A Quest developer pushes the boundaries of mixed reality on Vision Pro

A Quest developer pushes the boundaries of mixed reality on Vision Pro

Hauntify developer David Montecalvo shows off his first mixed reality experiments with Apple Vision Pro. MIXED had a chat with him.

David Montecalvo has made a name for himself with Quest games like Hauntify and FPS Enhanced Reality, in which ghosts and soldiers appear in your home to hunt you.

Montecalvo regularly posts videos on YouTube in which he experiments with mixed reality on multiple floors, in the woods, or even on a motorcycle. Quest 3 was not designed for these extreme forms of mixed reality, and therefore has limited support for them. Montecalvo has developed tools to push Quest 3 to its mixed reality limits, but he is keeping some of them under restricted or closed access for obvious reasons.

He recently began experimenting with the Vision Pro, exploring the device's mixed reality capabilities and testing it in extreme conditions that Apple did not plan for, such as outdoor use, with interesting results.

Vision Pro is far more powerful when it comes to mixed reality

His latest video shows an experimental Hauntify prototype for Vision Pro. Unlike Quest 3, Apple's headset can map the room as you play, with the AI dynamically adapting to the mapped environment, and following Montecalvo around the apartment or a wooded area without any prior setup.

Physical objects scanned by the headset occlude the ghosts, and lighting affects their appearance. If the room is dark, the ghosts appear dark too.

A wooded area with a scanned grid on the path the player took.

Vision Pro generates a 3D mesh of the environment while the app is in use. | Image: David Montecalvo

"There is absolutely no setup required for scene collision, occlusion, and AI are generated on the fly during runtime. For example, even if furniture and doors move in real life as you are playing, the game will update their position, allowing you to lock ghosts inside a room or move an object in your house for cover to hide," says Montecalvo.

Even outdoors, this works surprisingly well. Montecalvo tested Hauntify under controlled conditions in parks, on hills and in a forest. "I have tested large play areas of over 100x100 meters squared and several acres outside with much success."


Montecalvo hopes headsets will become less restrictive

However, Vision Pro also has some features that make large-scale mixed reality experiences challenging. For example, there is a speed limit to prevent running with the headset, and digital objects that appear near walls or other physical objects become transparent. Montecalvo hopes that these limitations will be addressed in future revisions or in the next generation of Vision Pro headsets.

Currently, Vision Pro is designed to be used indoors and while sitting or standing. Apple's manual strongly advises against using the device near stairs, balconies, railings, and other hazards. It is advice that Montecalvo follows. He sees his Hauntify prototype as an opportunity to explore the future potential of the device and mixed reality in general.

Montecalvo is considering releasing Hauntify for Vision Pro, but that depends on whether Apple will allow it on the App Store and what Apple recommends overall.

As a developer, he plans to continue focusing on the Quest 3, which he describes as a great gaming headset with a large user base. Despite its more limited mixed reality capabilities, the Quest 3 is better at capturing the player's faster movements and is more comfortable for the user during physical activity, Montecalvo says.

Hauntify Mixed Reality and FPS Enhanced Reality are available in the App Lab.