Google Opens Up the Maps API to Game Developers

Doris Richards
March 15, 2018

These games were announced previously, but the integration with Maps is a pleasant surprise. While Google Maps will provide the most up-to-date location data, meaning that when new buildings or roads are built, they'll be in the videogame.

There are already three Maps-enabled games on the way, and we can expect more to be developed soon. But developing the games is tricky because you have to understand the real-world physical environments around your players, no matter where they might be on the planet.

Our World is essentially an RPG that uses a mix of augmented reality and Google Maps to develop gameplay.

New Maps APIs turn existing geographical features like buildings, roads, and parks into Unity GameObjects so that developers can just focus on customizing the environment to fit the look and feel of their game.

Mobile game Pokémon Go became an instant hit in mid 2016 thanks largely to its use of augmented reality (AR). Today, a new mobile AR game ... "Google Maps' unrivalled amount of location data, covering world-famous landmarks, businesses and buildings, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, Burj Khalifa and India Gate, makes exploring your surroundings a breathtaking experience", said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games in a statement. "We're excited to be able to enable companies like Next Games to leverage our data to build rich experiences for their users to enjoy". Developers such as Rockstar Games have had the tools to design entire cities for quite some time, and the new Maps API will go a long way in leveling the playing field, enabling indie devs to achieve similar, if not identical results.

There will also be an SDK for the Unity game engine, allowing designers to apply a fresh coat of paint over the real world and incorporate Google Maps into games.

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