Jason Holtman, New Hires, Lucky’s Tale, and E3

Please welcome Jason Holtman, Oculus’ new Head of Platform!

A driving force behind Steam since its earliest days, Jason brings incredible experience building entertainment platforms for both users and developers. At Valve, Jason was a pioneer in the digital distribution revolution that’s taken place over the last decade.

“When I was a kid, I loved arcades. I converted most of my allowance into quarters and couldn’t wait to get to the mall on Saturday. For me, it was all about Battlezone — Simple, bright line geometry, enemy tanks, and mountains off in the distance. That feeling when you grabbed the dual joysticks and pressed your face to the viewfinder was transformative. It was unlike anything else you could play.

Battlezone, although simply rendered, made you believe that you were in that world and that there had to be something beyond those mountains.

Battlezone is widely regarded as one of the first VR games, and looking back, those mountains still excite me. I want to fly, walk across alien landscapes, and nose around the Great Pyramids. And that’s the most telling thing about VR: the possibilities are obvious, immediate, and endless.

So, I’m humbled to become a part of this team. I’m not one of the pioneering scientists or engineers in virtual reality, but I am one of the people that can’t stop grinning every time I see something new inside the headset, and I’m looking forward to helping shape the transformative experiences that inspire the next generation of developers.”

Jason will be spearheading the business development and partnership side of the Oculus platform working closely with Marshall, head of platform engineering, and David, head of worldwide publishing, with a focus on building the world’s best developer and player VR ecosystem. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team.

Building the Dream Team

The Facebook deal supercharged our recruiting efforts, and we’re always looking for the absolute best and brightest in the world. It’s been a while since we announced any new hires in the blog, so we thought we’d include a handful (or two) of the incredible people who have joined the team since March:

  • Neil Konzen, former engineer at Valve and one of the original Microsoft employees
  • Brian Hook, former engineer at RAD (Telemetry) and the original author of 3Dfx Glide
  • Adrian Wong, former lead systems engineer at Google[x] (Glass)
  • Ian Field, former engineer at ARM and co-inventor of Cortex-M
  • Raul Corella, former head of supply chain at JawBone, Monster, and Leap Motion
  • Laura Fryer, former GM of Epic Seattle and WB Seattle
  • Paul Pedriana, former lead engineer at EA
  • David Moore, former engineer at RAD (Granny)
  • Kenneth Scott, former art director at 343 Studios (Halo 4)
  • Seneca Menard, former technical artist at id Software
  • Paul Pepera, former environment artist at Valve and 343 Studios
  • Brian Sharp, former engineer at Bungie
  • Aaron Nicholls, former engineer at Valve, 343 Studios, and Microsoft
  • Matt Alderman, former engineer at Valve and ArenaNet
  • Cass Everitt, former GPU architect and engineer at Nvidia
  • Ross O’Dwyer, former at head of development support at Havok
  • Douglas Lanman, former research scientist at Nvidia Research and MIT Media Lab
  • …and many, many more: Scott Boyce, Gayan Ediriweera, Michael Berger, Khoi Nguyen, Aaron Toney, Bruce Cleary, Anusha Balan, Sagy Wiessbrod, Christopher Taylor, Soh Tanaka, Matt Mojica, Hyo Jin Kim, Steve Arnold, Dan Moskowitz

Team volleyball and BBQ at Crystal Cove State Park

We’re hiring for all roles in Irvine, Dallas, Seattle, and Menlo Park. If you’re interested in being part of the team, check out the Oculus Careers page at oculusvr.com/careers.

Publishing Lucky’s Tale

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Playful to publish Lucky’s Tale, a new made-for-VR adventure designed exclusively for the Oculus Rift. The full details behind the title will be revealed next week at E3, and attendees will be able to check out a playable demo of Lucky’s Tale in the Oculus booth next week.

Playful’s founder, Paul Bettner (who’s best known from his work as co-creator of Words with Friends) was one of the original $5,000 Kickstarter backers who believed in the Rift from the beginning. Paul actually visited the original Oculus office in October of 2012 when we were still just a small team hand assembling prototypes — We’ve been collaborating with Playful on software, hardware, and VR research ever since.

“We love VR. We founded Playful because of VR, and we’re thrilled by Oculus’ breakthrough progress bringing VR to life. It’s a dream come true to partner with their team to create truly native, made-for-VR games.”
- Paul Bettner, Founder, Playful

We’re excited to be officially involved with this project, and we’re looking forward to seeing them refresh one of our favorite genres.

Oculus in the News

If you get a chance, pick up a copy of this month’s Wired, featuring Palmer on the cover and an in-depth, 18-page article about Oculus inside.

The story is the result of months of interviews by Wired’s Peter Rubin who’s been tracking the Oculus team, getting the behind the scenes of the DK2 launch, the backstory of how Palmer’s prototypes came to life, and how Oculus is bringing consumer VR to the world. It’s a great brief history of Oculus so far, revealing a few new tidbits.

You can read the full story online at Wired.com here: http://www.wired.com/2014/05/oculus-rift-4/

We also recommend checking out Michael Abrash’s recent CMU talk on “Why VR Isn’t (Just) the Next Platform” but perhaps the last. The talk provides a great overview of presence, along with a deep-dive on DK2’s tracking techniques from Dov Katz for the engineers out there:

E3 and Beyond

Over the past month, we’ve been all over the globe, sharing DK2 with developers and artists at TriBeCa Film Festival, SVVR, Nordic Games Conference, Unite China, Unite Korea, and other community meetups. If you have a VR gathering planned, let us us know about it at events@oculusvr.com!

Next week, the team is heading up to E3 in Los Angeles. We’ll be showing the second Oculus Rift development kit (DK2) running some of our favorite games and experiences at Booth 5222. If you’re at the show, stop by the West Hall and say Hello!

If you’re a developer planning to show a VR game at E3, please let us know at developer@oculusvr.com. We’d love to stop by and try your latest VR creations.

We’ll see you at E3!

— The Oculus Team

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