The Quest Pro brings life to shopping and experience centers. In the AR game Eggscape, you control cartoon eggs facing robot invaders.
Buenos Aires-based artist German Heller developed an amazingly clever activation for shopping malls. For the augmented reality installation Eggscape, operators set up a few colorful letters and decorate them with model buildings. Visitors put on a Meta Quest Pro or Quest 2 and steer lovingly animated egg creatures through the AR game.
Like in a Jump-n-Run game, visitors hop across virtual streets full of platforms and robot attackers. The square surface of a letter becomes a boxing ring for a boss fight against a giant mech. Up to four participants at a time stroll across the compact playing surface. They bend over the eight square levels of the miniature city and guide their goggle-eyed charges to the finish together.
AR games for the shopping mall
This is made possible by “AR pass-through”. The Quest 2 and Quest Pro are not only VR headsets – they also support AR games with local multiplayer. Their front-facing cameras capture the real environment and combine it with computer graphics. However, this is only possible in black and white in Quest 2.
The anticipated Meta Quest 3 consumer headset, planned for the end of 2023, could make playing in color even more affordable than the $999 Quest Pro. So far, Heller’s company, 3DAR, has not announced any planned support. 3DAR targets very different operators with its compact “Eggscape Deck.”
“We are looking for partners who want to place it in shopping malls, adventure centers, arcades, and so on,” said Heller. “We’re working on a lot of new levels to expand it, and in time it will be in online stores, but that will take a while.”
According to the instructions, the entire Eggscape package fits in one box. It only takes one person to set everything up, cash in, and run the entire operation, he said. As an additional source of revenue, there is an intuitive tutorial as well as various merchandise such as figurines, stickers, and T-shirts.
Since the structure of the game has changed a lot in the past few years, the team is currently working on a fresh trailer that should better convey the concept in its current form. In it, the rotund heroes punch invaders, drive vehicles, operate machines, control helicopters, or have to prove themselves in a fitness class.
Colorful AR fun as trade show highlight
Eggscape already caused a stir at Amusement Expo 2023, mainly because of its cute, professional implementation reminiscent of diorama classics like Super Mario 3D World. For example, VR youtubers Skeeva (Between Realities Podcast, UploadVR) and Zimtok5 (F.Reality Podcast) called the AR game a clear highlight of the show for amusement parks and the arcade industry.
At the trade show in Las Vegas, trial players were already able to dive into the current implementation. A run lasts 15 to 30 minutes, during which the co-op players often bend over the colorful miniature backdrops next to each other to hop their AR characters across the square playing fields together.
Sometimes the space above and beside the physical squares also becomes part of the playing field, such as when balancing over floating islands or walkways. Eggscape also won the “Special Jury Prize” at Venice Immersive 2022.
3DAR CEO German Heller is no newcomer to augmented and virtual reality. His company has already enriched the storytelling of the young medium with several VR experiments, including the co-productions Paper Birds and Gloomy Eyes.
Eggscape’s price and release date have not yet been set. Interested parties can contact 3DAR via the official website.