Peridot is only two months old but there's plenty to learn from Niantic's AI/AR pet sim already

Production director Ziah Fogel (together with Ami the Dot) walks us through all the evolved features they're introducing in the genre with their own "modern-day take on a Tamagotchi", including 3D space and objects awareness, different behaviours, and more.

Audio transcription

"We're at the Niantic space at the Summer Game Fest Play Days and we're here accompanied by Ziah and Ami who are gonna let us know a little bit more about the evolution of pet AI and AR based pet games which you know back in the day some years ago we all thought it was going to be the thing but they never get there right but now you're telling me incredible things that you can do with your pet and how it recognizes the environment. Thank you so much for joining us. What can you tell us about Peridot and its month of life so far?
Yeah so Peridot is an AR first pet simulation game. You can think of it kind of like a modern-day take on a Tamagotchi and day to day you're actually nurturing these adorable little creatures called Peridots or dots for short and you can hang out with them just like you would with your pets except that they're digital and so they can come anywhere in the world with you."

"You can pet them, feed them, play with them, play fetch, teach them tricks and ultimately it's your goal as a keeper to raise them from a baby to a teen to an adult by nurturing them. Okay and as I was saying back in the day AR games were like only detecting like the surface, simple things but now this little pet here is really smart and really understands way more things, way more spaces and even the grass and what can you do with them? Yeah so using this advanced technology powered by Lightship ARDK Niantics platform these Peridots are able to understand the real-world environment around them so they understand where there are spaces that they can roam, they can go behind objects, they can make sure that they're they can make sure that they're able to walk behind something and be occluded by it. They also understand real-world elements so they understand grass, water, sand, dirt, they even understand humans and dogs, TV screens, they'll sniff the flowers when they see a flower so they really can make themselves part of your real-world environment. They feel so real, they actually feel like they're there. And they understand your couch too? They do, they understand your couch, yeah they're any kind of loungable, they'll hop up on the couch, curl up into a ball and be super cute and go to go take a little nap up there. They don't leave any hair so that's pretty convenient for allergic people like myself. Exactly, exactly, yeah they don't leave hair, they don't leave a mess and also unlike your kind of Tamagotchi, they don't die either so."

"Okay so for people interested now in playing Peridot, how's the game's model, the app, how do you get your own pet and how does it all start? Yeah so you can download Peridot now from the app stores and your first pet is actually chosen from three eggs and you hatch your first Peridot and that becomes your first little baby. Then it's your job to make sure that you nurture that pet so that it can become a teenager and then an adult."

"During that time you can play with them, play fetch with them, teach them new tricks. My favorite trick is the booty shake which is super super cute but these creatures are actually part of your world and they'll explore with you.
Now for players who get really deep into the game and want to continue, they can do so by hatching new generations of these Peridots because every Peridot is a hundred percent unique. They all have a unique DNA code and there are as many different kinds of Peridots in the world as there are stars in the universe. So that's part of this strategy of the game is trying to find these interesting traits out in the world and you do that by finding other keepers who you then can say, hey your Peridot's really cute and really cool and maybe our Peridot should hatch a new generation to see what that new baby and that next unique generation of Peridot will be. So is there any sort of walking feature integrated into the game or is just AI and AR as we just mentioned or being Niantic you also as you just said perhaps you're walking around and you you get an alert or notification that someone is petting their Peridot around. Yeah that's right so you know we try to make sure that people are exploring all of the time, discovering new places and obviously walking and exercising. So your Peridot will have different desires that it wants to fulfill and it's your job as the keeper to help them fulfill those desires. So they might be things like you know it wants to have some food but it might also be that it wants to go for a walk or that it wants to visit a particular point of interest or what we call habitats in the game. Now habitats are where adult Peridots hang out. So once you know there's adults they kind of hang out around these places and that's where you can go meet new Peridots, meet the keepers and and potentially hatch new generations as well. So yeah it's very important for your Peridots to get out there and exercise and they really kind of drag you along. In fact sometimes you know when they see a screen they'll be like oh I don't know maybe it's time to go outside for a walk, too much screen time. Okay and the Niantic games we have around Monster Hunter, Pokemon, Pikmin are based on video game or other type of franchises. What about Peridot? I don't know if it's your own creation guys or if it's based on some different franchise that I didn't know about. Yeah no Peridot is our own IP. It's an original IP and it was developed in-house based on just our love of these cute little creatures. They were designed in-house and really just as a way to get people out there and exercising and exploring but also showcasing all of the amazing technology that we can utilize to make the pets feel like they are part of your real world. And what's the business model you guys are using to turn Peridot into a business because of course it's a free-to-play downloadable app and you can start as you just explained playing with your pet but how's the business model behind it? Yeah that's right so it is a free-to-play game you can download it and start playing and the way that we monetize in the game is the hatching loop is something that we consider a premium feature of the game so you can have you know one Peridot and play with them as much as you want but when you want to hatch new generations and help diversify that part of the loop that's where there's monetization but also there's lots of opportunities for folks to you know purchase things to help their Peridot grow faster or cute cosmetics or things to dress your Peridot up in yeah those kinds of things as well. All right and finally as we said the game is just one month old so what's the sort of feedback how do you see the community reacting to it is there something that they are eager for you to introduce in the future or? Yeah no it's been one month and so so far the feedback that we've gotten is that the creatures are super super cute the augmented reality is very very good and it's been really cool to see our community of keepers starting to form and they're developing these communities and trying to particularly how to hatch and get new generations of dots some of the feedback that we're getting is that people want to have more things to do with their dots right they want to be able to nurture and have more things to do and so that's what we're working on next I'm trying to address that feedback yeah. All right and is it too demanding in terms of the hardware the mobile device you need for that AR technology to work just fine? Yeah so that it is a high-end device game because of the advanced augmented reality it works on iPhone 8 and above and and and some pretty high and the pretty high-end Android devices as well but we're trying to make sure that it's playable to as many people as we can so we're always working on optimizing all of these features but yeah that's something that we we definitely take advantage of all of the juice that your device has. Fantastic now you know how to start petting your own dot thank you so much for your time."

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