The Future of Arcades? Holograms!

Euclideon. A single word which elicits either a passionate response or none at all.

If you know the company Euclideon then you likely know about it’s storied past. Touting their revolutionary ‘Unlimited Detail’ technology back in 2011, using coloured atoms instead of textured polygons to achieve similar graphical results using a fraction of the resources, numerous comments from outspoken industry alumni such as Minecraft’s Notch and John Carmack of Doom fame have sparked vigorous debate for years as to if this was even possible.

How these methods are achieved and what the technical applications are in other industries is up to someone far smarter than myself. All I know is I saw first hand what this company can do when I was recently given the full tour of Euclideon’s facilities here in Brisbane by Euclidion’s CEO Bruce Dell.

Bruce came across as a very well-spoken gentleman, measured in his comments like someone who has had their words taken out of context in the past. Showing me around the numerous areas of the Euclideon office and seeing some of the projects currently in R&D, I couldn’t help but comment about the Willy Wonka-esque nature of my visit which was met with a chuckle. I suspect he gets this reaction a lot, and for good reason.

After being whisked upstairs through the open plan office space, complete with a slushie machine, popcorn maker, and snack shelf to satiate the developers who were enjoying a friendly game of Smash Bros, I was presented with the main reason for my dropping by. To see Euclideon’s new hologram arcade table.

Whether it should be described as using ‘holograms’ or rather ‘augmented reality’ (due to the need for 3D glasses to play) is up for discussion, but after my time with the arcade table I think it is completely justified. It uses motion tracking and an algorithm that distorts images to the player’s perspective to create the hologram effect, and also uses a vibrating floor for more immersion. It’s not outlandish to say that this is the natural evolution of arcade tables.

The games themselves were pretty straightforward, often leaning on tried-and-true gameplay mechanics you’ve seen before. A prime example would be the matching memory game I was able to play during the demonstration. Myself and Bruce had to work together to clear out a 6x5 grid of cutesy animals hidden down holes in the ground. We were both armed with our own claw machine hand to retrieve the animals, and before long we were letting each other know where we had seen that pink lion as the timer counted down.

I also found the simple yet versatile physical interface quite interesting. The three coloured buttons in front of each player work as colour coded indicators within some of the games, as well as the more traditional claw machine-like symbols of a left arrow, right arrow, and action button.

You would think the simplicity of these buttons could hamper game development, but the team at Euclideon have done a great job to work within their bounds. The 12 individual titles that will be playable in arcades by early December is all the proof you need of that.

Like VR, it’s hard to convince someone about a hologram arcade table unless they try it for themselves. The tables are set to pop up in the following locations around SE QLD very soon, so keep an eye out because I think we’ll be seeing more of them in the coming years.