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Old 03-16-2011, 09:16 AM   #1
Kragg
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PAX East 2011: Augmenting Reality With The Nintendo 3DS



There has been a lot of interest and speculation flying around about Nintendo's upcoming handheld. I got a chance to check it out in person and play some of Nintendo's new "Augmented Reality Games".

Check out the full story by clicking the headline!
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:16 AM   #2
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My first hands-on demo at PAX East this year was with the Nintendo 3DS. I was particularly excited for this since I’m an avid fan of handheld gaming, and I’ve been somewhat skeptical of the “you have to see it to believe it!” reports of the device. Since no pictures or videos can apparently do it justice I was happy to finally try it in person.

The core focus of my time with the 3DS was spent playing Augmented Reality Games, or ARG’s. These are delivered on small cards that can be placed on any flat surface. You simply point the 3DS camera at the card to scan it and begin playing. The only card-based ARG on demo was a target shooter Archery game. Once the card was scanned a small three dimensional box shaped like a castle appeared to unfold and literally pop out of the table I was standing in front of. The effect was pretty impressive. Interestingly enough, the demo’er showed me the 3DS scanning capabilities by running his hand between the card and the system. When he blocked the signal with his hand the target range faded from the table, and when he moved his hand away the game “re-animated” and it appeared to re-emerge from the table. Controls were fairly accurate, but I had to adjust a few steps back and hold the 3DS at about half arms length to really make it work effectively.

The whole thing lasted about 4 minutes and culminated with a boss battle. The table appeared to bow and concave, and finally a hole broke open in it, and a dragon emerged from the table to begin shooting fireballs at me. Again, impressive. I could literally walk around the dragon to shoot at it from different angles, piercing weak points in its armored skin.

Next up I played the strange “face shooter” ARG that is built in to the 3DS. I began by holding the 3DS up to scan an image of my face, which was then mapped onto orb shaped enemies in a shooting gallery. While I shot at these orbs the faces contorted into bizarre, angry sneers and frightening smiles. If anyone remembers the strange electronic face “Kane” had in Robocop 2, it looked sort of like that. To destroy the bizarre floating Kragg-horde, I needed to spin in place and move the 3DS all around to find the targets. Also, there was a neat effect that created “tears” in the screen I could shoot through at enemies, and sometimes the 3DS would randomly pick out a random face in the crowd I caught with the camera, “grab” it, and turn their them into an enemy as well. It wasn’t exactly an incredible game, but it showed some interesting capabilities of the 3DS technology. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to play Street Fighter 4, but was able to watch while Pwnophobia did. It looks great running at 30 fps in 3D, and a full 60 when in flat 2D.

Speaking of the ability to turn off 3D, onto the hardware itself. The 3DS is comfortable and will be an easy adjustment for anyone who owns a DS Lite. Seeing as my eyes have trouble with the new 3D technology due to astigmatism, I had to use the built in slider switch to adjust down the effect to about 75%. According to Nintendo, everyone seems to find a natural “sweet spot” that works for their eyes. Where I adjusted to, the effect was not as extreme, but still completely noticeable.

I’m now more interested in the 3DS than I have ever been. While the ARG’s do seem gimmicky, I could totally see them having a place with a low price point in places like pharmacies and grocery store checkout lines. Simple, inexpensive games that players could collect and trade. They also showcase the potential applications of 3D technology moving forward with later generation software on the device. I’m still not completely sold on the 3DS, but actually using it went a long way in making me believe Nintendo is onto something.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:27 AM   #3
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To be completely honest, I got my hands on one outside of the demo booth and disliked the 3D effect completely. Despite the ability to adjust the 3D slider to different levels, most of the time I had a strange, almost headache, while looking at the screen. Additionally, you need to hold this device extremely still as any minor variation from directly in front of you, will cause it to go out of 3D and double up.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:33 AM   #4
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i'm guessing now is a good time to invest in some optometry related stocks... poor kids.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
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The real question is Will it print money?
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:07 PM   #6
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The real question is Will it print money?
Of course it will.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:09 PM   #7
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The Psp2 is dead already...even before it CAME out.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:42 PM   #8
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I got to play it too. I was surprised how well the 3D effect worked for me since I have a bad left eye. I had honestly still planned to buy one, but I was going to leave the 3D effect turned off, but now I think it was really cool. My wife has perfect vision and she had to dial back the 3D slider to 40% but I played just fine at 100%.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:22 PM   #9
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I saw a video of this ARG about a week back or so. It's super impressive, woulda posted it here but was busy :P

Let's see.



I think it looks cool. Good use of the tech on the system to enter what was previously a rather rare genre.

Interesting that games used to be completely disconnected with the world. They formed universes totally separate from our reality.

Then came the internet, connecting players together.

Now, here is this ARG, Alternate Reality Game, and things like Kinect which also literally looks into our reality to include you in the game. With devices incorporating GPS, digital gyros and accelerometers, games can increasingly take advantage of movement, angle, and position in the real world, along with camera use. It's an interesting time to be a gamer.

If we extend this trend, we reach a game type that I'd thought of long ago, but that the digital infrastructure isn't yet in place to make a reality:

In this horror game, the game console detects where your home is using GPS when you install it. Then it taps into a Google Maps database to get an overhead texture of your neighborhood and the surrounding five miles or so. From this it reconstructs your neighborhood using Google Streetview, infering from these pictures the geometry of your neighborhood, etc. Then you feed the game pictures of your house, which it then turns into a photorealistic copy in the game. Since you don't generally know what your neighbor's houses look like inside, it just infers that.

The game begins with you sitting at your actual location both in the real world and in the game. Zombies attack.

I don't know from there if it'd be done using an ARG overlay, or just using your actual house and neighborhood in an FPSstyle game, like L4D or something. But I think that level of customization of the game universe to each buyer's individual circumstances could make for an amazing game. And we're on the edge of being able to do it.
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