Ingress comes to iOS: double or nothing?

I started playing Ingress a few months ago, and from the start I heard rumours about Ingress coming to iOS “soon”. When Niantic Labs (the startup behind Ingress) announced that they had submitted the app to the App Store, no one held their breath.

It was confirmed a few days later: Ingress became available on iOS on July 14, and Niantic made a big change in the gameplay to level the playing field and make it easier for new iOS players to join a game already populated with high level players.

Continue reading Ingress comes to iOS: double or nothing?

Level 8!

10 days ago I told you about this game I discovered, Ingress, and how I was addicted to it.
Well, I’m now Level 8!

Ingress Level 8

Until a couple of days ago this was the highest level in the game. Then they introduced 8 more levels, way more difficult to reach.

I guess I’ll have to continue to play :)

Ingress: a (good?) reason to move!

At our last meetup, my colleague Kat introduced me to Ingress. Fast forward 3 weeks: I’m an addict.

Ingress is a giant game of Capture the Flag, an Augmented Reality game built on top of Google Maps. It’s only available on Android right now, and is quite addictive!

The world around you is not what it seems. Our future is at stake and you must choose a side.


The Basics

  • A complicated back story.
  • 2 fractions / teams, with different points of view about the background story: Resistance and Enlightened. I chose Enlightened.
  • 8 levels (8 more are about to be added to the game). I’m at Level 6.
  • Many Portals: monuments, sculptures, memorials, important buildings around you. Each team can capture portals, and create links between them. When you create links between 3 portals, you form a Control Field.
    The area covered by control fields is used to calculate Mind Units, i.e. people. The fraction with the most Mind Units wins. A new cycle (game) starts every week.

As you can imagine, all this makes for quite the nerdy game. The learning curve is steep, and that’s most likely why the game never got insanely popular. I assume it will become a bit more popular once it’s available on iOS, but the complicated vocabulary and back story probably mean it will remain a game intended for geeks.


Ingress on Android

But Ingress is not just about levelling up or winning. The game is built so that you have to interact with other fraction members.

  • When you first start playing, you have to build –deploy Portals, create links and Control Fields– to level up. Destroying high level portals is difficult because you don’t have weapons that are powerful enough yet. Luckily, high level players can help you by destroying the portals for you, thus allowing you to rebuild.
  • Once you reach a high level (levels 7 and 8), you must coordinate with other high level players if you want to build high level portals. That forces you to interact with other players, and it’s also a good incentive to help others levelling up.

The Results

I walk more

Working from home is great, but I find it hard to motivate myself to get out and exercise. I got a Jawbone Up last year, hoping it would help me. It did, a bit, but Ingress is way better, especially for someone with a “Just One More” mentality like me :)

You can’t play from behind your screen, you have to get out there and walk to each portal you want to capture.

Ingress tells me I walked 37 km in the past week. I didn’t think I’d start walking 5 km every day when I started playing!

I discover my neighborhood

I’ve been living here for almost 8 years. I like to think I know my way around pretty well; yet I’ve discovered many small streets in the past few weeks, and never knew there were so many sculptures and memorials a few blocks away from home.

I’m back on Google+

Ingress includes an in-game chatroom, where you can exchange with your fraction members, as well as with the other fraction. It’s limited though, and it made sense for fractions to find better ways to communicate with each other, and coordinate events.

I expected to find Facebook Groups, but Google+ seems to be the winner. It is well integrated with Android, and brings together Group messaging (Google+ Communities) and group chat (Hangouts). It also includes a lot less personal information than Facebook, and that’s especially important when your most fierce enemies are your neghbors, fighting for the portals you cherish.

I must admit that I didn’t know Google+ Communities included so many features. It’s a lot better than Facebook Groups.

Still interested?

Looking for a Google Reader alternative? You should try Fever

Everybody seems to be tweeting / posting / complaining about Google Reader today. In case you missed it, Google Reader is shutting down and you have 4 months to find a new home for your RSS feeds.

I moved off Google Reader a couple of years ago and I’m really happy with my RSS Reader, so I figured I’d let you in my little secret: it’s called Fever, and it’s hot!

Continue reading Looking for a Google Reader alternative? You should try Fever

I want to be connected!

Molly Millions, Neuromancer

I am a big fan of William Gibson: I like his books*, and the Cyberpunk World he created, where humans can be “upgraded” and can get better through technology.

I have always been attracted by new technologies, and ways to improve our every-day life. As a fan of science-fiction, and with a Biology background, I guess it’s normal for me to consider new technologies when thinking about the evolution of humans.

But until a few months ago, this was only science-fiction. Yes, I’d be one of the first to volunteer to get an implant behind my ear, or “implanted” glasses connected to Internet and to my brain. But the closest thing from this was Augmented reality. And I must say I wasn’t really convinced. I tried a few apps when AR started appearing in our smartphones, but nothing blew my mind like Google Glass and Myo.

Continue reading I want to be connected!