Augmented Reality is one of those technologies which tends to polarise opinion. Many people scoff and shun the technology as irrelevant to ‘proper’ games and label it awkward, inconvenient and nothing more than a jumped up QR code.
You friendly neighbourhood Scottishgames.net tends more towards the optimistic and impressed side of things. When Augmented Reality is done well, it can be fun, entertaining and give users entirely new experiences. All you need is some creativity and a good idea.
Scotland is fairly well served when it comes to developers trying new things with AR. Zappar, Interface3 and Red Radiant all have augmented reality titles in their portfolio. Indeed Zappar’s entire business is based around innovative new uses for Augmented Reality (including hats which turn you into a zombie, or pumpkin-headed freak…)
Now Outplay Entertainment has joined the list of companies working with AR. The company’s latest release, MonstAR Truck (we see what they did there…) is an augmented reality driving game – and it’s looking seriously impressive.
We were lucky enough to try a work-in-progress version of the game in August at the Dare to be Digital Indie Festival. Players print out a simple free marker – available from the website (and very shortly, Facebook), download the app for their iPhone or iPad, point the camera at the marker and use the virtual thumbsticks to drive the world’s cutest weeny monster truck around an obstacle course.
There are coins to pick up, ramps, cones, blocks and course to negotiate. Given that you’re in a monster truck, steering around these items is optional as with enough speed you can plough through them, send everything flying and generally cause the same level of Mayhem as a bull in a monster truck in a china shop full of ramps, turbo boosts and energy drink.
This is an exciting new experiment from Outplay’s ‘Outplay Laboratories’ experimental arm. The company tells us they’re exploring what can be done with AR and the potential it has for gaming and entertainment.
We’re impressed. MonstAR Truck is simple, fun and immediately engaging. Critics may argue that printing out a target image is inconvenient, that you need quite a big table or flat surface and that the controls can be a little tricky to master. Frankly these people need to be locked in a hot monster truck with a bear. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s trying something new. Kudos to Outplay for making it available.