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AR mobile game turns your home into a survival horror nightmare

Night Terrors maps the layout of your home, then becomes an augmented reality game in which horrors attack.

Novum Analytics

If you're scared of being home alone at night, this won't be the game for you. Night Terrors is a survival horror that plays out in the real world.

The mobile game, currently seeking funding on Indiegogo, uses your phone's camera and newly developed augmented reality features to turn your home into an AR nightmare.

To do this, the game first builds a map of your home, using the smartphone's accelerometer to gauge the locations of the walls, floors and ceiling. This data is then stored locally on the device, allowing the game to build a custom experience based on the layout of the environment and place monsters right in your home.

The player then explores their home, lights out, using only the LED light on the back of the phone to light your way. Camera and microphone feeds are processed in real-time. Ghoulies and ghosties are then inserted into the environment, with accompanying sounds.

"We're using a variety of features totally new to augmented reality experiences on mobile devices, including point-source modelling, environment filtering and intensity scanning in order to build a clean map only from walls and light," the team wrote. "Gyroscope sensor data is used as a starting point, ceilings and floors are established, giving way to a one-of-a-kind experience for players."

So far, developer Bryan Mitchell has put over 1,000 hours into developing his computer vision system. He has posted many tests on his YouTube page as he works out the bugs.

The game is also designed to predict the behaviour of the player, where they'll go and what they'll do next, and manipulating them to go in certain directions.

Novum Analytics

"If the game needs the player to go down their hallway, it manipulates the player to go there. If the game doesn't want the player to see or move, it presents a situation where seeing and moving will get the player 'killed,'" Mitchell wrote on Reddit.

"As an example, the game might kill the LED for story reasons, play heavy breathing sounds (spatialised right behind the player) and have this thing move closer and closer to the player. As whatever that thing sniffing around in dark is looks for the player, the player's imagination does the heavy lifting."

Interestingly, the team has used practical effects to create the game's monsters.

"In Night Terrors, every augmented element is photographed in order to compost elements and match lighting in the players' environment," the team said. "With control over the device's LED, the lighting conditions of both element and environment can be manipulated to create a perfect, extraordinarily frightening match."

It's an incredibly ambitious project that has already been 14 months in the making -- but if it works, it could revolutionise mobile AR gaming. The minimum pledge on Indiegogo is $5, for which you'll get a copy of the game on iOS (Android and Windows Phone development is to follow, hardware allowing), with an estimated delivery sometime in early 2016.