‘Pokemon Go’ news: AR+ mode uses Apple ARKit technology

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Pokemon Go
“Pokemon Go” promotional photo. (Pokemon Go)

Niantic has announced that the popular augmented reality (AR) game “Pokemon Go” is getting an update that will allow it to utilize the modern features of Apple’s ARKit framework on iOS devices.

The ARKit framework was introduced earlier this year as part of the big update that rolled out iOS 11. With this framework, “Pokemon Go” now includes a new AR+ mode, which will be able to utilize advanced augmented reality features that would remarkably improve the app’s performance and gameplay.

The updated version of the game will allow it to intelligently place the various Pokemon in the real world while considering their true-to-life sizes based on the extensive data from the Pokemon franchise. Before AR+ was introduced, the placement of the Pokemon as they appear on players’ screens used clunky approximations to try to consider other real-life objects.

The arrival of the AR+ mode also brings a new feature to the game, wherein players could attempt to get as close as possible to a wild Pokemon in order to capture it more easily. Players would have to cautiously sneak closer to the Pokemon so as not to scare it away. Once a trainer is able to capture the Pokemon after sneaking close to it, he or she will get an “expert handler” bonus, which gives them more experience and stardust.

The AR+ mode will make the already popular game even more interactive and interesting. Once the game pulls up the camera view of the player’s surroundings, it renders some animated shrub into the environment, where wild Pokemon are hiding. This is a nod to the tall grass from the role-playing games, where the various monsters could often be encountered.

During the capture phase, Pokemon will move around the environment, with flying Pokemon hovering above the ground, while ground-based Pokemon jump up and down or slide side to side.

Earlier this year, Google introduced ARCore to rival Apple’s ARKit. However, it has not been revealed when the AR+ mode will be coming to Android devices.