Niantic's latest AR features add realism to Pokémon Go

Niantic’s latest AR features add realism to Pokémon Go

Niantic add augmented reality features to Pokemon Go this should make the mix of animation and the real world more realistic. While Pokémon Go seems to be a simple mobile game, it is so popular and generates so much revenue that the company can invest heavily in AR technology.

These updates will create more realistic augmented reality experiences and continue the company’s efforts to build the 3D map of the world, said Kjell Bronder, senior product manager at Niantic, in a blog post. The new AR features will be rolled out to select Pokémon Go players over the next week with Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S10, Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 phones, with more devices added in the near future.

Mixture of reality

The reality mix allows a Pokémon to hide behind a tree.

Above: The reality mix helps a Pokémon hide behind a tree.

Image credit: Niantic

The reality mix will make your Pokémon look better in the real world. Pokémon can hide behind a real object or be blocked by a tree or table blocking its path, just like you would see a Pokémon in the physical world.

As Pokémon Go has grown over the years, players have been able to photograph, walk and play with their AR monsters.

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Pokémon Go players can now contribute to the 3D world map

This character is occluded by a wall from the real world.

Above: this character is occluded by a wall in the real world.

Image credit: Niantic

Since the launch of Portal Scanning at Ingress, agents have scanned hundreds of thousands of points of interest to include in building the 3D map for games and future applications. Niantic now offers this activation functionality to the Pokémon community with PokéStop scanning. Scanning will first be available to Pokémon Go level 40 trainers in early June before being rolled out to more players (per level). Pokémon trainers can help build 3D maps of their favorite PokéStops and gyms by walking around their favorite public places and recording a stream of images with their phones.

Techniques such as blurring of potentially recognizable objects such as faces or license plates are automatically applied to the information that trainers choose to send to Niantic. The studio does not collect or store any personal data related to this information, and it is not linked to specific player accounts, said Bronder.

These images allow Niantic to generate dynamic 3D maps of PokéStops and PokéGymes that will enhance the AR experiences of the game. A machine-readable 3D map of a location gives devices (current mobile phones and future headsets) a better understanding of the whole depth and complexity of the real world.

This will help Niantic to link virtual objects to real world locations and provide Pokémon with spatial and contextual awareness of their surroundings. For example, this awareness will help Snorlax find a piece of grass to sleep on or Clefairy find a tree to hide.

The transformation of these points of interest generated by people from 2D images into a dynamic digital map of the 3D world triggers the evolution of the cartography of public services traditionally oriented around public transport (streets and walkways) to more meaningful and valuable location-based information focused on people’s interests. Said Bronder.

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