My Big Week of VR or "Two Meetups and a Tail Grab"

Well, it's a little more than a week since last Tuesday, and time has been flying. I've been on three road trips that had something to do with VR.

Boston

Last Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending the first meeting of the Boston Virtual Reality Meetup. Yes, the drive took a little over four hours, but it was worth it by a long shot. About forty people showed and there were a total of eight Rifts at the event. It was great to see the things other people are working on. There is some real talent at work here.

It was especially fun to show off some of the things we've been working on in our super secret R&D Lab.

The response was fantastic and several people actually played all thy way through Rift Chopper, rescuing all the guys, evading the attackers, and dropping off the rescued guys at the home base.

I love the smile on Anands face in this picture. He is one of the people I met at the event and I had the honor of providing his first Rift experience.

There was a vibrant energy about the event and I want to thank Jim and Mark for getting this going. Great job guys!

The event wrapped up at 9 PM and about ten of us went out to a place called the Meadhall for beers and some engaging conversation about the near term future possibilities for VR and the Rift.

I ended up driving back through a snow storm and got to bed at about four AM.

New Hampshire

A few days later I wrote to Alex from Owlchemy Labs, the creators of, among other things, Aaaaculus!, one of the best received Rift titles made to date. (You can spot him standing on the far right of the previous picture, looking at my screen from the side). He invited me to come snowboarding with him up in New Hampshire the very next day. So I dropped everything and I went. There are few things I enjoy more than talking shop about game development on the chairlift between runs down a great mountain. Considering I am also working on a Rift-based snowboarding game, this trip would also count as R&D. :D I was on the road by 4 AM. We had a fantastic day and it was so invigorating to have an opportunity to talk craft with Alex who has more real world indie game development experience than anyone I've yet met.

Oh, and I was definitely stoked when he offered to take some shots of me hitting one of the jumps at the mountain. Nice one, Alex!

I'm 37 now, and getting shots like this goes a long way towards making me realize I'm not old yet!

I posted it to Reddit/r/snowboarding and it rose to #2, beating out the new that Shaun White pulled out of the Olympic Slopestyle event. Nice.


New York

Then, just last night I drove in to Manhattan for the kickoff meeting of Virtual Reality NYC.

Thanks to Eric Greenbaum for getting this going. Yes, only eight people showed up, but it was a fantastic event nonetheless. How is it, that in a city of twenty million people, only eight came out to this event? As Eric and I said last night, we expect at least 50 next month!

I again had the pleasure of introducing several new people to the Rift. We played with the latest version of Rift Chopper and I also showed off a few early prototypes of our new infinite course generator and our Linear High Dynamic Range Image Based Lighting Pipeline. There is something very nice about image based lighting in that it helps to make scenes which do not immediately look like a typical video game.

This is such a simple scene, but floating around on top of the water and getting real close to the shapes is a unique and engaging experience in the Rift.

We also played with a very early and primitive iteration of our snowboarding game and it was very well received.