Pokémon GO, the popular augmented reality game, is scheduled to gain a brand new AR+ mode powered by Apple’s ARKit as soon as later today.
iOS 11’s ARKit framework does all the heavy lifting in terms of plane detection, lighting estimation and more, allowing developers to create augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad that take advantage of the underlying hardware without having to start from scratch.
ARKit will let Niantic scale the game more easily than before while enhancing awareness and introducing new features like the ability to earn an expert Pokémon handler bonus that awards even more XP and Stardust. You can sneak up close to earn an Expert Handler bonus, but be patient as some creatures, like Charizard, are easily scared.
AR+ mode also gives you a better chance at earning Great and Excellent Throw bonuses.
According to Niantic:
With AR+, Pokémon are now fixed to a point in space, meaning you can walk up close to a Pokémon to see to how they’ll look in the real world. Imagine looking up at a massive Onix or walking around a gigantic Snorlax blocking your path.
This feature brings us one step closer to truly realizing Pokémon the way they are supposed to be represented in the real world. Pokémon GO AR photos will never be the same again!
A new awareness meter indicates if the Pokémon’s become aware of the trainers getting close and might be about to flee. If the Pokémon does flee, hit that tall grass nearby which might cause the creature to reappear and give you an additional chance to catch it.
“This is our first step toward making AR capabilities in Pokémon GO even more awesome, opening up the framework for greater AR experiences in the future,” Ninatic said.
The new AR+ mode builds on the AR work already implemented in Pokémon GO. AR+ mode requires an iPhone 6s or newer with iOS 11.