The team at Niantic, who built Pokémon Go, did amazing work. Pokémon brings augmented reality mainstream, and the playful design of the maps is the foundation for all of it. Niantic’s CEO John Hanke, who was the former CEO at Keyhole (the team that started Google Maps), deserves huge credit for making location feel so smoothly integrated into the gameplay. Mashable posted an incredible interview with John that everyone thinking about location and AR should read.
The designers at Niantic, lead by Tatsuo Nomura, just set a new bar for AR maps as dynamic real-time representations of our world. Now all other AR app teams will need to design the look and feel of their maps to make their games stand out. Pokémon Go’s use of custom design shows the power of vector tiles, and the need to let application developers customize every part of their game’s experience.
In honor of the design team at Niantic, here is what I made with Mapbox Studio and Mapbox GL JS. I hope this is just the start of a lot more games experimenting with location and design. Use the keyboard to move around the map.
Saman Bemel Benrud
is a designer at Mapbox. He is involved with the entire lifecycle of our products, from providing strategy and initial concept to consistently polishing the way our applications look and feel.
Follow @samanbb on Twitter