A July 7 release date now beckons for ambitious iOS game Clandestine: Anomaly, the augmented reality title with hopes of advancing the AR genre as a whole.
Smartphone games have found great success in adapting their design to the unique nature of mobile.
If virtual gamepads are possible using on-screen buttons, they lack the tactile feedback of the console or arcade cousins they seek to emulate.
Far more intuitive is the use of tap and swipe controls, uniform across smart mobile devices. Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump, Angry Birds have all leveraged simple single-digit actions to great effect.
But augmented reality games attempt to go much further than mere touchscreen accommodation.
The Nintendo 3DS's built-in Face Raiders app uses its onboard cameras and gyroscope to show a player's surrounds populated with flying faces that have to be taken down – similar to AR Invaders on Android and iOS.
Accompanying suite, AR Games looks for specially produced cards and, on screen, can replace them with images of Mario, Kirby, a 3D art space, a fishing pond and so on. Smartphone games like Toyota 86 AR and AR Defender 2 also make use of printout markers.
Google's Ingress leans on GPS, net connections, and the company's access to data on public spaces – from parks and statues to museums, galleries, and well-known landmarks – sending players out and about to claim land for one of two fictional factions; in return, Google receives live information on navigating from one point to another in real-world conditions.
Clandestine: Anomaly goes a bit further than that. Instead of turning a phone into a targeting reticule or hacking node, the idea is to make use of several normal functions: as a camera, a text and video messaging device.
Players will look like they're doing nothing unusual – taking photos, checking a message. In the game, they're calling in strikes on alien forces, setting up signal towers, or directing allied units.
While players are encouraged to roam, guided by floating AI, Nuncio, it's different from Ingress in that the whole thing can take place within 2 square kilometres.
And as a first game from Canadian studio ZenFri, led by artist Corey King and with Gears of War 2 writer Joshua Ortega on board, it's oriented towards single players – there's no multiplayer meta-game to worry about.
But by recruiting not only a phone or tablet's camera, gyro, GPS, and data connection, but an expanded range of normal day-to-day functions, Clandestine: Anomaly hopes to become the mobile action game that is hidden in plain sight. – AFP Relaxnews
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