Today at Lightship Summit (Niantic's first developer conference), Niantic debuted new tools for augmented reality developers interested in making location-based games.
The first tool debuted is the Lightship Visual Positioning System (also known as Lightship VPS). This new tool allows developers to determine the position and orientation of their users and anchor AR content onto real-world AR locations.
Short version: If you'd like to make a game like Pokémon GO where you track player locations as they travel to in-game waypoints tethered to real-world destinations, you can. This tool tracks over 30,000 locations predominantly located in six cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, London, and Tokyo.
Niantic's second tool is the Niantic AR Map, which developers can access via the Niantic Wayfarer app. This lets developers add locations to Niantic's AR map. If you've played Ingress or Pokémon GO, you might be aware that Niantic's already mapped out plenty of points of interest across the globe.
The company recognizes however that said points of interest may not be appropriate for your app or game. With Wayfarer, developers are now free to submit their own waypoints for their own purposes.
There's one other interesting update tucked away in Niantic's releases: the company is launching its own social app called Campfire. It calls this network "the homepage" of "the real-world metaverse," and it's already live in Ingress. Its purpose is to help players connect with one another and developers, organizing meetups and events similar to the kind seen in Pokémon GO.
Many of these features will likely inform the growth of Peridot, Niantic's first game based on an original property since Ingress.