10 Things I Carry Everywhere
One year ago today I posted this image on my Instagram. Now, ignoring the black and white filter and #vrdev tags on this 28 likes worthy post, and you did get a chance to see what it was that I considered to be my "tools of the trade" for the time. Admittedly, most of these were not my own, but equipment that I would use in Drexel's Immersive Research Lab. In fact, I am fairly sure that the only belongings I have in this photo are the mouse, glasses, and external hardrive.
A year has now passed, and if I had a big enough table to lay out my equipment on, you would see a post sure enough. My mentality in my career, academics, and overall being stems from investing in my own future.
There is a lot that can be done if you keep yourself on that bleeding edge of technology. I say bleeding edge, only because I don't find myself on the forefront with the engineers and technicians who pave the way for designers and users. However, I think of bleeding edge as the early adopters, the case study builders, and the forerunners of using technology in new and exciting ways.
But with a great number of investments, comes a great sized backpack. The amount of times that I have been mistaken for an Uber Eats delivery person while in public with my development gear is astounding. But while a scan at TSA may take forever with the number of electronics I have to remove, you can never say that I don't live up to the old Boy Scout Motto: "Be Prepared."
My, now infamous, production backpack.
For those of you who are curious, here are the 10 things I carry with me on a near daily basis:
1. VR Ready Laptop - affectionately named Frejya, this is my Alienware laptop which I use for development and demos. On it I always keep Unity and Unreal engines downloaded, as well as a few other useful softwares and documents.
2. Macbook Pro - Yes. I was one of those students who got a macbook freshman year, and then slowly realized that I really needed a windows machine for development. However, this machine hosts my Adobe CC suite, and also is my go to for sound editing (which is a whole other backpack). In addition to this, I tend to use my macbook for mobile development and any iOS related content.
3. Two 4TB External Hardrives - One for personal use, and one for client work. A wise professor once told me, "If you don't have a backup of it in at least three places, then it doesn't exist." Ironically, this quote was taken right after I had a file corrupt for his class, but you live and learn.
4. iPad with Charger - AR is usually made for phones, but it is so much easier to see on bigger screens! I tend to use mine for quick presentation, as well as mobile testing
5. Oculus Rift S - Now more than ever, I am constantly thinking about VR development. The result being that I often find myself in labs or on other Drexel facilities tinkering around in Unity and Unreal using my Rift S. Since it employs inside out tracking, my setup is quick and rather painless.
6. Batteries - Nothing is worse than being on the verge of a breakthrough, and your mouse or Oculus controllers die. Sure you can use a trackpad in editor, but do you ever really want to when testing VR?
7. Notebook and Pens - Call me old fashioned, but sometimes hand written notes go a long way. Especially in serious or important conversations, I will often take out a notebook before reaching for my computer or phone.
8. Canon T3i with a 24mm lens - This one fluctuates based on the weather. If it is a nice and overcast day here in Philadelphia, I will definitely have my camera with me to get some quality photogrammetry shots. Unfortunately this means that my girlfriend has to watch me take 50+ photos of rocks, but we have bonded over it.
9. Zoom H4N Pro Handy Recorder - When I first started my path into game design, all I wanted to do was game audio. For a few projects, that has been my primary role. As the years go by, my sound library grows and so does my equipment list.
10. Water Bottle - the most important tool in my toolkit. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have water breaks on long dev nights.
Many of the reasons that I pursue unique pipelines and equipment is partially out of necessity, but also very much out of future planning. I am aware that once I graduate from Drexel University in June of this year, that I won't have all of the wonderful labs and equipment that the school provided. As I make my way into the workforce, I aim to set myself up as a "one man studio" (or rather "one backpack studio"). I am amazed at how much can be done with such a small budget and equipment list, but the possibilities are truly endless.
Here's to more creativity, and possibly a bigger backpack, in 2020! Thanks for reading!