Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality Gaming Roadmap

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a little paper on where I thought augmented reality games would go as disparate technologies grew cheaper and easier to integrate. It's interesting to see how it holds up; a lot of the kinds of games I predicted have become available in the iPhone App Store even already.

I've been referencing this document more and more over the last several weeks. I kept wanting to refer people to things I'd written in this paper. But I realized that while I wrote this for ISMAR 2009, I'd never made it available online. 

It's past time that I fix that. I'd love to have more discussion of the topic and whether (and where) I'm right or wrong. So here, for your enjoyment, is my paper, 'Games in AR: Types and Technologies.' 

It's a little denser than my usual writing -- I use five-dollar words like 'taxonomies' and 'proprioception' -- but I like to think the ideas are both accessible and worth opening up to a larger audience to see if they can endure the tests of time and community scrutiny.

Have fun with it, kids!

Augmented Reality Game Roadmap ISMAR09

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ISMAR 2009

So hey! Next week -- specifically, next Tuesday -- I'll be at ISMAR 2009 in Orlando, Florida. (If you didn't already stands for the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Realities.) I'll be there to present a paper on the game archetypes I expect to see when augmented reality matures and is combined with other technologies, like GPS and face recognition. Fun stuff, right?

If you're going to be there next week, I'd love to see you and say hi in person, and I'd also love for you to stop by and see what I have to say on AR and games. I might even sneak in a little bonus material on games ported to a platform vs. games native to a platform...

I'll be presenting during the 3:30 to 5om session on Tuesday in a room enigmatically named "Magnolia A&B." Wish me luck!

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Augmented Reality & the iPhone

Augmented reality still has the aura to it of a far-future technology, something eternally five, ten, even twenty years away. But the truth is that we have the tech right now. I'm sure you've all seen GE's fun augmented reality demonstration. Or maybe Hidden Park. Or how about Kweekies? That's just a trickle compared to the flood we'll be seeing by this time next year.

AR hasn't taken the center stage yet, to be sure; but since it's inevitably coming, this means we're in for this decade's biggest and most significant format war. Forget HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray; who cares about dead media when digital distribution is the future anyway? No, the next big format war is one of platform, and has more in common with Xbox vs. PlayStation, or Mac vs. Windows.

A cabal of high-profile AR developers and researchers have come together to fire the first big shot across the bow in this looming battle. They've written an open letter to Apple asking the company to open up the iPhone SDK to provide developers with a public API to manipulate live video in real time. This is a crucial tool that would make the iPhone a powerhouse for mobile augmented reality applications. If you can't access live video, the device just can't access reality in order to augment it, so to speak.

I don't know if Apple will do it; they're a company that take their walled gardens very seriously. But hey, Apple, I think it would be a foolish business move not to. Developers are on your doorstep begging for the chance to make your device the go-to platform for mobile computing -- and you can give it to them now, not five years from now. How can you possibly turn that down?

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