The tech world has been talking a lot about augmented reality lately, but for all that buzz, it really hasn’t touched too much within the social gaming space. Until now. Last week we took a look at an assassination game using the iPhone camera called NinjaHit, but the technology goes one step further in the form of iPhone app GunMan, from Shadowforce. It brings a whole new meaning to the term “first-person shooter.”
GunMan is a game that makes direct use of the iPhone’s built in camera, superimposing a gun scope and minimalistic interface, and combines these with color recognition technology to take the concept of shooter games out of the virtual world and into the real one. Players can choose from three different game modes: One vs. One, Multiplayer (four players via WiFi), or Pro. When playing either of the first two, participants select a time duration of either two minutes, five minutes, or unlimited and the shirt color of your enemy. This is where the magic really begins as the game can actually recognize the colors of red, green, blue, gray, and white.
This is easily the coolest part of the game. If you claim that your enemy is wearing red, for example, if you pull the proverbial trigger with them in sight, you get a hit. Moreover, and despite our initial skepticism, this feature actually works phenomenally well with good lighting. What makes it even more fun is that every time someone gets hit, their iPhone vibrates and at the end of each game, players are able to not only see their accuracy and final scores, but it saves all of your shots and lets you Tweet your favorites.
The game also makes use of other iPhone technologies as well including shaking the device to reload and using pinch zooming to snipe distant opponents (though the game doesn’t actually inform you that this is possible). GunMan comes with a “Pro” mode that lets players run around and shoot 30 random shots at anyone around. Of course, this really only pans down to shooting random pictures, so it does get a bit old.
If there are any complaints to the game, it is that the color recognition is a bit sketchy in without really good lighting when indoors. It does still work most of the time, but not nearly as well as outside. Furthermore, if you don’t have the iPhone 3GS, the frame rate of the camera is a bit choppy and the image can become rather blurry when you’re whipping about trying to make a shot.
Nonetheless, the game is still a ton of fun if you have friends that own an iPhone, and seeing as how it is currently a free download, it is quite the bargain as well. Furthermore, according to the Shadowforce website, even cooler features are coming soon including location based features (like Foursquare), badges and achievements, leaderboards, and semi-automatic weapons and grenades. Whether or not such new features will be free is, of course, yet to be determined, but it certainly sounds fun, all the same.