Room for Game is something we have been talking a lot about recently, but what is it all about?
Room for Game is an initiative within Malmö Museum. It has a clear purpose - to create an area within the museum dedicated solely to games. Yes, you heard it - games. There is a lot going on, including the creation of an AR dome.
Room for Game is also connected to a larger project, a European initiative called Cross Motion which is a EU-funded project facilitating cooperation between screen industries and the education, tourism and healthcare sectors.
Cybercom was one of three Swedish companies chosen to create a virtual game prototype which was supposed to be used within Room for Game. For our first prototype, we visualized a game utilizing the HoloLens and combining both virtual and physical elements.
Jacob trying to get the tracking right, here using Vuforia.
The header stands true in a comical way, especially if you ask one of our developers, Jacob. Jacob was responsible for finding a working solution for the tracking, a.k.a. making sure that our virtual holograms were placed upon and following our physical robot. It did not sound too bad at first, but proved to be a major hindrance.
Let us start by saying that the HoloLens is both great and cool. However, after countless hours (hundreds really) struggling to get our tracking right, we realized that we needed to find a new solution – meaning cutting the HoloLens for something else. We concluded that the HoloLens was not right for our solution with the timespan that we had. Instead, we turned our focus to Google Tango which also happens to be a much more accessible platform.
Adam Krauser working with the HoloLens.
We are comparing 2.500 EUR to standard phone prices – nothing to sneeze at especially considering our target group being mainly children. Making them able to use their phones instead of a HoloLens increases the accessibility immensely and makes it so that several people can use the solution at once.
HoloCity is quite a flexible city allowing the user to place its building on the spot.
HoloCity is a virtual city, a very unlucky one at that. The city is suffering from several environmental issues such as fires and earthquakes. A professor in the town has built a very capable robot, but unfortunately not a very smart one. The robot has the functions needed but it does not know how to use them. It is up to the users to teach the robot how to use its functions. This is being done by basic programming where the focus is on getting into the proper mindset rather than specific programming functions.
Going from HoloLens to Google Tango meant that we needed to do some adjustments to the game concept. We could no longer make use of the first person feeling that we would get from the HoloLens. Instead we minimized the gaming area and put it on a table, making the user look at the holograms slightly from above. This way put less strain on the eyes of the user and the clear boundaries also gave a better understanding for what was part of the game and what was the physical environment surrounding it.
The remaining weeks consisted of refining the prototype and making it crisper.
Wrapping up the project we brought HoloCity to Aarhus Digital to share our learnings with other companies. Among others, we were part of the conference’s Experience Lab demoing our solutions. Overall a great conference and we believe that most of the visitor’s got an eye opener regarding AR and VR. The technology has not fully bloomed yet but it is becoming more accessible by each day.