Monday Musings: New Memories with an Old Headset

oculus vr in front of a notebook with math calculations

Today, as I watched from afar via Twitter the first few Rifts arriving into happy homes, I enjoyed what are likely some of my final hours with my DK 2. We both know that it’s almost over – we had a great run, but I’m ready for my Rift to ship and my DK 2 has started to suffer slight hardware defects – but today, as I spent 45 meditative minutes in the Carpe Lucem demo with my trusty dev kit, I was really, really appreciative of what’s happening right now in the industry.

Channeling my inner Gwen Stefani or something, I have no idea. November 2014, after I had auctioned off my hair color for charity and still owned a really shitty phone.

I first bought my DK 2 almost on giddy impulse when I realized that virtual reality was really, actually happening! I played with the Sixense Lightsaber training demo at my first SVVR meetup and I was immediately sold – I placed my order the minute I got back to my apartment. It’s been my prized gadget for a year and a half, and it’s come with me all over the US, to Hungary and Germany.

When I first tried the Vive, I was thrown for a bit. Moving from hand tracking back to my keyboard, mouse, and Xbox controller combination didn’t feel quite right. I spent some time hacking on Google Cardboard. I finally built my VR-ready desktop and finally had the power to run demos and play games. I had been using my MacBook Pro – something that was technically functional but experientially* lacking. Building a PC marked a new stage in my VR journey. I’ve been developing and demoing on this for over a year and a half now, and in a matter of days, it will probably start seeing significantly less work in its retirement.

It’s amazing to think of how much has happened in the past two years, and how devices are landing. We’re getting our hands on VR devices, and it’s never been easier to play or use them. I spent 45 minutes in my DK 2 today, playing one of the most relaxing puzzle games that I’ve ever seen, and it felt like I was waking up from a dream when I took it off. My eyes still don’t feel quite like they’re focusing on the real world properly. We’re entering an entirely undefined era of VR technology, application development, and research. Some things over the next several years are going to be amazing, and I bet half of it is stuff we haven’t even been shown yet. Some really messy things are going to show up, and that’s also something we need to be ready for. Tonight, though, as I sit staring at my empty inbox, waiting for that shipping notification – I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

-L

*May not be a word, but you get my drift

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