If you ever played with Micro Machines or Hot Wheels toys, you may have spent some time crafting an intricate racing course for them around your bedroom, living room or kitchen. This experience is recreated in augmented reality (AR) with new ARKit-powered experience Lightstream Racer.
Created by developer Virtual Arts, Lightstream Racer uses a smartphone camera to scan a space, then places a unique race track in that space and spawns futuristic racing vehicles to send zooming through the course, doing loop-de-loops and making impossibly tight turns.
Visually, it looks like an AR take on WipEout crossed with the classic Micro Machines videogame franchise. Players can choose to race in career mode to build your skills and earn advancements in your Pilot Grade, or play online in a fight to reach the top of the Worldwide Leader Board. Players can pick a specific Rival Pilot to chase up the leaderboard.
The way that the AR works means that at times the track can completely encircle the player, providing a new perspective on the racing action. This means that almost any surface can act as the basis for an improbably miniature racing track.
Developer Virtual Arts previously worked on another madcap racing title with Cargo Racing VR for the Samsung Gear VR, a VR title that tasked the layers with getting their vehicle full of cargo to the finish line in one piece as fast as possible, whilst contending with tracks that twist and turn in unusual ways. By completing tracks with the best time, players can unlock perks such as custom paint jobs for their vehicles.
The Virtual Arts studio was formed by ex-ARM employees Nizar Romdan and Doug Day, who set out to develop new interactive experiences with a focus on mobile VR and AR apps and videogames.
Lightstream Racer is out now for iOS, available through the Apple App Store priced at $0.00 (USD). No plans for an Android version have yet been announced. A gameplay trailer is available to view below. VRFocus will bring you further news on Virtual Arts as it becomes available.