Augmented beer pong

I’ve been keen to explore what can be done with augmented reality for a number of years, back in 2009, AR was simply an icon that you held up to your webcam and it overlaid a 3d model. I did some tests in flash/ Flar back then and managed to get a super-low-poly model attached to the paper. This opened up some thoughts and conversations but wasn’t at a good enough level to really write home about.

Jump ahead a couple of years and Qualcomm released an AR tool kit to map camera data within the Unity 3D game engine. This was a big leap as it opened up the possibility smartphone AR.

After a chat in a pub with Iain (@deeplight) about such things, we came to the conclusion that beer mats were a good way to get markers out and that is basically how beer pong came to life.

Here are a few things I learnt

  • Aim in the real world, all positioning should be determined by marker and phone, avoid using flicks or on screen positioning as this negates the point of having a real world overlay.
  • Physics should act as if in the real world, be careful because this is processor intensive.
  • Virtual world objects can be at 1:1 scale with almost millimetre accuracy.
  • Stop people from holding marker next to phone by adding rules, in this case the ball must bounce before hitting goal.

Always ask these questions before starting:

  • Why is the real world visible, does it add anything?
  • Is there any interaction between the real world and virtual?

Fun while it lasted

The augmented world has changes once more, as wearable tech has made things more personal, the use of AR as show in this demo is pretty much obsolete but the core thinking comes from the same place.