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Thread: Interview: "Bandit" (Sega VR helmet engineer)

  1. #16

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    I am bandit - it is my name. I have one hand, thus the "one-armed bandit". My dad was Smokey, and my brother is Bear.
    I specialize in mission-critical embedded systems - medical, avionics, telecom. There is a bit of me in every phone call. One project, we created the first tunable laser for telecom.

    Goto instructables.com, and search for "mr_bandit" for a picture of me and my "fuzzy stump".

    Everything I said in the interview is true (from my perspective). It is also just part of the Ono-Sendai story.

    One prototype we made was a gesture TV channel selector. P = PBS; C = CBS; N = NBC; etc. I hacked something together one night. Our controller used Forth. I connected it to a PC to do the gesture recognition. I had been doing Forth for so long, I had to deliberately swap the Forth out of my brain, swap in the C part into my brain in so I could write C, then reverse it to be able to write in Forth. It was one of the weirdest experience of my programming life. We demoed it to a few major TV manufacturers. And I had to reverse-engineer how the IR works for a TV remote. It is fairly easy if you have a scope. You can also look at Mitch Altman's TV-B-Gone for his method - a good hack.

    Another prototype was a sega flying game. We took a controller and wired it to the controller. We could fly the "plane" pretty intuitively. We had a button to shoot the "enemy".

    My definition of an adventure is "an unpleasant experience that does not kill you. If you die, you had an adventure to the very end." The way you rate adventures is the number of beers to tel the tale. Ono-Sendai is at least a 5-beer story.

    (Side note: Michael Perry was the HW guy. He is known for writing one of the definitive Forth83 interpreters. And Marc DeGroot was a Forth fanatic.)

    If I can dig out some pictures, I will post them here.

    Start-ups fail for two reasons: lack of money and people flake. You can survive lack of money if the people are dedicated. You cannot if people flake. People stated flaking early on.
    My rules for startups:

    1. Don't join if the CEO is an alcoholic. I knew from the start (eg when I first met him - he told me). This can cause chaos.
    2. Keep track of your hours and the others. If they start deviating more than, say, 10%, speak up (exception: a serious life crisis)
    3. Engineering: focus on one thing. And I mean *all* engineering focus on that one thing.

  2. #17

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    I am bandit
    See page 2 for my extended post

  3. #18
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks for posting! Here is the link to the instructables, if anyone is curious:

    https://www.instructables.com/howto/mr_bandit/

    As for the Sega VR, then-Sega of America vice president Shinobu Toyoda recently had the following to say:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shinobu Toyoda
    At SOA, the thought was that VR was going to be the future, so we started to focus research efforts on it. We spent about $6 million. However, in the end, the results of our research revealed: 'With the currently available CPU power, we won't be able to meet player's expectations while maintaining cost balance. It is not recommended to continue the project.' When Nakayama heard, he turned red in the face... not as red as a lobster (laughs), and said angrily 'You spent how many millions on that answer?!' But I think it was good that we stopped when we did. With the momentum that Sega had at the time, if we had continued, we would have lost tens of millions of dollars.
    https://www.4gamer.net/games/999/G999905/20190525015/ (in Japanese)

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