HoloLens Unity: Disabling forced “tracking loss” popup in Unity Personal Edition

I recently started using the Microsoft HoloLens for some graphics research work. As part of this, I needed to capture imagery of the display by placing a camera behind the display and recording while the HoloLens was in a dark environment (the typical mixed-reality capture was unsuitable for my needs).

However, because the HoloLens uses the RGB cameras as part of its spatial mapping features, placing the HoloLens into a dark environment causes its spatial tracking to fail. This would not be an issue for my immediate research needs, except that when spatial tracking fails in a Unity HoloLens application, the application pauses and displays a “Trying to map your surroundings…” splash screen until spatial mapping is possible again (i.e. until the lights are turned back on).

Normally, to suppress this splash screen, one would go into Edit -> Project Settings -> Player, and uncheck the “On Tracking Loss Pause and Show Image” checkbox (as described here).

However, because I am using a Unity Personal license, this checkbox was disabled. This is a consequence of the fact that all splash-screen-related settings are disabled in Unity Personal, and this developer build of Unity had placed this rather important setting into that same category.

Thankfully, I was able to find a find a workaround that allowed me to suppress that splash screen despite tracking loss.

Under [project directory]\ProjectSettings\ProjectSettings.asset, find the line that says:

m_HolographicPauseOnTrackingLoss: 1

And change it to:

m_HolographicPauseOnTrackingLoss: 0

I hope that in future versions of the Unity HoloLens build, this setting is made editable in the editor even for Unity Personal users. The spirit and rationale of the splash-screen limitation shouldn’t extend to a feature that is a vital piece of control in a HoloLens application.

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