Meet the winners of the Lightship VPS Challenge!
To celebrate the first year of Niantic Lightship, we invited our top developers to an exclusive Lightship VPS challenge from November to December.

As part of our celebration of the one-year anniversary of Niantic Lightship, we invited 50 developers who are active in the community and early adopters of Lightship to an exclusive challenge. The Lightship VPS Challenge was an opportunity for developers to learn, explore, and connect with each other and Niantic staff, all while competing for top prizes.

During this challenge, we wanted this group of devoted developers to feel supported every step of the way, regardless of where they were on their AR journey. To kick it off on the right foot, we sent the group exclusive swag boxes, hosted in depth workshops, gave early access to private betas of Remote Authoring and Lightship Maps, and gave each team the chance to have private project consultations with our Product Managers and Engineers. As the challenge continued throughout December, developers stayed connected through office hours, priority support, technical feedback, and a private Discord channel where they could form teams, share resources, and connect.

We’re so impressed with the projects developers created and are excited to see the innovative uses of VPS and ARDK. Even more so, we were excited to see how quickly participants learned, explored, and integrated the new tools.

Grand Prize Winner

Although we had several incredible submissions, there could only be one Grand Prize Winner. The VPS Grand Prize goes to Ploppy Escape by Bill Wang of Gameology.

The VPS Grand Prize was awarded to the experience that could creatively utilize Wayspot anchors to anchor and place content. The experience also had to use VPS in a way that could scale to other locations in order to qualify. As a multi-VPS location AR puzzle game created using Lightship Maps and VPS met and exceeded this criteria. The game is intended to make players go to different locations and solve a puzzle. All puzzle elements at each location rely on VPS anchors, placing virtual objects over the real world for all puzzle solving and interactions which the judges loved. The submission was also praised for its scalability, polished UI, and its time-based mechanisms.

Most Innovative Experience

To win in our second category, Most Innovative Experience, developers needed to create an experience that strategically used VPS and other tools like Remote Authoring and Maps in a cutting-edge way. The clear winner of this award was AR Detective Agency by Jamie Gant of WJG Reality.

AR Detective Agency is a mystery game based in Miami Beach, where the participants find clues as an AR detective. AR Detective Agency utilizes VPS and other ARDK features including Remote Authoring and Lightship Maps SDK in an interesting way. It uses Maps to guide players to different locations with UX audio directions included, and Remote Authoring to anchor content that feels real at different Wayspots.

Best use of Lightship Maps

Our third prize category goes to those who used the private beta of Lightship Maps most creatively in their submission, and the winner is Parallel Room for their ARtist experience.

ARtist is an art game where players travel to multiple locations to gather materials to create an art piece. Players are then motivated to visit multiple other locations to gather the necessary materials to up-level their art. The experience is built for artists to exhibit their creations and for art collectors to travel the world together and unveil masterpieces. Judges were particularly impressed by the way the ARtist experience used VPS to display art pieces in special locations where users can retrieve materials and start jam sessions.

Niantic mission prize winner

Our final prize goes to the team whose experience best embodies Niantic’s mission to inspire and explore the world together, and Nombre del equipo: Experiencia de la Comuna 13 by Libardo Martinez Durango, does just that.

The Nombre del equipo: Experiencia de la Comuna 13 uses VPS to bring attention to under-recognized artists in a community that’s historically been stigmatized. The experience uses Remote Authoring and VPS, so users can locate the works of art displayed on the tour and see them come to life. It allows the audience to connect with the history and art that the inhabitants of the Comuna 13 community want to express and share with the world.

Honorable mentions

With so many great submissions to the Lightship VPS challenge, it took a lot of work for the judges to narrow it down to just a few entries. Thank you to all of our developers for participating in this challenge, with honorable mention to:

Check out all the submissions from the Lightship VPS Challenge here.

Cheers to another year building with Lightship

All in all, it was a great challenge, and we were ecstatic to see all the creativity and innovation that came out of it. We want to thank all the participants, the product and developer adoption team, partner engineers, and developer support engineers for making this challenge a success. We look forward to another year of building with Lightship and can’t wait to see what you’ll create next!

Published January 18, 2023
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