Ingress, the godfather of site-based AR games developed by Pokémon GO creator Niantic Labs, gets a new lease of life through Ingress Prime, a reboot of the game based on the Niantic Real World Platform.
After Returning Restart late last year, Niantic launched the new game on Monday at the App Store and Google Play. The prerequisite remains the same "hack" portals in real-world places to claim territory for your chosen fraction – but the game gets some improvements to the user interface. Niantic also deepens the players' depths in the game's story outside the app with an interactive hub and a web series, "The Dunraven Project."
But the biggest change comes under the hood, because Ingress Prime is the first app built on The Niantic Real World Platform, with another implementation, Pokémon GO's Adventure Sync Backup feature can come soon.
"Ingress Prime is based on Niantic's Real World Platform and serves as an important driving force for gaming and technology innovation for all Niantic products," said John Hanke, founder and CEO of Niantic. "Since its initial release in November 2012, Ingress and its passionate and versatile user community have been an inspiration for the team to create new and innovative ways for players to work together in the game and in the real world."
Real World Platform is Niantic's entry into the AR Cloud market. The computer-based display-based platform only uses a smartphone camera to enable multiplayer experiences and adhering content as well as real-time occlusion. The result is more realistic AR content and exhilarating experiences that maintain a common context with others.
On the surface, there appears to be no AR Cloud features – multiplayer, persistence or occlusion – built into the game. The AR game in this game, as it was before, is only in the geocached nature of its gameplay, with virtual content available (but not visible) in real-world.
The app requests permission for access to the device's location as well as the camera. In previous reports that preview Real World Platform, Niantic, CEO John Hanke, has shown that the virtual maps on the platform are built through crowdsourced data captured in the background of smartphone cameras, as players play Niantic's site-based games.
"Niantic Real World Platform develops how computers see the world moving from a model centered around roads and cars to a world centered around people," Hanke said in a blog post announcing the Niantic Real World Platform. "Modeling this people-focused World of parks, trails, sidewalks and other public spaces requires significant calculation. The technology must be able to solve minute details, specifically digitizing these sites and modeling them in an interactive 3D space that a computer can read quickly and easily. "
If the camera is not used to display AR content in the camera's view, it appears that the app delivers data for Niantic AR Cloud mapping. In addition, the game's main goals, portals, parks, and other public areas that Niantic wants to model for Real World Platform. We have asked Niantic to confirm these details and we update this post when we receive words back.
Yet, the launch of Ingress Prime is a major milestone for the Niantic Real World Platform, into a live game before competing AR Cloud Platforms from 6D.ai and Ubiquity6 (which, like Niantic, are economically supported by Google.) Although the game does not utilize AR features now, the platform uses which will enable Niantic to integrate these features in the future (or other games) while players contribute to the platform's digital mapping.
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