Sleepy Giant hosts a Virtual Reality meetup in Orange County


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Just down the road from the Oculus Rift headquarters is an office park where hotels, parking garages, and corporate buildings are located. This where Sleepy Giant, an independent game company focused on enthusiast gamers, held an event with OCVR.

The pivoting glass doors opened up at the entrance leading to a beautifully constructed lobby with elevators found on both sides of the area. Security access was given to those who RSVP’d on the website allowing them to travel up to the 5th floor.

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Once inside, about 100 people gathered together sitting on wooden tables and standing up against the walls ready for the speakers to begin talking. They drank beer and ate Hors d’oeuvres while focusing their attention on the front of the room where the 1st presenter was preparing himself.

This is when Doug Griffin demoed a version of Faceshift, which is a that technology should enable creativity through the use of motion capture to produce facial animations that are realistic and emotional, with a system that is affordable and easy to use.

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After that, E McNeill (creator of the cyberpunk hacker game called Darknet) got up and discussed the benefits and challenges of virtual reality. Some of the limitations he talked about included hardware performance requirements, limited resolutions, small market size, and the potential for nausea symptoms in some users. On the plus side, E spoke of fantasy fulfillment where anyone can unlock their dreams and the amazing developer support from Oculus & Sony.

Ben Miller from WeMo Labs also presented ideas as well.

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Once the speakers were done, a long line quickly formed to try out the new Mario 64-style third-person cartoony game called Lucky’s Tale on the Oculus Rift DK2. A young developer was the first to try it out, gaining inspiration for his next project.

What made this experience top-notch was the community involvement by Oculus employees. They were there to answer questions, provide support, and get feedback from the VR enthusiasts who were happy to be discussing their thoughts on the new platform.

Shariq Hashme, the Oculus intern, showed up. His collegue Dean Beeler, their Senior Software Engineer, went down the line talking to the people waiting to try the game. And David Borel, an Oculus developer, assisted with the headset.

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Amongst the crowd were food truck owners, 3d developers, science fiction writers, bloggers, journalists, marketing associates, lawyers, hardware manufacturers, and many other types of people.

OCVR co-founder, Dylan Watkins, walked around sparking innovation with his Iron Man sweatshirt and spikey hair. He spoke of upcoming meetups, possible collaborations with Alex Gray, and mobile makerspaces.

Jamie Ortiz, VP of marketing and communications with Sleepy Giant, was happy to see such a big turnout and would definitely host another event here. He also talked about growth hacking and what the term hacker actually means.

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When the night came to a close, the remaining members hung outside for a bit longer discussing whatever thoughts flowed in. Arman Bastani with Oval Integration was there. Wagas Hussain, the creator of the Unreal LA Developers group floated around as well.

Jeff Howell, a SoCal attorney, talked with a local journalist about the possibilities of reducing crime and incarceration with the use of Virtual Reality. They also discussed how science fiction writers are the ones that lay the foundation for tech pioneers to create their work.

Overall, it was a night filled with amazing people.

Article written by @industrychanger


Additional Links:

Full Video of E McNeill’s presentation:


Orange County VR’s meetup page –

Sleepy Giant’s Website –


Other Notable Attendees:

Ian Hamilton – journalist and writer

Morris May –  Hollywood visual effects supervisor with Specular Theory

Jason A. Huff – developer with Atom Arcade (interested in music production for the Rift)

Michael Anetsberger & Joel Swank – who are looking for 3D developers

Phil Osborne – science fiction reader


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