Dev Diary: Dronenet
We originally teased the concept of the Dronenet in the Niantic Project ARG before Ingress released in Nov 2012. Eagle-eyed Agents may recall Drone Footage of California City, CA that led back to Roland Jarvis, or videos shared by Ben Jackland. Dronenet Canisters were also dead dropped for Campus Agents in New York, SF, LA, and Austin, which included Closed Beta invites and passcodes for gear.
We’re releasing Dronenet now in Ingress 2.48 as a “Mark I” so we can hear early feedback from Agents to help us shape the direction of how the feature may evolve over time. We’ll launch and iterate. In the next Ingress update, we have the first Dronenet improvements already scheduled, like a visible cooldown timer to make it easier to see the time remaining before your Drone is ready to move. We're especially eager to experiment with different ways to play using Dronenet to explore an area, from Portal to Portal.
Dronenet allows Agents to deploy Drone Mark I to any neutral, friendly, or enemy Portal within view on the map screen. Agents can hack a Target Portal for items once per Drone flight, and the Drone can move once every 60 minutes. It can’t be used to retrieve a Portal Key or take any other action. It does count as a Drone hack towards Sojourner, but it can't be used to complete a mission or as a proxy for event attendance — these will continue to require your physical participation.
For more info on how to access Dronenet and deploy Drone Mark I, please see our Help Center article.
The specific functionality of Mark I is intentional as a Mark I starting point. There are several different ways Mark I might be used by Agents: Agents may compete for Furthest Drone Flight (the furthest distance traveled hopping from Portal to Portal from the initial Start Portal), or use Drone Mark I to help farm L8 gear and practice Glyph hacking. But there are many possible paths a new Mark II or Mark III Drone could take, and we’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions.
At its core, Ingress will continue to enable outdoor adventures with friends, and our intention with Dronenet is to help give Agents even more ways to play. You can access Dronenet today in Ingress 2.48 by tapping the Main Menu button, then selecting Dronenet. We're working to deliver the Mark I to all Agents now so if you aren't yet seeing Dronenet in the Main Menu, stay tuned.
It looks awesome for a Mark I. What would be really cool is to have some sort of visual indicator for the drone on the scanner view, like a small drone circling the portal.
Something like that, given that everyone can see them, would also be an incentive to go take down portals to take down enemy drones. Even if there won't be a visible indicator, a small heads up that you destroyed a hidden enemy drone would also be amazing.
I think It must be visible at least for the owner. Visible to everyone certainly will incentive competition, but maybe if new marks came with camouflage or if the standard is being invisible, a new mark can be more efficient (like less time to move) but have the cost of being visible to everyone.
More things to add to study. <3 looking forward to glyphing with my little drone.
@NianticBrian, congratulations on the Dronenet idea, for the agents not to lose Sojourner. It seems to have been 12 days late for me.
Is it possible to go back in time when I lost the sojourner because of COVID-19 12 days ago?
You are able to recharge a portal to keep your hacking streak going. You didn't have to go out and hack.
You could have recharged for sojourner credit.
I really don't see the point unless it's a temporary COVID lockdown feature.
Im worried hackers will add the ability to get keys and or attack.
You will also start increasing gear availability if you can sit at home or in office and fly to more portals not burnt out.
Accessibility of portals is a huge part of the game with a lot of money spent on boats, antenna, BGANs, tickets etc and Niantic appear to be moving toward reducing this with Drones.
It also seems to fly in the face of core Niantic value of get off your bum and go out n explore.
Having driven, walked and explored 1200km in the last week for Ingress, and submitting multiple spoofer tickets this is alien to me.
Can Niantic please explain thoughts behind this and what we may expect in Drone Mk 2 and up?
I can see Unique Portal Drone Visited , Furthest Drone Flight Distance and Drone Hacks stats, is a badge related it planned?
I hope MK 1 means we will see more versions that can destroy portals, make links, count towards missions etc. Otherwise this feature will be a dud.
Everyone complains about no new features, but refuses to accept gameplay changes.
@NianticBrian it would be nice if dronenet could be used to hack for missions. More than once I've had to abandon missions because a portal is out of range because of construction.
Also, consider selling Dronenet Cooldowns or Battery Rechargers in the Ingress store for CMU. An item that instantly recharged use of a drone would be cool.
I'd love to see special missions to be done just using a drone, although that would imply changing the cooldown timer, or using a different type of drone, and fixing the mission authoring tool.
"The specific functionality of Mark I is intentional as a Mark I starting point. There are several different ways Mark I might be used by Agents: Agents may compete for Furthest Drone Flight (the furthest distance traveled hopping from Portal to Portal from the initial Start Portal), or use Drone Mark I to help farm L8 gear and practice Glyph hacking. But there are many possible paths a new Mark II or Mark III Drone could take, and we’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions."
Sounds like there are plans for additional versions, but they want community feedback first.
Personally I'd pay for a drone that gives some participation functionality during anomaly windows.
I love it. It will be exceptionally useful during the ice cold bone chilling winters. At least I don’t have to worry too much about losing my Sojourner now.
If they allow attack function then this just becomes officially sanctioned spoofing.
This is awesome!
So attaching a portal within view distance once and hour is equivalent of spoofing? Disagree.
You can move from portal to portal. As long as the destination portal is visible from source portal, you can move there.
Allowing a portal to be attacked / captured by drone will have serious implications and change the way the game is currently. My personal opinion is that it would be for the worse, but if you disagree, I would like to hear your opinion.
Yes i agree with you. However this is drone 1. What if they allow drones to visit portals you have a key for in the future?
How could a drone attack if its function is accessing a portal? If the portal got destroyed, the drone will be recalled. But that said, I'm totally against drones being used to attack or do links.
I don't mind mod destroy. I'm not sure yet about deploying mods, but resonator is a big no.
Not necessarily. What if the drone was only capable of deploying viruses and such and action immediately recalled it to its origin.
Podría utilizar según la cantidad de compra de suscripciones tenga más opciones el drone
@NianticBrian How exactly the status of Furthest Drone Flight Distance is being calculated? Is it just the distance between original portal to current drone position or it added up from each portal changed? I believe it is the second, and prefer this way.
I'd like to suggest a new status about this topic: Max Portals visited by drone in a row.
Also, both this information can also be shown in real time in the drone view, of it's current flight distance and portals visited in a row, both reading everytime the drone is recalled.
I really appreciate that idea of drone races and those changes will help to better tracking the race data, like competition from X to Y winning who did it is less portals and/or less distance traveled.
Also chronometer of airborne time of the drone would be nice too. It can have an agent status too.
Suggestion for new type of drone: workaround drone used when mission target portal is temporary not accessible.
During playing mission, a player sometimes face the difficult situation that mission target portal is not accessible due to construction or temporal closure of park or something. In this case, player can't continue playing mission. This not only ruins time and effort but also kept mission medal view half-way (e.g. got only 4 medals of mission mosaic). It could be critical if playing mission on a short trip overseas. This is unpredictable beforehand and a player is not responsible for that. There should be workaround measure for this situation.
Spec of workaround drone for an unplayable mission.
1. Drone hack counts for mission complete
2. Fly ONLY within N(e.g.200) meter range from a player (room for discussion which value is suitable for N)
3. Can't farm an item.
This drone could be included in subscription plan because it is very useful but makes no advantage for faction battle. How about "Mark M" for the name of this drone :)
A Mark-M drone purely for mission hacking would be swell.
Please add support for hacks to count towards missions. Even at 1 hour timeout this could potentially save an agent huge amount of hassle trying to complete a mission with a hard to reach portal(for example temporary blocked off for construction). For people visiting other places it's a difference of coming back with an awesome looking souvenir banner or an incomplete eye-sore forever stuck in their missions list.
From my experience so far, it's the straight line distance from the point of origin. I've flown 3 legs, total over 1 km, but it shows 0 km. Straight line distance is about 900m.
In my opinion this is not very useful data so far. I'm more inclined to know the distance traveled, not the farest it went. I already know that this is gonna be something around 25km, after that the city ends. But total traveled distance, there's no limit.
Could you try return to original deployed portal and see if will reach the 1km and raise to 2?
I'm testing by going back and forth, and zigzag, it's gonna take longer to hit 1km. I'm also trying to hack everything in the neighborhood during the process. There's a lot of additional data we could enjoy for this like: distance traveled, portal hops, time airborne, current and maximum distance from start position, original portal (people might forget), current and max hacks during one section, total drones deploy/recall all time, etc
I don't like Mark-I with mission hack functionality. Mark-I can fly very far away from a player through portal network. It means we could complete so many missions without going outside. It is against "Adventure on foot". Mark-M aligns "Adventure on foot" but could provide workaround just in case.
Personally I think using a virus is no different from an attack. It makes hard earned portals vulnerable. If you rent a boat to capture a portal just across a river, I shouldn't be able to just flip it from the shore using a drone. Any sort of attack, deploy, hack for keys completely turns the game on its head in terms of strategic portals. Hack counting for missions would be a good idea, possibly even deploying mods or upgrading resonators (but not deploying in empty slots).
That said, I think the drone is an interesting feature and I'm happy to see it implemented. Kudos to Niantic for doing this.
I don't see the problem here. Drones take 1hour to move, and most mission line can be finish in this time, also your drone might be destroyed during a long banner, and you're gonna need to restart, also many cities have large blank areas that will be a dead end. And we're probably will be able to do mission of our own cities this way, because as soon as you hit the road there will be no portal in sight.
And if the mission author don't want droned mission, is just not make it back only. By putting a password, do a link, upgrade, etc, the droners will be in check.
If we can choose between many drone models, one able to do mission hack will be very useful, considering that you will have to wait 1 hour for each step by drone, and as suggested (one use and recall) people will still have to be at location. So, make it within 6 hours by drone or 6 minutes by foot...