A new mixed reality experience has been officially revealed by Pokémon Go developer Niantic, titled Wol. The game is set in a redwood forest and sees players following an AI-enabled owl – the titular Wol – as a guide.
The redwood forest can be entered through an augmented reality portal, with the Northern Saw-whet owl also describing this environment to those in the experience.
Wol is powered by 8th Wall, who has helped Niantic to create its first mixed reality experience. A limited release, Wol has been developed for Android, iOS and Meta Quest Pro in a demonstration of 8th Wall’s Metaversal Deployment; this enables the development of WebAR projects that can be deployed on multiple systems. In fact, Wol can be accessed on the aforementioned platforms without any app installs required.
"The web is a powerful place for augmented reality and we are excited to highlight how the 8th Wall platform can be used to create browser-based content that works across devices including smartphones and mixed reality headsets," said Niantic director of product management Tom Emrich.
Bringing new tools
Niantic has also announced its rollout of a number of new tools for the Lightship ARDK and 8th Wall.
Lightship ARDK 3.0 will allow integration with Unity’s AR Foundation in a public beta expected this month, and for the first time since Lightship ARDK’s release, Niantic’s features will be able to be used in tandem with existing AR Foundation libraries.
Lightship Maps are also being brought to Unity, making it an easier process for developers to integrate maps into augmented reality apps.
"Niantic focuses on maps at the scale of humans, maps that work at eye level, within the context of real locations," said Niantic SVP of engineering Brian "Bam" McClendon. "We’re able to position realistically because of our scanning frameworks and maps APIs. At Niantic we believe in AR everywhere, all at once, for everyone."
Last month, Niantic's 3D pet-taming AR game Peridot officially launched more than one year on from its announcement.