In addition to an extended discussion of its Magicverse, Magic Leap used its L.E.A.P. developers’ conference today to offer a brief software roadmap for the next half year. Leading the collection of small announcements, a new Avatar Chat app will soon enable multiple people to talk in a shared 3D space, and next year, improved controller options will also be available.
Avatar Chat appears to be launching in three stages. The first is Remote Casting, where one user will be able to sit in a shared environment with another user, both represented with Playskool-style cartoony avatars. Users will be able to talk, move, and share emojis within the space, enjoying a more compelling sense of “presence” than traditional video or audio chat can create.
Magic Leap noted that its hardware is capable of detecting a crazy number of facial details, including head position, brow position, mouth shape (including strong smiles), eye gaze and eyelid status, pupil dilation and eye shape. It can also sense torso position and locomotion, clothing and hair motions, gesture hand signals, and 6DoF hand motions.
At some point after initial release, Avatar Chat will allow up to three participants to share a space. Shortly thereafter, the cartoony avatars will be user-customizable.
Initial users have found the Magic Leap One controls to be somewhat limiting, but the company is planning to make several improvements over the next six months. In the first quarter of 2019, Magic Leap will add two-controller support to LuminOS, and support for 6DoF controller tracking is also coming to the platform. These changes will likely improve the platform’s appeal to game developers, which frequently expect one input system per hand, and highly accurate motion controls.