Thursday, October 17, 2013


Google has created a global near real-time augmented reality game, Ingress, which is played on Android devices.It is a great example of mobile gaming immersed in the player's surrounding environment and the outside world.
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In November 2012, a viral game, the Niantic Project, appeared. The project was touted as an Investigation Board filled with cryptic clues and secret codes. The story continues to evolve everyday with clues, secrets and game tech waiting to be found and unlocked. Players are encouraged to form alliances across neighbourhoods, cities and countries.The Niantic Project was revealed to be part of a larger Google project called Ingress, a real-time location-based mobile game which according to seems:

to be taking the cues from augmented reality games, puzzle games, geocaching, and team-based online gameplay to make a futuristic game where your phone is the center of everything. Teams of players use live maps to hunt for portals, which show up on the game map to be hacked and captured. Outside of the localized mobile view, there’s a global view on desktops that show the whole team in action across the globe.

The game is invite-only and you can request to play at the games site The app plays out in the real world and according to Google:

Ingress transforms the real world into the landscape for a global game of mystery, intrigue, and competition.
Our future is at stake. And you must choose a side.
A mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us.
“The Enlightened” seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us.
“The Resistance” struggle to defend, and protect what’s left of our humanity.
Install Ingress and transform your world.
The World is the Game
Move through the real world using your Android device and the Ingress app to discover and tap sources of this mysterious energy. Acquire objects to aid in your quest, deploy tech to capture territory, and ally with other players to advance the cause of the Enlightened or the Resistance.
The struggle is being played out globally. Track the progress of players around the world, plan your next steps, and communicate with others using an Intelligence map.  

Earlier this year, Google teamed up with HINT water offering in-game codes invites under the bottle caps allowing the player to choose between the Enlightenment and the Resistance, the games two factions. This provides an alternative option to the current modes of obtaining codes, which is usually either the email reservation system which occasionally emails out invite codes, or by getting the attention of one of the community moderators. Once in the game you can take to the streets to complete the puzzles that offer additional in-game power-ups, or simply look under the caps of HINT water bottles. Then you can get back on the the streets and get playing! As long as you have both an Android phone and invite of course.

The following video summarizes the background to the Niantic Project and its progress through 2012:

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