Can you imagine how a Battle Royale be played in Augmented Reality (AR) or Mixed Reality (MR) using current technologies or with AR Glasses and AR Cloud?
Battle Royale has conquered the video gaming market by storm. Nearly a third of PC gamers (as of March 2018) are playing a battle royale game with Fortnite leading with 45 million players and over 3 million concurrent users. The game has made slightly less than $300 million in April 2018.
For inspiration LOL, video by nigahiga YouTube user.
No doubt that the popularity of Fortnite: Battle Royale, PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, H1Z1—lead many developers to make their own version of the game, even in AR.
I’ve already tried a Battle Royale AR game Guns Royale AR mode, which is a shooter and resembles an authentic Battle Royale experience. That being said, that game played more like a table-top game. When I mentioned an Augmented Reality or Mixed Reality Battle Royale game, I was more into a more realistic first-person shooter experience, where the player himself represents a character in the game and needs to “hunt” other real players in the real world environment.
AR Cloud very much needed
To make this game possible, we obviously need to implement AR Cloud technology. I’ve just come back after reading an article by Matt Miesnieks, the CEO of 6D.ai AR Cloud company, and from my understanding, Googles Cloud Anchors isn’t suitable for large-scale multiplayer AR experiences. This means that if we get to ever play a Battle Royale, that game will need to use AR Cloud in order to provide accurate synchronized multiplayer gameplay across mobile devices, AR or Mixed Reality glasses.
Playing Battle Royale in the Real World
The time for Battle Royale games to shine is NOW, so it’s quite unfortunate that there aren’t consumer-ready technologies that allow developers to start making those projects already. Maybe some developers already have access to beta SDKs and might already start working on a similar experience for AR.
But how would such a game look like in Augmented Reality or Mixed Reality?
Well, it has to resemble the original gameplay experience. So I guess there will be specific physical real-world areas that will previously be defined as “Play zones“. Those zones will either pre-scanned and mapped into AR Cloud, to reduce the real-time mapping initialization, although I assume that those will update during the gameplay session from different user devices.
Those Play Zones might be quite larger and obviously will be chosen in safety areas. Furthermore, they need to assign areas where users won’t be able to be unreachable. So if the user is hiding in a certain unassigned area, it will be like he is out of the map and will have his health reduce or even kicked from the game.
Of course, the whole idea is to give users the option to fund hidden sports and obtain virtual weapons, armor, and accessories as they explore the play zone.
This type of Battle Royale game will be best played using Augmented Reality (AR) glasses for a few main reasons. First of all, all your friend of view is visible for a more seamless experience. You have your hands free, so developers might use hand recognition computer vision algorithms to attach weapons to your hand or sell physical accessories to give the gameplay a more physical and realistic feeling. Then they just need to add some nice visual effects and skins to it (HADO comes to mind).
Just imagine playing a Battle Royale game using Mixed Reality glasses like Magic Leap. Players who see each other can see the other players wearing the armor and weapons they have picked up (I don’t know how exactly this can be done, but if it’s possible it would be awesome).
Furthermore, if Mixed Reality headset is used, items can be put inside, behind, above or below other physical objects in the real world and only be seen if they are positioned where the user can see them, like in real life. In Augmented Reality, I think that those items would only be visible when the user gets close distance where the items are located. So I won’t be able to see them from 10 meters away, but I will be able to see them when I get like 1 meter away from them. The reason for that is that in AR, the virtual content is overlayed on top of the real world camera’s video stream, so you can’t actually hide it using occlusion, whether, in mixed reality, you can.
Now imagine 100 players getting into a certain zone and playing Battle Royale game against each other. I can already see this in my head and this type of game would certainly motivate me to go outside and play such a game. You know, when I think about playing outdoor games I think about Pokemon Go. The thing is that even with similar games coming out, I can’t just spend all day playing the same type of AR games outdoors. If I do intend to spend more time outdoors playing an AR game, I want it to offer a completely different experience, not a similar experience to an already existing game.
No doubt that this type of Battle Royale experience can be really satisfying in Mixed Reality. Imagine sniping a person who hides behind a wall, just making a sneak peek to see where the other players are and BAM, headshot!
Even better, imagine playing as groups and bringing your friends to play against other groups, that can be so awesome and the winning is going to be such a fun social experience. After you win, a beautiful loot box falls from the sky, you open it, and get a cool new skin, oh mama!
Imagine finding a campfire like in Fortnite and putting it on the floor and ask your bodies to join to replenish health, only for all of you to be eliminated by a grenade that was thrown at your location, LOL.
That type of game can yield so many fun moment and it can be so much more entertaining when you get to actually “eliminate” a player that is standing not far from you in the real world and watch his reaction.
Playing Battle Royale Game on Magic Leap
I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling that we are going to have a Battle Royale game for Magic Leap, no so far after its official consumer release. If not, it won’t take long until such game appears in the market.
Battle Royale seems to be here to stay and it definitely not showing any signs of slowing down. Mixed Reality is a fantastic platform for this type of game and if there is any platform that might be ready to deliver that immersive Battle Royale gameplay experience its Magic Leap.
If you are a Magic Leap developer, you might take some notes and consider to develop this type of game.
Obviously many things will need to be adjusted to make a Battle Royale gameplay well in the real world. That being said, many people are already familiar with the gameplay concept and I’m sure that this type of game can get a great deal of attention in the media once it’s released.
Who knows, maybe Epic Games already have an idea of bringing their popular Fortnite title to Mixed Reality or Augmented Reality. I have a feeling that it will come to AR first because to make this game popular, Mixed Reality has to already establish a large userbase, and due to the high prices of those MR glasses, we might not see a title for it anytime soon.
Anyways, I wrote this article just to open your mind to such idea and instead of making that game just a tabletop game, try to create a Battle Royale experience that stands out from the rest and get a good attention from the Battle Royale community.
Can’t wait to see the first real-world Battle Royale in Augmented Reality and/or Mixed Reality.
Image credit: By Ravindra Hegade [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons