what's interesting about this tech (to me at least) is NOT the fact that it can track the points so accurately and place object there with stability, but the fact it can track points so accurately at all. this tech included in a game like Eyepet for instance would allow your pet to climb over objects in your home or even crawl into a shoe. this could also take Invisimals to the next level too
Last edited by GribbleGrunger; 03-10-2012 at 12:20 PM.
http://shogungamer.com/news/13570/so...aming-gdc-2012Sony Offers A Glimpse In The Future Of AR Gaming [GDC 2012]
Submitted by Ian Fisher on Mon, 03/12/2012 - 05:
Video games have come a long way in the last few years with the graphics and ways we play games being vastly different compared to a mere eight or ten years ago. At this point it may have seemed like there wasn’t much farther video games could go since at some point all the consoles will be capable of the same graphics with only minimal differences being present. To some it seemed like beyond tablet implementation and motion controls video games may soon lose their cutting edge and slightly futuristic feel, I doubt that PS9 commercial will happen in our lifetime, but Sony is experimenting with some things in the as yet untapped AR arena.
This generation AR (that stands for augmented reality) hasn’t been pushed too far by developers or even hardware creators. First gaining prominence through Nintendo’s AR games for the Nintendo 3DS, both core and mainstream gamers know what AR is but to most gamers it was just something nice to do upon first opening a 3DS or even the PlayStation Vita. But Sony sees the potential in pushing AR through gaming, at least in the handheld space, as present by some interesting tech demos found in their GDC booth.
So far the AR games found on the PlayStation Vita have been somewhat limited if not standard fair for the launch of a new system. There are some interesting games available on the PS Store to download and there’s the cool Japan only Monster Radar which is of course awesome but limited to Japan. I’m sure Novarama (the folks who developed Invizimals) have something cool in the works but for now amongst gamers AR tech is just a fad of sorts if not even that since it hasn’t swept across the mainstream in a huge way. So what is Sony doing to push AR tech in a way that could be meaningful to games?
Nestled in Sony’s GDC 2012 booth was a table of AR wonderment in the form of Magnet and AR Hockey, two unrelated projects which push AR tech in some simple ways that are both interesting and rather fun. Both Magnet and AR Hockey are tech demos but like most tech demos they show glimpses of complete genius which if refined right could enhance gaming in a way that we haven’t really seen before, both in the handheld and console arena.
What Magnet does, or rather the three mini-games/tech demos in the game, is simple but at the same presents once of those “aha” moments that we hardly see in games these days. Devoid of any sort of cards that most AR games require in order to create the game, Magnet simply creates markers on any surface and in the case of the GDC demo it was a small carpet. Creating the markers isn’t a long task and simply involved moving the Vita from left to right until all the markers were created which took around fifteen seconds.
The first case of Magnet wonderment I was privy to seeing was a throwback of sorts to previous Sony tech demos as I created fully 3D modeled ducks. Yup, Sony certainly loves offering ducks in tech demos and in the case of Magnet it provided a simple example that 3D rendered interactive objects, albeit ones of a low-poly nature in the case of the demo can be created effortlessly without any special cards or other tools. There wasn’t anything special in the case of the duck demo, but it was rather effective in providing the case that AR could be used effectively in creating objects with the basic tools offered by Magnet.
Next up in Magnet was another mini-game which again was simple but effective in showing the ever growing strives Sony is making in the AR space. A more interactive demo, I was tasked with shooting panels that would flip over with targets on them – all of which were created directly off the environment the camera was pointing at. Again the mini-game was simple, responsive, and surprisingly fast considering the tech that was powering everything as there weren’t any weird graphical overlay glitches as there sometimes are in AR games. The shooting game was very basic but again it proved that AR games can be created in a very interactive manner without the use of AR cards, which would make gaming on the go that much more enjoyable.
The last game I played in the Magnet collection was by far the easiest and most basic in its design. Reminiscent of one of the games in Little Deviants and the editing tools in ModNation Racers: Road Trip, I was able to create mountains and holes by merely touch the front and rear touch panels on the Vita, thus I created a vast carpet landscape. Very basic in just about every way, the mountain tech demo showed that once again it’s possible to take any environment, this case a carpet in a booth, and augment it in a very particular way as per the parameters that were established. Of course there may not be much interest amongst gamers in creating mountains in video games but the basic tech present in the Magnet demo can be applied in a variety of ways depending if developers out there are clever and interested enough in utilizing it.
The side project to the Magnet collection came in the form of AR Hockey – basically it was Pong with a very stylish look reminiscent of TRON. Once again capable of creating a full on 3D interactive environment that doesn’t require any AR cards or physical markers, AR Hockey showed the tech of the Magnet collection in a tangible game that was actually a blast to play despite its basic nature. With paddle control being handled by the Sixaxis control of the Vita, AR Hockey has a somewhat rhythmic and hectic nature to it that one wouldn’t necessarily associate with a game derived from Pong. Visually AR Hockey was rather basic with its vector graphic approach, but the small touches that were present like rotating icons on the corner of the virtual ring and a real-time scoreboard on the right hand side really gave the game a full-on interactive feel that far exceeded it being a slightly flash tech demo.
As of now Magnet and AR Hockey aren’t full-on projects as they instead show the capabilities that AR gaming has via the Vita. I chatted with Sony Japan Software Engineer Akihiko Kaino, one of the designers on AR Hockey, and he told me that there aren’t any plans to release the game on the PS Store as it’s merely a tech demo and the same goes for the Magnet collection. However, there is some good news as Akihiko revealed that the basic tools used in AR Hockey have been released to developers in a SDK so there’s a chance that those who attended GDC and were intrigued by the premise and tools AR Hockey offered could devise something of their own in the future.
To a lot of gamers AR tech in gaming may still be a hard sell since we haven’t seen it used in any interesting ways outside of small games or things that literally come across as gimmicky. But based on what I saw with the Magnet collection and AR Hockey my mind was ablaze with potential gameplay scenarios that could be utilized using that tech, whether it’s seeing a fully rendered 3D character interact with gamers or their living room become the battlefield or backdrop for a video game. The tech AR tech Sony is developing may still be early but I really hope they continue to refine on it since sooner or later it’s bound to be the closest we’ll get to have a fully immersive 3D experience that’s akin to the Holodeck in Star Trek.
Imagine a hide and seek type game, where you give the vita to one kid and they run to a location in the house and place a virtual item there. Then they come back out and the other kid has to find that item in a set amount of time.
Such an idea could be expanded upon to real world locations (I left you a power-up at Wal-Mart on the beer isle. Retrieve it and grab me a 6 pack while you're out.), or even for promotional events. Much like they do today with the alternate reality games where people run around trying to solve mysteries by picking up clues at certain times and locations, you could do the same only using vita to reveal the clues.
---------- Post added at 11:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:52 PM ----------
Now imagine marrying this tech with Sony's OLED 3D headset (with 2 cameras mounted where the eyes would be, allowing for full 3D augmented virtual reality). The possibilities get pretty crazy. Being able to not only give you a full 3D view of your surroundings with the 2 cameras, but also augmenting gameplay elements into reality as you walk around.
As time goes on the hardware will become smaller, and I think we'll all end up wearing some sort of augmented reality head gear for gaming. Probably something that wirelessly hooks up to a vita sized device we wear in our pockets.
Last edited by frosty; 03-13-2012 at 01:00 AM.
lol. i think you're on a role there Frosty! great ideas
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