Niantic Labs has been surprising gamers lately, not just with lots of events and new content rolling out for Pokemon Go, but for also announcing things that a lot of gamers just didn't expect to see improved in the game, such as the augmented reality aspect of the mobile title.
According to a recent press release issued to the media, The Pokemon Company and Niantic Labs revealed that there's a new AR update on the way for those who own an iPhone 6S, an iPad 5, or an iPad Pro model. The update will introduce an AR+ feature for anything running iOS 11 or higher, and will leverage the current augmented reality features in Pokemon Go.
The update for the AR mode in the game can be enabled when going into an encounter. Instead of just being on the screen, the Pokemon will be accurately depicted on the screen to match the geo-alignment with how the area is rendered on the phone. According to the press release, Niantic Labs has achieved more accurate AR rendering thanks to utilizing the ARKit API to help with augmented reality scaling, and ensuring that the Pokemon on the screen are accurately depicted based on the perspective, angle and size. There's also dynamic scaling, where trainers who move closer or father away will see the Pokemon in Pokemon Go shrink or zoom accordingly.
According to the ARKit website, the API utilizes VIO for accurate rendering. That's basically visual inertial odemetry, calculating the geometry of the surrounding area using the phone or tablet's camera and calibrating the software based on the scale and dimensions of the room or immediate surrounding space.
The kit is designed to make use of newer engine technologies like the Unreal Engine and the Unity 3D game engine, along with mobile suites that companies like Niantic Labs are using to power games like Pokemon Go.
Now, unfortunately for Android users, there does not seem to be a means of supporting the new AR+ features for those running Android devices. This means that you're fresh out of luck when it comes to playing on anything other than an iOS 11.
The game will also include special new gameplay dynamics, including new ways to catch Pokemon, and the ability to use space and distance as a way to get special capture bonuses. Physical proximity will actually play a role in Pokemon Go when it comes to capturing certain Pokemon. This also includes additional Expert Handler bonuses and XP and Stardust bonuses.
The new AR+ update is set to go live for Pokemon Go in the next major update for the game. This update follows on the heels of a series of major seasonal events that took place throughout the fall, leading up to the big Generation 3 update, which included lots of new Pokemon and even a brand new Legendary to capture.
It looks like 2018 might be the biggest year yet for Pokemon Go, especially as far as iOS 11 owners are concerned. You can expect the new AR+ features to be made available in the next major update for the game.