Sunday, 31 October 2010

Samsung Wave S8500 and Augmented Reality: Samsung Mob!ilers Mission #3

For our third mission, Samsung has asked us Mob!lers to give our opinion on one of their applications. If I’m being honest I’ve found this a little difficult as, given the number of excellent free applications in their app store, it’s been hard to choose the one I like the most! In the end I decided that it should be a game, as this is what I spend most of my “procrastinating time” doing on my phone, and most utility-type apps either do what they say in the title or don’t... there isn’t much more you can say about them! Until the weekend it was it was a choice between two fantastic free games: the fast pace action filled Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior and the focussed balancing Tightrope Hero.

However, tucked away in the bowels of the app store I discovered ARdefender. Although these other two games are absolutely brilliant fun, they don't even come close to the genius of ARdefender! It modestly describes itself as “an Augmented Reality Game, involving a tower, various weapons and nasty opponents bugging you on your desk”. It’s a little bit understated for what it is: an absolute gem, and a free one at that. I've not been able to put my phone down and I've become the envy of my friends who all wait in line to have a go. This is quality stuff!

Augmented reality the term given to real-time blending of virtual imagery into a video stream. For this to work the application has to have a point of reference so you have to print out a special design on a bit of paper (a “tag”) so the app knows where to place your defence tower.

In place of your scrap of paper a delightful 3D blue tower appears on your phone screen with a turret on top. The cool thing about this is the 3D: you can move your phone around the tower and view it from all angles! You are also presented with a crosshair in the middle of your screen which you can aim at the numerous little critters and beasties that pop up on. You can see from the screenshots I’ve taken that you can really do this anywhere... I have used my leg to demonstrate!

The big red button in the bottom right hand corner is the most important one: the fire button. It allows you to bombard the enemies with a choice of lasers, missiles or just a regular rail gun which you can select from the right hand side. On the Samsung Wave you can also use the camera button to fire at your enemies which is a very nice touch! The game concept is quite simple, there are a series of levels which get progressively harder with more enemies each time. What makes this game so much fun is the augmented reality; without it wouldn’t be half as fun! You can change you coffee table, your desktop or even your lap into a fully fledged battleground.

This is something I’m never going to get bored of and one of the best apps to show off to your mates! I confess to not being very good at the game but that’s not stopped me enjoying the easier levels... it’s just a marvel of technology and programming. The ease in which this virtual world sits onto reality is absolutely stunning. The screenshots I’ve taken here really don’t do it justice (I'll try and get some better ones during the week). You must try it for yourself!

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