Michael Abrash @ F8 and Quick Thoughts on VR

To me it’s quite remarkable that Michael Abrash and John Carmack have been reunited at Oculus and now at Facebook. They drove much of the innovation in first person 3D games while at id Software, with games such as Doom and Quake.

I remember in the mid to late 90s that there was a whole community that wanted them to work on VR and multi-player worlds, and it just strikes that it’s a near perfect hollywood script that they would end up together again ushering in this next wave of VR.

I’ve personally been interested in VR, starting with VRML (pronounced “vermal” – and maybe the worst pronounced acronym ever), the HTML of VR – and been super excited to watch Oculus and other entrants make their debut.

When people ask me why I’m excited about VR, the way I answer it is the following: The first time I tried the Oculus it was like using a TI/99 (or Apple IIe) for the first time. In that it wasn’t perfect, and had some very clunky aspects to it, but you could instantly imagine what version 5 or 6 would be like, and how mind blowing it would be. As importantly, Oculus was the first VR device that convincingly “tricked my mind” into accepting that what I was seeing was “real”. When I did a racing demo, I tried to crash into a wall, and as hard as I tired, I couldn’t help but flinch and really felt a visceral reaction. It’s hard to explain, but I encourage anyone who hasn’t tried it yet to find a demo, or even better yet, head to a local VR meetup to see a whole bunch of demos and meet the people who are working on this cutting edge stuff.

Last week Abrash gave a talk at F8 on Virtual Reality, and I think it’s a must-watch to understand just why this time around VR might become a very big deal: