Niantic Lightship Global Jam Wraps with Eclectic Mix of AR Experiences
International jam wrapped up this month with surreal AR creations from 60 developers
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New York, NY (Sept. 30, 2021) — Ninja hopscotch, racing colorful pet pigs, and an art installation that has you carving swaths of augmented reality out of a real park in Croatia are among the stunning augmented reality creations developed during the Niantic Lightship Global Jam over the summer.
New York-based game development company Playcrafting teamed up with AR technology company Niantic, the creator of augmented reality hits like PokémonGO to launch the jam in June.
“It has been a thrill to work with these developers alongside Niantic for the Lightship Global Jam,” said Playcrafting’s Founder & CEO Dan Butchko. “I’ve been especially impressed with how quickly creators have been able to pick up the toolset and create AR games and experiences in just one week, even while Lightship has been in beta. This is just the beginning for these projects and for this technology. I can’t wait to see what comes next!”
The jam wrapped up earlier this month after hosting virtual events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan with 60 paid developers who developed 14 creations using early access to the Niantic Lightship Augmented Reality Developer Kit (ARDK). The overarching themes for the summer jam were discovery, exploration, and movement.
“Our team had an amazing time during the game jam, and having early access was like watching the weather report before a hurricane comes,” said Russell Wardinsky from the Skeleton Crew Studio, which participated in the jam in Japan. “Niantic is not only pushing forward with engaging experiences, their tech is top-notch. We had no problem integrating it into our pipeline and getting an interactive multiplayer AR experience off the ground in an afternoon. This is truly the tip of the iceberg for the future, and it was an honor to be a part of the event.”
Niantic Lightship encompasses the full Niantic platform, including the suite of features and services that power Niantic games. Niantic Lightship ARDK is a robust set of tools that enable developers to create experiences and bring them to life with depth, physics, occlusions, multiplayer and semantic segmentation.
“Even at this beta stage of our platform, developers are creating concepts above and beyond our expectations,” said Dan Morris, Director of Developer Relations for Niantic. “We’re very encouraged by these first glimpses at what’s possible, and very excited to see where developers can take these ideas from here.”
Developers can join the virtual launch event for Niantic’s Lightship ARDK on Monday, Nov. 8. Learn more and register at lightship.dev.
AR experiences created during the jams
Peer into other dimensions and play a variety of absurd scenarios in this medley of minigames.
Urban Electronic Games
An augmented reality pet simulator that features cute piggies. Walk, pet, feed, and race them.
Experience video chats in shared environments in this AR companion to the studio’s pixel-streamed, photo-real video chat program Passage.
Lex Avellino from Enva Division:
“The Niantic Lightship jam was exciting! The technology opens incredible AR opportunities for developers, and the Niantic team has a beautiful vision for how this grows. It is a great platform to work with, and the team offered lots of guidance. We can’t wait to continue building as Lightship develops!”
A short-form atmospheric puzzle game that uses augmented reality to add new perspectives to puzzle-box levels.
A location-based sci-fi gardening game that has players retrieving tools in the real world from spaceship drops and then using them to cultivate unique plants that can stop the spread of a life-killing alien plan called Dark Vine.
Stuart Spencer from BELOUDEST:
“The Beloudest team had a blast getting to grips with the new Lightship ARDK and it’s already shaping up to be a step ahead of the competition in regards to real-time meshing, having taken a break from AR development for a short period it has reignited our passion for the AR projects. We are really looking forward to how it progresses in the future.”
A powerful tool for creating interactive location-based stories, through rich self-contained experiences.
Blossom World AR
Tough Nut to Crack
A shared world experience that has users collecting items to influence the AR world being generated around them.
The Metaverse Park
A merged digital and physical world where people can interact and communicate through augmented reality and virtual reality. Users augment the real work with digital overlays, which in turn augments the virtual representation of the world to make it appear more realistic.
Darian Skarica from Delta Reality:
“This ARDK multiplayer functionality changed our perspective on how multiplayer AR experiences can work. Until now we were looking at multiplayer AR as a board game, where players can interact with some content but are themselves ‘invisible’. They can interact with the environment, but they aren’t part of the game. Lightship proved us wrong – AR multiplayer experiences can have the same level of player integration as, let’s say, a VR game or standard FPS where players can become interactive parts of the experience or for the lack of a better word, targets.”
Gold Quest AR
A multiplayer quest game inspired by real-world escape rooms. Players work together to complete mini-games, solve puzzles, as they race to complete the quest.
Turn Japan into a real-life role-playing game as you explore the world around you with the Kanji-catcher, which guides them through towns and neighborhoods, showing cool places to visit and delivering details about their surroundings. The Katcha! is also used to scan special spots to mine the local kanji for study at home and trading with friends.
Liam Conroy from NekoLogic:
“We really enjoyed the jam and the experience. We’re very excited to get involved with the ARDK at this early stage, and are looking forward to what it brings us in the future. Shouts out to Playcrafting for bringing us the opportunity and Niantic for the ARDK!”
AR meets track and field in this game that has you take on friends in a shared augmented reality track with customizable runners.
Skeleton Crew Studio
A multiplayer game based on a race to discover treasure from a shared game map.
Friends Against the Invaders
A Space Invaders-inspired multiplayer game that requires players to cooperate as they use a mix of unique two-player weapons to destroy enemies.
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Playcrafting is the largest network of game creators in New York and one of the largest in the U.S. Playcrafting offers more than 50 local and industry-recognized classes and events, such as the Play NYC convention, The Bit Awards, and the largest Global Game Jam site in the U.S. These events give game creators and fans the chance to connect, learn and play. Since 2017, Playcrafting has connected the world’s biggest companies with game developers worldwide. These partnerships have generated more than 100 games and prototypes and over $2.5 million in funding for independent developers with companies like Bose, Google, Verizon, the NFL, Facebook, IBM, and Schick. Click here for more on our brand partnerships and to discover ways gaming can move your company and industry forward through play!
Niantic is a leading AR company, inspiring people to explore the world, together. Our slate of products–Ingress, Pokémon GO, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite–reaches a global community of hundreds of millions of Niantic explorers. Niantic’s Lightship planet-scale AR platform powers all Niantic games and enables developers and creators to build engaging AR experiences that inspire movement, exploration, and connection on a global scale. For more information go to lightship.dev, NianticLabs.com, and @nianticlabs.