It’s the gift that keeps on giving. My initial reaction to the Weet-Bix Power Plays augmented reality implementation caused quite a stir. Earlier this week I had a great talk with the companies behind the work: Gus from Momentum, and Boutrous from Total Immersion.
Firstly, the main clarification:
I said that the same thing could be done in Flash, and there was no need for a third-party plugin. It appears I was wrong. When I first tried the D’Fusion plugin, I could hold any card up and get the 3D Power Play to work. From this, I assumed it was using the card shape as the AR marker. After some tuning, the Power Plays AR implementation actually does image and text recognition on the All Blacks cards to determine which one you are holding up.
As far as I know, no Flash-based AR implementation can do the same thing. They all need some sort of marker or QR code to differentiate the physical media. If you know otherwise, feel free to comment below.
Secondly, the great news:
Soon after my initial feedback, Sanitarium removed the registration requirement, knocking about three steps off the process required to get the full experience from your cards.
In addition, the Total Immersion guys are investigating how they can improve the plugin installation experience. They’re going to take away the “camera selected” button, and perhaps embed the Microsoft C++ libraries. They’re also looking at re-working the EULA text (at right) so it’s a bit more explanatory up front, instead of “APPENDIX 1!!!”.
If it all comes together, there should be a single prompt to download the plugin, followed by a EULA prompt (blame the laywers!), then you’re done.
I can’t say how stunned I am by this result. I understand how these things happen. Usually through a combination of tight deadlines and a focus on great technology above the “boring” usability stuff. But like any bad experience, the ultimate measure is in the willingness of the parties to resolve the issues. Sanitarium and their partners have outdone themselves in this respect.
I love Sanitarium, and I’m having Weet-Bix for breakfast tomorrow.