From the summer of 2008 through the spring of 2012, I worked with my students and Tony Tseng at SCAD-Atlanta (the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design) to design and run the Augmented Reality Game Studio at Georgia Tech. Over the years, we ran a series of AR Game Design classes simultaneously at Georgia Tech
and SCAD, allowing our students to work together on AR game design projects. The class was a project oriented studio class focused specifically on Handheld AR Games, leveraging the increasingly powerful smartphone, AR tracking and mobile game development technologies. Early on, we used relatively primitive technologies (repurposed Gizmondo game consoles and low level programming APIs), but by the end were using Unity3D, Qualcomm’s Vuforia AR software and Android/iOS devices. The class had mixed groups of students design, implement and test a series of handheld AR games over the course of the semester.
The class was the only one of its kind, successfully bringing together these two diverse groups of students from two separate campuses, and teaching them about handheld AR games design. Despite the primitive technologies, our early efforts led to the creation of the ARhrrrr! AR game prototype (supported by NVidia and AR researchers at TU Graz) which, while never released, had significant impact through it’s widely viewed youtube video. Other early games including Bragfish, Art of Defense and ARf (a virtual pet for the iPhone).
As the technology matured, the unique nature of our effort led to a collaboration with Qualcomm, and the rebranding of our studio as the Qualcomm AR Game Studio. During these final two years, we continued to run this studio jointly between SCAD and Georgia Tech, but worked with Qualcomm to leverage their cutting edge hardware and software in the class. (Some projects from the final two years of the studio can be found on the Qualcomm AR Game Studio website and my lab’s youtube channel.) The final studio project, Nerdherder, is freely available for iOS and Android devices.
Graduates of the studio have jobs in all parts of the game industry, and have gone on to create AR games classes at other institutions.