HoloLens - Dev Demo

This morning I spent some time at a Microsoft HoloLens Developer Demo. It consisted of 2 parts, a a game experience and a Q and A session with some developers from Microsoft. Overall I was very impressed with the performance of the HoloLens and can’t wait to see more.

The Game

The introduced the game as a mixed reality Game called Project X Ray. The game experience was similar to what was shown at the October 6th Windows 10 event in the following video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29xnzxgCx6I&w=560&h=315]

I say similar since there was no holographic wearables and to fire you used your finger. The demo also did not have a large spider coming through the wall at any point or a shield to use. It seems like the demo was probably one level of a larger game and those other element from the video might be present in later levels or extended game play.

The experience of the game was great! For such a simple concept, things come out the wall and you shoot at them, the execution was awesome! I was ducking and dodging enemy fire, moving around the room get better angles before taking a shot, just generally having a good time.

The sound from the speakers sounded great and really drew my attention to the action that was happening away from where I was looking (to my side or behind me).

I used my finger to shoot so sometimes my hand would move out of the area the sensors could pick up the motions so I wouldn’t fire too often. This is probably more of an issue with me not being used to interfacing with a finger motion than anything else.

The Q and A

After the game experience we were brought into a room for a slideshow and Q and A session with a couple of Microsoft Representatives. A lot of the information was stuff I had already seen from watching previous presentations and but it was nice to hear consistency as we get closer to the time frame the development units will begin to ship.

Some of the things to note from the presentation each unit has:

  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • physical connections

They wouldn’t specify what kind of physical connection, I’m hoping for some sort of USB and not some proprietary thing.

So this obviously opens up the door to custom peripherals like that controller the guy was using in the video. Maybe something akin to the NES lightgun will be available at some point. Hopefully it will support the Xbox One Controller without an adapter since the adapter is somewhat large.

Other Things

According to the demonstration person the HoloLens I used was a prototype and not the final product.

They also couldn’t clarify if final product meant the unit that will be sold as the development unit. That is probably what they meant since they probably won't finalize the consumer product before shipping the development product.

I wear glasses but this was not an issue with wearing the HoloLens as it adjusted over my frames and did not seem to cause any ill-effect for having an additional layer between my eyes and the unit.

The HoloLens unit did not seem uncomfortable to wear and while playing the game it was hardly noticeable.

The viewing area seemed a little small when I first put it on but while actually playing the game I didn’t really notice the size or shape of it. In the Q and A session I asked about this and they said that the product team was still working on finalizing the specs and that some things about the unit I saw might change before they go on sale. One of the guys in the Q and A said that it’s similar to a movie where the developer/designer have to create an experience that draws the user to it and not just let them look around all higgledy-piggledy, ok, so they didn’t use those words but it’s what they meant.

Over All

I think the short amount of time I spent with the HoloLens made me want to spend more time with it. So I guess the Augmented Reality dealer that is Microsoft gave me my first hit free and now I have to pay for the rest. And I probably will, because I have so many ideas that I want to create just from today's experience.

Have you had a chance to try HoloLens and want to share your experience? Think I’m horribly wrong and want to explain how I drank a gallon too many of the Microsoft Kool-Aid? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below or feel free to email me at brett@wipdeveloper.com.