The long-time struggle for the trainer who enjoys taking AR photos is finding the best setting for your photo, because not every gym or spawn point is going to hold the perfect photo opportunity. Often times, players will venture out of their way with a Pokémon on their screen (praying their game does not error), or holding onto a quest encounter longer than normal, to a place where they can begin the set up for an amazing photo shoot.
If you take a lot of AR photos, you know exactly what I am talking about.
A feature in game that would help the AR photo industry grow in the world of Pokémon Go would be a game mode where you can take the photos of Pokémon you have already caught. Many have speculated on the name for this feature, including a Playground or Sandbox mode, but we can also turn to the main series for inspiration from Pokémon Amie and Pokémon Refresh, from the generation 6 and 7 games respectively.
What is Pokémon Amie or Refresh?
They are in-game features where you can pull your team Pokémon aside and feed them berries, pet them and have them react, and in Pokémon Amie, even play mini games with them. Some of these features can be translated to Pokémon Go, including playing with your Pokémon, feeding them, and exclusive to Go, taking AR photos with them.
Below are a few shots of Pokémon Amie to get you in the mood for what is about to come:
Pokémon Go has a more tap and feed system for feeding berries, rather than holding it up for them to eat as you can see with the use of the stylus, but even if you could toss a berry for your Pokémon that would be just enough interaction to make it fun. Rather than using a stylus, as seen above, you would simply use your finger to interact with your favorite Pokémon.
Go could easily implement a few of these features, especially the feeding berries part (we kind of do that already). Playing with our Pokémon could give us a better sense of a bond with our digital creatures, which many feel is lacking, even though ‘Pokémon in the real world’ is an amazing concept. Now all we need is more interaction.
In the main series, interacting with your Pokémon raises their affection level, and in Go, an affection level can be added easily. There are usually 5 levels of affection, each being exponentially harder to obtain than the last, and give you bonuses in battle like avoiding attacks, landing more critical hits, or living on one HP from an attack that would normally KO.
After strengthening your bond through playing with your Pokémon, a few rewards can be added for you, including a few of these speculated ones:
- Lowered buddy walking distance (would have to take a long time to unlock, but would be so worth it for those 20km legendaries)
- Bonus candy or stardust each time you level up your affection to the next stage
- New poses for an AR mode?
That last one is iffy, but would be really interesting for AR photographers, if they could level up their Pokémon’s affection, and have them perform new actions while in the Playground AR Mode, whether it is just a new idle pose, or attack animation. The main series Pokémon can perform many different poses, so if Niantic could work off of those, then there are many opportunities.
It is likely you would only be able to level up your affection once per day (much like friends), but you should still be able to interact with an play with your Pokémon even after the affection has gone up for that day. Many players could play with their favorite Pokémon for hours, especially kids.
It is also possible that you would only be able to level up one Pokémon at a time, or limit the amount of Pokémon you can raise affection with to a low number like five per day, in order to prevent abuse of infinite stardust grinding if that was a reward.
The AR Aspect
This all started as a way to take photos of your Pokémon outside of their first ever encounter screen, so let us return to that. Below is a concept image of how you would get to the Amie or AR mode for the Pokémon:
This would allow Pokémon that cannot be caught in the wild (like precious, snowy, Alolan Vulpix) to show their best side to the camera and have their own photo shoot. This will also allow trainers who were flustered over a shiny encounter and forgot to take a photo with their special Pokémon to get a second chance. Lastly, this will help you find the perfect place to settle down for a photo before taking pictures. Sometimes the setting is perfect, and seeing Pokémon fitting in so well in the real world is the highlight of the majority of AR pictures.
Even if the Amie/Affection aspects of this concept do not make the cut, we NEED a Playground AR mode. So many amazing photo opportunities lost to bad timing or placement, this would help the best AR photographers thrive. Honestly, we love seeing the AR photos the public come up with, as seen in our monthly showcases from Josh (more information in our Discord on how to apply for that), the AR channel in our Discord, and other AR articles.
AR is growing, as we can see in Niantic’s New AR Technology and development. Android is even updating their AR core, which can bring the elusive AR+ to many of the newer Android models in the future! Would you like to see a feature like this? Any other ideas you have on how this can be implemented? Leave a comment below! That’s all for now trainers, until next time, happy hunting!