The technological world is always moving at an astounding pace, and when I visited SXSW 2011 I stopped by the Traveller-AR booth, where I was introduced to a new technology called Augmented reality. What really surprised me is this technology already exists in a few games, and hte actual technology itself already appears on TV, and has done for quite some time!
What is Augmented Reality?
The first question many people ask is ‘What is Augmented Reality?’ I know I did. It turns out that Augmented reality is simply overlaying virtual reality on top of the real world. In the iPhone game “Star Wars: Falcon Gunner” for example, you will find yourself fighting hordes of enemy tie fighters, over your own city skyline. This immersive technology really can bring you in to a game more than ever before.
But lets rewind a few years, do you remember when football presenters started overlaying their circles and lines on top of game replays? Lets rewind a few decades! Do you remember when credits were scrolled across video in the movies?
Augmented reality is definitely nothing new, however what IS new is the way it is being implemented in handheld mobile devices.
With the dawn of the iPhone and other camera enabled mobile cell phones, augmetned reality can change the view of the world as seen through the device’s camera. With the ever-increasing power of these devices, and growing proficiency in object recognition, AR games have gone from being mere overlays, to allowing a game to interact with the world around you. For instance you could be fighting off alien hordes, miss your target, and accidentally set fire to a billboard, or blow up a building!
There is talk of a portal like game, where you use objects in the real world, and manipulate them in-game, in the virtual world. There is even a tower game where you can create a small tower on your table to defined it from miniature enemies who are intent on taking over your living room.
Augmented reality promises a lot for the future of gaming, and although it may feel a little gimmicky in some ways, the huge application and immersing nature of this technology indicates that it will continue to be a big part of the future in mobile gaming.