Niantic Labs’ latest update to Ingress, its augmented reality game, brings user-generated “Missions” to the game on Android and iOS and lets players create quests for their friends or strangers using a browser-based mission creator.
Not everybody will be allowed to create content right away with the new update. Niantic Labs is rolling the feature out slowly, reaching out to high-level players to gauge their interest in creating missions for others. Niantic Labs VP of Product John Hanke says that the feature will gradually be rolled out to players above a certain level threshold within the game itself and then be opened up to others over time.
The actual tool for creating missions is rather simple. You’re presented with a version of Google Maps that’s been skinned with Ingress’ interface aesthetic, and can place markers anywhere you’d like players to go when in your mission. You can be explicit with the locations, drawing in data from Niantic Labs’ Field Trip app, or incredibly vague, leaving hints about where they should go next. When going from point-to-point in the real world, players complete their objectives by “scanning” the location, a passive action that’s mostly meant to give a sense of accomplishment to reaching each destination.
Players trying out Missions can find them within the Android and iOS (soon) apps when they are located in the city they’d like to play in. That means I couldn’t look for cool missions in San Francisco while planning my day from the comfort of my apartment in Oakland for instance. But missions themselves can be made from anywhere, so if you came back from an awesome vacation and wanted others to see the cool sites you did, you could create a mission stopping at all of your favorite landmarks.