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Las Vegas Virtual Reality Meetup Joins Innevation

After winning a hackathon, members of Originate‘s Las Vegas team, whose offices are here at The Innevation Center, decided to form a Meetup group to continue working with and learning about virtual reality. Here’s the story from the group’s coordinator, Rob Mallery:

I drove out to Orange County this weekend with three of our engineers from Originate for the Virtual Reality Education HackathonEveryone arrived at 9 am on Saturday (around 40 people) and they all brainstormed on different educational hacks they could do in 36 hours. They then broke into groups of 5-8 people and worked all day until the demos at 5:00 PM on Sunday. One group did a virtual classroom that allowed users to walk around and learn about different topics by looking at them and plugging in the audio stream. Another team created a virtual museum with great works of art hanging on the walls and when you looked at them, information popped up about the works and the artists. There was also a team that built an interactive, virtual tour of Giza and let you walk down the tunnels of the Great pyramid and walk past the Sphinx. All of the technology can be done using Unity and they have tons of pre made assets in the Asset Store, so you actually don’t even need to be a developer to develop some really cool Virtual Reality stuff!  

Our team decided to do things a little bit differently and built a game to help you learn to type on your keyboard without looking. They created a virtual keyboard and then produced graphical tiles that would float at you from all angles and when you stared at them inside the goggles, you could explode the tiles by properly typing the word on the tile. It was sort of like Asteroids for typing! The judges, who included a couple of VR enthusiasts and the Community Outreach Director for Oculus (based in Irvine), demoed all the hacks at 5:00 and after a few minutes of deliberation, team “Typing Game” ended up winning the hackathon. The prize was a free Oculus DevKit!  

After spending the weekend with such a passionate and enthusiastic crew of futurists and developers, I knew we had to set something like this up in Vegas. A quick search of Meetups in Las Vegas said that we didn’t have a community organized out here, so I decided to spearhead the project. Vegas, in particular, is a very good place to do something like this; we have a lot of casino gaming companies (IGT, Bally’s, Aristocrat, etc.) and the technology used by these companies is very well-suited for creating virtual reality games for the Oculus platform. C/C++, C# and Javascript and either the Unity graphics engine or Unreal engine is what most VR developers use, so our casino game developers have a leg up because they already know this technology very well. The nice part is that VR is the future and will change the way we socialize, learn, and absorb content. It isn’t too much of a stretch to think that in 5 years, if someone wanted to go play the slots or some video poker, they wouldn’t actually have to go anywhere. They could just strap on their VR googles, enter whatever hotel they wanted to, and play. I won’t get into gaming commission laws or anything like that, but the technology will be readily available to do some very interesting things.

How cool is that story?! We are pumped to get this Meetup going and can’t wait to see lots of this going on:

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Interested in joining? Here’s more info on the Meetup:

Las Vegas Virtual Reality Meetup is building a community of VR enthusiasts.The Oculus Rift is an easy-to-use new development platform that allows you to experience VR and create it as well. Everyone is welcome: engineers, designers, game developers, entrepreneurs, and VR fans. The group will have demos, presentations, speakers, and educational sessions and will also conduct hackathons with Oculus Dev Kits. Share, learn, experience the future… Today!

The group’s first meeting, a demo and information session, will be on Tuesday, July 1 at 6 pm here at Innevation. Check out their Meetup page to RSVP!

6 thoughts on “Las Vegas Virtual Reality Meetup Joins Innevation

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