A year ago, virtual reality game Luna came out for Oculus Rift and Microsoft's Mixed Reality Platform. Designed by Funomena, a studio founded by two of the designers who helped build reputable indie game Journey Luna was unlike any other VR game to date. It looked like a story book came alive. Instead of placing players in a gun-swinging android or Marvel superhero, it told an adventure about an owl, a bird and a broken moon. Through the puzzle game, players trampled the bird's story, rebuilt forests and lakes, and interacted with the creatures of nature.
Now, inspired by the possibilities of enlarged reality, Funomena has rebuilt a smaller version of Luna specifically for the Magic Leap One headset. It is called Luna: Moondust Garden and is based on its original premise for an interactive storybook world by changing the encompassing aspects of VR to the creative 3D world construction of AR. The game costs $ 4.99 and is out today for Magic Leap One Creator Edition.
. "If you are developing a screen, you can make a camera cut. The players are good as with a movie," says Funomena CEO and co-founder Robin Hunicke. "When you move to VR, the camera is suddenly head. You must think about encouraging the player to see a place. And with AR, you've lost control of the pictures. "
So without the ability to control the exact visuals, Funomena decided to give the players the choice. Using the Magic Leap One Remote, you build Luna the world on any flat surface around by planting seeds in the ground During my time of last week's demonstration, I began to sprout grass, rocks and water boxes on the coffee table in front of me and on the floor next to my feet. The aim was to inspire a scared reef to come make sure to hide from rebuilding your home. Because Magic Leap is an unobtrusive device, you can walk full motion while the photos remain fixed to where you originally placed them.
"Think about context and the environment in itself is much more important and you need to be much more involved with the player, "says Hunicke. "Engaging with the technology in relation to the scale, and how your intuition about space necessitated certain designs. People do not look at a seed and try to plant it naturally in a wall."
Funomena has worked in AR before, developed an experimental game called Woorlds for Google's project Tango Platform (now known as ARCore) back in 2016. But with Magic Leap – given its highest visual capabilities, space tracking and spatial sound – Funomena had much more sophisticated technology as it could tell a unique story.  According to Edgard Ortega, a senior producer of the project, Funomena had to think about the best way to tell. It meant adding a voice over that is added to the general storybook vibe Luna already communicates visually and with its narrative. The company could not just dump its original VR assets to AR. Instead, it had to build a smaller, more contained world. "The diorama quality meant we had to rework many assets," he says.
Hunicke says she and her co-founder Martin Middleton began talking to Magic Leap far back in 2013 and just got their hands on a developer version of Magic Leap One a year ago. But it's a long-term goal for the company to create the kind of experience that Moon Garden provides.
Journey stormed the industry and raised countless prizes because it mixed calm, fearful visuals and incredibly moving soundtracks with a simple allegorical story about traveling to the top of a mountain. What pushed it so far beyond your usual gaming experience was the opportunity to make the trek with another anonymous human player who could only communicate to you through emotional chirps. Hunicke and Middleton left the studio behind Journey thatgamecompany, shortly after the release to find Funomena, with the intention of creating similar experiences centered on newer, next-generation hardware.
"We feel strongly about shaping new technology to boost happiness and peace in the world and considering how they become as human as possible and positive as possible. It was immediately a fit on the vision side, says Hunicke about Magic Leap. "We really love the idea of building an experience that exists in this world. They are little credible, but higher fidelity [the game characters] can answer you, see you, use the data in the environment. "
Luna: Moon Garden is, of course, only the first step in Funomena's mixed-reality exploration. Given that the Magic Leap One is still a very expensive headset, costs $ 2,295, Funomena is also focused on how to bring such experiences to several smartphones and bridge the bridge between high-end and more accessible forms VR and AR.
Hunicke says that creating for three-dimensional space – or "three-place" as she calls it – is the next major shift in interactivity. " Something like this technology can completely replace large, flat screens and all plastics and mercury in them. Attentional objects that keep you in mind in three-place are thinking of me, she says. "It gives the opportunity to dream very, very unique futures, creative futures. It's very exciting."