Niantic Talks About Ingress

Niantic Labs has arranged a video conference hangout to answer questions on Ingress and provide some insight of what’s going on and how this is going to evolve.

There are some interesting point’s I would like to focus on:

  • As Brandon Badger told, there was no hidden purpose of the game. Nothing like aggregating data for Google’s services. Idea was to create a fun game with the goal to get people out.
  • There are many games, which allow making communities, but Ingress was intended to bring it out to the real world and help you to explore the neighbourhood.
  • Team is around 30-40 people, which form a start-up group inside Google.
  • They are monitoring social networks and listen to all suggestions. So, our big discussion last week was definitely noticed. I like such a deep interaction between players and game creators.
  • Professional writers were hired from LA to work on the Niantic story. And this story is not fixed; it is dynamic and also depends on remarkable Ingress and non-Ingress events around the globe.
  • Shapers “infect” minds and induce the creativity. This creativity results in specific pieces of art, which in turn increase Shaper’s presence in our world.

Ingress Icons

Noticeable facts about gameplay as well:

  • My concern regarding the whole point of gameplay was addressed. Niantic works on missions and accomplishments — mostly personal, but I believe team ones can also be introduced. IMHO, main trick to solve is to decide, where one team ends and starts another? Anyway, this sounds promising.
  • In addition, extra Levels can be added. Brandon mentioned “L9 – L16” but stressed that achievements is a better way to develop the game. I totally agree.
  • These achievements can be tied to some locations and you can complete them while travelling, for example.
  • Niantic already has different ideas for at least “year +” of gameplay.
  • They do not open game for everyone and cannot fix bugs so quickly, mainly because Ingress is based on servers and Niantic does not want to trigger an overload.
  • API is being developed, so that there can appear custom “Ingress style” games in future. Brandon looks forward to it, though server load is still the main concern.
  • Seems, this is also the main reason, why HackIngress is still not functioning. Hopefully, will be sorted soon.
  • Concern was raised in regards to the new players. Being L1 in a city with L5-L8 portals makes it impossible to play. Niantic works on the solution and an interesting suggestion has been made — “fight free zone”, dedicated only to newbies to level up.
  • One of the members of that hangout mentioned idea of a bird-eye view (exactly what I suggested here), which could be accessible not only when linking, but just by a dedicated button, for example. No clear response was received, but at least issue is raised once again. New Ingress Intel map partly resolves it, though.
  • New types of weapons and shields will be introduced. Turrets (found in the code long time ago) were mentioned, but again no clear answer on that.
  • Item inventory system needs rework (yes, this is for sure!). For example, item drop-pickup option. Niantic works on different solutions, including NFC method.
  • iPhone? Yes, it is in the roadmap with no deadline yet.


Complete hangout is here: