One of the new features with Windows Mixed Reality in the April 2018 update is an experimental feature than enables you to create your own custom environments alongside the Cliff House and the new Skyloft.

Microsoft have enabled this in an early state so they can evaluate interest from creators and developers and see how the tools are used. Microsoft have published details on how to create your own environments and then you will be able to launch the location navigate around it, interact with apps and place 3D object just as you can with the Cliff House and Skyloft.

The guide takes you step by step through the process, starting with downloading a sample from Microsoft called Fantasy Island. Here are the steps (taken from Microsoft)

  1. Download our sample Fantasy Island environment (link points to self-extracting executable).
  2. Run the Fantasy_Island.exe file you just downloaded.
  3. Open File Explorer and navigate to the environments folder by pasting the following in the address bar: %LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\EnvironmentsApp_cw5n1h2txyewy\LocalState.
  4. Copy the sample environment that you downloaded into this folder.
  5. Restart Mixed Reality Portal. This will refresh the list of environments in the Places picker.
  6. Put on your headset. Once you’re in the home, open the Start menu using the Windows button your controller.
  7. Select the Places icon above the list of pinned apps to choose a home environment.
  8. You will find the Fantasy Island environment that you downloaded in your list of places. Select Fantasy Island to enter your new custom home environment!

If you get a Windows protected messages you will need to click on the More Info button and then button:

You can now use the HoloGrams app or the Mixed Reality Viewer app to import custom objects into your space, as well as being able to setup apps.

Microsoft also give you the option to create your own environment using binary glTF (.glb) model files There are a lot of tool that support glb including free services like Sketchup (Microsoft have a complete list). Environments must be less than 256mb and Microsoft have some guidelines for optimising the experiences for users:

To make this process easier, we have created the Windows Mixed Reality Asset Converter (available on GitHub) to perform your optimizations. This tool uses a set of utilities available in the Microsoft glTF toolkit to optimize any standard 2.0 glTF or .glb by performing an additional texture packing, compression and resolution down-scaling.

The converter currently supports a number of flags to tweak the exact behavior of the optimizations. We recommend running with the following flags for best results:

Recommended Value(s)


-max-texture-size 1024 or 2048 Tweak this to improve the quality of the textures, default is 512×512. Note that a larger value will significantly impact the file size of the environment so keep the 256 mb limit in mind -min-version 1803 Custom environments are only supported on versions of windows >= 1803. This flag will remove textures for older versions and reduce the file size of the final asset

Microsoft have all the details on their documentation page and I will update this post when I have tried playing around with the tools.

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