More than four months later, Nic Watt has posted an fitting follow-up to the massively underwhelming Spirit Hunters Development Diary 1: the equally underwhelming Spirit Hunters Development Diary 2. Let me give you a tip Nic: being a cheap bastard and not paying artists and level designers doesn’t mean you’ve developed an “augmented reality” application. In true real augmented reality, the application works with your surroundings. For example, games like AR Tower Defence and Invizimals allow you to have battles on your tabletop; in a more sinister application, a Ka-50 pilot’s headgear places IFF markers over vehicles, and makes the gun follow his eyes.

Spirit Hunters just places models over whatever the camera happens to capture. Most jarringly, there is no interaction with the world whatsoever. This is blatantly obvious towards the end of the first diary instalment: you get and idea of the distance between you and the spirit, but then this is blown away when the image just slides over the top of the couch. Suddenly, you realise that the spirit must be a lot smaller and closer than you would have believed given how much it seemed to have receded when it was running away, and how much it moved across the field of view when the user turned around. The spirits look like plastic cutouts hanging in the air. The perspective and lighting don’t look realistic in the slightest. Why is the spirit always facing right at you? It doesn’t turn tail when it tries to get away. It just doesn’t look right to see it slide around the screen like that.

Nnooo is the archetypal shovelware company. Everything they produce is optimised to minimise creative effort. Pop is nothing but a virtual roll of bubble wrap, and not a very satisfying one at that. The graphics are bland, and the gameplay is repetitive. myNotebook and myPostcards may as well be built developer examples, and the only design work involved is drawing sheets of lined paper (on a side note, I don’t buy the excuses about not supporting exchanging postcards within the app — if that were the case, DragonBall Origins wouldn’t let players exchange virtual items).

This entry was posted on Thursday, 3 February, 2011 at 9:12 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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