Augmented Reality and Gaming – Interacting with game characters

Do I Need a PIM?

Mobile Gaming
By: Manish Shewaramani

Augmented Reality and Gaming – A Match Made in Heaven!

Technology has brought cataclysmic changes in the gaming landscape. The mobile market, too, is growing exponentially with millions of devices being introduced daily. Most importantly, technology is also transforming ways in which a game is played. If you are skeptical about the growth in mobile gaming, check out these mind-blowing statistics.

  • 241% increase in online gaming since 2008
  • 52% of gamers play for more than one hour a day
  • 18% of all time spent on tablets is spent on mobile games
  • Smartphone gaming industry to double by 2016
  • 84% of tablet owners are now playing games

As technology continues to evolve, gaming industry will witness unimaginable changes in the years to come. One such technology that has already started transforming gaming is Augmented Reality (AR). Imagine interacting with game characters in real-time. That’s the kind of potential this latest technology has. Let’s delve a bit deeper to find out how the gaming landscape is all set to witness a major transformation in coming years.

Revisiting the past

In early 1970s, gamers pecked at keyboards to manipulate those black and white dots on the screen. Fast forward 40 years, and you can now see gamers playing advanced online multi-player games with interactive graphics, animation, multi-dimensional environment etc.
The gamer, too, has evolved over these years. Just a couple of years from now and you will see game characters integrated with real-world environment to create a truly immersive experience.
Today, developing a game is no more limited to simple linear programming. In fact, it is now the era for building games for touch-control and motion sensors. Augmented Reality, as a technology, has the capability to refine a gamer’s experience and make it look more realistic.

Games that keep you hooked on

Consider games such as SpecTrek. As a ghost hunting game for android devices, you can catch ghosts virtually in the real world using camera and GPS. Such games are gradually rising in popularity as these add a new dimension to the end-users experience

What’s the future going to be like?

How would you feel like playing soccer with Ronaldinho in your living space? Seems like a distant dream ain’t it? Well, smart glasses from Google and Meta promise to deliver you this experience. Gaming is all set to reach the next level, like, the one you saw in science-fiction movies when you were a teenager.

Wearable Tech

Smartglasses like Meta’s SpaceGlasses and Atheer One will soon be available in the market and there will be gaming apps that offer you an incredible experience. Google has already made its glasses available for the masses. These advanced devices are equipped with all the necessary features to make gaming more immersive.

The in-built gyroscope and accelerometer work concurrently to read the location as well as tilt of your head as it moves right/left. Voice command allows you to give instructions. For instance, you can say ‘shoot’ for sending a missile to kill an enemy in the game play.

As Smartglasses become mainstream, there will be a chance for developers to churn out games that have an entire new collaborative real-world game play.

For instance, let’s say you loved playing dungeons and dragons when you were a kid. With today’s technology, you can have a new level of experience where dragons come out of the table. Or, imagine zombies coming out of walls in your living spaces and you have to punch them using hand gestures. It’s like having more of an emotional connect playing such type of games.

Furthermore, it is very much possible to develop games wherein players interact with holograms by simply wearing the glasses. Physics plays a key role here. When gamers interact in 3D inside the virtual world with physics, it certainly enhances the overall experience and makes them feel connected. Imagine audio being played only when you make specific movements.

As the expectations of gamers continue to reach new heights, augmented reality can certainly help make the experience more engaging. For instance, gamers now enjoy rich 60 FPS 3D game experience on their smartphones. Apps will be built that leverage sensor capabilities of devices for creating more compelling experiences for gamers.

With wearable tech, the possibilities are indeed infinite!

3D sensors in mobile devices

Gaming will experience a major transformation once smartphones and tablets come equipped with 3D depth-sensing devices. Let’s understand, what exactly 3D sensors mean for gaming.

Hardware like 3D sensors allows your smartphone/tablet to create a 3-D vision of your surrounding environment in real-time. What this implies is that you can now scan the world around you in three dimensions. Structure Sensor has been a pioneer in this area. Recently, Google initiated its Project Tango that involves developing a smartphone with in-built 3D Sensors. It has already rolled out around 200 such devices.

Augmented Reality gaming apps can be built for such smartphones that facilitate 3D object scanning by just walking around in a room. Sensors enable AR wherein digital/virtual images are placed on top of real world objects when seen via a viewfinder.

Players can now create their own space and interact with the world like never before. Game physics can now be applied to real world objects and surfaces. Here’s another example worth checking out.

Here’s how the entire thing works. A 3D sensor projects a speckled pattern of infrared light out onto world so that its infrared camera can view how the pattern is scattered by the objects where it falls on. Now, this information is utilized for reconstructing objects in three dimensions. This entire process is dependent on a chip.

For instance, a game can be built that uses the 3D sensor in a smartphone for capturing the 3D shape of a table and objects placed on it. Once you start the app, you see a virtual world being built around the table with game characters which can navigate over real world objects that are placed on table. For playing, you have to tap on the screen to interact with the real-world environment.

As smartphones with in-built 3D sensors become ready to find their way into market, gaming will certainly get transformed in a way we haven’t imagined! Are you ready to ride onto the next gaming wave? Let us know your thoughts.

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