Blue Beauty - HCF 8 Hamburg, Germany / 23.10.2022 (SITREP)
I always wanted to do something impossible in Ingress. I wanted to do that since I understood game mechanics, Link plans, and field art. But, what's possible and impossible at the same time? A link with a distance of over 6.800km? No chance. An undefeatable Portal? How should this work? It took me a while (and a lot of inspiration) until I found something. Ever since then, I have dreamed of building a perfect homogenous Field with 8 layers.
But, how should I build a homogenous field with 8 layers? Under normal conditions, that's totally impossible. You can't link 129 outgoing links on one Portal. It's totally impossible. You can't link in any other way, too.
That was before the matryoshka challenge, where you could link under fields.
I then heard about so-called "collocated Portals". The Idea of "cheating" a homogenous field by using some fields/links twice sounded pretty impressive. But still, how should I find a collocated portal in my area?
2) The history of my collocated Portal
I knew a lot of almost stacked Portals in my city. However, none of them would fit as a collocated portal. As a wayfarer of quality, I didn't want to just put two portals on top of each other, even though they aren't collocated in real life. Also, I don't want to submit new portals and edit them later on. I don't want an abusive Collocated Portal. I've seen a lot of collocated portals around the world, and most of them were such cases: Two different objects a few meters apart from each other, just put together to get the collocated portal advantage. This made me quite sad, and also made me quit my hope for an HCF 8 at first.
Occasionally, I found a power supply with two different graffiti on it. The local Pokemon GO players had submitted both sides of the supply in different locations. I just wanted to correct the locations of the two misplaced Portals so they are correct on paper. After writing with the support and moving the Portals, Niantic had moved both portals toward the correct location but not in the exact correct location. Seeing two almost collocated portals still a few meters misplaced made my hope for a collocated portal come back. I then tried editing both Portals at the same (and correct) location. I was excited and really hoped it would work. However, there was one problem: The time for an edit in my city is super long. I almost have no priority in my city. So I had to just wait. Wait, wait wait.
I wasn't expecting the process to be fast. But I was very sure my try would work. Based on the verification mail of the submitted location edits, both portals would have been at the exact same coordinates.
My first potential collocated Portal
After months of waiting something terrible happened again: One of the two potential Portals got removed. Possibly as a duplicate. I was kind of confused why Niantic haven't removed it when I first wrote to the support about this. Well, later I found out that this is because the local Pokemon GO players were annoyed by the two PokeStops right into each other.
So my next try got blocked. Slowly, I really gave up totally. I already had an idea of what the Link plan should have looked like. I basically planned everything before it even existed.
In October 2021, with the beginning of Lightship, it was possible to submit new Portals at any distance. The old 20-meter distance rule was finally inactivated. So again, I was looking out for something I could submit as a collocated Portal. Aaaaand, I found something!
At the local environmental center, I found multiple statues and sculptures. Two of them were perfect for a collocated Portal. One was at the bottom, one was right on top of it. Totally collocated, and totally correct - no abuse involved. I was ready to build my collocated portal. I took some photos and started submitting the two Portals. That wasn't as easy as one would think. I tried to take screenshots and made sure that my nomination Pins were identical. I then uploaded the photo to my private Telegram Wayfarer channel. With this, I could compare the two screenshots. It always took me some tries until the photos were identical. I clicked on "Submit" and waited for Wayfarer to show the exact coordinates. And quickly, I realized that the same location pin doesn't necessarily mean the same coordinates. There was always a small drift between the two nominations. After a whole bunch of nominations, I finally had some matching ones.
So after the first step was done, I just had to get the two portals approved. Easy, right?
Absolutely not, I received the dumbest rejection reasons possible for my two sculptures. I had to submit one of the sculptures 8 times until it finally got approved.
One sculpture was quite easy to get thru, but the other one really took a long time
there it was, my totally legit collocated portal
3) My Collocated Portal in use
After playing around with my newly achieved collocated Portal, I slowly found out how to use it to build an HCF with it. It was.. easy and fast. I first tried to build an HCF 6 with it. I made a small plan, farmed some keys, and... finished the HCF in like 30 minutes WITH farming. I was impressed. I build an HCF 6 before using the classic way. It took me 12 hours.
There it was, a super small HCF 6 build with collocated Portals
not comparable with the classic HCF 6 I build
4) HCF 8 - Planning
I knew I wanted to build something bigger. So, I started planning an HCF 8 again. This time, I had my collocated Portal and couldn't lose it. So I started looking for potential anchor Portals. Something, that's not that easy to destroy. I quickly found some and started building. I just used the normal drawing tools IITC plugin to plan.
The final drawing tools plan
After I had a plan working on paper, I had to somehow create a building plan. Something that is not as complicated to understand, simple to use, and also clear. I started creating a google doc about how to build this beautiful triangle. I already had built an HCF 6 before, so I just used the same layout again just with other portals.
The scheme of the field in layers
part of the link plan
After four or five long nights, I finally finished the Link plan. I never found time to work on the project. Work was really stressing me out. Luckily, I'm a night owl. I'm used to doing stuff like this after 12 PM. Still, I was happy after I finished the plan.
I asked in a few local chats for some agents who want to help me with the building process. Luckily, I found at least two helpers.
I already said that I will pre-farm some keys to speed up the building process. I haven't farmed all, but at least all Keys of portals with more than 7 ongoing links. I did a nice tour on my bike on two different days.
5) First attempt of the HCF 8
Saturday, April 2nd. The C. Sans link challenge was active. A perfect opportunity to build a field with a whole lot of links. We met at 11:30 AM at the first Portal we had to link. I was the only agent with experience in planning/building a homogenous field. I used this as an opportunity to explain to my two helpers how the plan works, what they had to do, what they had to watch out for, and especially: what they should do in case they made a mistake or found a mistake in my plan. After a bit of introduction. We started building. We split up since it would be faster to build. And we had a lot of Portals to link. Eventually, we found some mistakes in my plan (as said, I wrote it after midnight, when I was kinda tired) we luckily could avoid them by changing some points in the plan.
Little skip to the end:
20:48 - We arrived at the collocated portal
20:51 - We finished linking the collocated portals
20:57 - We decided to have some fun and used VR Battle beacons
20:51 until the end of the day - CELEBRATION!!
(Battle) Beacon party at the collocated Portal
We were really happy and really proud. We did it!!
Soon after we finished the Field and shared the results, we received a message:
"The fields are "only" H7."
I checked the Intel map - yes, there's something strange in this area. Hmm, let's check the plan. I checked the plan and found... nothing. Apparently, scanner lag did cost us the perfect HCF 8.
Well, not completely. I tried optimizing the routes by taking a different Portal. Apparently, I forgot to change one Portal name in the Plan. $hit, we messed up.
We spent so much time on this project, and in the end, it was all for an imperfect field.
We decided to try it again someday.
6) Second attempt of the HCF 8
On Sunday, October 23rd, 2022, at 11:30 AM we started the second attempt. This time, we were 6 building Agents and one Intel-OPS. We met at 11:30 AM again. This time, many agents haven't met in a long time, so we spend quite a long time talking about general stuff. One agent had a problem with his bike, still 10 kilometers away from our meeting point. Around 90 minutes later, we finally started. After explaining how the plan works, what's important to know, and how to report mistakes. As also explained: one wrong link might be able to destroy the whole homogenous field.
After a while of building. we reached the first bigger anchor, which gave us an HCF 4. After this milestone, we split up, so we could process the building faster.
Progress 1 - starting the field (14:57)
Soon, we would have reached the center Portal. By linking it, we achieved the next milestone for the field: the HCF 5. This was also the first really impressive field we built on the Intel.
Progress 2 - HCF 5 (15:50)
For completing the HCF 5, we had to meet again, so we could link both sites of the field. Soon after, we split again. One agent also had to leave us a bit early. We split into one team of two, one cleaner, and two solo builders. We had two agents by car/foot and four agents by bike, so we could manage to put teams by vehicle.
After this split, we quickly had the first mistake in our field: a wrong portal got linked. Luckily, it was still easily fixable.
the first mistake - flipped and corrected
Since we used the baseline method, we could basically start linking where we wanted. So even though some parts of the field looked strange, we still managed to link correctly. This saved a lot of time.
progress 3 - Placing new base links made fielding easier (17:09)
Since we were split up, I had to manage to get all the keys to the right agents. I had my capsules pre-named so I only had to drop them. Luckily, we hadn't had any problems with frogs. The first frog activity was at 18:52, someone linked into our field. It blocked one agent from processing the field. Luckily, the car team could help out quite fast. it only took 10 minutes until the link was cleaned.
progress 4 - Link cleaned.
Sadly, the next agent had to leave us. His bike didn't have any light and it began to become really dark. I was hoping to get at least one more area linked by him, so I had to do another part of the field on my own. Well, it was okay. It didn't take too long since all the Portals were clustered. So we only had to link the last Portal for the next milestone.
progress 5 - only one Portal missing (19:53)
So, we had to meet again, this time it was only me and the team of two, We had all the keys to build the HCF 6. I wanted to only use three SBULa and create one ongoing link. Sadly, I messed up when pre-linking the baseline, so we had to use four SBULa.
progress 6 - HCF 6!! (20:29)
Meanwhile, another solo agent managed to build the extras for the field. So we only had to go to the collocated end-Portals. This was quite a long distance, so I parked my bike and hopped into the car of the other team's agent. We drove to the collocated portals. I had to get my bike back home the next day.
When we arrived at the collocated portal, the solo agent was already waiting for us. Luckily, linking the collocated Portal only needed 9 Keys each. So soon after our arrival, we finally finished the field.
progress 7 - we made it! (21:13)
Of course, we had to celebrate this properly. So, let's fire some fireworks!
After finally getting home at around 11 PM, I was able to check for mistakes and the pureness of the field.
It looked great. My Layer counter showed 8 Layers everywhere. So at 23:19, I was able to verify we built a pure HCF 8.
Also, the frogs didn't attack our field. It lasted quite a long time. The first bigger attack was 4 days later, where one of our anchors got destroyed.
Oct. 27th, 17:36 - field destroyed
Still, a big thanks to the local frogs for not interrupting our building process, and not destroying our field.
Planning time: four nights creating the field + four nights creating the link plan
Pre-farmed keys: 461
Building time: 13:00 - 21:13 (8 hours, 13 minutes)
Portals played: 162 Portals + 1 blocker
Links placed: 477 Links + 1 blocker
Control fields created: 475
Biggest MU field: around 41k MU
Longest Link: 7,9 Kilometers
Total perimeter of the Field: 22,24 Kilometers
Top destruction AP for Portals: 1. 95 855 AP // 2. 81 076 AP // 3. 77 702 AP
Flipped Portals: 45
Destroyed Portals: 7
Time until the first Portal got destroyed: 33 hours
8) Honorable mentions
One agent reached the onyx Illuminator badge by fulfilling the HCF 8.
One agent stopped linking right in front of our field, even though he didn't know we were building in this area. The photo looks kinda funny.
By building the field, we managed to get five agents on the top 20 score list for our cell and a big improvement for the RES!
One agent did a 77-kilometer tour by bike on the building day. That's really impressive!
Thanks to @kiitsunee for helping me store some keys. I had to get over 400 pre-farmed keys with full lockers. With her help, I managed to store everything in my inventory.
Also, a big thanks to @57Cell for the tutorial videos, which not only inspired me to build an HCF8 by myself. but only helped me enormously to create the link plan.
@LukeAllStars (Planning, Building, OP)
@LukeAllStars (Planning, Building)
also thanks to everyone who helped not building in the Field area, or pre-flipping portals