ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s immersive R&D unit, is going to release an augmented reality experience dubbed “Star Wars: Project Porg” on the Magic Leap One headset in December. ILMxLAB announced the release at Magic Leap’s L.E.A.P. developer conference in Los Angeles Wednesday.
“We strive to create experiences that are story-based, cinematic in their visual quality, and experiences that incorporate state-of-the-art interactive design,” said ILMxLAB executive in charge Vicki Dobbs Beck Wednesday. “Imagine if characters previously only alive in the world of film really existed in your world?”
“Project Porg” puts the user in charge of a handful or porgs, which involves feeding them, playing with them and keeping track of them — think Tamagotchii, only “Star Wars,” and in augmented reality. The experience features Anthony Daniel voicing C3PO, was produced with contributions from ILM animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh, and will be available free of charge on the Magic Leap One headset in December.
Some early ILMxLAB Magic Leap concept art shared as part of Wednesday’s L.E.A.P. conference keynote.
ILMxLAB demonstrated the experience at a press preview event Tuesday, where the lab had added some extra AR easter eggs for L.E.A.P attendees. The living room setup used to demonstrate the app featured a handful of physical objects that could be controlled with the Magic Leap One headset, thanks to AR overlays that explained their functionality. This allowed attendees to turn on a Sonos speaker, change the program on a TV set and turn on a fan, and then see the porgs react to each of these devices — a nap in front of the TV included.
ILMxLAB’s executive creative producer Mark Miller told Variety Tuesday that “Project Porg” was just a first step for ILMxLAB to explore this new medium. Beck acknowledged that her group could in theory build similar AR experiences for mobile devices, but said that it was looking to target high-end devices across AR and VR.
Other examples of ILMxLAB’s work include a partnership with location-based VR startup The Void and a 3-part VR series for the upcoming Oculus Quest VR headset.
Some of the other games and experiences announced at the L.E.A.P. conference include Weta Workshop’s “Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders,” and “Seedling,” an AR experience from Insomniac Games. Magic Leap also announced expanded availability of its Magic Leap One headset as well as plans to support two controllers at the event.