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Post by trog @ 10:15am 16/04/12 | 6 Comments
Michael Abrash has written up a great blog post on the official Valve blog, recapping the last few years and how he ended up at Valve. Those with long memories will recall Abrash worked at id Software alongside John Carmack on the original Quake engine, handling many of the low level optimisations responsible for performance back in the days before 3D graphics cards were standard on PCs.

The post goes into fascinating detail about how Valve works as a company, talking about their management-less structure and how it is built from the ground up to be a great environment for creative people.

If you've been keeping pace with gaming news, you'll have heard some of the rumours about Valve getting in to hardware. The first thought many had was that they might be looking into the console space, but Abrash's post gives some insight into what he's working on in that area - and it's wearable computing:
By “wearable computing” I mean mobile computing where both computer-generated graphics and the real world are seamlessly overlaid in your view; there is no separate display that you hold in your hands (think Terminator vision). The underlying trend as we’ve gone from desktops through laptops and notebooks to tablets is one of having computing available in more places, more of the time. The logical endpoint is computing everywhere, all the time – that is, wearable computing – and I have no doubt that 20 years from now that will be standard, probably through glasses or contacts, but for all I know through some kind of more direct neural connection. And I’m pretty confident that platform shift will happen a lot sooner than 20 years – almost certainly within 10, but quite likely as little as 3-5, because the key areas – input, processing/power/size, and output – that need to evolve to enable wearable computing are shaping up nicely, although there’s a lot still to be figured out.
So it sounds like competition is heating up on things like the Google Glasses. It's a great read from an industry legend and is well worth the time if you're interested in learning more about Valve and where the future might be taking us. The post ends with a call out for talented people that want to join the Valve team to get in touch, so if you've also read Snow Crash and want to help build the Metaverse... now is a good time to talk to Valve.

michael abrashvalve softwarewearable computing

Latest Comments
Posted 10:20am 16/4/12
I was totally going to link this to you due to snow crash earlier, then forgots. /story
Posted 02:13pm 16/4/12
Was gonna make a separate thread but saw this one. New tech on its way from apple / valve.

Tim Cook reportedly visits Valve headquarters in Washington state the same week that the gaming company posted a help wanted ad for someone with serious hardware skills? Holy conjecture, Batman!

First up, Cult of Mac says the whispers it listens to are telling it the long-awaited Apple television will include a gaming console similar to a Microsoft Kinect that relies heavily on motion and voice-recognition technology. Could Apple partner with Steam to develop that part of the platform? Perhaps.

Then there's the case of the Valve employee's blog that mentions R&D the company is engaging in around "wearable computing." Forbes speculates this could mean that Tim Cook wanted to talk to some of the folks about a possible fall line that could compete with Google's recently confirmed "Project Glass" eyewear with the heads-up display. Seems as good a guess as any -- except for that last one, I think I like the Apple gaming platform better.

Mac console? Half life 3D glasses? whatever it is, it's bound to cost a s*** load of money to the consumer.

(And for the love of god, can you remove the 3000second post limiter)
Posted 02:15pm 16/4/12
Being able to have computer and real world in the same setting reminds me of this:

ARQuake is an Augmented Reality (AR) version of the popular Quake game. Augmented reality is the overlaying of computer generated information onto the real world. We use a head mounted display, mobile computer, head tracker, and GPS system to provide inputs to control the game. Using ARQuake, you can walk around in the real world and play Quake against virtual monsters.
Posted 05:20pm 16/4/12
Gabe Newell has been expresses his interest in augmented reality and neurofeedback devices for a little while now. I'm expecting to see something awesome from them soon.

I'm really excited about the concept of wearable computers. Us geeks often get criticized for avoiding the outdoors. But it's not that we avoid the outdoors, it's just a great environment if you like computers.

It would be really cool if you could play Fifa in a big field by yourself, but through your AR glasses you're the new striker at Camp Nou. Or you can imagine geo-based RPG's and obviously FPS games lend well to AR.
Posted 06:01pm 16/4/12
Well, knowing valve we'll probably see augmented reality before half life 3.
Posted 11:28pm 16/4/12
...and obviously FPS games lend well to AR

Laser tag with AR would be awesome! Real life FPS.
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