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16 February 2017

Week One: Magic book

by David Weis

First week: Magic book!

For our first assignment, we had to create an augmented reality reading experience using mobile AR. With this simple assignment, we decided to start with the software that we were both previously experienced with. Unity and Vuforia. Unity being the game engine that I have quite a lot of experience with and Vufoira being the gluing piece providing AR functionality to our experience. Let me start by saying that even though I am experience with Vuforia, using it both at work and in previous projects, I am not entirely a fan. Now don’t get me wrong. Vuforia is great. Performance is better than other competition I used, and even though it’s not open source it is free to use for development purposes and it’s also fairly easy to get a very simple game up and running in no time (in most cases). My distaste for Vuforia comes more from some of their decision in the past few months and namely their transition away from using simple fiducial markers and to using their own VuMarkers that are difficult to make. And require Adobe Illustrator to make. Saying that. We still decided to use it.

Our idea

Our idea for the project was simple. I am pretty sure most of you are familiar with the book series “Where’s Wally” also known as “Where’s Waldo”. In case you are not “Where’s Wally” is a series of children book in which you have a simple picture of a crowded or otherwise busy place and your task as a reader is to look through it and find the titular character Wally. This is supposedly made easier since Wally is wearing a very noticeable red and white striped shirt but even with this knowledge is usually fairly challenging. Especially since most of the pictures include red herrings in the form of other red and white stripped objects that are not Waldo. To “Enhance” (read as: help you cheat) this book we decided to make an application that will highlight Waldo on the page. Either to confirm that you found the correct Waldo on the page, or more likely. To cheat (As I would).

Page from _"Where's Wally"_

Our solution

The solution was very simple. Vuforia, among other things, allows you to do so called Image targets. With Image targets you can train Vuforia to track any image you want. As long as it’s complexes enough and has enough contrast points. The process for this is very easy. All you need to do is upload the image to their cloud and in return you’ll recieve a target pack you can just drop into your Unity/Vuforia app and the app will automatically track the image once the camera sees it.

Vuforia target manager

Once this was done. We simply attached child objects to the marker in unity to show Waldo and other interesting points on the page. Interesting fact: We used characters to display things on the screen. So the circle around Waldo is actually just an red upper case O

Project open in Unity

And here is the result:

We found Waldo!

Conclusion

As my final words I’d say that I don’t feel like I’ve learn that much with this weeks project, which may also be why my blog post wasn’t all that exciting. I’ve made many very similar applications before so I didn’t find this exact assignment challenging or interesting.

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tags: games - vr - mix - unity