New AR glasses could make your D&D campaigns more immersive than ever

Jessica Filby

With virtual tabletop games seeing a dramatic surge in popularity, many Dungeons & Dragons players are taking to their PC’s to enjoy a campaign with friends from all over the world. Now, thanks to ARcana, such campaigns will be more immersive than ever.

The newly introduced ARcana is a 5e-compatible worldbuilding and visualization engine that replicates the classic tabletop experience many know and love, but in augmented reality.

Mirrorscape, the name behind ARcana is a mixed-reality game development company focused on bringing the beauty of a live TTRPG to players around the world.

While still in active development, ARcana is backed by a slew of D&D adjacent companies, with the legendary tabletop RPG player Joe Manganiello as its creative director.

Manganiello is best known for his character Arkan the Cruel in Critical Role, his time on countless TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, films like Spider-Man, and his work producing a Dungeons & Dragons TV show.

Using terrains and minis from the likes of Dwarven Forge, Hero Forge, Reaper, and Fat Dragon, players will be able to fully envelop themselves into real-time movable maps, all while communicating with players and moving their minis, just like a traditional tabletop game.

ARcana partners with Qualcomm to create immersive D&D AR glasses

ARcana design for a map
Explore Dungeons, move minis, and more all with AR or mobile.

In a collaboration with Qualcomm, the platform’s connectivity is expanding to both mobile devices and AR glasses. This allows every player or Dungeon Master to fully engross themselves in the created world in front of them, without needing to hold a screen up to display the world around them.

This type of collaboration is the first of its kind. It introduces the ever-popular virtual tabletop experience and merges it with mixed-reality technology to create traditional yet unique gameplay.

The gameplay is enhanced with advanced perception technology, helping players detect the surface of the table in front of them and track their hands as they move minis and game pieces in real-time.

Via a press release, Mirrorscape founder and CEO Grant Anderson said:

“Snapdragon XR technology and platform have allowed Mirrorscape to create the next-generation gaming experience we always envisioned for ARcana.”

Similar technology is being used in the Meta Quest Pro and Vive XR headsets, with this being part of the Snapdragon Spaces mixed reality development suite.

ARcana is currently in beta and is set to launch in spring 2023 to iOS, Android, and wherever else XR is supported.