AR / Gaming

This augmented reality game will take you to Brooklyn Bridge Park and beyond

Mark Skwarek's worldwide augmented reality game requires you to be on-site at a location to then battle to take over that land.

Play AR showing trees to be cleared by slingshot atop a table inside an NYU building.

Mark Skwarek showed us an update of his augmented reality game at the Augmented World Expo: NY, on Tuesday at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering in Downtown Brooklyn. He described what he showed us as a low-resolution early iteration of a project that’s going to get much more elaborate and much more powerful for users to create a more fascinating world, with augmented reality.

We covered the successful crowdfunding effort for of Play AR here. It’s a game, but it’s also a simpler way for users to make their own Augmented Reality objects.

The first phase of Augmented Reality, Skwarek told us, put static digital objects into the real world. With Play AR, they are using the Unity game engine to put a video game over the real world.

“I don’t want to play it for an hour to get into it,” Skwarek said, as he showed us the basic idea of the game. The game starts with the entire world covered in a grid, and the grid marks off land area. You can earn land on that grid by clearing away forest with your slingshot. Each chunk of land is a little game. You have to hit enough trees with your slingshot in a short enough time to earn the land.

Once you have it, you get resources from it and you can build on it. The more land you get, the more resources you have. The more resources and room you have, the bigger stuff you can build.

So do you choose to build beautiful art or giant guns to destroy other players structures on land.

“The game is all about shooting big things far away,” Skwarek says. But you can’t shoot big things until you have big guns. And, honestly, Skwarek would also be the first to tell you that the game is really all about getting you out into the real world in order to play it.

Want to rule Brooklyn Bridge Park? You’ll have to go there.

And you could choose to play it as a utopian pacifist if you want. If you can get your neighbor landowners to buy in, it might even work.

For now, the only objects you’ll be able to blow up are digital objects built in game, but Skwarek says the team is close to changing that.

The Augmented World Expo featured a number of other startups and experts working to put digital objects in real space.


A piece of territory mapped out in Play AR.


Conference attendees at the Augmented World Expo at 5 Metrotech Center.


Prof. Mark Skwarek demo’ing Play AR.

Companies: NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Series: Brooklyn

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