Augmented Reality on a mobile phone and interview of Int13

You may have seen the slow (but full-featured ARToolkit) AR on an iPhone, so here’s a fast version by French company Int13 on Windows Mobile, much more smooth!

[In the meantime I heard that the iPhone doesn’t have a real video camera, only a still picture camera, which would explain some of the lag.]

Since I also like their games, I’ve asked the Int13 team a few questions :

Can you introduce yourself ?

France Quiqueré, Lead Artist & Stéphane Cocquereaumont, Technical Director et President.

How long has Int13 existed and what’s the goal of the company?

We are a smart phone game studio. The company has been juridically created in April 2008, but Int13 Production, an association, was created in 2003.

Why are you going to make Augmented Reality games ? How do you see the future of this technology?

We got interested after seeing a video of a game on Gizmondo, back when AR wasn’t a hot topic.

As for the future I can’t tell you what will be a success or not, and if I knew, we would be working on it 🙂 There’s a lot of work on the technical side to get a nice, intuitive and fluid interaction, especially on a mobile phone. Even the best concept in the world will be ridiculously gadget-looking if you can’t use it correctly.

I know you have created your own mobile framework, can you tell us more about it?

Our framework, uEngine, enables the cross-development of applications on several OS based on ARM processors, that is the iPhone,Windows Mobile, Symbian S60, some embedded Linux and Win32. The developer only has to recompile for the target platform and the uEngine handles everything.

uEngine has among other features, optimized 2D functions, a 3D engine, a network API, a UI system, and memory manager, a physics library, an audio mixer… and an AR library of course.

Can you tell us more about the AR part? How does it compare to existing AR frameworks ?

After evaluating open source mobile AR solutions (mainly ARToolkit and it’s derivatives) and being disappointed by the performances, we developed our own Augmented Reality library from scratch.

We think that currently our mobile AR library is better than any other concerning the three following points :
* Performance : Consume about 15% of CPU power of a mid-range Smartphone, and there is still room for vast optimizations
* Precision : Sub-Pixel precise, even the most subtle movements of the camera is registered
* Stability : No filtering, the pose estimation algorithm is already very stable, meaning that the software reaction to camera movements is instantaneous (most AR libraries are averaring the pose estimation across many frames)

When will we be able to play a demo =)

I don’t think we will distribute any demo, but we will directly distribute our first AR game which should be released at best during spring 2009. We have currently working on two games. The targeted platforms are first the iPhone and Smartphones Windows Mobile/Symbian. Maybe also the DSi which happens to have a camera.

The first game is a concept of artificial life with online battles, and the other game has some of the rules of pool, but more arcade style. The movements of the camera will move the cue around the tables.

Anything else you want to say to VR Geeks ?

All your base are belong to us? 42? I Can Has Cheezburger? That’s the g33k l33t language, isn’t it? Hi, Geeks!

Thanks a lot for your time, I’ll write about the games here when they are released =)

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  1. I found several interesting mobile AR features on Youtube regarding The Media Power Group and their getfugu system. Worth checking out!

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