DK2 also had this spider of flex circuits to connect all the tracking LEDs, and that’s not... I guess if you look at DSLRs or other systems with a bunch of buttons and sensors, they kind of have something similar, but it wasn’t an easy thing to fabricate cheaply. We found this vendor in Costa Mesa, it was basically three people in a warehouse with a few machines, and they were comfortable doing these odd flex circuit shapes and hand populating them with very little volume. We would drive over and pick them up, or sometimes one of them would ride over on a motorcycle and bring us the boards.
Lyle Bainbridge: Headset prototypes were named after beaches in California — Crescent Bay and Crystal Cove, and so on. All the early Oculus employees have a nice collection of t-shirts because that was the thing you did for every new project. Everything had a t-shirt.
We were just moving quickly. Like, when we wanted to build a device with IPD adjustment, we took two early DK2 boards, flipped them sideways, attached Note 3 panels, only displayed video on the top half of the panel, and then put them side-by-side. All our prototypes were hacky. We were just trying to get stuff done.
Ryan Brown: The displays were a big challenge. First, understanding what mattered for VR in terms of low persistence and pixel structures and optics, and then getting access to the displays we thought worked best. And then it was taking these cell phone parts and making them work as prototypes.
Atman Binstock: I was at Valve early on, working on perceptual research, early prototyping, and then building the system which became known as “The Valve Room.” It was sort-of a competing vision of the future, at the time. When we first started working together, the Oculus team was a startup team. They were much more like, “What can we do? How can we ship quick? How can we iterate?”
We were collaborating with Oculus, trying to convince them that they should build a higher-end system to deliver strong presence — and that it could be done without making people sick.
Jason Rubin - VP, Play: My first Oculus demo, Brendan [Iribe] invited me down to Irvine to take a look at what they were working on. I went into what they called “The Room,” which was a VR demo from Valve, and that thing was amazing. I really believed I was there. I loved every single demo and I did it twice.
They had what looked like QR codes taped to the walls and the headset figured out where you were by reading the QR codes. It was a pretty heavy headset, nothing like Quest 2 today, but it was magic.
Ryan Brown: One of my earliest memories is Alien: Isolation. I think it was a DK2, somebody hacked this VR mode together. They would put people in the office in this experience and not tell them what it was, and then you’ve got this alien stalking you.
I miss the game jams that Nate [Mitchell] used to do. The very first one, there was a game called Dumpy: Going Elephants. That was my favorite. It was great, having a stage for those oddball, game jam-type games.