During Apple’s WWDC ‘17 this week, we reported on the company’s new ARKit for developers and how Niantic would be taking advantage of the tech to improve Pokémon GO’s Augmented Reality capabilities. Now, Niantic officially posted a small update on the company blog about what will come to Pokémon GO in the fall. So far we know of two AR modes – the brand new AR playground mode and an improved version of the AR encounter mode.

The AR playground is something that players have been wanting since the game launched. No longer will we be limited to only having AR interactions with wild Pokémon as we can soon take our favorite teammates out for photo shoots. There may be a limit with how many Pokémon we can have on screen together, but Niantic’s promotional image shows Charizard, Growlithe, Pikachu and Chikorita enjoying a nice clear day.

Pokémon GO Hub went a step further in finding out more info of what this ARKit will do for the game. Reaching out to a developer who has access to the ARKit and the Pokémon GO demo, they found out the following:

  • Clicking on models triggers their Pokédex animation
  • You can place Pokémon anywhere around you
  • “It’s buggy, not as smooth as the stage demo, but works. Lots of clipping though, especially with bigger models.”

  • Swapping out Pokémon and moving them in space
  • The demo had a sandbox mode to place any Pokémon, login is not required

  • Walking around your Pokémon and walking from and to your Pokémon
  • Pokémon models do not interact with each other and they have no collision detection with each other
  • Currently, no other actions are possible (feeding, petting, walking)

The model doesn’t follow you and doesn’t have a walking animation (it’s a tech demo for ARKit, not for an improved Buddy feature)

Of course the demo isn’t polished and Niantic has at least three months before it becomes Fall, so improvements and other changes will occur in development. Perhaps given how chatty Niantic has been, we might see more of this teased over the summer – especially if there’s another San Diego Comic Con panel this year.

Who do you want to create a group photo with? Think we’ll have Smeargle join us by then to help us “sketch” out some Poké-family portraits?

Leave a Comment

Written by Jennifer Burch

Illustrator, designer, writer and big Nintendo geek, you can find Jennifer with an N3DS within reach 24/7. As the oldest of three, she has survived many Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart sessions intact in addition to getting her brothers hooked on some really weird games. (Cubivore anyone?)

Jennifer Burch