We know your time is valuable to you, so starting this week — and continuing every Wednesday — we are going to release weekly Dev Reports that quickly highlight important news and updates that augmented and mixed reality developers should know about.
The goal here is to create a compact and reliable source of timely information for developers and designers to sink their teeth into. We'll feature software revisions — especially features and changes that will have a large impact on developers — highlight new tools as the come out, and even feature high-quality tutorials that make their way to us.
Most of us from the HoloLens development community are very aware of the monthly challenges that James Ashley, Atlanta-based Microsoft MVP, puts forth. A theme is announced and then developers are given three weeks to put together their ideas. At the end of that period, a winner is selected. Many of us have competed in these events, which are fun ways to force creative ideas and approaches to problems.
The latest, HoloLens Challenge #14: Sharing Is Caring, calls for developers to "use sharing to create a multi-user, intersubjective experience: share holograms, holoport, or add external cameras."
For HoloLens developers, there is a constant stream of changes to one of the most important resources available — the HoloToolkit for Unity (HTK-U). Because of the constant changes, it's really hard to keep up with what new features have been (or soon will be) added, as well as what changes affect the features that have long existed. The goal here will be to keep each week's major changes in a simple list.
- Unity 5.6 compatibility should be merged soon.
- A recent branch of the HTK-U appeared to support the soon-to-ship Windows Mixed Reality occluded headsets.
- Simple persistent sessions for SharingService seems like an amazing feature to add to the HTK-U.
- Similar to the spatial map indicator in the Mixed Reality shell, an update will allow the user to tap and see the spatial map appear in a flowing wave effect.
- There's a major update to FastConfigurable shader: custom editor, perf improvements, reflections, rim lighting, alpha cutout, lightmapping support, and more.
Of course, Next Reality will continue to create the high-quality tutorial content we have always aimed to offer the community. Other developer communities often offer quality learning opportunities that should be featured where more people can see it. That is what this "Learn Something New" area is all about.
New Windows Blog & Tutorial
With sharing being the theme of the Challenge #14, it seems fitting that the Windows Blog this morning released a great tutorial on the subject called "Building a Telepresence App with HoloLens and Kinect." It's a great how-to, so check it out.
Hitchhiking the HoloToolkit-Unity
The above tutorial led me to a tutorial by Mike Taulty, which turns out to be an amazing series that is downright great quality and really explores various options in terms of sharing holographic experiences.
What would you like to see more of in the weekly Dev Reports? Let us know below.