Facebook has announced the launch of a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child AR Experience on Portal.
Building on the popularity of the 2016 stage show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Facebook is launching a new Portal-exclusive AR experience that transforms up to four video-call participants into characters from the play.
Portal-to-Portal video callers will appear as characters from the play and will be able to “hang out” in Hogwarts Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic, or the Edge of the Forbidden Forest. In addition, Portal’s Photo Booth app will allow them to capture themed videos that can then be shared with others as well.
The new AR experience comes with 12 exclusive AR masks of the most popular characters from the play – also available for fans on Instagram and Facebook to use via each app’s camera.
The experience comes alive by tapping on “Curtain Call” in the effects tray on Portal, and users can then visit one of the three locations mentioned above. When the lights come up, each person on the call will be dressed up as one of the characters from the play, and randomly assigned a unique spell. To cast their spell, players simply tap the screen or nod their heads.
To power this, as well as all the other AR masks and experiences, Facebook uses its own Spark AR. In a note for developers, Spark AR’s latest version allows creators to build real-time social video calling experiences via its Multipeer API which includes shared environments or contexts, synchronized effects, and even lightweight AR games.
In other related news, Facebook is also adding new multiple-choice stories to the Story Time library to let the reader and their audience make choices together, and explore how those choices impact the course of the story. Story Time is a cool feature that allows Portal users to narrate children’s stories over video calls while and change their appearance with AR, depending on the story character.
There are two new additions to Story Time: Build a Story, a classic adventure that lets you choose a hero, setting, conflict, and resolution, and Extra-Ordinary Cafe, which lets you create your own multi-course meal by choosing the cuisine and each course.
These new additions join fairy-tale classics like Goldie and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and Three Little Pigs, as well as Pete the Cat, Llama Llama, and others, in the Story Time library.
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