Having Fun with SteamVR in Windows Mixed Reality

This week, since Windows 10 Fall Creators Update came out, I was able to upgrade my main development machine. I have been waiting on that for a while as my main dev machine has the NVIDIA 1080Ti GTX.

Now a few weeks back Microsoft announced that SteamVR would be supported on the Mixed Reality devices. But there was little information as to what that looked like exactly. In fact, I had a fellow MVP tell me that “’SteamVR’ was a marketing promise, not a real one”.

Fortunately, that turned out not to be the case. After I installed the Fall Creators Update, I opened a couple of native Windows Store apps first. The first one being vTime. It is a VR social area like a few others out there. I setup my avatar and tried out a couple of the cool locations they had. But I didn’t actually try to connect with anyone… I had more things to try out!

I did a couple of other things but then I brought up SteamVR and played the “War Robots VR: The Skirmish” game I downloaded when I first got the headsets to see if it would work. It didn’t work then, but I was able to launch a beta version of SteamVR that actually launched inside of the Mixed Reality Portal.

I transferred from my Cliff House room and I was brought into the SteamVR room. From there, I was able to browse the SteamVR store and my library and then I was able to play that War Robots game. It was a great experience. I really liked how I could move my head and it used that to turn the big mech I was in around.

I then grabbed a few more free titles from SteamVR like Google Earth VR, The Lab, Rec Room, Anyland, Bigscreen, and some more. I actually only tried out Google Earth VR and the Lab. I spent a lot of time playing and enjoy the Lab. I wanted Google Earth VR to work, but it was pretty buggy and I couldn’t get it to actually get past step 5 of 7 in the tour to get started. Assuming I can figure it out, I liked what I saw and would love to be able to see different places in VR.

The Lab was really a great experience. I think some of it is because of my love for Portal and Portal 2, but the actual Slingshot gameplay was really a lot of fun. You can see me playing that part of the game in this week’s video:

Developer Contests FTW

A couple of months ago I mentioned that Dream Build Play was happening. There are some sweet prizes available.

Well, now there is another contest where you could win all of the following:

  • Surface Studio (2TB / Intel Core i7)
  • Surface Pro (256GB / Intel Core i5)
  • Surface Dial
  • Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset
  • Xbox One X
  • Custom Xbox controller with engraving
  • $2,500 USD advertising credit

To have a chance to win, all you need to do is update or publish an app targeting the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (build 16299) by November 17, 2017.

So go ahead and update that app you already have out there, or create something new…

And if you are making a game then you could really rack-up with the awesome prizes from Dream Build Play.

Learn HoloLens Membership Site Enrollment

The Learn HoloLens membership site is usually closed so I can focus on the content and supporting my members. However, I’ve opened it up until Tuesday night, October 10th, 2017 at Midnight ET.

So you have a week to see if it is something you want to pursue.

Every month there is a new Master Class available. When you signup you get immediate access to all the previous master classes.

These include topics like world anchors, spatial mapping, spatial understanding, shadows, particles, shaders, voice recognition, spatial audio, submitting to the store, magic windows, animations, and using the emulator.

The materials really focus on Unity, so if you are a DirectX 12 / C++ dev looking to do HoloLens development, the material in the membership won’t help you too much.

But, if you’ve never used Unity or any 3D development before, then you will get a lot from the material.

Or if you have been working with the HoloLens consistently for the last year and half, you will still get a lot from the master classes because the material inside isn’t covered anywhere else.

In the membership, I show you the success path so you can create your HoloLens games, apps, or experiences faster.

This membership is your shortcut.

Go ahead and try it out. You don’t have anything to lose.


Spatial Mapping Components in Unity

While watching the .NET Conf I saw Jaime add some spatial mapping components that were built directly into Unity. I’m not sure when they were added to Unity, but I’ve been using the HoloToolkit’s (or rather Mixed Reality Toolkit’s) spatial mapping prefab.

In the video this week, I explain why I’m going to continue do so…