Interview

Int13's Cocquereaumont on the potential of augmented reality and releasing launch games for bada

Int13's Cocquereaumont on the potential of augmented reality and releasing launch games for bada
One of the most interesting mobile games we saw at the Mobile World Congress was int13's augmented reality game AR Defender, which will be preloaded on Samsung's first bada device, the Wave.

To find out more about the company, the technology and the game, we tracked down Stéphane Cocquereaumont, int13's co-founder and lead developer for some answers.

Pocket Gamer: What is it about Augmented Reality (AR) games that excites you?

Stéphane Cocquereaumont: The technology is not perfect yet, but we feel there's something interesting for gaming in it; something that we want to explore.

AR games haven't been done before, the potential is huge, but unfortunately there is also a lot of people creating crappy AR applications and rubbish games based on the popularity of the buzzword. We hope it won't kill mobile AR.

How did you develop your AR technology engine ARWiz?

It started when we were contacted by a client asking for something innovative on mobile. At this time I had seen some demos made with ARToolkit on YouTube, I was impressed, but it was a very unpleasant surprise when we tried ARtoolkit on a real device. It was slow as hell and very instable.

I first tried to improve the existing codebase, but it was really badly written and extremely hard to untangle, so we decided to start over, and create our own AR library. It took longer than expected but it worked.

I've spent a lot of time reading all the scientific papers I could find on the subject too, only to find most of them are not usable.

I'd say that 80 percent of the algorithms implemented in ARWiz are brand new. This gives us very good performance because the chain has been thought with the constraints of a low-end ARM CPU in mind. Our base target is the Nintendo DSi. We haven't released anything yet on this platform, but we'll post something on YouTube soon.

What sort of games do you think work best in terms of augmented reality?

We don't think AR should be tied to a specific kind of game, but currently it works best with games where there is some precise aiming to be done.

One of the cool feature of mobile AR is the 3D mouse as you can freely move your phone to move a cursor.

How did you start working with Parrot for the AR Drone?

The CEO of Parrot contacted us last year, a few months before the drone was unveiled at CES 2010. We're still working with Parrot to improve the AR part of the drone.

You have two launch games for Samsung bada so how did that come about?

We first met Samsung during the summer. At the time they asked a lot of questions about our games and the AR tech, but they didn't disclosed much information about bada. We heard about it a few months ago, and were offered to be partners for the launch of the device.

SDK problems aside, the bada platform is one of the best I've seen from a developer perspective. The device and API are well made for games.

Have you released any augmented reality games?

We recently released AR Defender in Korea but we haven't had any sales numbers yet.

What other ideas do you have for new augmented reality games?

We have a few other games prototypes, but they do not work well on the current iteration of our AR technology.

The good news is we have plans to really improve this technology. It's already fast, and it will also be very robust and our focus is to progressively remove the need for a marker.

Thanks to Stéphane from his time.

You can find out more about int13 from its website and follow it on Twitter.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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