Interning at a VR Startup
VR Engineering Intern - Unity
Littlstar is a leading content platform for 360 video in VR and the web. The app plays on Vive, Oculus Rift, GearVR, Google Daydream, and PSVR.
Over the course of my VR engineering internship, my tasks primarily included working alongside other software engineers and designers on implementing a UI redesign, optimizing and improving video playback for PSVR, and quality assurance. Specific to VR, it was insightful to see how the codebase considered ray-based interaction vs. contol-based interaction. The engineers had devised a simple way to swap between the two depending on the deployment platform for quickly testing any device that was needed.
The great challenge was learning how to grow and thrive in a startup environment. Everyone here is full of talent and ambition, and pair that with NYC to get a very fast-paced environment. Plans can change on a weekly basis, and it took being adaptable to any situation to be successful. I learned how to work in my first professional code-base, and learning and adapting to those standards took some time, but became easy as I adjusted into my engineering role.
My other challenge was living in New York City - very different than my native Indiana. At times it was difficult to gauge if the face-paced lifestyle was due to the startup, or due to the nature of NYC. I decided that it probably is a combination of both, and learned to adapt and make friends along the way.
My major successes was being one of two developers rebuilding the new UI system. I added the "Fixed Frame" theater mode that now allows for 2D movies to be played on a virtual screen while inside the VR app. I also helped optimize the PSVR playback, which upgrading brought major issues to our code, and helped double the resolution and framerate, effectively leading to a 4x quality increase on that platform.
This work was an amazing learning opportunity, and I am grateful to the awesome people at Littlstar for the experience. Here I definitely learned how satisfying it is to work with like-minded, talented individuals who have the same drive and passion for new digital technologies.