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July 17th, 2017
Neon Knights is a two-player cooperative Augmented Reality music game created by The Mill, exhibited for the first time during Move Me - a one day event of art and technology hosted in New York.
Move Me is a collection of original artworks that incorporate VR, AR, Robotics, Biometrics and Game Engines to induce wonder, play and discovery.
Stepping into new territory, The Mill’s Emerging Technology Team decided to take the plunge into social AR experiences by creating something that two users can experience together using the Microsoft Hololens. One of the first games of its kind, Neon Knights utilizes two Microsoft Hololens headsets that detect and track each other’s location in the room. Using these AR headsets and two guitar controllers, players are able to step into an augmented futuristic universe.
Senior Designer and lead artist on the project Pierce Gibson tells us more.

“One of the main advantages of Augmented Reality from a storytelling viewpoint is the ability to integrate the user’s immediate surroundings and more importantly other players into the fabric of the story. This is unlike VR, which is in most cases is much more of an isolated experience. Working within the realms of AR enabled us to create something that worked on more of a social level; a shared environment that multiple users could interact with and experience together in real-time.
Using the Hololens' room detection capabilities as our platform, we generated a story that worked in-the-round, creating an environment that allowed the users to easily identify key story points, while placing discoverable elements within the space to add additional credibility and depth to the story. 
From an aesthetic standpoint, we noticed that there have been a great amount of amazing technical ideas and thinking within AR content as a whole, but a lot to be desired from a visual standpoint. Overall it was greatly important to us that our experience was aesthetically driven as well as technically functional, and most importantly fun.
We opted for a retro-futuristic aesthetic style, inspired by old arcade games with a hint of something you'd see in the back of your high school notebook thrown in as well.”
Take a sneak peek into the Neon Knights world here: