Apple’s new iOS 11 ARKit makes Microsoft’s Minecraft look magical in augmented reality running on iPhones and iPads. Here are the details.

One of the wonderful things about having companies like Apple introduce new technologies and developer frameworks is actually seeing what designers, developers, and technical tinkerers actually do with those APIs. Apple recently introduced its stunningly powerful new ARKit framework during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and in that time that has followed we’ve seen some decent AR implementations on the back of ARKit, but this augmented reality rendition of Minecraft is definitely up there with the best.

The ARKit is framework is exceedingly new to the development community, which means that its underlying APIs won’t fully mature until iOS 11 and the accompanying SDK are released later in the year alongside iPhone 8. That period of development gives developers the perfect opportunity to not only interrogate the framework and what it offers but to also toy around and produce some fun and imaginative experiences as part of their experience of getting to grips with the technical capabilities of ARKit.

In this particular case, an individual has decided to recreate Minecraft experience in the real-world using Apple’s ARKit and Unity 3D.

The video embedded below shows the familiar things that you would expect from a game of Minecraft. The developer is using the iconic Minecraft building blocks to create structures overlaid in the real environment. There’s also an array of tools that can be used to build blocks and other elements, as well as things like the ever-present pickaxe used to destroy those structures. The game isn’t exactly what you would call “polished”, with it immediately evident that there are a few visual glitches as well as some serious scaling issues, but it’s a wonderful and whimsical start to show exactly what is possible with the use of Apple’s new ARKit in iOS 11.

Everything used to build this experience is pretty much in beta. The developer behind it has suggested that there is a video-based tutorial on the way that will clarify a few of the challenges faced and to show how he went about developing it. The tools involved includes having iOS 11 installed onto a device, Xcode 9 beta and the iOS 11 SDK with accompanying ARKit, and the latest patch version of Unity 3D. We can’t wait to see if we actually do get a virtual or augmented reality version of Minecraft for real on iPhones and iPads come iOS 11 release time this September.

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