Minecraft fans might be interested in Minecraft Reality, a two-dollar app that popped up in the Store last week. It lets you insert Minecraft-created 3D models into the real world, which sounds pretty cool. But it has some limitations.
MR (as I’ll call it from now on) eats processor, so the first limitation is for iPhone 4 owners: although the app runs, its functionality is seriously restricted on this device. Really, you need an iPhone 4S or newer, or an iPad 2 or newer. (I tested on an iPad 2 and it ran just fine on that.)
The next thing you need to know is that this is not a different version of Minecraft. Don’t spend your money expecting any kind of game, or any kind of block-building fun. None of that here. Go back to actual Minecraft for that.
So what do you get for your money?
MR lets you browse a catalogue of 3D Minecraft creations and plonk them into the world around you. In my screenshots, you can see an aircraft flying out from my CD rack, but you might like to put the Eiffel Tower in your kitchen, or a huge medieval castle just outside your local shopping mall. Whatever you like.
First you select a creation from the list, then you do a little bit of tapping, pinching and moving around to set it in place in its surroundings. There’s an instruction video built-in, which is worth watching before you do your first one.
One important thing to remember is that you need to have lots of background detail visible (such as the CDs on my CD rack). These details are mapped as fixed points by the app, so it knows precisely where it has located your model. Don’t try fixing something to the sky or to a patch of grass, pick somewhere with more detail for the app to fix on.
The list of available creations is pretty small, but I expect it will grow quickly. Anyone can create one, but not within the app itself. You have to create models in Minecraft on your computer, and upload them via the web. A surge of initial interest in the app caused a few errors when I tested, but hopefully these will be fixed soon.
The theory is that as more people upload models and more people place them, you’ll be able to wander the real world and seek out its 3D Minecraft alter-ego, overlaid on top. Huge Minecraft buildings looming over Manhattan, or entrances to murky caves appearing in its streets.
In practice, though, it’s early days and things feel a little rough round the edges. It’s a real shame that creating models requires you to scurry back to your computer – it would be so much more fun if you could create and upload and save to a location all within the same app. But hey, early days. Maybe that’ll come later.
Source: App Store.