News: AR Puzzle Game PuzzlAR Makes Jump from Smartphone to Magic Leap One

AR Puzzle Game PuzzlAR Makes Jump from Smartphone to Magic Leap One

Augmented reality jigsaw puzzle game PuzzlAR: World Tour, formerly only available on mobile devices, has been given a major upgrade via a new version for the Magic Leap One.

Back in November 2018, Magic Leap sought to bolster its AR ecosystem by launching the Independent Creator Program. The idea was for game and app developers in the spatial computing realm to submit their AR project ideas to Magic Leap for possible funding support.

After the company sifted through 6,500 app ideas, PuzzlAR: World Tour was one of the first apps to win a grant. The app was created by a Lisbon, Portugal-based team called ONTOP Studios. If PuzzlAR sounds familiar, that's because it made its initial debut as a mobile-only game way back in 2017.

Image by Ontop/YouTube

The object of the game is to reassemble a national monument after it's been broken into several, 3D pieces. Using your Magic Leap One and the wireless Control device, a player can rotate and place 3D chunks of the monument into their appropriate locations.

The ONTOP Studios team chose to use the Control device instead of hand gestures because they found that method was more accurate when moving a virtual object in three dimensions. (To be fair, this was likely before the new hand mesh update, announced this week.)

During production, the developers claim they were very careful to take an end user-focused approach to designing PuzzlAR. Instead of simply placing a point on the ground to anchor the game, as required by your average AR app, PuzzlAR starts with the player having to look around until the planet Earth is fully visible.

Image by Ontop/YouTube

As a result, the app gamifies the necessary step of scanning your environment. Once finished, the AR constructs scale automatically based on the distance from the player. This dynamic takes into account the different gaming styles styles of various players, allowing the game to be played close up, or at a distance.

"My background is in animation and film, and I couldn't stop thinking about what Magic Leap represents to all creatives, visionaries, and... everyone," said Nuno Folhadela, CEO of ONTOP, in a statement on Magic Leap's blog.

"Stories and experiences no longer need to be confined to a screen, and instead can happen as a part of the physical world. For the last few years, we've become accomplished augmented reality developers, and we've found Magic Leap One to be the most exciting platform to work with."

Image by Ontop/YouTube

Since most consumers have some form of AR-capable smartphone nowadays, playing AR games on your mobile device just makes sense. However, using a dedicated AR headset makes playing an AR game like PuzzlAR a truly immersive experience.

Although there's no shortage of AR gaming options, the upgrade of PuzzlAR: World Tour from mobile to the Magic Leap One is nevertheless a step in the right direction for the advancement of the entire AR ecosystem. And it's proof that, months after announcing the first winners, Magic Leap's app funding initiative is beginning to bear fruit.

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Cover image via Ontop/YouTube

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