Created by Helios Interactive, Echelon is a multiplayer board game played on Microsoft’s HoloLens that, as an proof of concept, gives us a look into what sort of games we might be playing in the future when we’re not engaged in the many augmented reality productivity-based activities like navigating with turn-by-turn directions or skyping with a work colleague.
Using cards to spawn creatures, the game’s developers say Echelon builds on gameplay mechanics as seen in many traditional physical board games but ‘augments’ them with creatures and game pieces, enabling the players to experience an immersive augmented reality gaming experience.
Helios Interactive Producer Devin Fuller Knight says the project highlights “the fact that you can actually interact with another player in a HoloLens and [while] being in a HoloLens is really fun, it’s such a solo experience. The idea of actually being able to interact with another player and both being able to see the same world exist in the same [space] is really fun.”
“When I saw the HoloChess game in Star Wars,” says Helios developer Kristafer Vale, “I immediately wanted to play that game, and I had to wait until now for us to have the technology like Unity and HoloLens to be able to realize that dream.”
There’s no word on when the game will be available on Window’s Holographic Store.
While HoloLens presents the user with a fairly limited field of view (as seen above), a near-field object like a game board plays to the headset’s strengths. Still costing $3000 however is a big barrier of entry for prospective AR developers, which is precisely why so many people are experimenting with Apple’s ARKit.