Bring Pokémon to reality, or walk into their world

What is AR?

AR stands for Augmented Reality. It is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images, sounds, or other information over a user’s view of the real world, in order to enhance or augment their perception of it. If we want to catch Pokemons in our real world, we need AR to create those virtual characters. Luckily, Pokémon Go has made this possible for us.

What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go was one of the first mainstream examples of AR technology being used in a mobile game, and helped to popularize the concept of using AR in gaming. The game uses the player’s smartphone camera and GPS location to display Pokemon characters on the screen as if they were in the player’s real-world surroundings. Players can then catch the Pokemon by “throwing” virtual Poke Balls at them.

For me, the story of Pokemon accompanied me throughout my childhood. And The Pokemon Go is the earliest AR technology application I have learned. So let’s go back to 2016 and find out why is this game so engaging?

Why is Pokemon Go engaging?

Pokrmon Go became extremely popular upon its release in 2016, with millions of players worldwide catching Pokemon in their neighborhoods, parks, and other public places. There are many reasons behind its success:

  1. Gamification of reality: The game uses augmented reality technology to superimpose virtual Pokemon characters on the player’s real-world surroundings, which creates a sense of excitement and immersion for players.
  2. Social interaction: The game encourages players to go outside and explore their neighborhoods and communities, providing opportunities for social interaction with other players.
  3. Nostalgia: The game is based on the popular Pokemon franchise which has a large fan base, many of whom grew up playing the original games, watching the anime and collecting the cards. So it brings back childhood memories for many people like me.
  4. Convenience: To catch Pokemon in real life, all you need to do is pick up your phone and use the camera to explore the surrounding scenes
  5. Collecting and Progress: The game has a collecting aspect where players can catch different Pokemon and add them to their collection, this creates a sense of progression and accomplishment for players.
  6. Rewards: The game also rewards players for catching Pokemon, visiting PokeStops, and battling at Gyms, which helps to keep players engaged and motivated to play.

What can be improved?

  1. Gameplay: Some players have complained that the gameplay can become repetitive and lacks depth. Adding more diverse gameplay mechanics and activities could help keep the game interesting for players. We want to see more vivid Pokémon, not Pokémon that only poses with a few fixed actions.
  2. Social features: While the game encourages social interaction, the in-game features that support this are limited. Improving these features, such as the ability to trade Pokemon with other players, would encourage more social play.
  3. Accessibility: Some players have criticized the game for being too physically demanding, as it requires players to walk around to find and catch Pokemon. Improving the accessibility of the game for players with mobility issues, such as providing more PokeStops and Gyms in one area or including more options to play the game from home, could help make the game more inclusive.
  4. AR improvements: Pokemon Go’s AR implementation is not perfect, it can be improved for example by making the Pokemon appear more natural and realistic in the real-world environment, and allowing players to interact with them in more ways.

VR: a way to walk into the game world

Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that allows users to experience a simulated environment through the use of a headset and other equipment. The user’s movements and actions in the virtual world are tracked and translated into corresponding movements and actions in the simulation. If you have ever imagined entering an exciting game world, like the Pokemon game, then you must not miss the following movie.

What is Ready Player One?

Ready Player One is a science fiction action adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, and released in 2018. The film is based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Ernest Cline. The movie is set in a dystopian future where the majority of the population spend their time in the virtual reality world of the OASIS, a place to escape the real world. The plot centers around a virtual treasure hunt set up by the creator of the OASIS, in which the winner will inherit his fortune and control of the virtual world. The movie deals with themes such as escapism, the impact of technology on society, and the power of virtual reality.

Why is Ready Player One engaging?

One of the main reasons is the visually stunning and immersive special effects used to bring the virtual world of the OASIS to life. The movie does a great job of capturing the feeling of immersion and presence in the virtual world, making audiences feel like they are actually inside the OASIS. And that’s one of the goals of future VR technology.

Many familiar game characters appeared in this movie. The protagonist in the movie uses VR equipment to enter one wonderful game world after another. I think no one can refuse the exciting experience of driving Gundam in the game world. For those who grew up with games, this movie fulfills their desire to enter the real game world.

This movie has also changed people’s views on VR to a certain extent, presenting people with a wild possibility of the future VR world. We know that some of the wildest ideas in sci-fi movies and TV shows are now reality. People also look forward to one day being able to enter the game world in this movie.

What can be improved?

Although the movie shows us a beautiful world built with VR technology, there are still some shortcomings in the plot. Some of the characters in the movie use simple glasses and hand devices to enter the VR world, and some use expensive equipment to get a more realistic experience. They use 360-degree treadmills to play games indoors, and people who can’t afford such equipment can only run on the street, which has also caused some traffic accidents. But if you want to complete the magical movements of the VR characters in the movie, it is not enough to have a treadmill. It’s like when you do a backflip or something like that, you don’t feel comfortable wearing these devices. You want the device to be able to recognize these difficult movements, but the reality is that such a sensitive device will become a burden on you. Especially wired hand and leg motion capture, their presence will hinder the movement. VR devices still take a long time to develop and update if we want to get that kind of future VR experience.

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