Monday, 21 January 2013

Ingress Day 01: Welcome to the Resistance.

Welcome to the Resistance...


(Some spoilers on how the game is played; none for the backstory.)

Tasmania is not the biggest place in the Western Hemisphere. There's more than enough people to ensure a comfortable population; a good standard of living... And very little of the hassle you get with a huge metropolis. The traffic rarely feels like a parking lot; you never feel crammed in on Public Transport. In short; a great place to live.

For the Ingress Experience... It suddenly feels a lot bigger.

My Activation code came this morning; at last.

I headed out into my street and found myself pacing back and forth for several minutes for my training. I have carefully avoided all information I can thus far; because as far as I can tell; Ingress; as with many ARG's, teach you the game by playing it. As a result; I get a bunch of terms I don't really understand thrown at me in the first few minutes; and all I can do is roll with it; and hope the help page is on standby.

The training ends all too quickly; and I find myself in a blue and black map, drawn in a minimalist style. I recognize the layout of the roads and such of course. This is my street. And up the road; is a small collection of lights. I walk up the street to investigate; and a chime goes off to tell me that i've collected something useful.

I very quickly discover that i've jumped into the middle of the story.

So far so good... but it could be better. I wander a few blocks, back and forth; and find a few more points of light...

And then I get on a bus.

I live in a suburb; and the city is where the action is. Even from the game trailers; I have an idea of what I'm looking for. Something unusual; artistic. The sort of thing that is noticeable; but that few people who live here actually notice.

I spend the entire bus ride with my eyes glued to the screen. I can see the streets moving as I go; sweeping through two or three; then five or six points of Exotic Matter. It's exciting. Five or six points...

Then I zoom out on my map and my jaw drops. As we get closer to the action... The numbers get a whole lot bigger.

The bus pauses to turn a corner. An unmarked portal is ten feet away. I hesitate for exactly the wrong second; and I've missed it. Quick! Stop the bus!

I wander through the sidestreets; looking at the elaborate murals painted on the walls and peeking around the corners of the cafe's seeking the fountains and the statuettes. Do any of them hold a secret for those that know how to look?

And then it hits me. All these portals that I find are glowing green. I turn to the COMMS and the forums and realize that I may just be the only member of the Resistance in town. In my region; the rest of The Blue Team seems to be over 200km away, in another city. Help!

And then I see it. The points of gentle light are getting stronger this way too; but this one does not lead to green. An unhacked Portal. Unclaimed territory. Neutral ground. I'm on it like a shot. Where once there was only green, now there is blue as well. My foot is in the door.

I walk through the same streets I've walked a hundred times before. Taking the exact same route; in fact. But now I feel like a sci-fi gunslinger. I sweep my scanner back and forth; watching the map turn in front of me. I'm searching for clues; following a trail that nobody else can see.

At every turn there are people with headphones plugged into their smartphones. Their eyes rove over me as mine do over them. Anyone who's ever used a mobile device in public knows this walk. Eyes on the screen, step step, scan ahead for things I'm about to trip over, step step, back to the screen, step step...

But now they're all competition too. It's not like I was unaware that people lived on their cell phones; but when I hit city limits; there suddenly seemed to be a lot more of them.

Him! That one! He's looking at the same spot I just left. Is he hacking my portal? Is he taking a photo? Is he just turning up his music... Oh wait. It's just an iPhone. Sucker.

The feeling was exactly what it was supposed to be. A race through the normal places; finding more there than I suspected. The map on my phone was the exact same map I've walked a hundred times before; but I've rarely looked so closely. I was almost glued to the screen as I walked; watching the flow of lights and energies. These places were here before I was, the Portals they hold came later; but still long before I was invited to the party.

I hack and I protect and I upgrade and I explore; and I judge the routes; and which way is faster, and what's my range, and how close do I have to get, and how many minutes have passed? All I saw were the angles; the directions, the possible links; the connections too weak, or the opposition too strong...

It's a strangely hypnotic way to spend an afternoon.

And difficult to leave... because I know that The Green Team is there somewhere; and they held this town long before I arrived; possibly without opposition at all. I have to take a bus back to my home; my little suburb, with no portals and little XM. Away from the front.

And I know that sooner or later; they'll be back to reclaim what little I have carved out today. The numbers are against me; and that's not like to change any time soon.

Welcome to the Resistance.

#Ingress

*Image is screenshot from my town once I was done.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

If you've been following updates about my new novel; then you'll be happy to know that not only is it now available for purchase from the Amazon Store; but for the next 48 hours; it will be free of charge!

The early reviews are in and have been incredibly positive; and you can't really get a better price than 'absolutely free'.

Act now to get this great deal!

You can find it available right here!