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.