Ingress – Google’s new global game

Google’s new global game, Ingress, is a stunning piece of work.  Not only is there all the programming that makes it work, there’s a great deal of back story content that has been painstakingly created to give the game some depth.

Have a look through the two websites dedicated to the game to see what it’s all about. There’s also a catch-up and a Wiki for the game here: http://www.niantic.schlarp.com/ and straight-forward Google support page for the game here: http://support.google.com/ingress . (It describes what you’re able to do with the App on your phone, when playing the game).

For players, there is also a web page where you can keep a ‘helicopter view’ eye on the game as it progresses globally.  It’s at http://www.ingress.com/intel but you have to have a login to see what’s happening.  Rumour has it  November 30th is the planned date for the game to become fully public, but there are still a few glitches in the system.

Google say it should take from 12 to 18 months to play out across the world.  I think it’s possible that in the final days of the game, it may end with thousands of people physically converging on major landmarks in major cities, literally “battling it out” with the game app on their mobile phones trying to win supremacy for their group.  (For ‘group’ read ‘Tribe’ in psychological terms).  Personally, I wonder if they might come to actual physical blows? Now there’s a thought.

This is MMORPG on a grand scale but taken out into the ‘real’ world – well sort of real, in that you play it out in the sun or snow or whatever the weather hands you out there – but unreal in that the view of the world is shaped by your phone camera and screen so you can see and hear things others can’t – unless they’re playing the game as well of course!

A phone like mine has more processing power than the entire American Government had before 1980.  Only today’s phones could play this game; it needs, Internet, GPS, Compass and a lot of processing power.  It’s that quad-core power in the pocket that makes this sort of thing possible – and we’ve only just started on this online, connected, socially networked, virtual/augmented reality world we’re now only just tip-toeing into – and it fascinates me.

So the only remaining question is, will you be one of the Enlightened or are you joining the Resistance?

Update 1:

I have now received my beta test access code which has brought the mobile app to life and also given me access to the online system.  It’s an amazing piece of work.

The graphics and sounds in the app are nothing short of amazing and the programming extremely clever.  For example: there is a built-in messaging system, that allows participants to text-chat with each other.  In the online version you can restrict the chats you see to the area covered by the map onscreen (which comes from Google Earth).  This is using global positioning in a sophisticated way, as obviously every individual piece of ‘chat text’ has a location attached.

This allows groups to communicate across local areas to work together to “attack” the opposition and try to win territory for their side.  Basically, it encourages people to get out and about, meet each other and cooperate to play the game.  Not  a bad idea!  See Update 3 below for an example.

Update 2:

I just spotted this article – interesting!

Update 3:

An interesting article from the ‘Chicago Resistance’.  They say:  “To any random person walking down the street it must have been an odd sight. A random group of people who included different genders, races and professions taking an erratic path across The Loop in a huddled mass. Occasionally stopping, seemly at random, to tap on our phones furiously, almost in unison. But to us, we weren’t just wandering around the city. We were strategizing, hacking Portals, and meticulously planning our route in order to reinforce weaknesses in our defenses and to conquer enemy strongholds. That is what Ingress does.”  –> Read more.

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