Rescape: AR Game Engine

Rescape: AR Game Engine

Posted On: March 26, 2014
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It’s not augmented reality or virtual reality, it’s “reality gaming.”

That’s the label start-up studio 13th Lab has pinned on its impressive new platform, Rescape, which uses some fancy mapping technology, your smartphone’s camera, and a proprietary controller to transform the world around you into a first-person shooter.

Reality Gaming

Using advanced computer vision and specialized optics to track your movements, Rescape lets you digitize the real world, pull any canvas you want over it, and then have you and your friends blow it to pieces! It actually lets you move around physically within a game, mimicking your and your friend’s movements in the real world. Since there isn’t really a name or genre for it already, we chose to simply call this mix of real and virtual reality gaming – Reality Gaming.

Rescape is like no gaming experience you’ve ever had – guaranteed.

Rescape is a hardware game controller and software for your smartphone which turns it into a reality gaming platform. Rescape puts players physically in the game – running, shooting and screaming. All your senses tell the same story, bringing a whole new level of immersion to mobile gaming.

The Rescape SDK, specifically developed for the Rescape hardware’s special optics, maps your environment and tracks your movements in the real world with centimeter accuracy, enabling you to physically walk around in virtual worlds that map 1:1 to your real environment. See and hear the world around you like you’ve never seen or heard it before through the screen and earbuds of your iPhone.

Game controller with smartphone mount

The Rescape game controller is optimized for FPS gaming, with a trigger, a directional pad and a smartphone mount containing the specialized optics. The controller is resizable to accommodate different arm lengths and preferences, and the shoulder stock can even be removed completely.

Rescape computer vision technology and SDK

Using a technique called SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) pioneered by NASA and previously used mainly in robotics, the Rescape SDK maps and tracks your environment in real time using advanced computer vision and sensor fusion.

The SDK also contains a tool for quick and simple structural 3D reconstruction of large environments, allowing gamers to quickly create and digitally “paint” large game spaces like an office and start a game. The SDK includes a C api as well as out of the box integration with the Unity game engine.

The Rescape SDK is 100% free to use and develop for, there are no license costs involved.

Multiplayer support

One of the most fun parts of Rescape is the multiplayer support. Multiple players positions can be synced over the network, and your real friends replaced with digitized representations. You can collaborate, or play against each other, in teams or individually.

Enable any existing FPS game for Rescape in a snap

While Rescape enables a totally new genre of gaming, which we call Reality Gaming, where you digitize the real world and then shoot it to pieces, it can also drastically change the experience of any existing mobile FPS game in a snap.

For companies that want their existing FPS games to utilize Rescape’s motion sensing technology as a six degrees of freedom (6 DoF) game controller, we have also included a directional pad on the game controller for moving over greater distances within a game without having to physically walk or run.

By adding support for Rescape into their existing games, which is just a matter of dropping in the free Rescape game controller library, developers can turn any existing iOS FPS game from a normal “small screen shooter” into a fully immersive experience, beyond even the console gameplay experience. Once you and two of your friends have tried playing a game like Quake together using Rescape, running and jumping around like mad in your respective apartments, you’ll never want to play it in any other way again!

Optics optimized for robust visual tracking

Rescape includes optics which are optimized for robust visual tracking. It features a 180° fisheye lens, which together with the Rescape computer vision SDK provides unparallelled motion tracking, even during very fast movement

Device support

The first manufacturing batch will support: iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and will include experimental support for the iPhone 4S.

Android phones are a bit more complicated due to the greater span of different hardware and optics. We will be taking a device by device approach and expect to support a set of high-end Android devices in the months following the first release.