Beasts of Balance: AR

Beasts of Balance: AR

Tabletop games are as old as time, so how would we extend this idea with modern technology, that is the question that Beasts of Balance tries to answer and they asked us to help develop an Augmented Reality extension to their already digitally augmented game.

How can Augmented Reality improve the experience of an existing game without altering its core gameplay? Beasts of Balance is one of the most acclaimed connected games of 2018, so when NEEEU was invited to research and develop an augmented reality layer for the game, we jumped at the chance. Through agile prototyping, we found that augmented reality elements could make recording and sharing the important moments of gameplay fun, without distracting from the game itself. We developed an AR extension to the app that lets players record and share videos of their game that show a vibrant, alternative world appearing out of their physical creations.

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My role within this project was to develop the AR extension within the codebase of the existing game.

The initial testing phase was testing if the existing product could be used as a digital marker for aligning the game world and real world. It turned out it could be used although because it was rotationally symmetric the world would sometimes align up-side down. This was easily fixed by looking at the down vector of gravity and thus it was possible to align.

Another nice challenge within this project was to find a way to translate the 2D drawings of the beasts into 3D. Luckily the beasts were already vector drawings and could be extended into 3D space with minimal interventions from the artist.

The final challenge was to engineer and design the extension in such a way that it would not break the game for people with devices that didn't have support for AR. This was a little tricky as of the time of development AR was still in early stages and documentation and features were a lot less fleshed out.