Downloaded “Atlantis – AR World” today after reading about it on Twitter today. It looks interesting so I”ve decided to try it out and see how the actual experience will turn out to be in practice.
Atlantis AR World is an AR platform that allows users to place virtual content in the real world. Content like clipart, smileys, and text, or even paint in AR so other users, including yourself, can locate it later.
In the future, we have those virtual object located very precisely on top of the AR cloud. However, Atlantis uses a less accurate technique, which is using GPS coordinates. When you place a virtual content, it is saved in a remote database with the Id of the object and its the location coordinates as read by the mobile device’s GPS where the user stood when he saved the object.
The allow other users to use the built-in map feature to locate other people’s creations. This turns the app into a social app. You can use it to leave messages for a family member to discover when he get s outside the house. You can leave a tip for other people to discover. In the game’s description on the App Store, the developer mentioned the option to create your own treasure hunt challenge, but I doubt it because you can easily see the object on your screen.
If the object is far away it won’t be visible, but this is impractical to play a game like that on a very large scale. ARrrrrgh, tackled this idea quite well, allowing users to hide the treasure, essentially making the object invisible. Maybe by adding an option to make the object invisible and make it visible when the user is close to it. Anyway, using GPS, it wouldn’t be accurate.
Some of the virtual content is free, but most of it ie behind a paywall. You’ll need to upgrade to the Premium pack in order to be able to place all the other items that you see on the list,
Furthermore, the creations are anonymous. Users are able to like and report other people’s creature in order to maintain good quality and remove undesired or offensive content. Obviously, if an app like this becomes popular, it’s going to attract a lot of, let’s say, undesired content and it will be very hard to control it.
The UI is very simple and easy to understand, although I think it needs a few improvements. For example, I found myself putting several items with no idea why there isn’t an option to drag the items around or rotate them. If you tap the screen, it just put another instance of the object. The app definitely feels like a concept app, not like a fully polished product.
There is no doubt that the GPS is not a good idea for this type of app. For example, I put some notes outside the building like 15 meters from it. After re-launching the app in my house, those object appeared in the living room.
When I move closer, the objects move far away from me. It had many other issues, but the bottom line is that this type of experience should use ARCloud where the virtual objects can be overlayed perfectly in the physical world by utilizing the AR CLoud, which is a machine-readable 1:1 scale model of the real world. This ensures a very accurate, reliable and believable Augmented Reality (AR) experience.
Theoretically, the idea is cool and is perfect for augmented reality, but the problem is that without the needed technologies, the experience isn’t fun.
Now that ARKit 1.5 is out, I want to be able to leave a note no the fridge for my girlfriend to read, but obviously, with such a terrible accuracy using GPS, this feature isn’t applicable at all and won’t work.
I don’t know how exactly this app works, but I believe it converts GPS coordinates to relative coordinated that ARKit can work with. The thing is that after toying around with the app for some time, you can’t run away from the clear conclusion that this type of experience just won’t work well with only GPS coordination.
I’m sure that in the near future, we’ll have those type of AR Cloud services that will allow developers to create much more reliable, accurate, fun and immersive AR experience the way the developer imagine it.
It’s a good app on the explanatory level but not in the practical level. So overall, I wasn’t impressed, but it I enjoyed trying it because it gave me an understanding of the disadvantages of current technologies and why ARCloud is such an essential necessity for augmented reality apps, especially those who take place outdoors.
I also think that there should be some sort of a gameplay element, educational of rewarding elements to make the exploration worthwhile. Atlantis AR World is just isn’t there.
I do believe that it could be fun getting outside the house and seeing all the things that people create with it. Of course for that to happen, we need to have many users using this app. I think that if Instagram or Snapchat integrated such feature, it would reach that point where I can experience that feeling of walking through AR creations. I believe that if such features will be in those apps, it will happen using ARCloud technology, not rely solely on GPS technology to fule this experience.
I recommend reading this insightful articles about AR Cloud on medium.com. It explains why GPS isn’t a good enough solution and what is AR Cloud and why we need it so badly.
Download Atlantis AR World for iOS from the App Store here.