VRLA 2017: Hunt Easter Eggs in Mixed Reality via AfterNow and HoloLens

Who said hunting Easter eggs is just for kids?

Even those who stopped believing in the Easter bunny’s magic years ago can delight in the mixed reality egg-hunting experience brought to the VRLA crowd by AfterNow, FLARB, and HoloLens.

The fun begins as you put on your HoloLens and walk into the pastel forest (built IRL) along with three other users. The forest “comes to life” digitally via the HoloLens—with flowers, butterflies, and even a dragon roaming around as you begin your very important mission: hunting for Easter eggs.

The experience isn’t a zero-sum competition; each user can find the eggs at her desired pace…but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try to race and find all of my eggs first. (Which I failed to do, by the way). Each egg has its own unique “burst” animation, a vibrant visual touch that deepens the level of immersion the egg hunt achieves.

As if the forest creatures weren’t enough, the experience includes a show-stopping fireworks display in the final minute—a reward for your hard egg-hunting work. I found myself wanting to stay in the technicolor MR world long after my four minutes were up, but the free chocolate treats afterward were at least a little bit of a consolation.

The original inspiration behind the AfterNow and HoloLens collaboration was to show that the Hololens can be used for fun and entertainment instead of its traditional applications in professional environments such as medicine and architecture.

Tasked with producing this project in less than a month, AfterNow CEO Philippe Lewicki and his team embraced the challenge, but he admits that some of the original ideas for the experience had to be cut due to time constraints. An animal guide leading users around the forest and an up close look into a vibrant city within the display’s central tree were among the early concepts that didn’t make it into the final cut.

AfterNow’s creative team went to great lengths to make sure that the Mixed Reality Easter Egg Hunt was something that people would enjoy and remember. Every detail in the final version, from the dragon’s appearance to the design of the flowers, was tested for user reaction, because Lewicki wanted to make sure the experience was a rich one for the VRLA audience:

“Just finding eggs was boring—so we had to find a way to make it more entertaining.”

The egg hunt was one of the highlights of VRLA, but don’t take my word for it. The line stretching the entire length of the convention floor is proof enough that AfterNow, FLARB, and HoloLens got it just right.

About the Scout

Presley West

Emory University student, VRScout Writer, Storyteller, and Amateur Dog Walker.

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