Game Development Reference
8.4.5 Augmented Reality (AR)
Although AR technology has been available since 1968, it has only been since
2006 or so that applications have become increasingly popular. This is due
primarily to the availability of webcams with desktop and laptop computers
and cameras, coupled with increased processing power in handheld devices
and mobile phones. Technology from the domain of three-dimensional
gaming is particularly key with respect to augmented reality as it allows
efficient and seamless integration of high-quality animated virtual objects
with AR applications.
In recent times, AR has slowly been creeping into the field of computer games.
Some interactive applications of note include the Sony PlayStation Eye Toy
and the EyePet and the Ninendo DS3D Nintendogs. In these games, players
see their real world streamed via a camera onto the screen and superimposed
with virtual game characters. The characters are positioned such that they
appear to be existing in the real world. Players almost feel like they can reach
out and touch them.
Augmented reality is a multidisciplinary field based in computer science
with the goal of providing a viewer with an environment containing both
real and virtual objects. With the use of mobile devices with cameras,
computer-generated images are projected on top of the physical
environment. To ensure correct positioning of virtual objects in the real
world, hardware and software are required to determine accurately the
viewer's location and orientation (point of view, POV). The POV can be
matched with the location of a camera in a virtual model of the physical
location and augmented objects and information projected onto the
real-world image. Alternatively, a visual symbol in the real world known
as a fiduciary marker can have its position relative to the POV determined
and used as the location and orientation of a virtual object. This latter
AR technique is examined in this section as such applications can be
created easily for Android mobile devices with Unity and the Qualcomm
Augmented Reality SDK.
Unity Hands On
Augmented Reality in Unity on Android Device
Step 1. Visit https://ar.qualcomm.com/qdevnet/sdk and download
the QualComm Unity Extension. Install on your computer as per the
instructions on the Web site.
Step 2. Create a new Unity project and import the QCAR-
1.0.unitypackage. Set the project for the Android platform.
Step 3. In the Project open the Qualcomm Augmented Reality >
Prefabs folder and drag and drop the ARCamera into the Scene.
Delete the original Main Camera.