Oculus VR co-founder Andrew Reisse died during a police chase on Thursday, May 30th in Santa Ana, CA. He was crossing the street when the suspects’ car hit and fatally injured him. The suspects were three men fleeing a previous confrontation with police after being spotted engaging in criminal activity.
Oculus VR is mid-development for the Oculus Rift, a popular consumer virtual reality headset funded by a highly successful kickstarter. It features a wide field of view, head tracking, and stereoscopic 3D graphics, completely blocking the outside world out and living up to the promise of virtual reality. For all these features, the price per headset is startlingly reasonable-- $300 for an early prototype as a kickstarter reward, with a final price target in the $200-300 range.
With this kind of promise, several game developers are integrating the Oculus Rift into their products. There’s an Oculus Rift interface for Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and more (from more companies than just Valve) in development. In addition, some EVE devs used an Oculus Rift and their spare time to develop a dogfighting prototype in the EVE universe, demoed at Fanfest. The headset performed well, responding very smoothly to players’ motions. The overall impression of the EVE community was a resounding chorus of “take my money!” I even linked it around as something my friends who weren’t sold on EVE’s combat mechanics could enjoy.
Oculus VR released a statement, saying
Andrew was a brilliant computer graphics engineer, an avid photographer and hiker who loved nature, a true loyal friend, and a founding member of our close-knit Oculus family.
Some of us have known Andrew since college, and have worked with him at multiple companies beginning with Scaleform in Maryland which he helped start at age 19, then at Gaikai in Aliso Viejo which brought him out to California, and finally at Oculus where he was a co-founder and lead engineer.
Andrew's contributions span far and wide in the video game industry. His code is embedded in thousands of games played by millions of people around the world.
Words can not express how sorely he will be missed or how deeply our sympathy runs for his family.
Andrew will always be in our thoughts and will never be forgotten. We love you Reisse.
It’s a tragedy to see his vision cut short, especially given the promise the Oculus Rift has shown. Our sympathies are with his family as well.