I'm going to blame roseaboveit for this post. I could have spent my summer like this or this, or even like this (okay I did do the last one). But for the most part, none of those were particularly relevant since early August.
For those of you who aren't aware of the latest in alternate reality games, Ingress is a kick-ass digital capture the flag game developed by Google. It came out a couple years back for Android, but only became available on iOS devices in July.
Whitney came to visit me in early August, and brought with her the good news that I can now play it on my phone. While we were enjoying and learning from the marvelous distill conference in San Francisco, we also happened to be gleefully destroying enemy portals surrounding the Palace of Fine Arts.
Since then, I've played with a singular consistency that has far outstripped my previous attempts at "sport".
Evidence From chronos:
An average week before Ingress:
An average week with Ingress:
The point of Ingress is to get out and visit awesome places in your community. The flags (portals) in the game are attached to real-life locations, such as parks, public art, or other points of interest or gathering. The game has a whole back story and whatnot, but you can basically ignore it and just play.
Play is accomplished by either building, wrecking, or hacking the portals, using your mobile phone. You can attack a portal of the opposing faction, build a portal of your own faction, or simply hit the "hack" button to try and get gear (things to build or hack with) from the portal.
Once you've hacked a bunch of portals to get gear, you can start wrecking the opposing factions' portals, and start building your own. Once your faction has some portals, you can connect those portals together to form fields. Those fields nominally protect the "mind units" that live or operate under them from the opposing faction's "evil mind control".
Building fields at the local grocery store:
Covering an entire town in fields:
Half-way in, I decided that walking to portals wasn't cutting it. I needed to be able to get farther, and faster, and I didn't want to use my car to do it unless I had to, because first, that isn't the point of the game, and second, it isn't really particularly efficient since you have to figure out how to park your car before you can really interact with the portal in any meaningful way.
So I bought a bike.
Now I can easily bike to locations that would take nearly an hour or more to get to while walking. I can take a quick ride up to the Community Park or up the greenbelt after work to knock out some portals there. I can ride over to the cemetery in 10 minutes and burn out the portals (hack them all 4 times) in about 45 minutes to get maximum gear. And my reputation as the go-to Ingress player in Davis grows. Mwahahah!!
So yes, Ingress is great fun, and has offered me excellent brain candy while getting lots more exercise. Going to the gym is boring. Wrecking enemy portals all over town? Awesome.
Daphne and I build a giant field:
I take an impromptu trip to the airport to knock out a portal on some art:
I visit many places to capture unique portals:
I go to the state capital, to plant my faction's color of choice in advance of an event with over 400 attendees:
My gear for the same event, that we crushed the opposition at:
A recent picture of Davis (I'm the green team, and yes I am responsible for those fields):