Participated in an operation with a contingent from our local Ingress Resistance team to build a BAF (Big-Ass Field, the absolutely official Ingress terminology for that thing). Here are some random impressions from the process:
- There is no such thing as too much planning. Eisenhower was quoted as saying, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” I agree with the second part in our case today. As for the first, the plans we did have were very good. More planning would have been still better.
- Communication is priceless. Some of the plans that were in place were not disclosed to all team members ahead of time, and some of the things that were disclosed left a bit more to the imagination than we might have liked. Thorough communication, even over-communication, of the sort, You! Go there! Do that! would have made up for a lot of this gap, once the work began.
- Always hedge for uncertainties. When we arrived at the south rendezvous, one party was running late, and they had ALL the keys to the western node. Someone said, “dang! I should have given so-and-so half the eastern keys and taken half of their western keys!” Yup! So there we were with all the keys to the eastern node, no keys to the western node and 9 minutes until the scoring checkpoint deadline. Or so we thought. Which brings me to…
- Check your constraint values. We were aiming for a 14:00 (all times given in UTC) checkpoint to have the field up and have the score counted in the global game total. All our preparation got us, nervously but effectively, to that point with about 9 minutes to spare. But it turned out that the actual next-checkpoint time was not until 16:00. So our meticulous work was likely to be elbowed out of counting for the global score. If we waited two more hours, until closer to the checkpoint, we could lose the east-west base link that had been up since just after 11:00, and/or any of the work done clearing blocking links along the routes of the main east and west link bundles. This would likely have meant not getting the BAF up at all. On the other hand, putting it up two full hours before checkpoint gives the other side a luxurious over-helping of time to react and dismantle it before it counts. Still, that is not the only goal of the operation.
- Know everything you want out of the project. In addition to the goal of making a large (well over 4 million units) contribution to the global score, the team’s members each have individual goals they are working toward. Each op team member completed one layer of the 12-layer field you see illustrated here, and many individual Gold and Platinum Illuminator badges were thus earned. Had we focused too narrowly on the global objective, many of us on the op team might have missed out on this individual achievement.
Sure enough, by 15:00 the pretty dozen-layer field was no more.
Is it too much to presume that, having participated in one of these, I could plan the next one?