The Year I Got Into VR


In a few days, it will have been a year since my last post. During that time I ventured into the nascent world of Virtual Reality (VR) and I’m still there. I didn’t write anything about VR here partly because it was an obscure and often-times ridiculed topic and partly because I felt bummed that I didn’t get that web development job at Oculus. But now that Palmer Luckey (or Lucky Palmer as my wife calls him) has been on the covers of a few big magazines, VR is gaining momentum in popular culture, and I realized that I need to find my own path in VR, I’m ready to share some of my journey so far–this is only the beginning.

How to Dive into VR Head-first

I can’t remember exactly how it started (perhaps it was this Tested video) but I started digging into this VR thing that people were buzzing about. I read Read Player One and that blew my mind. I ordered a DK2 but there was no telling when it’d arrive–I just mashed the F5 key on the unofficial DK2 shipping website like everyone else. I found out you could buy the LeapMotion controller have it shipped in two days so I started tinkering–that’s how my previous post got seeded. I also pinged an Oculus recruiter on LinkedIn, had a few calls with a Mr. Cline (who I suspected was related to Ernest Cline), and got as far as a full-day onsite down in Irvine. Amazing experience, that was, though looking back I was clearly a VR newb and it definitely showed. I even titled my powerpoint presentation “Road to VR” and probably gave off a stalker vibe when I showed my code challenge that involved creating my own Oculus Share.

RowVR and Beyond

Undeterred, I started working with a friend, tried every DK2 demo, learned Unity and later Unreal Engine 4 and created a few demos. We joined the /r/oculus community, started going to SVVR meetups, created how-to videos on Youtube, built two PCs and bought a Note4+GearVR, won second place in the first VRHackathon (Health Category), got featured on the Oculus Share homepage for Picard’s Quarters, built a website to automatically track the latest versions of SDKs and engines, watched Super Bowl 49 in Altspace, got to try the Stanford VR Lab, and in meatspace, changed jobs twice. I’ll be writing some VR posts here but mostly on the RowVR Blog. I’d like to share my experiences because VR is coming and I believe its impact will be profound–right up there with solar energy, electric cars, and colonizing mars. A wise goofy young man once said:

“If you can make a platform where you can do anything, how sad would it be if nothing is worth doing.”

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