum that is designed, developed and maintained by geeks, as is the media that delivers it. The Eternal September lives on.

#15
Mordd2:10 pm, 20 Jan 14

Grail said :

Mordd said :

The iOS version ‘coming in 2014′ is officially confirmed by Google and is happening, the only question is wether this will be early/mid/late 2014. This is the article everyone is quoting on that which was an interview with the Ingress product manager for google.http://allthingsd.com/20131012/google-is-working-on-ingress-for-ios-but-it-wont-be-ready-until-2014/

Where’s the official confirmation from Google? There is one interview on All Things D which everyone is quoting, but I haven’t found anything from Google/Ingress/Niantic.

I’m on a strict “no new shinies” diet until my rental portfolio is back in the black, so while I’d love to go buy a 5″ face-slab and a Kogan power brick to go with it, I just don’t have the spare money to pay for this free game :)

Well, Google did just announce that Niantic is developing a new augmented reality game designed to release in October 2014 with the publication of the first in a new book series which the new game is based off. They confirmed this new game would be both Android and iOS from release day, which suggets they will do the iOS port for Ingress the next few months, get that right, and then re-use the code for the new game just like Ingress android code is being used for the new game. So everything points to this being factual, and Niantic certainly haven’t denied the reports of an iOS version, which since its been very widely published in the last 2 weeks or so, if it wasn’t true we’d have heard by now from Google saying so.

#16
poetix2:34 pm, 20 Jan 14

aceofspades said :

poetix said :

This is, I think, the third thread on this subject. Seems like the fiftieth, doesn’t it.

Geeks are certainly earnest and energetic, in their own sweet* way.

*In this sentence, sweet is to delightful or pleasant what Dutch licorice is to a lolly.

She says in a forum that is designed, developed and maintained by geeks, as is the media that delivers it….

To which she subscribes and contributes the (cough) occasional comment. Or post.

I find it amusing that a tiny little tickle brings on the sulks in some.

#17
Grail10:44 pm, 22 Jan 14

Is there anywhere we can view the map without having to be signed in to the game (which I can’t do because I don’t have an android device)?

#18
Mordd4:02 pm, 28 Jan 14

Grail said :

The Kogan charger: $60 free delivery for 11000mAH http://www.kogan.com/au/buy/universal-11000mah-power-bank/

Just to add they also have a $40 one free delivery for 6600 mAh for a more budget option: http://www.kogan.com/au/buy/universal-6600mah-power-bank-battery-charger/

#19
Mordd4:02 pm, 28 Jan 14

Grail said :

Is there anywhere we can view the map without having to be signed in to the game (which I can’t do because I don’t have an android device)?

Only by looking at a friends phone who is signed in, no account = no intel map access.

#20
Mordd4:04 pm, 28 Jan 14

poetix said :

aceofspades said :

poetix said :

This is, I think, the third thread on this subject. Seems like the fiftieth, doesn’t it.

Geeks are certainly earnest and energetic, in their own sweet* way.

*In this sentence, sweet is to delightful or pleasant what Dutch licorice is to a lolly.

She says in a forum that is designed, developed and maintained by geeks, as is the media that delivers it….

To which she subscribes and contributes the (cough) occasional comment. Or post.

I find it amusing that a tiny little tickle brings on the sulks in some.

Personally, the comments section wouldn’t be the same without you poetix, i for one enjoy your comments. :)

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