Innovation That Matters

Augmented reality game makes a haunted house of any home


Night Terrors is a smartphone app which creates an immersive augmented reality — complete with ghosts and psychopaths — in the user's home.

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The scariest films often stay with us long after we’ve left the movie theater and gone home. For those who don’t find films quite scary enough, though, there is a new horror game app — called Night Terrors — which promises to transform any house into a petrifying hellscape. The app uses environment mapping, gyroscope sensors and the player’s own smartphone camera and flashlight to create an immersive augmented reality, complete with ghosts and psychopaths.

To begin, players choose an indoor environment and download the smartphone app. The game uses the phone’s camera to create a map of the player’s surroundings and then produces a story within it. The player then plugs in their headphones and turns off all the lights, using only the smartphone flashlight to explore. The flashlight is controlled by the game, throwing the player into darkness whenever the story dictates, but it also operates like a makeshift depth sensor, so that the game knows where the player’s walls are.

The basic structure of the story is always the same — a girl is trapped in the player’s home and must be rescued — but everything else about it adapts to the unique movements and surroundings. Players watch the story unravel on their phone screen as they move around their home, trying to avoid night terrors and survive — both the video and audio feed combine reality and photo-based special effects, creating a truly immersive experience.

Night Terrors is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, where backers can pre-order the game for USD 5. The creators have extensive plans for future developments including real-time biometric tracking, which monitors the users’ fear levels and adapts the scariness to suit the player. How else could augmented reality be used to heighten gaming experiences?



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