Augmented Reality Gaming: Nokia Ovi Maps Racing
Here at Augmented Planet, we have reviewed a few mobile augmented reality games in the past. Many of these are of the more traditional type: overlay some virtual enemies in the camera view, and wave your phone around and try to shoot them, see here. Occasionally a game like Parallel Kingdom comes along which is a little different to the norm – so to speak. Again the debate arises as to what the definition of augmented reality is in the context. Is the only ‘reality’ the live camera view, or is your location also a type of ‘reality’, which too may be augmented. I won’t delve too deep into this discussion here, however this article will probably help to muddy the waters a little further.
Recently Nokia launched Ovi Maps Racing For Nokia Symbian^1 handsets. This article does not serve to review the game itself, as there are many sites which do this already, however what I want to do here, is to discuss the augmented reality-ness (<-I want to coin this phrase if no one has already claimed ownership), of the game.
The idea behind the game is that you use your current location to create a track using Ovi Maps (Navteq), and then you can race around, trying to set the fastest lap times.
From the Ovi Store:
Access your location, create a track and put the pedal to the metal. Ovi Maps Racing gives racing game enthusiasts a totally unique gaming experience combining map navigation and racing. Why not race on your home street? In addition to creating your own tracks in European cities, you can also choose from pre-defined tracks and check global rankings. Ladies and gentlemen, download and start your engines!
Is this Augmented Reality?
So the argument arises: is this an augmented reality game? It has not been marketed by Nokia as such, and we’ve not made our minds up yet. Do you need to be able to use your current location using the GPS sensor? Is it not enough to just be able to pick a map from a library, or create a map from an Ovi Maps interface? (The application provides both of these options). Is the use of the GPS sensor just a shortcut that feigns ‘augmentation’? Many augmented reality application and games simply give the perception of augmented reality and whilst the technology bubble continues to inflate, maybe this will do for now?
In any case, we’d definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.
Ovi Maps Racing is available for Nokia Symbian^1 (S60 5th edition), devices: N97, N97 mini, 5800 XpressMusic and can be downloaded for free for a limited time only from the Ovi Store.