Monday Musings: A Shoutout to the VR Developer Community!

Blog Posts ,Random Musings ,Virtual Reality
January 4, 2016

Welcome to Monday Musings! These are are shorter-form, note-like blog posts that I share that may or may not be related to VR/AR, but that I want to share some quick thoughts on, get some extra insight on, or share out quickly.

There is so much to love about being in the virtual and augmented reality developer industry – amazing digital experiences that defy real-world limitations, the opportunities to play with new hardware previously only available to science fiction characters, to name a few – but what really stands out to me is the developer community. The amount of encouragement, helpfulness, and passion that is shared by those pioneering 3D immersive experiences is one of my favorite parts about being a part of the VR industry.

My first experience with the VR developer community was at Silicon Valley Virtual Reality – a meetup group hosted in Mountain View. I got my first Oculus Rift demo and was immediately hooked. No one looked down on me for being a novice – I’ve since discovered that giving people their first VR demo is actually a ton of fun – and I immediately bought a ticket for Samsung’s Developer Conference the following month after hearing that they had a dedicated VR track. It was my first time at a developer conference, period, much less venturing out to one completely alone, with no VR experience to speak of what so ever. But venture I did – and it ended up being one of the best decisions I could have made.

Each developer I met at SDC had a similar story – newly interested in the industry, just getting started, and super excited to be able to learn more about Samsung’s strategy for virtual reality with their partnership with Oculus and the GearVR headset. Matt Kinney and Dylan Watkins, organizers of OCVR and co-founders of MonsterVR, were more than happy to share their experiences and tips to my newbie self.

As it turns out, this type of good will isn’t limited to just a few people at a few events – it’s nearly an industry-wide standard for the virtual reality industry at this point. I’ve been able to connect remotely with developers all the way around the world on Twitter, and ask questions about code directly from the people who wrote it. This in and of itself isn’t inherently unique to VR, but my experience so far has been that VR developers are almost making knowledge sharing a part of the culture right out of the gate – at least, it’s been my attempt thus far!

I’ve never met a VR developer who wasn’t willing to do a demo. There’s some degree of secrecy in projects, but people are often still excited to share learnings and findings from their experiments. I firmly believe that part of the reason that there’s been so much growth in the VR industry is a result of how developers are evangelizing the technology to such an extreme – and doing so in a really great way. The sharing of knowledge and industry leaders making themselves available has really helped fast track developers into contributing and finding a place for themselves. John Carmack presented multiple sessions to share his work at Oculus Connect 2, and was often seen mingling with attendees during breaks – and the passion he leads developers with is completely contagious. With something as technologically exciting as VR, it’s no wonder that the developer community is thriving – but what really makes me happy is seeing just how pervasive the positivity and helpfulness of the developer community is on a day to day basis.

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