Apple’s press conference today featured three augmented reality apps. The first, seen only for a few seconds, was Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade. While already available on the App Store, a new AR mode will allow players to watch Space Marine combat play out right in their home.
The second was an update for the At MLB app. It allows users at Major League games to hold their phone up to view the field and receive stats and player info while watching the action.
The showcase title of the conference was The Machines by Shanghai-based Directive Games. Players hold the phone over a table, and the game world is built directly on top of it. Taking a cue from games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, The Machines allows players to command a small squad of heroes. Moving the phone around in the real world moves the camera in-game. Players will need to lean in and out to get just the right angle. The press conference demo featured one of the game’s developers sweeping the iPhone’s camera around to survey the action, and then hunkering down to get a closer look as they ordered their units to attack the enemy.
The Machines also makes use of spatial audio. When a rock outcropping came between the developer and his army, the sounds of combat became muted and distant, only to come roaring back as the player moved around the other side.
The Machines caught our eye in July when it was announced as an ARKit demo. While technically AR – the map is being drawn over an actual table – the rest of the game plays out much like any other mobile strategy game might.