Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson famously called them "snake oil salesmen", but now Australian company Euclideon, who famously promised to revolutionise video game graphics with their 'Infinite Detail' engine, is back with a completely different type of technology.
A technology designed to compete with virtual reality.
Euclideon is working on Holograms.
More precisely Euclideon is opening a new centre in the Gold Coast called 'Holoverse' — a 1500 square meter centre with 40 rooms dedicated to Hologram gaming experiences. Euclideon is calling it "the world’s first holographic entertainment center".
According to a press release:
The centre is called “Holoverse” and visitors will be able to go back in time to ancient Egypt, walk with the dinosaurs, visit the planets, fight robots or turn in to dragons to battle there friends in the sky[sic], ( they will even see their own holographic wings flapping on their backs).
"We are not using VR helmets," says Euclideon CEO Bruce Dell, "we use a totally different sort of technology were [sic] a person has no screens over their eyes, and the objects are projected to appear in the air."
From what we can tell, Holoverse is a combination of multiple different types of technology, including Euclideon's own 'Infinite Detail' engine, which is used to create the visuals.
"Finland was once a snowy little country that no one thought about very much, then Nokia arose there and made them the world leader in Mobile phones for 15 years," said Bruce Dell, in a statement. "In the same way I feel Australia isn’t just a country, it’s a continent and we should start acting that way. I intend to make us rise above our reputation as a big farm and a big mine, and make us the world leaders in Holographic technology.
The Holoverse centre opens June 4. It costs $50 for a 37 minute session. You can book here.
Euclideon believes its technology is far superior to VR headsets currently on the market. As per a 'technology comparison' in its Holoverse press release:
— VR helmets put bright screens over your eyes. With hologram technology you wear normal 3d glasses that have no screens. — VR helmets have you attached to a computer via a cord, in hologram rooms you walk around freely. — VR helmets block you from seeing your own body. In a hologram room you really are in a room with holograms all around you so if you reach out your hands to touch a fish that swims past your hand goes straight through it. — VR helmets make a portion of the public feel quite sick. Hologram technology does not report a similar sickness problem.
Euclideon believes this technology is "a major achievement for humanity".
It's been a strange road for Euclideon. The last time we checked in, Euclideon was — bizarrely — working in the Geospatial Industry and had made many roles within the company redundant. Euclideon has been completely silent since then. This is the first we've heard of the company is over two years.
The Holoverse concept seems strange, almost to the point of parody. Certainly the idea that this technology is a "major achievement for humanity" is overblown and does little to dispel Notch's assertion that Euclideon are "snake oil salesmen". The press release and documents shown to us betray a strangeness about the whole project.
Australia is normally known for kangaroos, mining and exporting food, it’s not often seen as a world leader in technology, but we intend to change all that. Australia isn’t just a country it’s a continent and we think we should start acting that way.
And from Bruce's bio:
Bruce could not do computers at school because the Art and computer subjects had overlapping times, and so he had to teach himself computers at home. Having no grades in computers he could not go to university for the subject either and so he continued to learn in his own time. Whilst he does not encourage anyone to avoid university education he does say in his case it meant that instead of being taught the standard answers to computer problems he was forced to create solutions to such problems himself, many of these answers were different from what the rest of the world were using, in fact time as now shown many of Bruce’s answers are in fact better then what the rest of the world was using.
It's hard to believe this was written by a professional company, much less a company on the brink of a "major achievement for humanity". It sounds like a terrible Shark Tank pitch. One can't imagine Elon Musk releasing copy like that.
And yet, we've spoken to people who have worked at Euclideon. Even former employees, after being made redundant, have testified to the effectiveness of Euclideon's technology. "I really do hope the technology gets out there," one source told us, in June 2013, "and shows everyone just how good it really is and can finally put all the fake claims to rest."
Bruce Dell and Euclideon is pushing forward with the Holoverse concept. The Gold Coast centre opens June 4 and five more centres are in the planning stages. Three are apparently being set up in Melbourne with two more centres planned for China.
Will Euclideon finally deliver on its promises. I guess we'll finally find out on June 4.