The contest is spread out into two phases:
- Application phase: Out of all applicants, Niantic will select a group of 10 teams that have the best technical background, programming proficiency and additional skills
- Development phase: A select group of ten teams will earn a stipend and access to the Niantic Real World Platform. Finalists will work for a three-month period, with the goal of showing off their incredible work at a Demo Day in San Francisco, hosted by Niantic
Per the rules listed in the link above, the Contest phase began on December 20th at 12:00 A.M. Pacific Time (PT) and will run through to September 6th, 2019 at 5:00 P.M. PT. Any teams must consist of 5 members and have an appointed team leader.
Surprisingly, the finalists will be brought to San Francisco/Bay Area to meet with executives and lay the groundwork for the work to come. All of the travel expenses, including a stipend for the time being in San Francisco, is covered by Niantic (roughly $70,000 USD per team).
Following completion of the Developer Stage, Developer Stage team prizes will be awarded to teams which finish in the top three (3) places as follows:
- First (1st) place – $300,000 USD
- Second (2nd) place – $100,000 USD
- Third (3rd) place – $100,000 USD
These team prizes will be split equally amongst all Developer team members, with each individual team member receiving personal payments of their share.
A glimpse into the Niantic Real World Platform
Niantic’s official blog post has also shared a high level technical overview of the NRWP (Niantic Real World Platform) and it truly looks like a lot to take in:
Let’s dissect the platform in a bit more detail:
- Although not explicitly drawn, the Niantic Real World Platform requires both Unity development and Java server development experience to operate
- NRWP covers all aspects of running a game, from Live events to Analytics and IAP purchases
- Anti-Cheat Security is based on Machine Learning, which means it should get smarter and more accurate over time
- Marketing channels and analytics are built into the platform alongside native plugins for account management, inventory and the in-game map
- Key parts of the server side code are shared across the platform, including the “core engine”, in-app purchases, social aspects, anti cheat measures and cloud services
- Map objects (portals / gyms / PokeStops) and AR data are shared across the platform
- Your history as a player (“Player Action Data”) is logged through the NRWP rather than through third party services
The quality of the code can’t really be inferred from a diagram, but given the amount of features that the Real World Platform offers, it sure looks impressive. We wish all the best to contest applicants – may the best AR team win!