Well, after almost 15 years chasing video games, I decided to do a bit of a side step. I still love games, and I could easily see myself working on them again. At this point, I looked out at stuff, and well, this seemed the right move.
Leaving Mm and Sony was a tough call, but I wanted to push VR, and well, I knew that PSVR2 was mostly locked. I could see the road ahead for me in my role, and it wasn't contributing to the VR future. I had done my bit, and it was time to move on.
Speaking to a whole range of companies from hardware to middleware to games companies and even some odd platforms, which I quite love, there were options on the tables. They were all appealing, some familiar and others required life changes which couldn't gel with our new flat and my lovely life with my wife in London.
One of the first people I spoke to after I decided to leave was Anton. One of the four horsemen of Dreams. That is to say, one of the four technical people at the heart of the project. I have a lot of respect for him, and well turns out he had ended up on Medium who Adobe now owned. We had been speaking about Medium and our thoughts for a while, so it was a natural conversation. It was a great team, after lining all my options on a table it was the best all round. I joined.
I don't want to speak about Adobe or the team, but rather the vision which drew me away from the highlight of my career, Dreams. Virtual Reality is what drew me into Sony in the first place. I've been chasing this Dream ever since James brought the DK1 into the studio and we started making little things for it. Virtual Reality is compelling in so many ways, but the best way is its ability to immerse and engage on a whole new level.
Now I hesitate to write about the metaverse because, like so many wonderful things the tech bros have "claimed" it and pissed all over it. Though connected, persistent universes have been a dream of many since the early days of networking. I hate writing network code, but I learnt to do it because of this dream. Connecting people is powerful, but I also despise walled gardens. Though more than anything, I worry about corporate dystopia caging those dreams.
I remember the early internet and the revolution that images made as we started attaching them in bbs and later forums. Early webcomics were more about image compression and technical knowledge than art. That was why I could pull off doing them. Though as the tools got easier art exploded in a way that I don't think people understand how profound it is. Now folks don't even bat an eye at a quick photoshop meme. The tools for digital art so common that like the doodle the image meme has become the medium of our time.
When I first joined Sony, I did a lot of research, talking and yes, pitching for metaverse tech. SocialVR from the Online Tech Group started as a series of emails and phone conversations when Richard Lee asked me, "What does VR communication look like?". It was a question near to Shuhei Yoshida's heart. Though the scars left by PlayStation Home run deep, and corporate memories are long. I won't talk about all that work, mostly because legally I shouldn't, but we did some great work and shared what we could. Solving many problems years before, and I know influencing others. The gesture system in VRChat pulled from a community mod is directly covered by our gestural emotion system we demoed at GDC, though ours was a bit more subtle.
Though an issue I knew from day one was content. The metaverse needed content, and well, every time I was asked about the problem, I just pointed at Dreams. It was the solution. Why worry about polygons, use spatial input and build new UV free pipelines. Teardown those barriers, let people create. Well, it's obvious why I ended up moving from central tech to Media Molecule in the end. It was the most exciting content creation and virtual reality project in the world.
We shipped it. As I already said, the highlight of my career.
While Dreams was happening, the tech Alex had shared at Siggraph and parallel invention was hard at work, and now the field is brimming with SDF modellers and the next generation of tools. One of the original big movers in the space Oculus Medium.
The choice to join and help build the next generation of 3D sculpting tool with that talent, people from Tilt Brush, Maquette and now two of the original four Dreams tech people? Well, I had to throw my hat into that ring. So yeah that's how and why I left the games industry.
Or at least moved to the sidelines, still cheering it all on.
So here is to modelling the metaverse and building that open future.