HappyGiant, creator of the popular Augmented Reality game HoloGrid:Monster Battle has joined forces with just-out-of-stealth Y Combinator startup Jido Maps to create the free multiplayer QuasAR Arena (pronounced kwā-zär) mobile AR app, a two-player laser tag-like game where players face off head-to-head while moving around, firing projectiles, and using shields in timed matches.
Happy Giant used Jido Maps’ SDK to create QuasAR Arena, a multiplayer mobile AR game that allows players to roam freely as they hurl energy balls at one another with their smartphones.
Jido Map’s software developer kit (SDK) enables app developers to detect semantic data about their environments. By “semantic data” CEO Mark Stauber means Jido uses AI to translate objects detected by its proprietary computer vision into dimensional objects defined by their relationship to other things, rather than the various methods of creating a mesh or point cloud. Like those systems, Jido’s SDK also allows for persistence and solves the multiplayer limitations of current AR technology. Jido Maps was founded by graduates of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Labs and the Cornell Robot Learning Lab.
Stauber told me in an interview that with QuasAR Arena, Happy Giant is the first developer to launch a unique new AR product using its technology. “HappyGiant designs on the cutting edge of augmented reality experiences, and possesses an unsurpassed understanding of the space,” said Stauber. “We worked side-by-side with them on this game, evolving our comprehension of how to create the right UX for multiplayer AR. They pushed the capabilities of our tech to places we couldn’t imagine.” Stauber says the SDK is in the hands of many other developers who will also be launching apps with their technology in the coming months.
Shield yourself from incoming energy balls from across the park.
Upon launch, QuasAR Arena will be a two-player PvP match in which the players navigate the physical world while using the camera in their phone to dodge, parry and blast each other with balls of light. “In terms of AR multiplayer tech, the big story here is how we enter into multiplayer matches,” Levine told me in an interview last week. “The AR approaches of Apple, Google and Microsoft require users scan the area before beginning an AR experience, then saving that data to a cloud, then others users loading that data in and relocalizing the playing area. This can take upwards of 30 seconds or more. Jido’s system eliminates these steps. In QuasAR, players enter the shared AR space together simply by pointing their smartphones at each other and tapping. A much quicker and easier path to fun.” Jido’s software then scans the environment in real time during play. The company plans to add a spectator mode, and four-player support shortly after launch.
“We look at QuasAR as a platform, similar to Rec Room,” said Levine. “Users will be able to play tennis or a Western shooter using the same technology. We want to try applications in all genres to see what people think and then grow, as a platform, genre by genre, iteration by iteration,” said Levine.
Like the popular smash hit progenitor of all AR games, “QuasAR Arena” from Happy Giant is designed to get people out of the house. Though you could play inside, if you’re not afraid of breaking things.
The companies are working to raise awareness of QuasAR Arena in anticipation of their upcoming launch. Jido is hoping the game from HappyGiant will demonstrate to developers some of their tech’s robust capabilities to attract more developers to its SDK. As an independent developer, HappyGiant is hoping to raise awareness in anticipation of the app. Given its role in the rollout of AR Kit, HappyGiant is hoping the App Store will again shine its light on their work. QuasAR Arena is in private beta-testing, though people are encouraged to sign up to participate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The app will be available as a free download in the iOS App store soon.