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December 3, 2015
Windows Mixed Reality

Building a holographic development team

We’re now two days into the Share Your Idea project, and we’ve been blown away by the level of interest and creativity that’s already poured out. Earlier this week, a few of us shared #MadeWithHoloLens videos and images to spark discussion and show what’s possible. We have been able to show you our creations through mixed reality capture (MRC) with HoloLens – showing the holograms they are seeing in their world through the device.

We first talked about MRC at our Build 2015 conference earlier this year. It’s a great way to show you what we are working on, to show you some of what is possible with holograms. To show how they behave in the real world, to show them world locked and at true size and scale relative to other real world objects. We think that this will really help in the sharing of great ideas – we want to know about the experiences you want to see on HoloLens. And we want to help you visualize what is possible.

This is a great time to start talking about what it really takes to build a HoloLens apps and content, and about the team that we have lined up to make one of your ideas come alive. Microsoft HoloLens runs Windows 10. This means that any Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app can be brought to HoloLens. Apps like Edge and the Xbox app on Windows 10 are UWP apps – so similar to streaming Xbox games to Windows 10 PCs, you can stream Xbox games to HoloLens. If you want to start preparing for HoloLens now, start building UWP apps now.

With HoloLens you can both develop 3D content and see that 3D content in the world around you. Apps targeting the features of HoloLens take advantage of volume, environment and human interaction. These apps are no longer confined to a two-dimensional plane. You can bring the solar system in to your living room, you can see a mime run across a piano or create holographic greeting cards and share those experiences through mixed reality capture. Ideas like the Animated Storybook take advantage of placing holographic content into the real world, letting you walk around it and see everything with full volume.


Now, let’s talk about the team that will build one of your apps. Our experience in building apps for HoloLens shows a good investment in design and art has high value. We’d also like to get your feedback on how you want to interact with this team. The team that we have lined up to build the winning idea is:

  • 3 Developers
  • 2 Artists
  • 1 Designer
  • Some additional help from an audio designer

We’re only giving this team a few weeks to build your idea. Naturally, the idea we select will be something our team of 6 people can build in the time allotted. You’ll start seeing us comment on ideas to explain whether they’re too ambitious for the team and time we have. Look out for us. And we’re also answering developer questions sent to @HoloLens.

One idea that easily fits in the team’s scope is HoloChess.  Programming the game mechanics for chess is relatively straightforward, but designing the experience to be incredibly compelling will still take significant design effort.  Modelling the pieces and working through animating them in compelling ways is significant work. We also know that investments in this type of art makes a big difference.


When building your holographic development team, consider the roles and capabilities needed. Some projects might need fewer people and others more – it’s the skillset that matters. Not only do you need expertise with graphics engines, input and workflow, you need design, art and audio skills too.

Continue to submit your great ideas, and don’t forget to vote on ideas too. We’ll see you in the comments.