The world of AR has been a leery topic as of late with many of the biggest corporations looking into ways where AR can be applied. Apple, as an example, had a tendency to hint that they would prefer AR over VR any day of the week. There are several benefits to using AR rather than VR for companies, since you do not need as much processing power to run it and it requires a lot less data since you are just doing an overlay with movement recognition. Now we get to see what the HoloLens can offer in this aspect with the HoloGolf
My first impression of this game is that I’ve seen far better implementations of the technology on mobile devices. The game overlays the ground with a mini-golf course where you use pinches to take actions. This is similar to many of the mobile games that allow for interaction and AR, but usually you cannot just make the motion in the air. Instead, with a mobile game you normally have to interact with the screen even though the application is in AR. Personally, I preferred the level of interaction found in the Pokemon version of testing out the AR.
It’s Not Supposed To Be Impressive
The whole goal of this game is similar to those of the Wii release games. The developers assume not everyone will immediately know what to do with the HoloLens when they get it and will need something very light in order to get used to the controls. This is a very different approach when compared to other games that have been made on VR and other AR systems. Understandably, these are new industries so many developers are just making games so that they can get into the market but not a lot of people fully understand how the hardware and games work. Even worse, PC companies are taking advantage of this ignorance and selling VR sets where the VR player doesn’t really have to know about the hardware in their computer to know if they can play a game. I can tell you right now that there is nothing more annoying in the online PC playing space than a person who constantly whines about having a bad computer without know what’s in their computer.
It’s Good For Its Uses
The HoloGolf is meant to introduce a player, which means that it doesn’t have to have a lot of the things that make games good. The game is meant to get the player used to the controls, get the developers used to handling visual obstacles, and get players used to the nausea that comes with playing AR and VR games. Therefore, while this game is definitely on the lower end of games available it also does very well at what it was built for. However, let’s go over an important factor that tends to be left out when developers make games like these.
This is how a development company makes a development engine and this seems to go unnoticed by anyone not directly involved with making games. These beginning games are built as libraries where the common functionality is laid out and issues are refined. Take the option of noticing obstacles as an example. In the beginning, you might have to hand code a recognition program that will see those obstacles. You do not want to rebuild this every time you make a game so you make an extension library. An extension library is a file or folder of files where that component of the game mechanic is self-contained. Once you build up multiple extension libraries, you can then combine them with a parent software to make a game engine so that others can build games using the same code. This is how a development engine is commonly made and improved upon.
Therefore, while this game may not be impressive, we have to remember that this industry is new to the developers and the consumers. VR developing companies are only a few years out of the gate and they cannot be expected to make games that full utilized the hardware. It is my opinion that we will continue to see starter software like this for at least a decade or more so that developers can begin to construct optimized patterns for developing.