The concept of reality has truly had its borders pushed with every technological innovation that has graced human society. It has been overlaid and fabricated entirely through the use of impressive computer graphics for the entertainment and service of consumers. It was even thought necessary for Forbes to provide a guide to distinguishing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality because of the popularity of these terms.
This is not surprising considering the range of products being continually added to an already thriving market, from video games to headsets and smartphones, including the impressive Zenfone AR launched hy ASUS Philippines by ASUS Philippines in 2017, following a 48-hour hackathon event. AR is indeed rapidly joining the limelight and striving to outshine VR successes such as Alien: Covenant in Utero, an Alienware and Oculus Rift collaboration also released in 2017 to offer players the unique experience of becoming a Neomorph. With the new Street Fighter title making use of augmented reality, it is certainly worth exploring the broader range of fields that have benefitted from AR and similar technologies.
Street Fighter II: Real World Warrior
Pokémon Go aside, one of the latest responses in augmented reality is a recreation of Street Fighter II put together by Abhishek Singh, a UX engineer for May Mobility by day and a game-developing enthusiast by night. Using an ARKit package, he applied his passion and skill in AR again, after successfully producing a HoloLens version of Super Mario Bros in 2017. Street Fighter II: Real World Warrior Edition transfers the virtual fighters of the 1995 classic to any flat surface a smartphone is directed at. 3D figures, original audio, and other impressively designed features greet the players, who can then duel it out in the actual street, using simple on-screen controls reminiscent of the classic setup but, of course, upgraded. In fact, any real-life flat surface at all can be used as a “stage” for SFII: RWWE. As if the experience was not captivating enough, an added bonus can be looked forward to in the form of a car-smashing mode, where players are free to set their fighters’ fists loose on virtual vehicles instead of each other. But what else has AR technology gifted us with?
More AR Games
Genesis is a title backed by Kickstarter that has fans of fantasy card games rejoicing. Through augmented reality, the virtual cards come to life before your eyes as you combat other players or delve into the dungeon mode for solo adventuring. 446 people believed enough in the project to invest over $50,000 towards its realisation. Neither they or the AR industry are disappointed with the outcome. Ingress is a complex adventure of global proportions. After siding with either “The Enlightened” or “The Resistance”, you must seek out pockets of mysterious energy that threatens the world, while solving puzzles and collecting clues alongside allies from all over the world. Already at 389,153 players and counting, Google Play has a winning AR card up its sleeve. Games can have a purpose other than fun though. Zombies, Run! is another engaging AR experience that doubles as a fitness tool. Instead of having your typical music to run to, you get the zombie apocalypse. Jogging or sprinting away from hordes of undead earns you resources to support a human community, but also side-stories that enrich your post-apocalyptic plot.
Further advances in video graphic technology have made real-time rendering possible, allowing developers Epic Games to work on their Fortnite title as if on a movie set. Unreal Engine 4 was used to produce such highly realistic animation for Kingdom Hearts III as well and even War of the Planet of the Apes. The adaptability of reality keeps becoming more and more impressive. Live gaming online, for example, is being constantly enhanced with streaming tools to achieve as realistic an experience as possible. Betway live features multi-camera technology for live roulette, blackjack, and other games. The player watches a live streamed casino feed, which includes a real-life table, dealer, playing cards and so on. This studio stream is combined with OCR technology which allows software to interpret the real cards showing on the table to superimpose buttons and information on the feed for the player in real time, in a manner similar to AR. But there is more to admire in real-time and AR accomplishments. As a leading name in the business of real-time 3D graphics and virtual studio solutions, Brainstorm was instrumental in the visual wonderland at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Unreal Engine was implemented again in combination with InfinitySet to provide viewers at the stadium or online worldwide with a jaw-dropping show of dancing stars, fireworks, and other imagery. NewscastStudio reports advantages of real-time broadcasting in journalism. Sophisticated graphics software, like Avid and Vizrt, make the creation of media easier and more efficient. 3D graphics and animation give stories or sports news an extra visual boost to captivate the audience and inspire greater involvement, either through social media or the simple viewing of a provider’s intricate virtual platform.
Apps and Tools
Thanks to Samsung and Disney, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ feature AR Emojis of Disney characters from animations classic and modern, including Mickey Mouse, The Incredibles, and Frozen. Deep learning and facial recognition technology grant your smartphone the ability to map over 100 facial features in order to create personalised Disney messages. MondlyAR teaches languages through lifelike AI interaction and immersive graphics that bring any object, animal, or location to you. The stars are literally the limit of this app’s virtual reach. A 4.7 score from 500,000+ App Store and Google Play customer reviews demonstrates the existing approval of this fun learning tool. Talking of stars, Terminal Eleven has produced an app that enhances stargazing. Apple’s SkyView brings planets, constellations, and horoscopes to your fingertips through an array of controls and capabilities that do not require a WiFi connection in order to function. For simply illuminating the beauties and wonders of the real world AR may be considered more valuable than VR. Even domestic interests can be addressed by AR. Amikasa is a simple but valuable iOS app that enables the visualization of a redesigned room. The user can place virtual features – cabinets, tables, wallpaper – around a space to see what they look like before making any regrettable purchases.
Reality is being increasingly embellished by AR and real-time technology. The 2018 market in virtual and augmented reality may still forecast limitations in the latter, with an expected 5.1% spending share in games as opposed to VR’s 6.6%, but the examples above promise greater things to come. The world eagerly awaits, eyes and ears tingling.