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Looking to 3D Gaming’s Future: Use Augmented Reality! Part Two

Augmented Reality (AR) may have come of age with its implementation in Pedigree Books coming line-up of comic book annuals for 2013. Readers can access new content and activities through their smartphone or tablet. Now the big question is will it catch on? The money is currently with this company’s acquirement of video game licenses Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars and Sonic the Hedgehog. Hopefully, players will be able to toss virtual birds around and have them bounce off walls and ceilings of the real world with pool-table geometry just to knock some pigs around.

In video games, the use of AR has been a complete novelty. With games like Face Raiders on the Nintendo 3DS, Wonderbook: Book of Spells on the PS3 and Skylanders on the Wii, the limitation is what programmers are realizing with AR. And depending on who you talk to in the entertainment industry, the application varies from talking to an imaginary figure to manipulating graphic displays a la Iron Man.

Currently, the AR technology requires a camera to be aimed at a specific graphic image. That will tell the application to create an avatar on the display to bring the two worlds together. But as for what the combined image can do? Not much. These virtual characters have to be able to walk around in the player’s physical world much like a holodeck in Star Trek. It would be more fun to control a computer generated Smurf: climb up curtains, jump off tables, and duck behind lamps to avoid Asrial the Cat as he creeps closer. The player may well be like a Marine wondering where the heck the Alien is on his radar.

At least Pedigree’s idea is to provide readers the ability to discover new content. AR is only as good as a T-100 needing a set of clothes. Google Glass might be a game-changer, but so far all the apps are more about displaying data in front of the wearer than offering games that can integrate with a web-cam and motion interface.

To have a game be fully interactive is key. Sony’s Book of Spells is successful because it gets players to play with the objects being created. Now if the game only provided a better replay value. It had potential if it included online wizard’s duels or combat against Boggarts after all the spells are mastered.

Perhaps AR should be integrated with 3D gaming. Some people like the idea of 3D and others hate it. The reasons vary from having a dislike of wearing special glasses to having less than perfect depth perception. Even though analysts are saying that 3D entertainment is dead, the damage is already done. Most new televisions have the feature built-in whether the owner wants this latest innovation or not. And if it’s there, the gamer might as well use it.

The idea to marry AR with 3D is to allow players to touch the computer generated object in question. Much like Book of Spells, the idea of “push content” is sound. Developers just need to take it to the next level to where it can work like Tony Stark with a holographic computer display. A new Kinect-like device is being developed for the market. The Leap Motion controller for the PC may seem like a novelty for now, but if developers are to embrace its ability to turn Windows 8 into what Microsoft intended, then enthusiasm for 3D PC gaming has a new champion.

Otherwise, software engineers are better off making more AR shoot ‘em ups with object recognition in mind. With a poster placed on each door, players can go hunting in their own homes for zombies with their mobile device in the palm of their hands. All they have to do is to be careful. One wrong slip by not being attentive enough on the stairs would seriously be one game over.

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About Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, Vivascene and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology, popular culture, video games, movies, technology and paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

Posted on July 31, 2013, in Opinions And Editorials and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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