Companies like Valve are usually the ones known for seeing talent they like and plucking them from the community or other developers, but this time it’s Oculus’ turn. Atman Binstock, the Lead Engineer on Valve’s Virtual Reality project, has joined Oculus as its Chief Architect.
Valve wowed developers earlier this year at Steam Dev Days with its own VR demo, which Oculus creator Palmer Lucky described as “the best virtual reality demo in the world right now.” Binstock, according to Oculus’ announcement, “helped prove simulator sickness could be overcome,” along with raising the bar for consumer virtual reality in general.
In the post, Binstock shares some of his reasons for joining the VR community:
Just over two years ago, Michael Abrash [of Valve] and I were sitting in a coffee shop in Kirkland. He was trying to convince me to come work on AR and VR with him at Valve.
At the time, I was trying to wrap my head around two questions: ‘Why me?’ and ‘Why now?’ Michael did a good job of explaining that a confluence of technologies was developing that could make compelling virtual experiences possible, but I still wrestled with ‘Why me?’ After all, if the technology was really ready, surely people more capable than me would figure it out.
But Michael convinced me that this was basically the myth of technological inevitability: the idea that because technologies were possible, they would just naturally happen. 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.
I signed up.
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!
Oculus picked up Id Games’ John Carmack in the Fall of 2013. With Binstock joining, the Oculus team is getting more impressive by the day. We’re hoping it’ll have more to show off before too long.