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Niantic is aiming to up the immersion factor in Pokemon Go with the addition of two new AR features: Reality Blending and Pokestop Scanning.
Both will be rolled out to select players over the next few weeks, and will boost immersion by letting in-game Pokemon interact with the real world and helping the studio generate more detailed 3D maps.
As the gif below demonstrates, Reality Blending will give the virtual pocket monsters in Pokemon Go the ability to hide behind objects like a tree, meaning they'll move in and out of view based on where players are situated -- as they would in real life.
Niantic claims the feature will "bring Pokemon even closer to reality," and will begin testing it in beta mode on select devices starting in June.
Pokestop Scanning, meanwhile, is an opt-in feature that will allow certain players to help Niantic build 3D maps of real-world locations by recording them on their smartphones.
Those videos will allow the studio to gain a better understanding of the "depth and complexities" of the real world, and should help it more effectively tie virtual objects to real-world locations and imbue Pokemon with more spatial and contextual awareness.
Aside from being good news for Pokemon Go fans, the update offers an interesting look at the ins and outs of augmented reality development, and highlights some of the challenges that come with trying to effectively recreate and integrate real-world locations from around the globe.
You can find out more about Reality Blending and PokeStop Scanning on the Niantic blog.