Oculus VR announced that it hired yet another virtual reality expert from Valve, Aaron Nicholls. His new title will be Scientist, presumably working under Chief Scientist Michael Abrash, another Valve virtual reality expert Oculus VR announced it hired last week.
Three days after Oculus announced that it was being purchased by Facebook for $2 billion, the VR company has hired programmer Michael Abrash, who has worked at Valve since 2011. Abrash has been working on Valve's virtual reality technology for the last couple years, and regularly posts deep technical discussions of VR on his blog. Abrash is joining Oculus as Chief Scientist, and in his introductory post on Oculus' website, he cites the Facebook acquisition--and Facebook's deep pockets--as "the final piece of the puzzle" necessary for VR to achieve greatness.
Valve recently announced Steam Dev Days, a two-day developer only conference designed to let game creationists "meet in a relaxed, off the record environment". Naturally topics will run the expected gamut of weird Steam projects, with sessions covering everything from the Workshop, the in-game economies of TF2 and Dota 2, the future of Steam Machines, and the production of Gabe Newell's Power Owl. But also listed on the conference's sessions page is a talk titled "What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be within Two Years," the brief of which reveals the existence of a Valve-assembled VR prototype.
Those who’ve tried playing Team Fortress 2 with the Oculus Rift largely agree that it's a game changer - albeit with resolution and focus problems. Yet Valve's tech-brain in chief, Michael Abrash, talked at GDC extensively about the challenges of developing working VR and especially AR systems, and what exactly technical advances we'll need to get a more satisfactory VR system. And though the Oculus Rift has impressed nearly everyone who’s worn it, Abrash suggests that it’ll take some time before we escape the technology’s compromises.
Valve's wearable computing wizard, Michael Abrash, hosted a lecture at GDC about the challenges of virtual reality, and where the tech might be headed in the future. He's now posted a transcript of the talk on his Valve Time blog. Abrash's musings will be familiar to anyone who follows the incredibly detailed analyses he posts. The talk is a sort of amalgamated greatest hits - presumably the crowd were on their feet cheering when he blasted out the first few bars of Latency.
Valve will be delivering two talks at the next Game Developers Conference in March. No, you can stop swinging your replica Gordon Freeman crowbar with joy - both sessions will focus on the developer's work in the field of VR and wearable computing. One of them, titled "What We Learned Porting Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality," suggests that Valve have been attempting to port Team Fortress 2 to Virtual Reality. Granted, it's a subtle hint.
Virtual reality is assuredly no longer the domain of charlatans and fools. Both John Carmack and Gabe Newell have heralded the Oculus Rift as a triumphant second coming of this much-maligned technology, and its 20-year-old creator, Palmer Luckey, has quickly ascended to the status of industry maven. $2,437,429 of Kickstarter cash suggest that others approve, too. We caught up with the talented Mr Luckey to talk about the manufacturing hiccups for his VR dev-kits, his dealings with Valve and other devs, and where the technology will head next.
Ladies and gentlemen of PC gaming, we've officially come full circle: A gaming studio used a Star Trek reference while discussing the future of virtual reality on the internet. In a lengthy dissertation posted last week on the Valve Time blog, programmer Michael Abrash stated display latency represents the primary bottleneck VR hardware—including Valve's secretive wearable computing project—needs to address when compared to the eye's behavior in the real world. The post also apparently proves Valve's slow transformation into a real-life Aperture Laboratories.
Over at the Valve Time blog, Michael Abrash has posted an in-depth examination of the effect that screen resolution will have on virtual reality headsets. Valve's wearable computing wizard recalls the ancient times (or, as they known back then, the mid-90s), when games like Quake could run at a dizzying 640x480 display. The point of this reminiscing is to highlight that the public's perception of graphical size and fidelity is all relative.
A 640x480 display looked great at the time, but to our modern sensibilities, when Steam's own hardware survey tells us that the majority of its users are sporting 1920x1080 monitors, it would look downright offensive. We've tasted the future, and there's no going back. Abrash argues that the same theory applies to VR.
In a lengthy update on the Valve Time blog, Michael Abrash has offered his view on the future of AR and VR technology. It's a comprehensive and clear-headed look at the field that does a lot to clear up terminology and set the stage for future discussion.