As iPhone 8's launch nears, developers have started making augmented reality games for Apple's upcoming device.
Epic Games, the company behind games such as ‘Gears of War’ and ‘Infinity Blade’, Monday launched its Unreal Engine 4.17, which includes in its list of additions experimental support for Apple ARKit.
Epic Games chief technical officer Kim Libreri told Engadget, "We want to go beyond gameplay for AR, it's more about what's unreal and real. The engine is always gonna be a great gaming engine. What we're really seeing is the gamification of everything else [and] it's gonna be hugely disruptive."
Apple launched the ARKit — its developer’s kit for augmented reality experiences for its upcoming iPhones — at the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. At the event, Wingnut AR, a company which works on creating AR experiences, demonstrated an augmented reality game created using Apple’s ARKit.
The demonstration showed how AR graphics could be laid over an existing real environment, and a player would be able to see AR games playing out on his/her iPad or iPhone over the real environment.
The performance of Apple’s ARKit might be a huge factor in determining the technology’s future, since Pokémon Go, the game which made millions fascinated with AR, seems to have slumped in terms of player interest.
That being said, the game’s early success has opened the door for developers creating AR-based games; and with the ARKit and the new Unreal Engine, we might see some interesting developments before the year ends.
The most important aspect these companies need to get right is the overlay of graphics over an environment — if it is laggy, it will just mar the gameplay.
Now the updated version of Unreal Engine will give developers a platform and tools to create AR games for iOS-based devices, along with experiences that create cohesion between the gameplay and real-time environment.
It will also allow developers to create games and experiment with the ARKit before the release of iPhone 8 and iOS 11.
The thing to be kept in mind is that currently support has only been provided on an experimental basis; APIs and interfaces might change, and you might even get an experience better than the one showcased at WWDC.
Chances are we might see first-person shooter AR games in which users will be able to create quests, weapons or heroes on demand, according to the company’s press release.
Apart from Apple’s ARKit, the Unreal Engine 4.17 also supports Google’s Tango AR.
In comparison to Apple AR technology, expected to make its debut in its flagship device, Google’s AR technology seems to be at a nascent stage, with phones such as the Asus Zenfone AR adopting it as of now.
But with developers creating diverse AR experiences, especially games, the technology is expected to spread across both Android and iOS devices by next year.