Pokemon Go, one step to VR

By | July 25, 2016

First of all, I have to say that I am not a heavy game player, or even a real game player, since I only play very limited number of games countable with my fingers. However, there is one recent game, Pokemon Go, really catches my eyes. I play this game just like other peoples and I have met lots of people who are walking on the street and staring on their cellphone screen all the time. Here is my achievement in this game so far. I caught and evolved lots of high level Pokemons as a Pokemon trainer.

My Pokemons

The points make this game so special to me are, firstly, it makes me remember lots of fun time of watching the original Pokemon animations during the childhood. Secondly, this idea of making game feels happening in the real world is really amazing. When I enthusiastically talk this game with my friends, I call this game as a ‘perfect matching game’ to the Pokemon idea. You go outside, find some wild Pokemon, catch it and put into your pocket. Your cellphone become a device linking between you and the invisible game world.

The core technique making this game unique is so called Augmented Reality (AR). By definition, AR is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data (from Wikipedia). In general, this technique is able to create virtual content in the real world while these content are perceived by special hardware, such as cellphone, glasses (Google glass), head-mounted headset (Microsoft Hololens). Although virtual content requires special devices to be sensible, this technique did approach one step closer to the final Virtual Reality (VR) where an environment, real and imagined situation are duplicated and simulated allowing for user interaction with physical presence. It could be imaged that VR requires substantial amount of computing power as an entire environment needs to be simulated in a fine detailed resolution to feel like real. Another technical obstacles for VR include throughout understanding of human brain functions and neural signal transmission, reliable neural link (i.e. Cybernetics) as well as virtual world creation etc. Jeffrey Werner wrote a nice blog discussing the difficulty of implementing real VR, here is the link for “Virtual Reality – The Road to Fully Immersive Gaming“. AR could be a realistic compromise to VR given current technical limitation.

With all of that, enjoy Pokemon Go, the AR game.