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CART Wars

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What is Microsoft Hololens?

HololensMicrosoft Hololens is a new Mixed Reality computing platform. The user looks through a visor to see digital content projected into their world. The unit works by using built in sensors to build a real-time 3D model of the users surroundings, and use that information as collision and visibility data for interacting with digital content. The computer is entirely contained in the headset, and not connected to another machine. It runs a modified edition of Windows 10. This device makes use of the Unity 3D Game Engine for immersive content creation; however, it will run any Windows Store app in a projected 3D window. For more information, check out Microsoft’s official Hololens page.

What is the CART Wars Hololens Project?

The IGD (Interactive Game Design) course at CART (Center for Advanced Research and Technology) has taken their first semester to utilize the latest hardware innovation from Microsoft (Hololens) as a platform to learn digital content creation and coding for 3D games and simulations. The IGD program is merged with the student’s senior year English requirement (taught by a credentialed English teacher). This year for our fiction reading students embraced the new novel Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Grey. Parallel to this students were given the task of creating interactive 3D Star Wars content in the Unity 3D game engine, and then realizing those experiences as Mixed Reality content for Hololens.

What was the result?

The students successfully demonstrated the skills necessary to create interactive content in the form of a traditional game (3D modelling, texturing, coding). We’re still working on our ability to make effective use of Hololens. At the close of this project, students had successfully made their content load. They can walk around there scenes, and objects can interact with the environment; however, they’re still working toward getting the user interaction to be a smooth experience. We still have an entire second semester to go. The student’s are quite capable, and I’m positive one of the project groups will develop a complete experience.

The Project in Pictures (Gallery)

BB-8 work in progress.
BB-8 work in progress.
Darth Vader animation rig - work in progress.
Darth Vader animation rig – work in progress.
Coding interaction with C# in Unity3D.
Coding interaction with C# in Unity3D.
Testing the turret in Unity3D, prepping to bring to Hololens.
Testing the turret in Unity3D, prepping to bring to Hololens.
Morgan and Avery inspect the Turret placement on the lawn.
Morgan and Avery inspect the Turret placement on the lawn.
Turret on the lawn, as seen through Hololens.
Turret on the lawn, as seen through Hololens.
Inspecting cannons.
Inspecting cannons.
Pesky imperials flying around, in need of laser fire.
Pesky imperials flying around, in need of laser fire.

How Can a Student Attend CART?

CART offers an array of different labs focused on various careers. If you have an interest in attending CART’s IGD program or any of the labs offered, here are the basic requirements:

  • Must be a Jr or Sr in high school.
  • Must be a student in the Fresno or Clovis Unified School Districts (in CA).

Students do not pay to attend CART. It is not a charter or private school. It is a free program offered to students by the Fresno and Clovis Unified School Districts. For more information, specific lab requirements, and to apply online, visit www.cart.org.

Why is This Project on Step 2’s Website?

Step 2 Digital Design is not so much a business as it is a phase of life. It has become my personal developer blog. I, (Matthew Hodge) am the CART IGD Instructor. Outside of my time teaching, primarily in the Summer months, I am an aspiring indie game developer. I bring the technologies and ideas I professionally play with into the classroom, which is why I chose to have my students pursue Hololens this year. They get experience developing for what’s next, and so do I.

Want More?

Check out last year’s student project Jurassic Cart for some AR dinosaur action!