Enter the Hololens

I will openly admit I was incredibly worried to try the Hololens. I went into this class expecting to be doing AR on a phone, and the thought of putting a tiny screen that close to my eyes was headache-inducing. In practice, though, it didn’t cause eye strain and fit well, but I did have some issues. The image didn’t look 3D at all to me (to be fair, only the New 3DS has been able to let me see proper 3D imagery as a result of some minor vision problems) but didn’t look doubled, and the color of the images was never consistent as a result of slightly iridescent lenses. I expected worse, and was rather surprised.

as for the games I got to play, there wasn’t much in the way of variety. Most of the community games were either unbearably basic or, and more so the case for Microsoft’s games, didn’t need to be AR games. Their space shooter game could have just as easily been a first-person wave shooter on PC or VR game. Designing a game that feels built for AR has to go beyond just overlaying a transparent game on the lenses. Gestures felt unresponsive and didn’t line up with where I was gesturing well. The hardware is definitely interesting stuff, but there’s still a long way to go with its software.

murr’s hololens impressions

here are some notes on the hololens and its marketplace in no particular order:

  • this is the most expensive cereal box toy i can think of, and you don’t even get cereal with it!
  • most of the hololens market is focused around object appreciation, pre-existing game paradigm appropriation, and fetishization of the hardware tech.
  • most games forget the extremely limited view frustrum, as brian mentioned in class.
  • most hololens games are bad in uninteresting ways.
  • the ball pit game was just wacky. i loved it. why were all the balls dropping out of an immense mario-esque green pipe? i mean, i ask you.
  • clicking with the fingers feels really terrible and registers inconsistently.
  • i’m still thinking about how i actually want to engage with this tech. it’s something! it’ll be nice to get in engine and start making stuff happen, whenever that happens. hey!

hey!

The $3000 experience.

The Hololens was a pretty okay experience. It is definitely not worth $3000 for what it is right now.

My expectations were extremely misled solely because of the poor field of view. The field of view almost killed my excitement for developing games on it.

The two games I played with the short time I has was RoboRaid and Young Conker. But before I delved into those games, I had the pleasure of using the menus, which were almost unusable without the clicker.

When I played RoboRaid, I was impressed at the tracking of the room. For being a projection through glasses, It actually felt like the walls were breaking. Although, I could forgive that that the corkboard in the room didn’t look as good as the wall. Technically, the tracking and the way it interprets the room was my favorite part of the Hololens, which is probably why the device is priced at such a high point.

Little Conker has a clever way of circumventing the low field of view by having a guide to lead your eyes to the action, which actually worked pretty well. The fact that I could walk around the room and see a fictional game work was pretty cool. Although, the actual game world didn’t match the environment it was in, so Conker seemed to be jumping off cliffs when there weren’t any. My guess is that the chairs in the room moved, so the tracking messed up, but that’s forgivable.

The Hololens has some impressive accuracy when tracking and mapping its game worlds, but the limited field of view is a deal breaker for me. Development wise, I’ll have to work around it or just see how far my ideas will go without it being a huge obstruction in my game.