Apple updated ARKit, the iOS framework that enables augmented reality apps, at WWDC 2018, adding a multiplayer mode to the fledgling technology.
SwiftShot, a competitive slingshot game for up to six players that was demonstrated at the annual event for developers, showcased the potential of multiplayer augmented reality.
How To Play Apple SwiftShot
SwiftShot was demonstrated at WWDC 2018 by first setting up several elongated wooden tables, which served as surfaces for the augmented reality game.
In SwiftShot, players use iOS devices to aim and fire slingshots at the enemy's base, with the goal of knocking off all the pillars. The game, however, is not a stationary experience, as players need to keep changing the position of their iOS device to launch good shots over stacked blocks that served as obstacles.
SwiftShot requires the iOS devices of players to periodically scan the playing area to plot the game's reference points. The whole experience, however, felt seamless and was an overall fun time, according to people who were able to try the game.
The Future Of Augmented Reality
After the demonstration of SwiftShot at WWDC 2018, Apple uploaded the sample code for the game on the Apple Developer website. With the code, developers can see how SwiftShot works and build customized versions of the game.
Apple also provided tips on how developers should design augmented reality games, such as encouraging just the right amount of player movement, fostering social engagement, and keeping games short but fun through variations.
Of course, SwiftShot, its code, and the addition of multiplayer augmented reality to ARKit are all meant to spur the imagination of developers. SwiftShot is just a game that demonstrates the latest capabilities of Apple's augmented reality, with the multi-user feature opening up so many possible applications for the technology. Multiplayer augmented reality may go beyond games and into apps for education, training, communication, and much more.
Multiplayer augmented reality will likely be a very important feature for the rumored Apple AR headset, which will also reportedly include VR, or virtual reality. The wireless headset, which will not be required to be connected to a smartphone or computer, is expected to launch in 2020 with an 8K display for each eye and a powerful custom processor.
A couple of years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that augmented reality is high on the list of the company's priorities, and that the future lies with the technology instead of virtual reality because there is "no substitute for human contact." At WWDC 2018, Apple showed how Cook's vision for augmented reality is starting to bear fruit.