Reality technologies like AR, VR and MR are actually redefining the way users experience the environment around them, virtual and real. AR & VR are changing the course of how various industries like healthcare, education, training, travel, shopping are performing their operations. AR products are easier to be made available to people and the development lifecycle for AR games is much shorter than what a VR game would take. It is only because of incapable hardware that the true potential of AR is not yet realized.
Prerequisites for markerless AR development
Developers have to be aware of the many critical aspects in this process. The AR game should efficiently be able to depict the object’s location, estimate distance and attach a virtual object. The developers should ensure that the digital elements should be placed appropriately. The elements should align properly, be stable and should not jiggle as the user moves or tilts the phone.
The GPS in itself is inefficient in delivering the needed accuracy rate. Hence they leverage the SDKs combined with SLAM based on markerless technology. SLAM is a technology through which physical world can be understood through feature points. It is due to this that the AR applications can effectively recognize 3D objects and scenes, do instant tracking and overlay digital augmentations.
Developers need to be extra careful while designing quests and nested quests get more user retention. One can add exploration goals like finding character elements in prime locations, historic places and so on. Decide on a location and develop quests appropriately. But before that certain things should be considered like the place should be near to the player. Programming should be such that when the weather is harsh then the quests should be suspended for a while.
Apple’s ARKit gives all that is needed to build a fascinating location-based AR game.
1) Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) for precise tracking of surroundings and environment.
2) 1080p HD imagery support.
3) Scene semantics and lighting estimates.
4) Strong support for devices with enhanced camera sensors.
5) A large knowledgeable community.
The list of devices it supports includes
1) iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
2) iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
3) iPad Pro
4) iPad from 2017 and beyond
5) iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
6) iPhone X
The upgraded ARKit version 1.5 gives support for vertical planes. The iPhone sensors can realize the walls around which helps in precisely placing AR objects like signs and effectively linking them to vertical planes like buildings and structures.
Google has put considerable effort into developing Google Glass and Tango. The result is that they have come out with their own AR SDK called ARCore. Google has put significant efforts into this SDK and one of the powerful features it puts out is mapping. It is very helpful in gathering and storing 3D localization data that is the real world which is required by geolocation based AR games. It also has some great features like proper positioning and is also good at anchoring objects and in an acute understanding of environment like recognizing horizontal surfaces. It also comes much in the play of motion tracking which determines the orientation and positions of devices while it is in motion.
One of the reasons why Pokemon Go was so famous is that its developer Niantic already had considerable mapping data from its previous game Ingress. It is another matter that most developers don’t have such data and hence it was not easy for them to give out location-based gameplay. Google has opened up its Google Maps to game developers. The developers need only sign in to get access to real-time data of Google maps. Google is bringing a new SDK for Unity through which one can easily map Google Maps data into their game.
Developers can construct gameplay experiences in real-world locations like an arch. Google has joined hands with developers of 3 markerless based games like Ghostbusters, The Walking Dead: Our World and Jurassic World Alive.
AR even gives way for mixed reality experiences. VR usually gives the singular reality which restricts the range of applications it is useful for but its experience is really immersive no doubt. ARs wider potential will be seen through simulation, training and in some operations in a multitude of sophisticated tasks and environments. As Google has opened Maps to developers much more sophisticated and better games than Pokemon Go can be expected and Apple has furthered the markerless AR gaming in its own way. We just have to keep calm and wait for much developments in this segment.