You know all those shellshocked second-hand accounts that’ve been emerging from Steam Dev Days in recent weeks? Of imaginary fifty-foot drops and walls covered in serial killer QR codes?
All of that was the doing of Atman Binstock: sounds like a BioShock villain, actually one of the lead engineers and driving forces behind Valve’s internal VR projects. None of his work there will see the commercial light of day, sadly – but he’s just now moved to Oculus, where his knowledge and drive can power the Rift.
“Atman and the Valve VR team helped prove simulator sickness could be overcome and a true sense of ‘presence’ could be delivered,” said Oculus. “He helped set the bar for consumer virtual reality and is dedicated to making sure Oculus delivers the highest quality VR experience.”
Before Valve, Atman worked on projects at RAD, DICE and Intel. At Oculus, he’ll head up the new R&D team in Seattle.
In his own statement, Atman recalled Valve VR mastermind Michael Abrash’s coffee shop pitch for why he should join the VR movement, rather than leave it to other capable minds.
“Michael convinced me that this was basically the myth of technological inevitability: the idea that because technologies were possible, they would just naturally happen,” he said. “Instead, the way technological revolutions actually happen involve smart people working hard on the right problems at the right time. And if I wanted a revolution, and I thought I was capable of contributing, I should be actively pushing it forward.
“Two years later, we’ve solved some of the basic problems, proven great VR is not only possible but truly magical, and now I want to bring it to the world. I’m incredibly excited and humbled by the opportunity – we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible, and I can’t wait to discover what’s next.”
Crikey – whether you’re convinced by Oculus’ magic goggles or not, you can’t deny the one-way flow of talent from the most technologically savvy PC studios in the business. first John Carmack, now Binstock: what would you like to see them build first?