The Halloween season is the perfect time for telling scary stories, but augmented reality is here to bring the tradition of frightening children to the modern age.
On Thursday, app developer Within released "Willowcrest Manor," the sixth story for its Wonderscope mobile AR app for iPhones and iPads supporting ARKit (namely iPhone 6S or newer, 2017 iPad or newer, and iPad Pro running iOS 11 or later).
Created by immersive film and animation studio 3dar, the story is the first for Wonderscope to directly cast the user as a character in the story. Playing the role of ghosts haunting Lady Willowcrest's mansion, children must scare away interlopers searching for the Willowcrest's treasure, with the ghost of butler Godfrey guiding the user in the ways of haunting a house.
"We crafted this story with the intention of creating a narrative that was not just seasonal and fun, but highly participatory and fully immersive, incorporating the most exciting elements of AR," said Thor Benitez, Within's lead creative and technical artist for the story, in a statement.
"This meant building a dollhouse-sized manor where kids play the house ghost and use their device to explore, tap and talk their way through the adventure. And, like all Wonderscope stories, there are unexpected twists along the way. We couldn't be more excited to share it this trick or treat season."
Aimed at kids 6 and up, "Willowcrest Manor" is available for $4.99 as an in-app purchase in the Wonderscope app, which Within debuted as a free iOS app last year. Since its launch, the company has continued adding additional content available as in-app purchases, such as Clio's Cosmic Quest.
Within isn't alone in its pursuit to entertain children with AR stories. Just prior to Wonderscope's launch, Inception launched a similar app called Bookful that displays virtual pop-up books of classic children's tales.
Proponents of augmented reality have long touted the technology as a new storytelling medium. Between Wonderscope and Bookful, mobile developers and app publishers have now begun showing what's possible for reinventing children's books for AR.
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