While many haunted houses are stuck with visual effects that peaked in the ‘90s, one man is putting a futuristic spin on the haunted house with augmented reality.
Rich Fiore used Unity, a community game engine and augmented reality platform Vuforia to transform his house in the Chicago suburbs into a standalone mobile game for Android. The house is “augmented” with a ghost made of ~ lost and evil ~ forgotten candy. A tin flower decoration on the porch triggers the game.
“I will have a few extra Android devices on Halloween for the trick-or- treaters to use,” Fiore says, explaining how they’ll be able to view the digital presentation.
He says he found inspiration in Pokemon Go for the project.
“I’m not a programmer, so learning the scripting process took a while, especially the audio and animation, Fiore tells Inverse.
Fiore has a background working in the gaming industry and teaches visual effects at the college level. He began teaching himself AR and VR programming in the past year.
Last year, Fiore turned the side of his house into a haunted video game, but he was a victim of rainy weather. Transitioning the game to augmented reality allows kids to use their phones, and Fiore doesn’t have to risk rain damage to any expensive equipment.
The project will be a course for Pluralsight.com, an online training site Fiore writes for, in November.
Editing the game, which included stitching the video and AR elements together, took about a month.
While the Vuforia program is designed for desktop use, Fiore was able to rig the system by using a large sheet of paper to lock the elements onto the side of his house.
While the candy is digital, Fiore says he’s also giving out the real stuff, too: “The candy we are giving out is the candy my son and I used to make the sound of the candy spilling at the end.”