Fortress

A Fortress in Wizards Unite is a 5-person dungeon scenario that requires a Runestone to enter. Players are required to group up, bring different Professions, and progress through Fortress floors. Higher floors give better rewards, but they are also more difficult to complete. Fortresses are shown on your map as a red colored castle.

Runestones

Fortresses contain a number of Chambers, each one increasing in difficulty. In order to enter a chamber you need to spend a Runestone. Runestone level determines the difficulty of the enemies you face and the amount of loot rewards you get, while it’s family determines the type of Registry rewards you will receive. Getting Registry rewards is not guaranteed.

The first player to activate a Runestone creates a Fortress lobby where up to five players can join. Once you’re in the lobby, you will see a number representing Difficulty Rating – the higher the number, the higher the difficulty. Difficulty Rating is influenced by the number of players, chamber you’re in and Runestones used.

If you leave the lobby before the 30 second timer runs out, your Runestone will return to you.


Challenges and strategic spells

In order to complete a Challenge, you need to defeat all of the enemies on the Floor before the timer runs out. You can see the number of enemies in the top right corner of the screen. As soon as you start the floor, a timer will start running.

Before engaging in combat, you can use Strategic Spells to weaken your enemies or to buff your team members. Your Strategic Spells are available on the bottom of the screen. Each Strategic Spell costs Focus to use – be careful which spells you use and plan your buffs / debuffs wisely.

You can replenish your Focus by defeating enemies with focus icon next to them.


Reports from players

Wizards Unite Fortress
Wizards Unite Fortress

While we don’t yet know everything about Fortresses in Wizards Unite, we do know a few facts based on reports from reddit. Magic9x, a Wizards Unite redditor, shared some of his notes on completing Fortresses with a team of players:

  • Each enemy may only be engaged by a single player at each time
  • Only players outside of combat can use their abilities, this means you probably want your magizoologists “sitting out” of the fight if there are more players than enemies (Since magizoologists can spam heals on people who are fighting)
  • Rewards are not impacted by having multiple players in a fortress, it’s the same rewards as if you were solo
  • Fights are significantly easier as a team, since you’ll almost always have one person “out of combat” who is able to use their abilities to assist the rest of the team while they are fighting their enemies
  • There’s no level restrictions until the very last few fortress floors, this means I’m able to group up with level 1s and “carry” them through the early tiers of the fortress
  • Enemies do have “levels” too. Around the 7th/8th tier of the fortress I’m generally fighting level 55-65 ish enemies.
  • I have around 200 HP and they’ll hit me for 50-60

Tips and tricks

Real-time multiplayer Player vs Enemy battles
This means that Wizards Unite players will battle against AI instead of going against each other. The difficulty of enemies will increase with each floor.

Fortresses feature various floors / rooms filled with different enemies
The first floor will be easy, and the floors will begin getting more difficult the further upwards that you progress. Clear all the floors and enemies in time, and you will defeat the Fortress.

Players will choose either Aurors, Magizoologists, or Professors
Up to five players can battle a Fortress at once. All three professions will be beneficial to have in the same group. These professions are explained in detail, in the Professions wiki. We know the Aurors are strong suited in spells. They’re ultimately the DPS profession of Wizards Unite. Magizoologist is described as being the tank profession of Wizards Unite. We don’t know much yet about the Professor, other than it being lead by Professor McGonagall.

Each player picks an enemy on a Fortress floor in which he / she will fight against
In order to beat the Fortress, you must take out all of the enemies. To do this, each person in your group will pick an enemy to fight against. Each profession will be stronger against certain enemies. We’ll update this area more as we find out which professions are superior to which enemies.

If time runs out, you will lose the Fortress. If you are defeated, you will lose
As we have seen in the predecessor to Wizards Unite, you most definitely can run out of time. If this is the case, you will lost the Fortress and be removed. At this time, it is unclear whether or not you will lose your Runestone or not. This being said, if your whole group gets knocked out, you will also lose the Fortress.

Rewards as well as difficulty increase as you progress each floor
We do not yet know what the rewards are for completing Fortresses, or progressing floors. We will update this with more information as we discover it. We do know that with each floor you progress, the difficulty will increase. You will unlock rewards for progressing and beating the Fortress.

For updates involving Fortresses, please feel free to bookmark this page, as it will be updated as more verified information becomes available.

Wizards Unite Beginners Guide

The Wizarding World is at risk of exposure. The Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards need YOUR help!

Are you looking for a beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite? You’ve come to the right place.

From potions and spells, to energy and Portkeys, discover everything you need to know about playing Wizards Unite for the first time.

Getting Started with Wizards Unite

When you’re starting up Wizards Unite for the first time, you’ll have to sign in with either Google or Facebook, and then agree to their terms & conditions. After that, you’ll enter your first and last name. (This can be changed any time as many times as you would like). Then you’ll finally be able to pick your code name! (This, you are not able to change as of yet).

After you pick your code name, you’ll then begin your tutorial on how to return a foundable back to where it belongs in the Wizarding World. As you return each foundable, you’ll be able to see your progress by first clicking on your registry and then adding the foundable’s image by clicking the flashing blue icon that appears. Hagrid is the foundable for the tutorial.

After finishing the tutorial, you can set up your Ministry ID by clicking on the wizard silhouette at the bottom left of your screen. From there, you can change your first and last name, title, Hogwarts house, and wizarding achievements. You can also select your wand type there from Ollivanders as well!

Once you hit level 6, you can choose your Profession. This is the first choice that really affects the game.

Wizards Unite Professions

You can choose from three professions in Wizards Unite.

Will you choose the combat veteran, Auror? This Profession is lead by Harry Potter himself!

Will you choose the team healer and support, Magizoologist? This Profession is lead by Rubeus Hagrid himself.

Or, will you choose the highly adept spell casters known as the Professor? This Profession is lead by Professor Minerva McGonagall herself.

Each set of Professions has their own Skill Tree in which you can add skills with scrolls. Read more about Professions on our Wiki page!

  • Aurors are combat veterans who cast debilitating spells designed to defeat the Dark Forces.
  • Magizoologists are healers who focus on helping their teammates. They also specialize in taking down Beasts.
  • Professors are strong spell-casters who can use debilitating spells to take down enemies, as well as support their teammates. Professors are most effective against taking down Curiosities.

Potions & Ingredients in Wizards Unite

While playing Wizards Unite, you will find potions and ingredients to help you progress through the game.

Healing Potion Wizards Unite

When brewing potions, you can decrease the waiting time for each potion by 15% if you correctly guess the Master Notes. Note that Master Notes can be found HERE if you click on the potion that you want to brew. You can also find the ingredients needed to brew it. As of writing, there are currently 15 potions in game.

  • Baruffio’s Brain Elixir
  • Bountiful Brew
  • Dawdle Draught
  • Draught of Perception
  • Exstimulo Potion
  • Felix Felicis
  • Healing Potion
  • Invigoration potion
  • Invigoration Potion (weak)
  • Memory Potion
  • Potent Exstimulo Potion
  • Scintillation Potion
  • Strong Exstimulo Potion
  • Wideye Potion
  • Wit Sharpening Potion

Take note of these potions. Baruffio’s Brain Elixir unlocks at level 4, and it will boost your XP for 30 minutes as you complete Traces and Portkeys. If you want to brew one, it takes 12 hours. However, if you follow the Master Notes, you can take 15% off of its brewing time. By following the Master Notes for each potion you brew, you’ll always take 15% off of the brewing time.

Learn more about Levels in our Wiki

There are currently 57 different ingredients in the game at the time of writing. You can find ingredients in Wizards Unite by walking around your mini map and tapping on the ingredients to collect them. Of course, some ingredients will be much harder to find than others. Find the complete list of Ingredients.

Spells in Wizards Unite

In order to return a Foundable to where they belong, you’ll need to accurately trace a random Glyph. The Glyph you get depends on the spell you have to use. A list of Spells, and the Glyphs you’ll be tracing can be found here! There are currently 14 spells in the game. Keep checking back as more may be added over time! Each spell is used for different Foundables.

Meteolojinx Recanto Wizards Unite

Fortress & Runestones in Wizards Unite

There are currently 10 different types of Runestones. These Runestones are based on your Registry categories. These categories are:

  • Care of Magical Creatures
  • Dark Arts
  • Hogwarts School
  • Legends of Hogwarts
  • Ministry of Magic
  • Magizoology
  • Magical Games and Sports
  • Mysterious Artifacts
  • Wonders of the Wizarding World
  • Oddities

Learn more about Fortresses

Map User Interface

Along with Fortresses on the Wizards Unite map, you’ll also have Inns and Greenhouses. Inns allow you to refill your spell energy. These look like a vertical inn with a chimney. There’s a 5-minute cool down per collection. Greenhouses allow you to brew potions and collect potion ingredients. Note that you can also find ingredients on the ground. At the beginning, you can only have a single potion brewing at a time. At level 10, you can buy another 4 spaces for brewing.

Learn more about the Wizards Unite map

In-Game Accessories 

When you first start your game, you have a capacity of 75 Energy. This energy depletes with each spell you use, each Foundable you return, and each Fortress that you participate in. You can refill your Energy as mentioned above at each Inn you visit. You can opt in to buy more energy in Diagon Alley (the in-game store) for coins if you so choose.

Dark Detectors are the equivalent of Lures in Pokémon GO. If you put a Dark Detector on an Inn, you’ll reveal rarer traces for 30 minutes. This allows you to potentially fill up your Registry even faster. It’s important to fill up your registry so that you can collect scrolls and unlock Skill Points for your Professions’ Skill Trees.

Portkeys

Last but not least, Portkeys! You will find Portkeys on your map as you walk around. They require keys to open. Wizards Unite gives you one key that lasts infinitely. You have 8 spaces in your Portkey inventory. You can buy packs of silver keys from the in-game store. You can also unlock them as you level up as well. These Portkeys will take you to an iconic place in the Wizarding World once you finish walking them their respective distances, which are 2, 5, and 10km.

As always, keep checking back to Wizards Unite Hub for the latest Wizards Unite news and updates!

If you haven’t already, feel free to join our Discord Server for further discussion!

Level Up Requirements, Rewards and Unlocks

All Wizards Unite level up experience requirements, rewards and unlocks. Currently there are only 20 levels players can reach in Wizards Unite Beta, but we expect there will be more once the game officially launches.

Unlocks per level

Level Feature
4 Potions
6 Professions

Requirements and Rewards

Lvl Total XP XP to next Item rewards
1 0 2,250 N/A
2 2,250 2,350
3 4,600 2,400
4 7,000 4,000
5 11,000 5,000
6 16,000 6,000
7 22,000 7,000
8 29,000 8,000
9 37,000 10,000
10 47,000 11,000
11 58,000 12,000
12 70,000 13,000
13 83,000 14,000
14 97,000 15,000
15 112,000 16,000
16 128,000 18,000
17 146,000 20,000
18 166,000 22,000 Not known yet
19 188,000 24,000 Not known yet
20 213,000 25,000 Not known yet
21 243,000 30,000 Not known yet
22 278,000 35,000 Not known yet
23 318,000 40,000 Not known yet
24 363,000 45,000 Not known yet
25 413,000 50,000 Not known yet
26 473,000 60,000 Not known yet
27 543,000 70,000 Not known yet
28 623,000 80,000 Not known yet
29 713,000 90,000 Not known yet
30 813,000 100,000 Not known yet
31 933,000 120,000 Not known yet
32 1,073,000 140,000 Not known yet
33 1,233,000 160,000 Not known yet
34 1,413,000 180,000 Not known yet
35 1,613,000 200,000 Not known yet
36 1,833,000 220,000 Not known yet
37 2,073,000 240,000 Not known yet
38 2,333,000 260,000 Not known yet
39 2,613,000 280,000 Not known yet
40 2,913,000 300,000 Not known yet
41 3,233,000 320,000 Not known yet
42 3,573,000 340,000 Not known yet
43 3,933,000 360,000 Not known yet
44 4,313,000 380,000 Not known yet
45 4,713,000 400,000 Not known yet
46 5,163,000 450,000 Not known yet
47 5,663,000 500,000 Not known yet
48 6,213,000 550,000 Not known yet
49 6,813,000 600,000 Not known yet
50 7,513,000 700,000 Not known yet
51 8,263,000 750,000 Not known yet
52 9,063,000 800,000 Not known yet
53 9,913,000 850,000 Not known yet
54 10,813,000 900,000 Not known yet
55 11,763,000 950,000 Not known yet
56 12,763,000 1,000,000 Not known yet
57 13,813,000 1,050,000 Not known yet
58 14,913,000 1,100,000 Not known yet
59 16,113,000 1,200,000 Not known yet
60 17,613,000 1,500,000 Not known yet

First Look at Fortresses in Wizards Unite Beta

Wizards, attention! We finally have a really good recording of how Fortresses look like in the current beta build. A player from New Zealand, called “Potato Slayer”, published a 14 minute long video that shows various aspects of Wizards Unite game play: leveling up, Inn and Glasshouse interaction, Foundable encounters, Potion brewing and finally… Fortresses!

We won’t waste your time with unnecessary introductions, here’s the video clip in question:

As hinted in the pre-release press materials, players progress through Fortress floors by clearing all enemies on a particular floor. Each floor requires you to spend Runestones to enter it. Apparently, Runestones of any color work and they could influence which rewards you get (speculation, don’t quote us on this, but the player used a Dark Arts Runestone to enter and received progress in both Dark Arts fragments and Challenge categories).

Combat heavily relies on two mechanics:

  • Protego – a defensive, time based, spell that is only usable when your opponent attacks
  • Combat Bolt – a generic looking offensive spell that can be used to damage your opponent

Combat spells require you to “draw” one of the several potential spell glyphs on your screen (apparently picked randomly):

At one point, the player has to use a Healing Potion in order to keep up with the incoming damage. Overall, the combat mechanics look much better than Pokemon GO’s tap-to-raid system, especially given that Wizards Unite are currently in beta period. We sincerely hope the combat will stay the same when the game finally goes live.

Magic9x, a Wizards Unite redditor, shared some of his notes on completing Fortresses with a team of players:

  • Each enemy may only be engaged by a single player at each time
  • Only players outside of combat can use their abilities, this means you probably want your magizoologists “sitting out” of the fight if there are more players than enemies (Since magizoologists can spam heals on people who are fighting)
  • Rewards are not impacted by having multiple players in a fortress, it’s the same rewards as if you were solo
  • Fights are significantly easier as a team, since you’ll almost always have one person “out of combat” who is able to use their abilities to assist the rest of the team while they are fighting their enemies
  • There’s no level restrictions until the very last few fortress floors, this means I’m able to group up with level 1s and “carry” them through the early tiers of the fortress
  • Enemies do have “levels” too. Around the 7th/8th tier of the fortress I’m generally fighting level 55-65 ish enemies.
  • I have around 200 HP and they’ll hit me for 50-60

Professions

Professions in Wizards Unite are class-like systems that define your overall role and gameplay style. There are three available professions each having their own unique perks and expansive skill trees: Auror, Professor and Magizoologist. Players can freely switch between professions and progress each separately from the other.

Auror, Professor and Magizoologist icons
Auror, Magizoologist and Professor icons

Auror is a combat focused profession that specializes in dealing with dark wizards, spell casting and dealing straight out damage. Aurors are lead by the legendary Harry Potter. The official in-game description states that Aurors are combat veterans who defeat Foes by Combining their innate leadership with a litany of debilitating spells. Aurors are most effective against Dark Forces.

Magizoologist is a support oriented profession that specializes in providing buffs, dealing with magical beasts and similar affair. Magizoologists are lead by Hagrid. The official in-game description states that Magizoologists focus on healing and helping their Teammates. Magizoologists are most effective against Beasts.

Professor is a balanced profession, adept at dealing damage and providing various utility effects. Professors are lead by Professor McGonagall and use their deep magical knowledge to debilitate Foes while also supporting their Teammates. Professors are most effective against Curiosities.

Each profession features a skill tree that can be progressed separately from the other profession. The further you progress down a tree, the more powerful abilities you unlock. In order to level up your profession’s skill tree you need tokens which can be earned from encounters, leveling up and completing other in-game challenges.

Here’s an example of an Auror’s skill tree:

Wizards Unite Professions
Wizards Unite Professions

A few notes about skill tree nodes in Wizards Unite:

  • Some nodes provide passive buffs, while others can unlock completely new abilities
  • Some nodes can be upgraded more times than once
  • You don’t have to unlock all nodes in order to get to the bottom of the skill tree

Players can freely switch between professions and it is highly advised to do so in Fortresses. Fortresses require multifaceted teams to complete and it’s not expected that you will be able to complete them with a single Profession team.

Wizards Unite Beta is Live in New Zealand!

Witches and wizards, listen up!

This is not a drill!  Niantic has recently announced via both Twitter and its blog that the beta test of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has been released to players in New Zealand.

For the lucky players living in New Zealand, all one must do to obtain the beta version of Wizards Unite is go to the App Store or Google Play Store and download the app.  In its blog post, Niantic reminded everyone who is not eligible for beta to sign up for updates at wizardsunite.com and wait for further updates.

Some initial details about the game have come up: there are styles for your avatar corresponding with each Hogwarts house, Hagrid and Hermione seem to be story characters, and the map looks very similar to that of Pokémon GO.  Players seem to have Ministry-issued badges, and they can cast spells by tracing their fingers on their screens.

A big thanks to the members of our discord server for pointing us to this information and putting up some screenshots straight away!  If you want to join our Wizards Unite discord community, the link is here.

It’s certainly been a long wait for a beta test, and hopefully it will be worthwhile–only time will tell, but we certainly have high hopes for this magical game!

Secrets of Niantic’s Real World Platform

What would you say if I told you that Niantic’s greatest asset isn’t that of the multi-million dollar machine we all know and love as Pokémon GO, but rather an ingenious software system that constantly learns and adapts to the world around us? This is a story about Niantic Real World Platform (NRWP), an AR system that has been in development for more than 7 years and that (almost) nobody is talking about.


The brief history of Niantic Labs

Niantic Labs was formed in 2010 as a an internal startup within Google, aimed at following up on their previous work in the space. With a team whose expertise was deeply entrenched in mapping, 3D modeling and map interaction, Niantic set out to create a combination of maps and games that would entice people to explore the world around them.

Their first foray into the genre was Field Trip, an innocent-looking app that enabled users to discovered unique, cool and hidden locations around them. Field Trip was a far cry from NRWP, but consider this quote from Today.com and keep in mind we’re talking about year 2012:

“When you download the app to your iPhone or Android, it will run in the background of your device. You tell “Field Trip” about your interests, and it will then prioritize suggestions of nearby locations of interest. As you approach something the app thinks you’ll find interesting, it will launch a pop-up with details about the suggested location.”

Field Trip was a powerful recommendation engine, but a limited one as well. You see, Field Trip was powered by publications such as Zagat, Thrillist and TimeOut, rather than using app users’ provided data. Everything that Field Trip suggested was pre-picked by someone else, someone who often wasn’t native to that area.

Field Trip’s recommendation engine was quickly followed up by Ingress, the first ever location-based mobile game that blended augmented reality with a mysterious science-fantasy setting. Ingress was and is the core of Niantic’s technological growth. Incidentally, Ingress is also where our story begins.


Portal to another world

Niantic launched Ingress in November 2012, backed by an intriguing mystery plot that connected the real world to the online world at last. Growing in popularity via Google’s Google+ social network, Ingress was spreading like wildfire among tech geeks and early smartphone gamers.

Initially, Ingress had the same problem like Field Trip: how to populate the real world map with actual Points of Interest? Niantic tried to solve the problem by reaching into the Historical Marker Database and the map of national Post Offices, but as older players remember, it was not good – it was not good at all. You see, Niantic created most portals (Ingress POIs) using a curated data set with limited geographical reach. Niantic needed a better solution for this issue, and indeed, they delivered.

On March 14 2013, Niantic released Ingress 1.21.3, the first version of Ingress that introduced Portal submissions. For the first time ever, players were able to influence the in-game map by submitting local highlights, attractions, and other unique places that represented interesting places in their area. Those places would eventually become actionable POIs inside the world of Ingress and players would be able to interact with them and further improve their gaming experience.

Players raved about the feature and from this moment onward, Niantic never had to worry about collecting, scraping or buying geographical data – the players were providing it themselves by simply participating in the game play loops designed by Niantic’s ingenious developers.

Ingress portal submission was released six years ago and players are still submitting large numbers of portal candidates in an effort to improve the game’s world map across the globe. Inadvertently, six years of portal submissions has provided Niantic with the world’s largest user generated map of world’s unique places, local highlights and everything else that fits Ingress Portal requirements.

This data set, humbly referred to as “POI DATA”, is one of the pillars of Niantic’s Real World Platform.

With POI data solved, Niantic set out to diversify and learn more about the real world in the context of AR gaming. It’s still not clear which data sets were actually used, but in the coming years Niantic grew their knowledge of cellular data, player concentration and even used OpenStreetMap to improve the map.


Analysis of Niantic’s Real World Platform

Ingress is where the story began, but it was Pokemon GO where the Platform started shaping up as a product. Pokemon GO’s release was rocky at best, plagued with server problems, scaling challenges and 24/7 fire drills for the ops team. The game took months to stabilize, but around March 2017 Niantic was ready to start working on the Real World Platform again.

It is not clear when the decision was made to make the Platform into a stand alone product, but what we know for sure is that Niantic is planning to release it to third party developers soon.

Additionally, Niantic has recently shared a high level illustration of the platform (source). For transparency sake, we’re sharing the diagram in full:

Niantic Real World Platform
Niantic Real World Platform (source)

As you may expect, the Real World Platform is comprised of several key areas and data sets populated and consumed by various parties. In the rest of this article, we’ll cover the fundamental parts of the Platform and explain how each of them works in the grand scheme of things.

Server runtime 🌍

It all starts here. Players use the game client and provide POI, AR and action data, all of which are stored in the server runtime layer. The data is not just passively stored – it’s used to power various connected services that support Niantic’s partners, marketing and finance departments. These services include:

  • Analytics
  • Sponsorship
  • CRM
  • Live events

Some subsystems are smarter than others. For example, take a look at the “anti cheat security” subsystem. Niantic’s anti cheat mechanisms are powered by machine learning algorithms that gobble up all of the player action data and flag potential malicious activities for further investigation.

Another notable subsystem is called “social” and it allows Niantic to segment the player base, act on player activity and push notifications down the line, usually in the form of platform specific push notifications and in-game news.

AR-centric systems 🧙

Other parts of the Platform are more technical in nature. AR cloud and spatial serving allow for progressive loading of AR layer and storing special AR-specific objects in the real world.

Our seasoned readers will remember that Niantic bought Escher Reality in March 2018. Escher Reality was a technology company based around providing a shared multiplayer experience in AR, but also around providing a persistent storage layer for AR objects in the real world. Want to hide a portkey in a specific locker in a public location and have it visible only to players who crack the locker’s passcode? No problem, Escher’s Niantic’s AR cloud has you covered.

These systems are core pillars of the RWP’s future and they are powering Niantic’s entire product vision:

Throughout the past year, we have made strategic investments in initiatives focused on AR mapping and computer vision. Recently, we announced the acquisition of Escher Reality, who are contributing to our “Planet Scale AR” efforts. And today, we are announcing that we have acquired the computer vision and machine learning company Matrix Mill, and have established our first London office. It’s through the coordination of these teams that we’ve been able to establish what the Niantic Real World Platform looks like today, and what it will be in the future.

Game client 📱

If you pick up Pokemon GO and put it side by side with Ingress Prime, you will notice an eerie similarity. That’s not by chance, as Niantic’s modern game clients are all based around a shared native plugin layer and follow similar design principles.

Each client has access to the same high level map loading, player and account management solutions. Bundled with those are lower level libraries that were in development for years: GPS handling. authentication, caching, scheduling and cell management. Don’t believe me? Not a problem, read our Ingress Prime APK teardown for an in-depth analysis of everything shared between Pokemon GO and Ingress Prime.

The Real World Platform doesn’t shy away from demonstrating this, as it’s only natural for businesses to reuse and generalize the solutions they once built for a specific need. Nothing wrong with some code sharing, right? When I did my first foray into Ingress Prime’s code base, I remember finding the following quite amusing:

  • Unity3D powers the game engine, UI interactions, asset management and player interactions, Protobuff and RPC are used to perform server side communication. All of this applies to Pokemon GO as well.
  • Both Ingress Prime and Pokemon GO use Niantic’s shared platform code:
    • Niantic.Platform,
    • Niantic.Zeppelin,
    • Niantic.Platform.Auth and
    • Niantic.Platform.Ditto
  • Both games used the same third party libraries: Zenject (dependency injection framework for Unity), Google Protobuff (lightweight, schema based communication) and Firebase (fast key value storage)

Of course, Niantic isn’t just copying the systems they previously built – they are enhancing them over time. If you were impressed by Pokemon GO’s AR features, take a look at a relatively recent tech demo that features real world AR occlusion:

We expect that Wizards Unite will follow suite as well, if the client app is indeed developed by Niantic. If it’s not, then we’re in the wild west territory.


Technology behind the Real World Platform

I admit: I have been deeply impressed by Niantic’s Real World Platform for a while now. However, there are still some unanswered questions in the back of my mind. How ready is it? How do you interact with it? What languages do you need to know in order to use it?

In order to answer these questions, we’ve analyzed Niantic’s recently published developer contest website. The website is basically a contest listing, but it does reveal a lot about programming languages and solutions used in Niantic’s Real World Platform.

The following bullet points were extracted from various places on the website:

  • The Niantic Real World Platform requires both Unity development (client side) and Java server development experience (server side)
  • Finalists will have access to the Niantic Real World AR and geospatial development kits with Unity and Java API support in order to build their projects
  • […] finalists will also have access to thorough documentation and samples to ensure their questions about the software are answered
  • All selected teams are required to furnish their own Mac-based hardware for development. Additionally, teams must be able to provide their own mobile hardware (with built-in ARKit or ARCore support) for playtesting.
  • […] will need a separate GitLab instance stood up, which requires VPN and Maven credentials

Frankly speaking, this looks great from a techie’s perspective. The Real World Platform has bindings and APIs in popular languages (Java and C#), good documentation and uses a modern build system: Maven. It checks all of the relevant boxes in the world of modern software development.

For more details about how these technologies work together when it comes to mapping Earth in AR, we suggest you watch this video featuring Niantic’s AR mapping lead:

One of the key technologies coming into the Real World Platform is Codename: Neon, a multiplayer AR demo showcased during the MWC19 conference:


Wrapping it up

We hope you enjoyed this long-form article – it took us a lot of time to research and discover all of the facts and figures behind the Platform. Niantic has really built something special with the Real World Platform and it’s not surprising that Warner Bros. decided to go with them as the development studio for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Updates:

In-depth Look at How Wizards Unite Codename Reservation Works

Niantic has launched a new mini-website titled Wizards Unite Code Name Reservation, built on top of their existing official website. After claiming my username, the little dataminer inside of me couldn’t help but wonder: how does this work?

The website is separated into two parts:

  • Use my Ingress Agent Name
  • Use my Pokémon GO Trainer Nickname

Ingress reservation redirects to intel.ingress.com/hpwu, the website that actually serves the Ingress Intel Map web application. Ingress and Pokémon GO reservations are fundamentally different, but they all target the same data layer (player profiles stored in Niantic’s Real World Platform).

Pokémon GO reservation takes place on the original website (nianticlabs.com/hpwu-codenamereservation) and it’s actually a client side AngularJS application written in plain ol’ JavaScript. And you know what they say about plain ol’ JavaScript: anyone can read it.

Which is exactly what we’ve done 🧙


Reservation form

The reservation form is controlled by CodenameReservationController, a simple class that has a few different methods (some omitted for brevity):

  • fbLoginClicked
    • loginFacebook
    • loginWithFacebookApi
  • googleLoginClicked
    • loginGoogle
  • superAwesomeLoginClicked
    • loginSuperAwesome
  • getPlayer
  • reserveName

When you click on one of the login methods, the flow is as follows:

Store current user

Regardless of the method you used to login, Niantic is storing your logged in information into localStorage. Luckily for everyone involved, only an access token is stored – no Personally identifiable information (PII) is stored in your browser.

Get Player

The system tries to authorize you in the background. If you’re not logged in on FB/Google/SuperAwesome an authorization prompt will pop up urging you to login. Once logged in, the system fires a getPlayer call that goes to this address:

https://social-prod-codenamereserve.eng.nianticlabs.com/plfe/web/json_action/GET_PLAYER

and tries to load player information associated with the logged in user. Curiously, Niantic is using your Facebook/Google/SuperAwesome ID to identify you and lookup your current codename!

If successful, getPlayer returns a JSON object similar to this:

{status: "SUCCESS", codename: "Zer0ghan"}

Reserve Codename

Once getPlayer finishes, you can now click Reserve Codename and the system will post your request to another endpoint on Niantic’s servers:

https://social-prod-codenamereserve.eng.nianticlabs.com/plfe/web/json_action/RESERVE_CODENAME

Once again, you are identified with a token, but this time it’s a Niantic-issued “Bearer Token” stored in the Authorization header of the POST request. This method of relaying user’s request without actually sending your codename is secure, fast and ingenious. We salute Niantic for implementing the reservation securely: there are no passwords, codenames or any other vulnerable information exchanged during the entire process.

We are also impressed that trying to reserve a codename with several different login methods actually points to the same Niantic account! I’ve tried claiming my Zer0ghan codename via Facebook (first) and Google login (second), and the Google login method correctly stated the following:

We’re sorry, we are unable to complete this reservation. You’ve already reserved a Code Name for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Apparently, once you claim a codename, you will be able to use any login method currently associated with your account to use it when Wizards Unite launches in your region.


Conclusion

Niantic is using industry standards code for authorization, authentication and information transfer. Your current codename / username is safe from hijacking, modifications and overwrites. Despite site saying that you will have to use the same login method once Wizards Unite is available, evidence suggests that any login method associated with your Niantic account will give you access to your reserved codename.


Code Dump

As per tradition, an analysis is not complete without a proof of mining. Well, here we go (parts of the code omitted for brevity):

CodenameReservationController

var CodenameReservationController = function($scope, $http) {
            var PGO_BASE_URL = "https://social-prod-codenamereserve.eng.nianticlabs.com/plfe"
              , INGRESS_BASE_URL = "https://intel.ingress.com"
              , KWS_CALLBACK_BASE = window.location.origin;
            this.URLS = Object.freeze({
                login: PGO_BASE_URL + "/web/login",
                get_player: PGO_BASE_URL + "/web/json_action/GET_PLAYER",
                reserve_codename: PGO_BASE_URL + "/web/json_action/RESERVE_CODENAME",
                ingress_flow: INGRESS_BASE_URL + "/hpwu",
                get_updates: "https://www.harrypotterwizardsunite.com/",
                kws_callback: KWS_CALLBACK_BASE + "/hpwu-codenamereservation"
            }),
            this.STATES = Object.freeze({
                unset: 0,
                success: 1,
                failure: 2,
                already_reserved: 3,
                init: 4,
                pgo: 5,
                pgo_logged_in: 6,
                ptc: 7,
                reservation_period_ended: 8,
                heavy_load: 9
            }),
        };

GetPlayer

CodenameReservationController.prototype.getPlayer = function() {
            var currentUser = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem("currentUser"))
              , self = this
              , config = {
                headers: {
                    Authorization: "Bearer " + currentUser.accessToken
                }
            };
            this.$http.post(this.URLS.get_player, {}, config).then(function(response) {
                self.setButtonsDisabled(!1),
                response.data && response.data.codename && "SUCCESS" === response.data.status && (self.codename = response.data.codename,
                self.setState(self.STATES.pgo_logged_in))
            }, function(response) {
                self.setButtonsDisabled(!1)
            })
        }

ReserveName

CodenameReservationController.prototype.reserveName = function() {
            this.setButtonsDisabled(!0);
            var currentUser = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem("currentUser"))
              , self = this
              , config = {
                headers: {
                    Authorization: "Bearer " + currentUser.accessToken
                }
            };
            this.$http.post(this.URLS.reserve_codename, {}, config).then(function(response) {
                if (self.setButtonsDisabled(!1),
                response.data) {
                    var status = response.data.status;
                    if ("SUCCESS" === status)
                        return void self.setState(self.STATES.success);
                    if ("ALREADY_HAS_CODENAME" === status)
                        return void self.setState(self.STATES.already_reserved)
                }
                self.setState(self.STATES.failure)
            }, function(response) {
                self.setButtonsDisabled(!1)
            })
        }

Niantic Launches Wizards Unite Name Reservations

Earlier today, Niantic unveiled codename pre-registrations for existing Pokémon GO and Ingress players! Until April 30th, 2019 at 11:59 P.M. PT, Ingress Agents and Pokémon GO Trainers will be able to reserve their Agent Name or Trainer Nickname to use in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Please note that at this time, you can’t reserve a new unique name unless you change your name on Pokemon GO. I know, this is unfortunate for unique witchcraft and wizardry names. However, it’s a start!

You should also know that Pokemon Trainer Club accounts don’t work. You will need to link your Trainer Club account with your Google account.

There are exceptions, however. There may be some cases where Codename reservations are not guaranteed. For example, your Code Name may overlap with a user in another Niantic title. For this scenario, reservation will be first come, first served. So apply for reservation as soon as you read this news!

It’s also possible that if your codename overlaps too much with iconic names in the wizarding world, you won’t be allowed to use it for Wizards Unite. A few WUtubers weren’t able to get their codenames, and it’s unclear if that is because their codenames overlapped with an Ingress player or if their codenames were already too magical.

We will update this post if we learn more. Until then, grab your codename ASAP!

Reserve your code name here!

You can also read our In-depth look at how Wizards Unite codename regservation works for a more technical overview of the reservation system.


Code Name Reservations
As always, keep coming back to Wizards Unite Hub for the latest news, wikis, and articles involving Wizards Unite!

Exclusive 5G Features in Wizards Unite

It’s an exciting time to for fans of augmented reality and mobile games. 5G networks are in development right now, with worldwide commercial launch expected in 2020. However, certain areas will receive access to 5G networks sooner, and with that, potentially exclusive 5G features for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Assuming, of course, you buy a new phone with 5G capability.

Anyway, here’s what we know so far about the possibility of Wizards Unite and 5G.

Back in February, we reported on an interview from LA Times with Kevin Tsujihara, then chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. When talking about AT&T’s new ownership of Warner Bros., Tsujihara said,

You look at something like 5G. At first you think, ‘Oh, that doesn’t matter for a studio.’ It actually could have a significant impact on our ability to deliver content. Another thing that’s really exciting is the world of VR and AR. I don’t think we’ve figured out exactly what that is going to be, but 5G is going to turbocharge the ability to deliver that experience.

LA Times followed up by asking what technology projects are currently in the works. Tsujihara gave this exciting response:

The one that’s the closest is this “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” [augmented reality] video game project coming out this summer from Niantic, the maker of “Pokemon Go.” That’s a world where, clearly, 5G and faster connectivity with a mobile device is going to make that game better.

At the time, I focused on the possibility of a summer release for Wizards Unite. However, now let’s talk about 5G in Wizards Unite!

At a press conference earlier today, SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest wireless telecommunications operator, shared details about their 5G network in South Korea, their new 5G service plans for customers, and their exclusive mobile game options… Like Wizards Unite.

Earlier this year, Niantic announced a partnership with SK Telecom, along with other tech companies. However, the exact details of this partnership were unknown before now. The two companies had already come together in 2017 to create sponsored PokéStops, but this 2019 agreement is something else entirely.

Only witches and wizards who subscribe to SK Telecom’s 5G services will be able to play Wizards Unite when it first comes out in South Korea. I couldn’t find a timeframe for exclusivity, but other interested players will have to wait before the game is available on more devices and on other networks.

However, this agreement is limited to South Korea. While 5G is the future of AR gaming, it’s not widespread enough for an AR game to use exclusively. However, it’s possible that Wizards Unite will include some optional features that only work with 5G.

What sort of Wizards Unite features could be exclusive to 5G?

Last year, Niantic released a cool video for Codename: Neon, a prototype game that looks more than a little like casting spells at other people.

The video itself only mentions the phones used: iPhone 8 and Google Pixel 2. The video doesn’t say if the players are using WIFI, LTE, or something else.

However, in February of this year, John Hanke talked about Codename: Neon in relation to 5G.

We’re really pushing the boundaries of what we can do on today’s networks. We need 5G to deliver the kinds of experiences that we are imagining.

It’s unclear from this statement if Hanke means that Codename: Neon is the limit of what can be done using LTE, or if Codename: Neon requires something faster.

According to Venture Beat, Hanke recently clarified that Codename: Neon and Codename: Tonehenge will require a 5G network.

Regardless of what the immediate future holds, Hanke is clearly excited about the long-term potential of 5G capabilities in AR gaming.

We’re actually really excited about 5G.

This could mean Wizards Unite will include optional features–like interactive spellcasting between players–exclusive to 5G players.

Only time will tell!

What are your thoughts on 5G?