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VisionLab360 Develops Augmented Reality App for Wizarding Weekend

Becky Lane and Jacob Madden

VisionLab360 Develops Augmented Reality App for Wizarding Weekend

Wizarding Weekend, a festival of magic, science and fantasy, welcomes wizard fans of all ages to downtown Ithaca October 26-28. This year the event will feature a free augmented reality experience, Guardians of GorgeKeep, developed pro bono by Rev: Ithaca Startup Works member VisionLab360.

VisionLab360 founder, Becky Lane, worked with co-creator Jacob Madden to develop an augmented reality app, similar to the experience in the Pokemon Go app,  that immerses visitors into their custom-made fantasy world. When wizard fans enter the GorgeKeep School of Magic, housed on the first floor of Ithaca’s Clinton House, they can open their previously downloaded mobile application, Guardians of GorgeKeep, on their mobile devices.   

Once the app is launched, visitors will be challenged to search for the four guardians. Once found, each guardian imparts wisdom and advice to the user. The wisdom extoled is related to social justice, community building, conservation, and ecology. After finding the fourth guardian, the user is knighted as the fifth guardian and given a tangible GorgeKeep Journal of Magic before they depart the Clinton House to continue to document their magical journey through Wizarding Weekend.  

“Becky and Jacob have done something truly incredible,” said Wizarding Weekend organizer, Darlynne Overbaugh. “They have given visual life to a concept we have been developing for two years. The Clinton House is already a unique building in our community and it is made even more special by the app experience. Their efforts are truly extraordinary and I’m thrilled that they brought this project to us and to fruition.”  

The developers discovered the idea for the app after discussing plans for the GorgeKeep School of Magic with the Wizarding Weekend planning team. Lane and Madden found that no concrete plans were laid out to transform the physical space into “guardian challenges”, which made it the perfect opportunity to create an augmented reality app. Instead of touring a physical space that had been decorated, users will look through their phones to view an overlay map of the space and see a 3D, walkable and explorable GorgeKeep School of Magic complete with interactive characters. 

Lane and Madden spent over 200 pro bono hours creating the app. They started the development by identifying the type of experience they wanted users to have. Next, they developed a wireframe to define the flow of the Clinton House tour and decided what elements needed to be included. The team only had 30 days to complete the creation of the app so they quickly got to work assembling the content. Madden created the physical look while Lane scripted the dialogue to reflect the spirit of Guardian Quest. They teamed up with local actors Sylvie Yntema, Brett Bossard, and Chris Cornelius who lent their talents to provide voice-overs for the various characters. Madden finished off the design using ARKit and ARcore in conjunction with Unit, a 3D game development tool.  

In the spirit of Wizarding Weekend, the app was created as a donation by Lane and Madden for the enjoyment of the community. The app will be available for download on IOS and Android on Friday, October 26. The app will run on AR-compatible mobile devices including iPad, iPhone 6s and above, Galaxy 7+ or similar devices. Users are encouraged to bring their own set of headphones. 

The Clinton House is located at 120 North Cayuga Street in downtown Ithaca, New York.