As first reported by Next Reality last year, game developer Preloaded, in partnership with BBC Studios, has finally launched BBC Earth – Micro Kingdoms: Senses.
The experience, which allows the user to become immersed in the world of insects and arachnids, is accessed using the Magic Leap 1.
BBC Earth’s title is now available as a free download in the Magic Leap World app store. Actor Stephen Fry (V for Vendetta, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), narrates the experience — the same voice that prominently featured in another popular Magic Leap game, Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders.
Once in the experience, users are encouraged to interact with a virtual “wandering spider,” which is native to the Atlantic Forest of Eastern Brazil, as well as a virtual leafcutter ant colony, a species that calls the rainforests of Central America home.
After using the app for a short time, my early experience is that the setup and tracking are pretty finicky compared to some other Magic Leap apps, and it requires a relatively specific set of room circumstances to work.
So far, I’ve gone through the setup and room mapping sequence three times, each time in a different, moderately-sized room, and I still haven’t been able to get the app to allow me to begin exploring the experience’s chapters.
I suspect that, like some other Magic Leap apps, the Micro Kingdoms app may require a very large space (think Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders, which wouldn’t even start in a room that was 12 feet wide and eight feet tall). So you’ve been warned, if you live in a major city where space is tight, you’ll need to find a very large area to get the most out of this app.
If you check out the “making of” video (below) related to the app, you’ll see the developers at Preloaded using the app in a massive studio space that isn’t the kind of space most users in major cities will have access to. If you’re designing for conference show demos and the like, this is fine. Still, for real users, Magic Leap developers need to focus more on experiences that can be used in a relatively small 10-foot-by-10-foot space that’s more representative of a typical working area.
Developers focusing on impressing users rather than practical use cases seems to be a recurring theme with some of the higher-end Magic Leap apps.
Nevertheless, during the time I’ve spent in the app the experience feels polished and geared toward educating the mainstream public on exactly what we’re missing when it comes to exploring the tiny worlds of neighbors on this planet.