While not initially crucial to playing Pokémon GO, the augmented reality (AR) feature has slowly been improved so that users are more likely to utilise it, especially when it comes to interacting with your Buddy. Today, Niantic Labs has revealed a couple of new AR features set to arrive, enhancing the experience further.
The first is Reality Blending, adding occlusion to make the Buddy feature that little bit more realistic. As the above GIF demonstrates, this allows your Pokémon to be obscured by real-world objects, so they could essentially run and hide, popping out from behind a couch.
Niantic Labs has been working on this for a while, previously releasing a video in 2018 featuring Pikachu and Eevee. Reality Blending is being tested as part of snapshots, with the studio noting: “This cutting-edge AR feature will roll out for testing to a small number of random Trainers with certain Android devices, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S10, Google Pixel 3, and Google Pixel 4.”
In addition to Reality Blending, Niantic Labs wants to develop 3-D maps of existing PokéStops and Gyms with help from the Pokémon GO community. Called PokéStop Scan, this opt-in feature will be made available to level 40 Trainers early next month, followed by lower-level players in the future. Niantic Labs wants players to record a 10-second max video from as many angles as possible so they can generate dynamic 3-D maps.
“This can give us a better understanding of how virtual objects persist and where they are in relation to one another, which will help us improve the game’s overall AR experiences. In addition, the 3-D objects allow our devices to further understand what they are looking at in order to augment reality in real time,” the company adds.
As Pokémon GO was always about getting you out and about for some healthy gameplay, the current coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdown’s have meant Niantic Labs has needed to change tact, encouraging at home initiatives where possible. The latest is Play at Home, noting the various ways you can enjoy the videogame without going too far.
As Pokémon GO‘s AR features are improved, VRFocus will keep you updated on the latest announcements.