Augmented Reality is going to be coming to a phone near you very shortly. All it takes is a decent processor, a camera, a compass and a GPS — all of which are becoming increasingly common on smart phones (Android phones and the iPhone 3GS qualify). It’s going to be used primarily for games and geo-oriented apps. ARhrrr! is an awesome looking example of the former. In this game you hold your augmented reality enabled device above the “board”. When you look at the board through your device you see buildings appear and ZOMBIES (left image).
In this game you are a helicopter (middle image) trying to save civilians. You can shoot zombies — the zombies can also attack you with organs. Or you can use Skittles as bombs (orange and green plumes in the right image). The video below gives a great explanation of the game:
By merging graphics with props in the physical world, handheld Augmented Reality games pull the player through the small screen and into a larger merged play-space. Our primary motivation for this AR game was to explore fast-action first-person augmented reality, where the camera controls and movement that would typically require a mouse and keyboard are handled directly by simply moving the device. Advanced tracking technology allows the player to quickly zoom in and out and view the world at steep angles, making this a highly interactive and engaging game. Finally, we wanted to test tangible input mechanics, such as placing and shooting Skittles to trigger in-game events.
ARhrrr! t was designed for the Nvidia Tegra, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be widely available. I can’t help but be reminded of Will Carter‘s Mobzombie game which uses AR to chase the player with virtual zombies. Luckily for all of us Mobzombies is coming to the iPhone (follow @mobzomies for progress) so you can get your virtual zombie fix.