Magic Leap continues to launch new AR apps on its fledging app store before the door closes on 2018, and this time the app is a sequel from a veteran VR developer and early Magic Leap development partner.
The original Luna challenged users to help a bird and an owl (also a bird) to put the moon back together through solving puzzles, creating miniature worlds, and playing music from the plants of those worlds.
"For Luna: Moondust Garden, we wanted to take those same kinds of concepts building, constructing, playing with space, and causing your friends to emerge and build a little narrative that was really specific to the Magic Leap," said Robin Hunicke, CEO and co-founder of Funomena, during a behind-the-scenes video published by Magic Leap. "This is something that really struck me was that it's not just an entertainment technology; it's a future technology, and from that moment on I was pretty much hooked."
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The sequel revisits the bird and owl, who have established a tight friendship, an adds their friend, the fox, who is feeling blue and introverted. The player's mission is to help the bird duo build magical landscapes in their physical space to entice the fox to come out of hiding. The Magic Leap One's spatial computing abilities are ideal for this task.
Hunicke introduced the app's concept during the keynote at the L.E.A.P. conference in October.
"We were captured by the creative licenses afforded with Magic Leap One," said Hunicke in Magic Leap's blog post. "Our team immediately started re-imagining behaviors; we discovered we could remove barriers and normal thought patterns for how people interact with something to create a brand new interactive storytelling experience."
Funomena is just one among an expanding group of established studios and publishers that have accepted the invitation to translate their creative capacities from VR to a new paradigm in Magic Leap One, with Resolution Games, ILMxLAB, and even the NBA joining the fray.
"Just the idea of seeing something come into your environment that alone has some magical property to it," said Eddy Ortega, a senior producer at Funomena. "Instead of worrying about, 'oh, how do we make sure this feels magical,' what we kind of learned is that we can actually revisit what is the feeling that we are trying to create."
Magic Leap has defined its first year in the public sphere (free of the startup stealth cover of the past) through the launch of its first device and the establishment of a creative community. And while the company has graduated from the prototype stage, it is still firmly entrenched in the developmental phase when it comes growing an ecosystem akin to the Apple App Store, Google Play, or the Microsoft Store, and it has a long way to go. But it is succeeding in partnering with studios that are not afraid to bring something new to the table.
"Funomena is one of the few studios that's really got a proven track record with being that kind of experimental, sort of crazy house where they really sort of like try and push the boundaries of everything that they've worked with all of the things that like a new device could maybe do," said Tadhg Kelly, a senior account manager of developer relations at Magic Leap. "They're the kind of studio that really wants to push it make it do that."