After describing the recently unveiled iPhone 8 as the first smartphone designed for AR, Apple demonstrated exactly how its ARKit and Metal 2 API can open the door for developers looking to build an AR game for iOS.
Apple says the next generation of iDevices have been custom tuned for AR, with cameras, gyroscopes, and accelerometers created to handle motion tracking, even in low-light. The company says the tech powering the phone itself, namely the A11 Bionic Chip in both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, enable AR games to deliver 60 FPS, dynamic lighting, and spatial audio.
During an event earlier today, Apple offered a look at some of this tech in action though a live demo of Directive Games’ competitive AR game, The Machines. The game itself displayed a mountainous, multiplayer battlefield on a table, with the iPhone’s screen displayed on stage for all to see. According to Directive Games CEO Atli Mar, The Machines is able to render the battlefield's entire 1.2 million polygons on the iPhone's screen at once, all the while tracking motion and letting players move about the environment.
Mar then demonstrated how, through the use of Apple’s ARKit, Metal 2, and Unreal Engine 4, the mobile AR game is able to display the whole battlefield not just all at one time, but with high visual fidelity and 4K textures. The demo itself can be viewed on Apple’s website, at around the 1:13:00 mark.
Beyond The Machines, Apple showcased a handful of other AR applications in development for iPhone in a short video reel, including everything from apps that displayed constellation information on the actual sky to Pixel Toy’s Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade.
Developers looking to find out more about Apple’s AR and VR creation tools like ARKit and the Metal API should check out the company’s developer portal. ARKit is set to officially launch alongside iOS 11 on September 19.