Updated: 22nd March 2018

Halo 5: Guardians HoloLens — Hands-on at E3 2015

Let us get this from this way: HoloLens, Microsoft’s response to the digital reality resurgence of late, is remarkably cool. It’s not always impressive, but it’s undoubtedly neato. You throw it on just like another VR headset but it instead opts for an augmented reality encounter, shifting what you can see rather than simply replacing it wholesale.

If you saw the Microsoft press conference earlier in the week, and then you have seen what they are selling you. Even the Minecraft demo is your purpose for this item, and this kind of supplies on this; you certainly are seeing things that are not there. The strange part is the subject of view.

Notably, it’s not that great. The stage demo and the special camera rig to display it reveals it as an eye-opening encounter. It’s not that. Imagine you’re peering through a different smaller eloquent window at the headphone concerning the size of a deck of cards hovering a foot or so before you. That’s what you see. It’s disappointing but not always jarring.

Preceding a demo of Halo 5: Guardians there was a super large to-do about a multiplayer briefing. The area was mocked up to be a UNSC facility with UNSC scientists milling about. It all felt very much like a promotion coma-inducing simulacrum. The lab coats measured our interpupillary distances after which we were shipped on our goggled way.

You seem to the left down a corridor and what you find is almost unbelievable. It might have been stunning in the event survival from the video game industry required some level of emotional culling. It was a Halo waypoint. Maybe not a poster of one plastered on the walls or some styrofoam approximation hung in the ceiling. It ended up being a waypoint, counting down the meters until you attained it.

As soon as you got there, you’re directed to a different area. Inside was a window. Well, not a real one, however, one projected by HoloLens. Peering through, it is possible to see all manner of Pelicans along with marines and whatnot. That is no longer a PR-purchased quote of Halo. This unexpectedly became the UNSC Infinity.

Turning around, there is a briefing table with a hologram of this Infinity drifting there. You can really use a digital pointer to twist it all around, which was quite fun just alone. But then it’s replaced by Spartan commander Sarah Palmer detailing how the new Warzone manner functions.

All the while, it is possible to walk around the dining table, circling the future such as a starving shark. It tracks just as well and you would like it to without a recourse or jumping. With no dangling circuitry or wires, the headset is light, too, almost leaving one to forget it’s even there on your noggin.

The magic, however, begins to falter due to the aforementioned seeing property. You need to be backed up all the way to view everything in a manner that doesn’t feel like peering through a mailbox. Forcing one to physically accommodate the constraints of this machine breaks the sensation of being aboard a UNSC ship and suddenly you are back in an area with different strangers wearing things on their heads.

It’s an unusual feeling, for sure. I’ve worked with this particular technology before in the engineering and programming side, so understanding its real limits based on current development and research has tempered by excitement, but experiencing everything from the context of a universe I understand quite well makes it smile-inducing all over again.

And understanding it’s still not quite there likewise curbs giddiness. The field of view is the largest issue, but additionally, it leads into an problem with proximity. The closer you get, the greater the illusion of immersion rests not just because you give up seeing everything simultaneously but also because you begin to see jagged edges and a few slightly ragged tracking. It’s in a low level and also a rarity, but it’s enough.

There’s not quite an applicable use with this just yet. There was not much to acquire from this you could not get from your Warzone trailer and it’s definitely not plausible for this to exist in each player’s house (not that Microsoft would even think about that option, but still). It was slick, though, and does the job of finding the notion of what’s possible with HoloLens stuck in your mind.