Microsoft’s HoloLens and Minecraft: A Stellar Game Experience?

microsofts hololens and minecraft

Augmented Reality is nothing new. In 2011 the first viral videos of this technology appeared in the web. At that time the objects to demonstrate the so-called future were “simple” Roomba robot vacuums that blended in with computer generated images perfectly fitting into the surrounding environment . Although, if you would try to compare Neato vs Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, you would probably go for the former to demonstrate such a technology. Some would even argue that it is the best robot vacuum.

4 years later, the world of imagination is slowly melding into reality as industry giants get their groove and best tech on at the E3 conference. Microsoft jostles in with its augmented reality headset, called the HoloLens, which creates images to meld and appear in real-life things and surfaces in a holographic style, generating excitement among gamers, die-hards and casuals alike. What do you say to a stunning Microsoft HoloLens Minecraft demo that lets you walk around a table holding a Minecraft session and map in 3D?

The future is not fully realized yet, though; the HoloLens is excellent for an untethered 3D holographic experience and other benefits, but the lack of a reliable PC with a high-end graphics processor means that it can only display limited visuals, or pixels at a time. There is also a drawback of having a severely limited field of vision when you put on the HoloLens- the total visual space takes up about a rectangular form in about a foot in front of you. Anything rendered out of that field needs a stepping back or a lot of head-moving.

Still, the demo is nothing short of magical. A match of Halo 5 was played in a different way- players could walk around giant tables, look from above, kneel in to see the augmented base, and lean in without any interruption in the magical immersion or any judder in content. Tracking was accurate and spot-on. A first-person shooter demo called Project X-Ray was also tried, in a huge conference room, with insectoid robots being the enemy. You can move around and dodge and weave the slow-moving energy balls tossed around, and retaliate with targeting sights that use the HoloLen as sights and trigger using the Xbox controller.

The most anticipated moment came in when it was time for the Microsoft HoloLens Minecraft demo. The HoloLens had to be calibrated over the room space, so people had to look around and gaze about the dimensions for about 30 seconds. The game started when calibration was complete, in a normal 2D projected over a virtual space on the wall. A few voice commands could instantly change some changes such as making the screen larger or smaller, depending on preference. Evoke a 3D image in wall that will recede and change perspective, all based on how you view it. A few magical words (“Place World”) will literally bring the world to you so that you be inside a virtual cavern with blocks that stay in place as you walk around them.

How about the issue with the HoloLen’s graphical capabilities? Producer Kudo Tsunoda has an explanation, stating that the HoloLens experience is a different thing from a total virtual reality, in which the latter one tries to fill out every single peripheral space. As for the peripheral problem, the Microsoft representative says that the device is presented to be able to view and still see the real world mixed with digital add-ons and assets. The world of augmented and virtual reality is still very new, and now is an exciting time to try out different technological concepts and ideas using the HoloLens. The company is taking on a different path by offering a great virtual experience while still being grounded to the world and the things around you.

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