Meet Tom Forsyth and Steve LaValle, Science Blog, Nate’s Talk at GDC, and Unity Trial Extensions

Oculus Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
May 22, 2013

To build a next-generation platform for virtual reality gaming, we need the best and brightest people in a variety of fields. Over the last few months, the team has grown rapidly (over 20 engineers in house now!), and a lot of incredible talent has joined the Oculus family.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to two of our newest heavy-hitters: Tom Forsyth and Steve LaValle!

Tom Forsyth, Software Architect

If you follow Tom Forsyth on Twitter (@tom_forsyth), you already know of his world-class software engineering and architecture skills. Tom’s last two decades found him working at some of the industry’s most innovative companies including Valve, Intel, and RAD Game Tools. Tom just recently left Valve, where he was working on Team Fortress 2 in VR with Joe Ludwig and Michael Abrash.

A few words from the man himself:

“The Rift is a great bit of kit and combines a bunch of different technology together in a very clever package. It was amazing working with it on Team Fortress 2 and seeing the extra immersion people felt inside a game they already knew so well. I’m really looking forward to helping other developers work with this tech as we go towards a consumer version.”

At Oculus, Tom will be focused on the SDK, along with a few top-secret VR R&D projects. Please join us in welcoming him to the team!

Steve LaValle, Robotics Scientist

Steve LaValle Ph.D, a world-renowned researcher in the areas of robotics, sensor fusion, planning, and control, joins us from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Steve has has been collaborating with the team on the Rift’s hardware and software since last September, but he just recently took a break from his research projects to join Oculus full-time as our principal scientist.

Steve’s leading research and development on some of the toughest VR challenges including sensor fusion, magnetic drift correction, and kinematic modeling.

Professor LaValle in action.

Even better — Steve recently shared a deep-dive on the math behind the sensor fusion for the Oculus Tracker. Curious about how all that sensor data comes together to track the Rift’s orientation? Dig in and learn from the Professor. Here’s a short excerpt:

“One overriding theme throughout our development has been to keep the method simple so that it is easier to understand its behavior, to optimize its performance, and to make future enhancements. We could approach the problem using standard sledgehammers, such as the Kalman filter [4] or particle filters [1], but these require significant modeling assumptions and adjustment to reach their theoretical benefits. For example, the Kalman filter is the optimal estimator for linear systems with linear measurements and Gaussian noise, but their performance outside of that range is not guaranteed.”

If your interest is piqued, you can read the the rest of the post here. You can let Steve know what you think by leaving a comment on the blog.

Steve will update the blog regularly with more about his research, so stay tuned!

If you want to be a part of this team building the next generation of VR, reach out to us! We’re still looking for the best and brightest in a variety of fields. You can always check out the Oculus Careers page for the latest details.

Nate’s Talk @ GDC 2013

The final chapter of Oculus at GDC 2013: Nate’s talk, “Running the VR Gauntlet”. In case you missed it, here is the video from his portion of the talk, where he dives into a few of the nuances of VR game design and development.

Unity Trial Extensions

Unity Pro trial extension codes are available now on the Oculus Order Manager for all orders marked ‘Shipped’.

You can claim your trial extension by logging into the Oculus Order Manager, locating the Unity Pro trial extension section, and clicking the ‘Claim Code’ button. You can redeem the code within the Unity Pro editor by following the instructions here:

To all the Oculus developers with an expired Unity Pro trial: Sorry it took us so long to get these out to you. Go forth, and build the Unity VR content of the future!


We’re close now — All Rift development kits from Kickstarter are marked as ‘Processing’ or ‘Shipped’ in our system. The remaining units should ship soon.

As always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or the Oculus Forums with your latest questions, comments, feedback, and latest Oculus-ready content. We want to hear from you!

— Palmer and the Oculus team