Augmented reality is an old precept that has been given new life with more advanced mobile technology. But what is augmented reality, where did it come from, and why is it going to bring about some huge changes in iPhone games, and other mobile platforms?
Augmented reality is actually a really simple concept. It is overlaying a virtual reality on top of the actual reality around you. This simple concept is nothing new, but it has definitely been given a new lease of life.
Augmented reality has a long history, from the beginnings of subtitles and rolling credits over film, to the more modern overlays used by sports casters, where circles and arrows are used to highlight their commentary. These are all simple virtual realities used to enhance the real world.
With modern technology, augmented reality has suddenly found itself on a portable real-time platform and this has huge meaning for the merge of augmented reality with iPhone games.
Currently games set you in a pre-built scenario. You walk down defined streets, in fantasy environments. But what if you were not fighting off zombies or aliens in some far off land, what if you were defeating hordes of zombies trying to invade your home, or defending your home town from waves of flying saucers?
Looking through your iPhone screen you can see the real world from your iPhone camera, but you can play games overlaid on your own world, rather than some meaningless environment.
iPhone games are now utilizing this power to an ever increasing degree. Upcoming games such as Traveller-AR will even give you MMORPG style game play in an augmented reality world. Bringing this kind of iPhone MMORPG in to the realms of reality means that you can literally engage, trade, or fight other players as their ship floats above the earths surface based on GPS location. While this kind of functionality is still being tested, it is some very exciting stuff!