We spoke with Sugar Creative about how they have used AR for their clients and the capabilities of AR within our concept.
Sugar Creative is a company based around innovation and creativity across multiple platforms. They specialise in the realisation and application of emerging and intelligent tech which have lead the industry in the application of AR, MR, and VR alongside Mobile Games and Web Apps.
We were fortunate enough to sit down and have a Zoom chat with Will, the studio director and Jason, the managing director, about the work they have done and how they could potentially help us.
Before we logged into our video call, we had sent the guys at Sugar Creative a few questions which we were looking to have answered during the meeting. These questions were:
What is the process like for creating an AR experience?
What challenges have you faced when creating work using immersive technologies?
What platforms have you used to showcase this work? App, Website, game engine?
When using AR within locations, do you prefer to use geo-location or have the graphics attached to a marker within the location?
Any overall advice for working with AR?
In regards to a Jack the Ripper experience which was created, did you choose to make the recreation realistic or cartoon style animation?
If this is a realistic portrayal (in terms of graphics), was it difficult to create those graphics?
We were not disappointed when we logged in. We started off the meeting with a brief conversation of our understanding of augmented reality and how we wanted to incorporate this into our murder mysteries. Thankfully for the Sugar Creative Team, we both have an understanding on augmented reality and have completed research on this particular immersive technology before. We explained that we understood the different types of augmented reality and how they work, however, we weren't sure which ones would work best for our ideas. We also did not understand whether our idea was too big for a smart device. We were worried that it would be too much to squeeze into an app and still be easy to download and use. Sugar Creative clarified that we would not need to use all types of augmented reality and that it would be their job to make the idea work for an app, and that they believe our idea would work perfectly in an app form for smart devices.
Moving on, they were very helpful in answering the questions which we mentioned above. In short, what we learned was that anything is possible. If we had a specific idea then they would make it happen and can create prototypes along the way to help us decide on which design we would like to work with. Overall, they said that as long as we understood the vision we wanted, then we can pass the ball to another company who would make the vision a reality. This was very comforting, as we were hoping that the process would be collaborative and that a company would work with us to create our concept in the future.
Additionally, Sugar Creative explained that having the experience on a smart device would helps us in making it accessible to everyone and anyone who wanted to join in with our events. This would also make the customer feel as though they have gained something from the company during their experiences by having app. Also, it can be a smart way in collecting data from our customers such as reviews and subscriptions. Overall, it will help us to become more connected with our customers who have experienced our events. Furthermore, they also agreed with us that augmented reality was the best match of an immersive technology to use as we wanted to ensure that our customers could still interact in the live as well as in the digital. We all agreed that virtual reality creates a wall by needing a headset to be used, this would make it difficult to interact with any of the live performance which is happening also.
After our meeting ended, they sent over their company overview and immersive deck which explained a lot of the technicalities behind AR and some of their projects which they have produced. This helped us a lot in understanding how they created all of their work so far.
Following on from this we had a few more questions which we emailed over. Our questions were based around the cost of such a project and what we would be expected to invest in making our vision a reality.
Below are the additional questions we asked and their answers are in red.
How much would you estimate the initial cost of creating and development of an app like that would be? For a simple single location experience (one virtual space containing interactions based on objects in the space) it would probably in the region of 20-30k depending on the complexity of models and animations.
How much would you say the monthly upkeep of that app would cost? As it is a self contained app there should be no monthly cost (it’s possible that if you needed a server to hold any user data there would be a small cost of about £100 per month).
We understood that creating the app would be a large investment at the beginning of the process, however we were blown away by the small cost to upkeep the app and ensure that it is always working smoothly.
To conclude, having this meeting with Sugar Creative really helped us to believe that our concept can become a reality and that using AR within our murder mysteries could help to enhance our services and improve our engagement with our customers during our experiences. Also, knowing that a company, like Sugar Creative, can understand our vision and help us to make it happen is also reassuring as we would want the process to be collaborative with someone who is passionate about innovation and creativity.