Recently the Pixel Pop Network team was invited by Mr Bruce Dell to visit his latest project; ‘Holoverse’. Situated on the Gold Coast in south-east Queensland this large building is home to “The World’s First Hologram Entertainment Centre”.
But what exactly does that mean? Who is Bruce Dell? And is this Star Trek?
Let’s tackle that second question first. Mr Dell is the founder and CEO of Euclideon, an Australian company that created a 3D graphics engine entitled ‘Unlimited Detail’, a replacement for polygon based rendering, it instead uses a ‘point cloud search engine indexing system’. What the heck does that mean? Well it can show (essentially) unlimited 3D detail on a screen at once, which is really cool for gaming but the idea was principally designed for medical and geographical applications. That’s not to say gaming isn’t on the horizon though.
Okay, so now you want to know what Holoverse is and IS THIS STAR TREK?!?
Unlike conventional Virtual Reality helmets such as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive (which places screens very close to your eyes and essentially allows you to ‘peer through a window’ into another world) Holoverse actually puts you inside that world. When I look down, there I am, not a graphical representation either but the actual me. I can move my hands, my feet, my entire body through a 3D virtual space and have the digital landscape move around me. So, yes, essentially an early Star Trek Holodeck.
While you can certainly get a feeling of ‘being there’ with a VR helmet, it’s very much a case of you entering into the 3D world. With Holoverse it’s the inverse with the digital world entering into our reality. My body is moving at a perfect 1:1 ratio because… it’s my body, in the real world.
How? To dumb it right down in the most basic layman terms I can (being a layman myself here) it feels very similar to watching a 3D movie at home or at the cinema, just the 3D dialed up to 11. Upon arriving for your holographic experience you’ll be fitted with 3D glasses (Glasses! Not a helmet!), wireless headphones and a belt. The belt and glasses have a few little white balls on them to track your movement in the 3D space, along with a hand piece for interaction within the world. You are not tethered, powered or hooked into anything and can move freely without any risk of getting tangled up or tripping over.
You’ll then be shown to a private holographic booth, which consists of three large wall panels and a floor panel, each being the target of a very specialised projector. Glasses on and away you go, transported into various virtual scenarios, each more spectacular than the previous, culminating in the ultimate experience – flight!
We could write an entire article about the different experiences, and we did! For a complete breakdown on all of the holographic scenario’s we experienced click here.
The experience lasts some 20 or so minutes and is definitely a unique and memorable one. I felt that the resolution of the world around me was a little ‘blurry’, but then I suffer the same feeling when watching 3D movies at home or at the cinema and tend to avoid them. Like most people, I turn the 3D dial down to off on my Nintendo 3DS as well. That’s not say I didn’t enjoy my experience, it was fantastic! I feel that I’ve experienced something akin to an Early Access title. There is a LOT of potential with this project, Bruce and his team ensure us that there is a LOT more coming, more interactive experiences and soon games, both single player and competitive. Unlike VR helmets you are unlikely to ever get a setup like this in your home and with regular content updates I can see this being a venue for monthly or quarterly visits to try out the latest experience.
Due to the way the holograms work taking photographs with a regular camera is a waste of time, thankfully the team at Holoverse where able to provide us with some images captured using a special camera.
Holoscape was designed for the whole family though, so I brought along a few other people to join in the experience and share their thoughts.
Kris (PC Gamer)
In my life, I’ve experienced things of a similar style, but nothing quite the same as holoverse. I’ve done 3D movies, I’ve done 3D IMAX, I’ve done this one other thing where the picture was projected into the inside of a dome and then a roller coaster movie was played, and several people fell over. This experience was like a combination of all those things rolled together.
I enjoyed the whole thing, being able to walk around the images and see them from different sides was very awesome. Being new tech, there are a few bugs, but I’m sure these will be worked out in time. I would like to go back and try it again once some of the planned content is up and running. The main improvement I would like to see at this stage is an increase in resolution of the projected images.
Jemma (Console Gamer)
I found Holoverse to be quite unique and different to things I have experienced before, and I can see how it will get better and grow with time. Some of the things were a little unnerving for me, like walking through a wall as tall as you expecting not to be able to, and jumping from ledges. But it was a fun new experience. The only problem I had was how the glasses sat on my face as I wear prescription lenses. The Holoverse glasses tended to sit further down on my nose than I would like which gave me a headache, so if there was a way to have the glasses fitting better for people who wear prescription glasses that would be good. This is something that can be enjoyed by everyone and I will be telling my friends to go to it as it is fun and something they haven’t ever done before.
Tajarni (High School Student)
Holoverse is a fantastic entertainment center as you go into a room and see amazing things in holograms. I personally thought it was a fantastic experience as I got to see amazing things with these holograms of light. Holoverse is a great place for the whole family to enjoy.
In summary, should you go visit Holoverse? Yes! It’s definitely a bucket list check box as you simply won’t experience anything like this anywhere else. It’s currently enjoying a ‘Grand Opening’ discount of 50% off, making it only $25, so it’s worth getting in now at this price. Much like Puzzle Rooms, I can see this easily becoming addictive with return trips planned as newer content is added.
You can check out the Holoverse website for more information including a FAQ, although what’s really going to whet your whistle is this video of the Holoverse in action. Beam me up Scotty, it’s time for some Holodeck!
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I started gaming in 1982 when my father would bring home an IBM PC XT for work reasons. Naturally after he was done we'd also play some games. In 1983 we acquired the PC full time and I was also lucky enough to receive an Atari 2600 for my birthday that same year. I've been gaming for over 30 years and I've loved every minute of it. Watching games evolve from text and basic visuals to home virtual reality has been amazing. I still have a fondness for the classics though and enjoy collecting 5.25" and 3.5" PC games from the 80's and 90's.