Why Int13 Got in Bed with Total Immersion

Yesterday, Total Immersion (TI) and Int13 – both French augmented reality companies – announced a strategic partnership, in which Int13 would help TI cover a major gap in its product line: Mobile Augmented Reality.

A French kiss or a Russian bear hug?

Instead of guessing, we went out to speak with Stéphane Cocquereaumont, president and lead developer at In13, the mobile games boutique studio behind an AR game legend: Kweekies (“when is it coming out?”).

Ori: Congratulations Stéphane! This must be a big shift for Int13.

Stéphane: Thanks. We started discussions with TI back in April, so we knew where this was going for some time now.

Ori: What was TI’s motivation to approach Int13?

Stéphane: TI approached us because their clients kept asking for “360” solutions. While TI is strong with large installations, live shows, and PC based experiences – their mobile AR line needed a boost.

Ori: …and what about Int13? You had it going as an independent studio with Kweekies, first on Nokia and then on the iPhone.

Stéphane: We have been flooded with requests from marketing agencies about mobile AR campaigns. At first we tried to adress those requests, but we soon realized managing their expectations in terms of delays, pricing and capabilities of the tech posed a huge overhead, and was distracting us from our goals.

Ori: So, you decided to “outsource” the headache and focus on your product?

Stéphane: Exactly. TI will work with the marketing agencies and other players asking for quick mobile AR applications. We will offer them our tech embedded in a nice and clean SDK with a Lua API, easy to use but with limited flexibility.

Ori: You make TI happy, yet keep the full power to yourself. Make sense. What can you reveal about the business terms?

Stéphane: For TI this partnership means they have a working mobile AR SDK, with worldwide exclusive rights for two years. They pay an annual license fee, plus royalties on all the projects they deliver with our tech.

This should be a win-win partnership.

Ori (note to self): [...more of a French kiss than a Russian bear hug.]

Stéphane: We’ve also made a deal with another french company, the project will be shown during CES in January 2010; very exciting project but I can’t say anything about it for now.

Ori: Thanks for teasing us. Can’t wait to see it.

Stéphane: We’re also discussing with device makers, we’ve been to Korea last month, and we’ll release our first AR game very soon (September or October) in Korea. The game will first be available on the SKT network, on Samsung devices.

Ori: Wow. You’re unstoppable.

Stéphane: Wait, there’s more – we’ll soon publish a preview video of ARDefender; it’s a simple game to help players discovers the capabilities of AR.

Ori: Fantastic. And when will we be able to finally play the legendary Kweekies?

Stéphane: Kweekies is delayed…too many other projects on the plate for our small team. We still intend to release it by Christmas – though we can’t promise…
Ori: Awww…that’s a downer…any good news to close with a positive note?

Stéphane: Yes, I got something for you – we’ll soon reveal a new demo of ARWiz 2, the next iteration of our AR tech, faster and much more robust.

Ori: That’s a great comeback. Thanks for sharing the story behind the scenes, Stéphane.

And all the best for Int13 and TI in your new (in bed) relationship.

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Open Letter to Apple: Let us Augment Reality with the iPhone!

A letter sent to Apple Developer Relations.

Dear Apple,

We are a collection of augmented reality (AR) enthusiasts and professionals (from business and academia), who have been working on a multitude of AR apps for the iPhone. These apps are poised to change the way people interact with the real world.

But here is the rub: we are currently unable to publish these apps on the app store because the iPhone SDK lacks public APIs for manipulating live video.

We are asking Apple to provide a public API to access live video in real time, on the iPhone.
We will be happy to offer additional technical details.

The impact of augmented reality (AR) on our lives could be as significant as the introduction of the PC.
In 10 years, we believe augmented reality will change the way everyone experiences travel, design, training, personal productivity, health care, entertainment, games, art, and advertising (videos).

Looking back just a few years, AR pioneers had to hack a slew of components into ridiculously large backpacks and HUDs, and be confined to rigged environments. Nowadays, it comes in friendly, affordable packages and the iPhone is one of the first devices to have it all – except for a public API.

The battle to determine the winning device has already begun; a public API to access live video will give the iPhone a lucrative ticket to compete.
We believe Apple has a window of opportunity of about 3 months before developers start looking elsewhere. If Apple decides to publish the API in that time frame – in the next 10 years, everyone might be using the iPhone as the preferred device to interact with the real world.

Here is how augmented reality could open up new opportunities for the iPhone this year:

Arf (Georgia Tech)

a virtual pet you take anywhere

ARghhhh (Georgia Tech)

first person table-top action game

Sekai Camera (Tonchidot)

AirTag the real world

Kweekies (int13)

a portal to creatures in a parallel world

Layar (SPRXmobile)

Browse the world with an AR browserDetails

Artoolkit for the iPhone (Artoolworks)

the most popular AR kit now on the iPhone

StudierStube ES (Imagination, Graz TU)

the only AR engine designed for mobile devices, now on iPhoneDetails

PTAM on the iPhone (Oxford University)

next generation AR tracking with no markers or images

Wikitude (Mobilizy)

a travel guide that “tells you what you see”

Virtual Santa (Metaio)

interactive Christmas application using the augmented reality

Augmented Reality Sightseeing (Fraunhofer IGD)

Historic photographs overlaid on your field of view while strolling in a street

These are apps that are practically ready to go. There is a whole bunch of apps and games that are just waiting for the API to be available.

…And Apple, we know you can’t share your plans…so please surprise us soon!

Many many thanks for your consideration -
Sincerely,

Signed:
Michael Gervautz – Managing Director Imagination GesmbH
Robert Rice – CEO Neogence
Georg Klein – PhD PTAM creator from Oxford University
Stephane Cocquereaumont –  President & Lead Developer Int13 (Kweekies)
Maarten Lens-FitzGerald – Founder & Partner SPRXmobile, developer of Layar
Ori Inbar – Author of GamesAlfresco.com and CEO and founder – Ogmento (formerly Pookatak Games)
Philippe Breuss – Lead developer, Mobilizy
Philip R. Lamb – CTO, Artoolworks
Noora Guldemond – Metaio
Takahito Iguchi – CEO, Tonchidot
Blair MacIntyre – Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

Bruno Uzzan – CEO, Total Immersion
Michael Zoellner
Fraunhofer IGD
Andrea Carignano – CEO,  Seac02

If you are developing an AR app for the iPhone and wish to join this effort – just let us know.

Your Favorite Augmented Reality Games Of All Time

Our inaugural post from early 2008: “Top 10 AR demos that will…” sparked huge interest. Since then, we have witnessed loads of AR games swarming the market.

Well, that may be an exaggeration – but the industry has certainly transitioned from delivering mere demos to actual games; from proof of concepts to commercial products; from “Yay” to “W00t!”

We have covered these AR games before, but Today is your chance to choose.

Vote for your all time favorite augmented reality games!

Our only rules for nomination:

1) It’s a fun game

2) It registers computer graphics on reality

3) It runs on commercial off the shelf hardware.


Here are the 18 nominees in chronological order (when first surfaced on the web):

go!

1. The Invisible Train

2004 – Graz University (PDA, Gizmondo)

2. Catapult

March 2006 – Gizmondo (Gizmondo)

3. Eye of Judgment

May 2006 – Sony (Sony EyeToy)

4. AR Tennis

June 2006 – Fanta/HIT Lab NZ (Nokia)

5. WizQubes

March 2007 – MXR

6. Level Head

October 2007 – Julian Oliver (webcam)

7. ARis

July 2008 – Geisha Entertainment (Webcam)

8. Kweekies

October 2008 – Int13 (Nokia, iPhone)

9. Ghostwire

October 2008 – A Different Game (Nintendo DSi, Nokia)

10. Tower of Defense

December 2008 – Sergey Ten

11. Topps

March 2009 – Total Immersion (Webcam)

12. Scope

March 2009 – Frantz Lasorne (Goggles)

13. Do the Dip

April 2009 – MacDonald’s (webcam)

14. ARhrrrr!

May 2009 – GA Tech and SCAD-Atlanta (Nvidia Tegra)

15. Candy Wars

May 2009 – GA Tech and SCAD-Atlanta (Gizmondo)

16. Art of Defense

May 2009 - GA Tech (Nokia)

17. RubberDuckzilla

May 2009 – Oasis (webcam)

18. InVizimals

June 2009 – Sony (PSP)

-*-*-*

Which are your favorites?

Share with your friends and find out their favorites!
(share button at top right of page)

The winners will receive the lucrative -

“Games Alfresco Hall of Fame Award”

Augmented Reality Game Poised to Win Game Award: Vote for Kweekie

Stephan Cocquereaumont, president and lead developer of Int13, a French next-gen games studio for Smartphones, has just shared with me the latest video of his mobile Augmented Reality game – Kweekies:

Kweekies is an Augmented Reality virtual pet game that allows gamers to interact with their pet by using the embedded camera of their Smartphone. 3 selling points – Augmented Reality that just works – Cute Virtual Pets – Online Competition


Kweekies is one of the 6 nominees for International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA) in the newly established Real World Games Category.

The competition is taking place this week at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona.

Here are the nominees:
Ghostwire
FastFoot-Challenge
Kurai: The Dark Monolith
Kweekies
MoveYa!
Aikon Ghost Hunter

Is Kweekie the only true Augmented Reality Game in the bunch?

We already had that debate before…

In any case, the winners will be announced soon – and you can make a difference.

Vote for the best!

Nokia’s MGIC: Augment Reality – the Nokia Way

Forget the iPhone. Forget Google’s Android. Today is Nokia’s day.

As of Today, Nokia is playing in the big leagues of Augmented Reality. It just announced the top 10 finalists in its Mobile Game Innovation Challenge.

Guess what type of games made it to the top?

Augmented, augmented, and more augmented.

To make my point, I have filtered out the “traditional” games and put on the list only games that smell like augmented reality spirit. Here they are:

1. Active Tecnologia e Consultoria Ltda. (Brazil) with Cinemarena – set in a movie theatre, controlling avatars on the big screen

Sounds pretty augmented to me.

2. CreatePlayShare (India) with Ball – play any ball game on your mobile or even create your own new game

Reminds me the legendary SymBall, one of the first augmented reality games on a phone.

3. Different Game (Sweden) with Ghost Wire – use your mobile device to communicate with ghosts

Blurring the line between real and virtual couldn’t be more spooky.

4. Eclipse Interactive (UK) with Watchers – conspiracy adventure game that uses Nokia Maps and other real world tools to find locations

Sounds more like a mixed reality game, but hey – let it benefit from the doubt. Today, we are celebrating.

5. Int13 (France) with Kweekies – augmented reality virtual pet game

We were expecting Stephan and the Int13 team to come up with great augmented reality games on the iPhone. Well, they have first delivered for Nokia. Wish them success.

6. TechnoBubble (Spain) with Fun Cam – a mixed reality game that connects your camera on your mobile device to the TV

I don’t really get it – but since it’s a self-proclaimed mixed reality game, we’ll include it.

There you have it: 6 out of the 10 top games in Nokia’s “Mobile Innovation Challenge” fit in the augmented reality category. That’s a landslide victory!

And it’s not all: the three most innovative game concepts will be offered by Nokia Publishing pre-production contracts. The first winner will be awarded 40,000 EUR, the second 20,000 EUR, and the third 10,000 EUR.

Congratulations to the top 10 finalists (including the non augmented reality games…). The winners will be unveiled at Nokia’s Game Summit in Rome next week. May the best win.

***

It’s been a good month for AR games; news have been embracing the iPhone, Google’s Android, and Today – Nokia.

Which begs to say: ready or not – here comes a groundswell of games to a reality near you.

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