I’ve been wanting to blog about Ingress for a while but not really worked out how to say what I’m thinking. So here goes another attempt. If you’re not aware of what Ingress is, have a look here. If you’re finding this interesting and want to play remember that you want to join the Enlightened. Green is good.
I really like the game. It’s not LRP, but that’s okay; I’m allowed other hobbies. I also struggle to find time to play, I’m chronically bad at finding kit and I live in a house permanently covered in blue, with the only green nearby being the portal I can reach from my bed. I’ve discovered that when I’m at home going for a drive to turn all the local portals to a more appropriate colour is usually the last thing I want to do.
This follows on a bit from the last post I made. In my last post I was looking at how the sites available to us shape the games we run. Ingress uses the world as a site. This is something that also happens with modern horror games, VIP (Vampires in Public) etc. We can send players to places to meet people, and to do things, and the world makes sense in the context of your game. But you can’t have your players make too many world changing actions as the world simply won’t change as a result. It does limits your scope to more personal horror style games. With Ingress, because it’s played in real time, all the time players can’t actually make changes that are permanent. If either side wins then in theory the world should change, and the world will only change the way it was going to anyway. Ingress is not going to have any impact on that.
Ingress is a very carefully balanced game. Two teams playing subtly different games that vary depending on where they are. If the number of players in an area changes so does the game they are playing. There is nothing more boring that being in a place where your team are winning easily all the time.
We’ve looked at hiring two sites with two teams of LRPers (one Enlightened and one Resistance) running an event that sends players across their local area and adds elements of roleplay. I suspect it would end up with a spy game based around intelligence gathering. They would be travelling around the area to work out what their in game missions are and we’d be making them work both with and against the other side all the way through. We’d most likely run the usual Friday night to Sunday morning format that we use for other LRP events.
Could we run Ingress as a LRP game? The temptation is to say yes. It’s been suggested that Ingress is a rather dull mechanic to use as a conflict resolution system for a game. However since Ingress players are already Ingress players they have bought into the system before they even come to our game. It’s what they enjoy doing anyway.
The LRP layer would be oddly disconnected from the Ingress layer because we can’t change the way the game works. We couldn’t give the Ingress players any bonus for achieving certain goals that would actually have any influence within Ingress, only within the LRP elements of the game. A lot of LRPers play Ingress and I think we could very easily get the two teams of people who both play Ingress and enjoy LRP events. I enjoy trying new things with LRP; the most interesting events are the ones where we’re still working out if what we’re trying to do is impossible as we’re doing it, and it does encourage us to look more inventively at LRP.
LRP in the UK is facing major hurdles. We need to work within the environments we have available to us, and even if using Ingress as part of a game isn’t ideal it does open up the conversation about how we’re using the technology available to us to improve the games we’re running. An Ingress/LRP cross could potentially introduce a large pool of very enthusiastic people with an interesting range of skills to to LRP who then move onto other systems that don’t use Ingress as a mechanic.