One of the difficulties with virtual reality (VR) is that it’s difficult to relay an experience or videogame to audiences, because it is so fully immersive. Without mixed reality or a green screen, it’s difficult to imagine or picture it. However, when it comes to augmented reality (AR), it becomes a lot easier to visually explain what’s happening.
VRFocus managed to get hold of Oleg Chumakov, CEO of Luden.io at Gamescom and got a first-hand experience with his AR videogame ARrived, a God simulation game, similar to the videogames Black and White or Populous.
Chumakov showed ARrived in a room lit by daylight where the floor had two different colours. Apparently this made it easier to calibrate the room for tracking. When you start ARrived, four little men appear on the floor of an iPad, and you then get to choose to be either a good or bad boss by clicking on happy or evil emoticons on the left or right of the screen respectively. Chumakov chose good for the purpose of this demo and the four men celebrated this act by dabbing (a dance move). You can create land for them by adding more trees and clouds. You can move these objects around to your liking around your room, and they will stay in the exact same spot no matter where you move in the room.
Small icons appear above the men as you choose various options for them to eat and drink, indicating they should either eat or drink. Icons also appear above the men to indicate how they feel, a snowflake appears above their heads and they start shivering indicating they’re cold. You have to start a fire in order to warm them and happy icons will appear above their heads to show their gratitude. Chumakov used his sleeve to block the camera to show how lighting works in-game, but it also resulted in slight mis-tracking when he removed his sleeve. After the tracking re-adjusted itself, magic clouds (what look like blue portals) appeared dropping items from the sky to the floor.
Chumakov explains that when at home, you have to physically move around the house and room in order to find more magic clouds. The objects are used to create a totem are not random, they’re based on objects around the room you’re located in whilst playing. Chumakov explains that under the totem dinosaurs will start appearing. As the game continues you can find other tribes and another god. There is no real ending to the game, however if you do meet another god whilst playing the little figures can either choose to follow you or not follow you according to how well you played.
For this version of ARrived, the game is five minutes long. The reason for this is the intense processing power AR needs to work. It will suck the battery life and the device will heat up playing it. It also means that you can’t turn off the game and expect to come back to it and continue playing. AR is still in its infancy. Chumakov explains that as new hardware comes out you’ll be able to spawn the objects and humans in various locations. He also mentions that women are included in ARrived, but unfortunately the mechanic broke just before the conference – but they will be in the finished videogame upon release.