Honors -  Best Spatial Mapping at Microsoft Hololens Hackathon - Exhibited at VRLA


Hololens Hackathon – Los Angeles

Soon after hearing that Microsoft and VRLA were partnering to host a Hololens hackathon I felt that the time was right to jump in and learn more about what the Hololens had to offer beyond reading about it.

My role as the designer was to help create the necessary 3D assets and define the user experience. The project team consisted of myself, a sound engineer, and 3 developers.


Why a game?

The team chose to pursue a game because of three main reasons:

1.      Games are engaging and fun.

2.      There is a clear objective of winning the game, therefore it gives our user an end goal to accomplish.

3.      By choosing to do a multi-player game we allowed more than one user to interact with it helping to create a shared experience.

Goals and Design Principles

The game in relationship to the Hololens should be an experience that…

-        Easily showcases the power of the Hololens

-        Engages multiple users in a seamless act of sharing the Hololens

-        Improves the existing environment by allowing a user to interact with it in way that they haven’t experienced before


Knowing that we only had 3 days to create the game we had to choose a path that we knew we could complete. We also weren’t sure how much the Hololens could really process, so we would need to take into account the complexity of the artwork that we integrated. Finally we wanted to stick with the default hand gestures instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.

Brain Storming Ideas

We ran through a few ideas as we knew we would have to jump onto something quickly and begin production. We came to the assumptions that it would be best to choose assets and code that could be repeated, yet experienced in different ways every time. We also came to the conclusion that we would want the objects to interact with the user in multiple ways.

The Hand Shake

We came to the decision to create a game that would be an interaction between two players, one player would set up the game and second player would then experience the game. We felt that this would create the excitement of creating something and then experiencing it. Both users would experience the game in a different way allowing for a unique engaging experience for both. The actual result being a game that allowed player 1 to place turrets around an existing room with the intention that these turrets would then later pop up and shoot at player 2 upon entering the space. It would then challenge player 2 to destroy all the turrets before they killed player 2.

Game Aesthetic

We decided upon a steampunk feel for the game because of the amount of moving parts and gears that are typically exhibited in that realm of aesthetics. This would give us some room for play on the elements of the game while keeping it simple to one game object.



Explaining the Game

Now that we knew what we were creating we needed to make it as easy as possible for the user to experience it. We did this by having a simple introduction page once the app opened of what they were about to experience. From there we felt it would be easiest to walk the user through the game step by step showing what command to state via text.



The Set Up

Once player 1 understood the concept of the game we then began to walk them through it by showing what command to state. Player 1 would then proceed to place turrets in the room strategizing as to how to best surprise player 2 as the turrets would pop up once player 2 was close enough in proximity.

Experiencing the Game

The headset is then passed on from Player 1 to Player 2. Unlike the step by step process player 1 experiences, player 2 is greeted by one command “Start Game” along with an image of how to shoot. As soon as player two states this command they are thrown into a surprise battle between competing against an array of pop up turrets.


Before showcasing what we had created it was important to show what our initial intentions of the game where and what we actually ended up with. We had issues with code with such things as voice recognition as well as issues in achieving the user experience that we wanted. The below deck showcases our intentions and final results when presented at the Hololens Hackathon.

Pitch Deck


What we Created

We set out to create a multi-player game that would help to showcase what the Hololens could do while making a fun and engaging experience for more than one individual.

This is the final result of what was created.

Meeting our Goals and Getting Exhibited

Our goals and objectives for the game were met and we were awarded best spatial mapping at the Hackathon, as well as invited to exhibit the game at Virtual Reality Los Angeles (VRLA). Once invited to VRLA we knew that this would be the ultimate test and any bug fixes would have to be corrected before exhibiting it in the space. We were lucky enough to obtain the Hololens for month and continue to work on the game fixing our outstanding bugs. The show and exhibit were a huge success.

Lessons Learned and Other Thoughts

As this was the first time in working with the Hololens we ran into issues of adjusting to the software and general code issues. We were also pleasantly surprised by how the Hololens simulator worked well for our needs when we needed to collaborate when in different places.