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The new Layar 3.0release brings more functionality to the reality browser.  To help people envision what the service can do, Layar touts five new use-cases:

Five Layar 3.0 Use-Cases

1) Architecture Showcase – Visualize the final building at a construction site.

2) Storytelling: Beatles Tour – A visual tour of forty-three locations in London involving the Beatles.  Each stop must be followed in order.

3) History Comes Alive – See the past reconstructed before your eyes with facts and 3D models.

4) Art, Messages & Fun Objects – Weird objects placed in unexpected places.

5) B2B & Personalization – Useful for businesses and social layers, enabling interaction with Twitter (take that Twitter 360!) and Foursquare services.

While these five use-cases expand the Layar reality browser (and more info on them can be seen here), I think they’re missing a huge use-case that’s now possible with 3.0.  After reading through the Layar Developer Wiki, I found these functions that should help make Layar games possible.

Two Layar 3.0 Functions

* User added 3D objects – 3D objects up to 5000 polygons can be created with any 3D program (assuming it can create a Wavefront)

* Auto-Triggered Actions – POIs can trigger a URI (audio, video, webpage, etc) which can allow for additional programming aspects to happen.  By utilizing functions within a webpage, most programming tools can be utilized within the Layar framework. 

 These two simple functions can add a lot of versatility to the program to make games.  And while the 3D graphics are still pretty limited and animations aren’t yet possible, think back to the dawn of gaming when text based games like ZORK were all the rage, or simple 2D lines and text created time-sinks like Wizardry.  Even simple sprites doomed many a night I should have been studying with Lemmings!  The key to these games is that they should be locative, otherwise, what’s the point?

 10 Games That Could Be Made with Layar 3.0

1) Capture the Flag – Instead of capturing flags on your opponent, hide flags in the city and capture your friends flags by visiting their locations. 

2) Choose Your Own Adventure – Who didn’t read these cheesy books in grade school?  Be a fun way to host a weekly bar-hop.

3) Simple RPG– a city based RPG that used locations as the “action areas.”  Any math or combat resolving could be done through a URI webpage call and then reveal the 3D model (win=dead creature/lose=gravestone).  Go into Joe’s Pub and kill a goblin for 5xp and then drink a pint to celebrate your victory. 

4) Hidden Treasure– Clues and visual markers only seen through Layar can lead you to finding “special points” in the city. 

5) Avatar Battles– Customize an avatar that does battle with others for control of locations.  Think Foursquare crossed with Pokemon.

6) Economy Game – Buy and Sell real properties with virtual money.  Must visit the location to purchase, can develop it with special actions (putting special 3D models in the area) and mark it with your sign.

7) Mystery Games– In a randomized Clue-style game, participants are given clues in different locations they visit and can ask questions using the URI webpage (pull down list) to figure out the daily murder. 

8 ) The Hidden Story – A mosaic story could be told through the location in the city.  For those that visit all of them, they can piece together the whole narrative that involves history, places and interesting people while the occasional 3D object might illustrate the narrative. 

9) Planet War– Mine resources at locations, purchase tanks and other warfare equipment that can be places in areas you want to control.  The website resolve winners and you see your battle regalia in the location.  Take over your favorite eating establishment with a load of Panzers.

10) Lemmings!– I don’t really know how to do Lemmings! with Layar 3.0, but I’m sure someone much more creative than I can do it.  It is the greatest game of all time, right?

About the Author Thomas K. Carpenter


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