paint and sandboxes in 3D and VR

I had a singular joy last night: watching my love “paint” in 3D using the HTC Vive VR googles and a couple of wands. Standing nearby meant being likely to get poked, but the expressions of joy and wonder that she was expression while reaching through the air was truly wonderful. Inspiring, actually.

With the work I do today, few folks will ever know about it, let alone pick it up, and get such an intense enjoyable moment from it. I’ve described myself as a “digitial plumber” several times in the past, and I think that generally still applies. The art and science of building, running, and debugging distributed systems for a variety of purposes, mentoring teams in software engineering, bridging the gap bewteen need/vision and reality of what can be done, and sometimes coaching ancillary professions around the edges. I get a tremendous satisfaction from writing the code I write, seeing it work, and knowing it’s helping people, albiet most of them are other digital plumbers. That same helping people is why I’m involved with open source on several levels, have been in the past in a variety of communities, and I’m sure will be in the future in other communities. I play a team game, and revel in the “small groups getting impressive stuff done”.

The VR google experience last night stood out against that. Or more particularly, the expressions of joy and wonder while experiencing it, playing with it. While I’ve working for media companies, some really big ones, I was never directly involved in anything leading towards the creative content, or even the tooling in support of it. I’ve got to admit, after last night’s session I am feeling the lure.

I’ve no idea what I’ll do with it. I’ve been looking forward to seeing more in VR and what’s available, tracking the news on hardware, software tooling and engines available, demo’s that are attracking attention, and of course the big boys of the tech – HTC, Oculus, Sony, and Microsoft. I think anything in this space today will be more like a movie or a AAA game in terms of the spend needed to really assemble a solid experience, but there’s enough pieces and parts to start playing with it in a “desktop publishing” fashion – limitations galore, but still something that can be expressed and potentially shared. We’ll have to see what lies therein…

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