At WWDC, Apple showed off a demo game called SwiftShot, which was built with their newest augmented reality toolkit for developers named ARKit 2.
The concept is simple: knock down your opponent’s slingshots before they knock down yours. The game is a demo built by Apple to show off what’s possible with the latest generation of their AR platform.
ARKit 2 is actually the third major release of the software development kit. It enables several new features, including the ability to let a third party watch the action of the game through their device. Basically, their iPad or iPhone screen becomes a “window” for spectators. Additionally, AR experiences can now exist even after the app is closed. When you revisit a location or an experience, it can pick up right where it was left off.
Apple also says object and image tracking is better so AR apps can be even more powerful.
iOS 12 will even include it’s first AR app called Measure. It’s a virtual tape measure that can automatically identify objects and tell you their dimensions. I’m looking forward to this app as it seems much simpler than some of the previous AR tape measure apps released in the App Store.
Additionally, Apple worked with Pixar to develop a new open file format called usdz which helps people share AR objects in iOS through various apps including Messages, Safari, Mail, Files and News.
The game demo you see above is me playing SwiftShot. Two players compete against each other using a table as a virtual gameplay area full of blocks that react to the balls being released in the slingshots. It is the first multi-player game created with ARKit 2 and was written in Apple’s Swift code. Developers can download the game and learn from it. Apple hopes it inspires developers to create their own experiences.
It was really neat to play the game – you can get the hang of it in seconds. It was amazing to see how lifelike the virtual blocks were, even from all angles. The fact that someone else can watch the game through their screen makes these new types of games even more interesting to spectators, who would otherwise see people moving and reacting randomly with their devices.