Augmented Reality RPGs

I still haven’t seen anything exactly like what I would describe in this post, so I’m kinda making a prediction here. The technology already exists so I consider it’s just a matter of time until it’s applied in this way; perhaps one or two years. I wonder how far or close I could get with this prediction, so I’ll leave it here just to be able to say “I told you so!” when it happens. I already posted this on a facebook RPG community

and at the Story-Games Forum

So I don’t know if it got enough exposure at the time, perhaps not. So, It probably won’t be like I gave anyone the idea to come up with this, but that they came up with it themselves. So, this bet is to see how fast people connect the dots in the same way that I do.

I’ve just been hit by a lot of ideas that are making my head explode in confuse excitement with the possibilities.

At my work my boss asked my team to develop a prototye game with Augmented Reality technology. We knew nothing of the subject so I went investigating. Here’s an idea of what I’m talking about if you are unfamiliar with the subject.

We made something akin to Drakerz game mentioned in the link abowe, though extremely simplified. In fact, it’s not a TCG but just a silly tower shooting skulls at you, that you can shoot down or evade by side-stepping on the real world (your smartphone is registering a marker placed in the real world after all, so you can also move your phone to evade the atacks)

Simple as the game was I was surprised at how fast the programmers here got things done. I’m no expert at the field but I understood that they used Unity and Vuforia; I was just in charge of making the visuals of the interface and the marker.

Cut to a class I gave on saturday on writing comics. I was helping a kid write his story, which was about a group of teenagers playing an AR game that included geo-location features. Basically, they use glasses and earphones that warn them of the proximity of virtual creatures that they hunt and fight, traversing the real world. We talked about what I was doing at work and I also recommended him several different animes on the subject (there was other material but I couldn’t recall it at the moment)

But at some point it hit me that this could perfectly mix with larp/roleplaying. Enter a game store where players can talk the clerk to exchange virtual goods or get quests in character. Wanna get some interests from local authorities? how about players getting in-game rewards for quests related to community service? How about player-created content? You could also give quests to other players in character, team together to defeat enemies, turn parts of public spaces into dungeons, have them change according to time of the day or the presence of other players, etc etc.

Vuforia doesn’t even need QR markers, it seems that an image with hign contrast is enough so if there’s anything like that already on the public space (like a memorial plaque) you don’t need to add nothing intrusive, just give the players clear instructions about what to use or even let them figure out by themselves.

And so on, my mind couldn’t stop so I had to tell someone and post it somewhere. Hope this helps me calm down or better, inspire someone to try something alike.



Recently the engineers at my work were working on an app that used the smartphone camera to register a marker on top of the head of a person (they tried a with a funny cardborad hat) and overimpose a 3d image of the head of a character. Again, nothing new, but the implications still keep blowing my head.


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