Saturday, 24 September 2016

Ingress Walking: About Missions

One of the main reasons I started playing Ingress was because I needed to work up some extra incentive for exercising—yuh know, because better health just wasn’t enough… Anyway, the missions in Ingress have given me a reason to travel distances I wouldn’t usually have travelled, and to visit places I wouldn’t have visited. They’ve helped me orient to new locations, and learn new bus routes, and they’ve given me a reason to get out besides having to do so because it’s good for me.

What are missions, you ask?

Well, missions are a series of portals grouped together that you have to visit and take a specific action at. Every portal is linked to a real-world location, and every action is taken through the scanner. Once the scanner logs that the action has been taken, it’s ticked off the list. When all the tasks have been completed, you’re awarded a mission medal to mark the fact you’ve completed that mission.

Is there an agent badge linked to missions?

Yes, the Spec Ops badge is the ingress medal is the agent badge linked to mission completion, so doing missions has the added dimension of counting towards this medal as well.

What kinds of missions are there?

There are several types of mission available, but the two most common types of missions—the ones available all year round, and not linked to a special event—are: single missions and pictorial, or series, missions. Single missions are stand-alones that can be done in any order, but pictorial missions should be done in a specific order to complete a picture, with each mission badge a part of the picture mosaic – hence why they are called ‘pictorials’ or ‘series’.

Is there anything special I need to know about pictorial missions?

Your scanner is set up to accommodate 6 adventure medals or badges in a row. If you are doing single missions, it doesn’t matter where along the row you start; the badge won’t look out of place, BUT, if you start a pictorial half-way along a row, then the picture won’t look right when you finish it, so, if you want to undertake a pictorial series of missions, then wait until you have filled the sixth badge position in a row before starting the first pictorial mission.

How do I know if a mission is part of a pictorial mission?

You can usually tell if a mission is part of a pictorial series by the fact it has some sort of numeric marker in its title. Be careful to read the mission descriptions, though, as I have come across at least one series mission that is missing the number.

What if I do a pictorial mission out of order?

You can redo the mission in the right order by simply doing it again. This moves the mission badge to the next position on the scanner. Be careful when doing this, however, as it will alter the position of every badge that was situated after it, so, if you’ve done a series mission by mistake, then don’t start the series at the beginning of a new row, but one badge in from the end, as that will become the end of the row, when the pictorial badge is moved.

If you do a part out of order, and you’re part-way through the mission, just do the parts you missed, redo the mission you’ve done out of order, and then complete the series. This happened when I was doing the Lake Tuggeranong series, where I misread the ‘5’ for a ‘6’ in the rain and did 6 before 5. This made my mosaic look like it had finished early.

I did part 5, and now you can see how the mosaic looks wrong:

So, I went ahead and re-did part 6, and the badge ‘moved’ to the last position in the row, correcting the mistake, so that the mosaic was complete and looked how it was meant to.

As you can see, once you undertake more missions after completing your pictorial series, the picture will be pushed out of shape.

This will be fixed once you have completed 6 singles, at which point it will look exactly as it did when you finished it.

Well? What are you waiting for? Go find yourself a mission or three; it's time to move.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Writing Rambling: Why do I Write in ‘Set’ Forms?

I don’t always write in specific forms of poetry, but I like to try and master the older styles of poetry because it teaches me discipline—like writing word-limited flash fiction. It teaches me to think about my words, and my word choices. It makes me think of alternative ways to say something, rather than to just change the poem form to suit.

It’s easy to be creative when you don’t have to obey the rules, but only when you strive to achieve your goal within a somewhat restrictive framework can you truly be creative. This is because restrictions make you think. You can’t just go from Point A to Point B in one easy step; you have to figure out a viable path. As with real life, when there are obstacles to your path, creativity can spark a new solution you would not have thought of otherwise.

Restrictions bring about discovery; they force solutions to be found that might not have been uncovered otherwise, and these discoveries feed into the array of tools that can be applied to other problems and situations. It builds our ability to face and overcome new problems. It gives our writing new perspective. It makes our writing stronger.

Or, at least, that’s what it does for me.

I have to admit that the reduction in writing speed, from over 1,000 words an hour to under 500 words an hour, is frustrating, but the pay-off that I see in being able to untangle story lines, or make a paragraph read more smoothly… that’s magic.