For most of us the experience of flight, while a miraculous result of modern engineering, is often an excruciatingly boring and tedious experience. We are packed into seats next to strangers and forced to distract ourselves with battles over arm rest territories, remaining helpless to the whims of unruly children desperately crying out for something to alleviate their boredom. With ever decreasing amounts of carry on space available for passengers the hope of relieving our frustrations with recreational pursuits of our own rapidly fades. What if it were possible to have a plethora of activities available to our children and ourselves that made this experience more enjoyable? What if we could not only entertain ourselves in flight, but build bonds with strangers and form a "flight community" of sorts during our brief but intense time together? We looked to use the seat back tray table in an airplane as a play space that could be utilized for a number of different in flight applications.
What it does
IslandAR is an augmented reality take on the classic tower defense style video game. In this case, a player defends an island, holding their recently discovered treasure, from various ships trying to steal it away from them. The player, while setting up the app in Hololens, attaches the play space to the seat back tray table. Players can set up cannon defenses against these foes around the map while also being able to use their point of view as a "free roam" cannon. Each time an enemy ship reaches the island, the player loses a bit of gold. The game ends when the player is out of gold.
How we built it
We utilized the Microsoft Hololens SDK to add gesture recognition used to fire cannon balls and place defenses. Due to the limited time we had to create the project, we created the environment with assets found in the Unity Asset Store and modified them using Blender. We created a simple AI navigation system for enemies to find their way to the player's gold. We also developed a tracking method for players to place automated canons that follow the path of oncoming ships.
Challenges we ran into
One of our biggest challenges was creating the defense system. The automated cannons had to follow AI ships and the AI ships needed to sink when hit by a cannon ball.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were very proud that we were able to create a functional and enjoyable experience on a platform we have very little experience with.
What we learned
This is our team's first experience with developing for Microsoft Hololens. We learned a tremendous amount about augmented vs. real world spacial relationships, working with Hololens gestures, automating a simple enemy AI,
What's next for IslandAR
We would have liked to implement a multiplayer component to the game so you and another person on your flight could battle against each other or work together to defend your treasure. This unique multiplayer experience is what truly sets IslandAR apart from traditional in-flight entertainment.