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The Inventivity Pod
Virtual Reality for Business?
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Animator Chance Glasco is famous for his work on video games, most notably the Call of Duty Franchise. His newest venture, Doghead Simulations, is using Virtual Reality to replace and improve conference calls, video calls, and screen sharing. Imagine being worlds apart, yet able to meet together face to face, sharing data and information in real-time, through a virtual reality environment that works across a variety of platforms and operating systems. 

 

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Intro:

Inventors and their inventions. Welcome to Radio Cade the podcast from the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention in Gainesville, Florida , the museum is named after James Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade in 1965. My name is Richard Miles. We’ll introduce you to inventors and the things that motivate them, we’ll learn about their personal stories, how their inventions work, and how their ideas get from the laboratory to the marketplace.

James Di Virgilio:

I’m James de Virgilio in for Richard Miles . And today I get a chance to talk with a rather famous, and I heard you said this in a podcast Chance, a famous, but maybe not famous on the street, developer who’s now doing some really interesting things. His name is Chance Glasco. He’s sitting down with me here at the Cade Museum, and we’re going to talk about a couple of things today, a Chance. Let me give you your bio. You’re the Co-founder of Infinity War, that’s what you’re famous for, which produced Call of Duty and the really good Call of Duty games. I think it’s important to say in there , and then you are now the Co – founder since 2016 of Doghead Simulations. And we’re going to spend quite a bit of time talking about this today. What, first of all, why start Doghead? You were in Brazil for a while . You had kind of given yourself a little mental space. Why come back with this project?

Chance Glasco:

So after , um, 13 years of Call of Duty, 15 years of the game industry, I was just burned out. As you probably heard. The game industry is a lot of hours, a lot of crunching late nights. Yeah. They feed you, but you’re there 12 hours a day, sometimes six days a week, and whatnot, it just kind of takes a toll on you. And you, you know, at a certain point, doesn’t matter how much someone pays you. If you can’t enjoy your life, what does it matter? Right. And so I guess I kind of pulled like a Dave Chappelle in a sense , right. I just kind of left the country and went to another place, which was Brazil , uh, lived there for , uh , overall, I close to three years, about two years in Rio and then , uh, six months or so, and , um , San Paulo and , uh , yeah , just enjoyed it and just kind of relaxed, recovered, and started working on a VR project remotely with a buddy of mine, Albert Perez, who’s another Co – founder of Doghead. He was in Seattle, I was in Rio and we were working on this game called Bear Tinder. And it was actually a , um, animal bartending game. You’re in virtual reality, you’re a bear. And then animals come in and they order drinks and you actually reach behind you, grab the bottle, you know, and grab everything, start mixing stuff, get points, serve them. And eventually ended up with just this crazy drunk animal bar. So like, why am I not doing a drunk animal game now? Well, investors, would probably be the correct answer, right? You’re a money guy. So, you know, like if someone came to you, with the background of Call of Duty is like, Hey, I’ve got this great idea. You can get drunk with a goat and a chinchilla in VR, or, Hey, I’ve got this idea that can revolutionize communication education. Like the investors are going to go with the second choice, most likely.

James Di Virgilio:

That’s for sure. So you were working on something very creative and fun.

Chance Glasco:

Yeah, something as far as from Call of Duty as I can get basically.

James Di Virgilio:

And now it’s morphed into something a little more serious, a little bit more professional, more buttoned up maybe?

Chance Glasco:

So, the segue from that was , uh , we were collaborating and I think we were initially using Skype and, you know , um, Skype is not, I don’t know how Skype managed to get worse over the years, but we were very frustrated and it wasn’t just the software itself. It’s just that we had I had five megabit down internet, you know, I was like two streets from a favela. It was not like this, you know , broadband one gigabit experience I was having , um , you know , uh, there’s a lot less bandwidth used if we did this in VR. Cause the video uses a lot of bandwidth. But in, in VR, if you’re in a social situation while we’re sending audio, just like you would on a video conference call. But instead of saying video, we’re sending the XYZ coordinates of your hands and your head. Cause that’s all being tracked. And then applying that to an avatar. And so not only did it solve our bandwidth issues, it was just a much better experience for conferencing remotely. You get in there and in good VR, actually, most of you are now , uh, we’ve gotten to the point where you’ve experienced presence. It’s a sense of actually being somewhere, you put this thing on your head, your subconscious mind buys into it. Your conscious mind knows you’re in VR, right? And so we were like, wow. Or I feel like I’m here with you. Like we’re hanging out in VR. You feel their presence, social presence enters the equation. Once you network other people in there. And they’re like, well, now that we’re hanging out and we’re talking, wouldn’t it be cool if we could like, you know, maybe bring up a PDF or think of a 3D model that we’re working on for the game or something. Um, and so the tool that was fixing our collaboration issues ended up being a product kind of classic story.

James Di Virgilio:

That is a classic story . That’s what I was thinking. As I heard you say, this is, so you just try to solve a problem you had with your Co-founder and then you stumbled upon what is now the primary development piece for, for your studio. The first thing that came to mind for me was what you just said is have done VR before. I have a hard time having my subconscious buy into it. I recognize him in a , in an environment that seems a little bit blurry or it seems a little bit weird and I’m doing things in there. But to hear you say that it’s tracking movements that you actually felt like you were able to read the mannerisms of your Co – founders seems amazing. It seems to transformational. Are you finding that the marketplace desire or something like this for a video conferencing solution? Or is this a hard , a high hurdle to overcome?

Chance Glasco:

I mean, this is something that the market demands, but they don’t know they demand it yet or they do. They just don’t know what it is. They just know that they don’t like video conferencing. But think about like, like Henry Ford, I don’t know exact quote, but something like, “If I would ask people what they wanted , they would’ve said a faster horse.” People like , Oh , want better video conferencing. This isn’t very good. You don’t like video conferencing, not because, Oh , it’s pixelated or you don’t like, because you’re not there with them. It doesn’t matter how good you make video conferencing. You’re still looking at a set of boxes on a screen. And that screen might fill , you know, 30% of your field of view . And then you’re like, well, who’s talking, I don’t know all this people. Let me look at, Oh, that person’s mouth is moving while the audio is coming out. Okay. So I guess they’re talking right. Well in VR, if like, let’s say this was Rumi , right? This is our software we’ve met we’re in this environment. This is the 3D rendering. If I’m looking off to the right and I hear you talk, I’m going to hear you out. I’m sorry if I’m looking to the right. Uh , and I hear you talk, I’m going to turn my head left because I heard you out of my left ear. I know you’re to the left of me. Right. That’s natural. That’s what we’re used to experiencing. It doesn’t happen via conferencing. You’re just scanning like this little boxed area of who’s talking, right. Body language. You don’t really get that in , um , in video conferencing. Um, yeah, you can see like their upper body, but there’s no depth. You don’t get everything below that. And it just doesn’t really translate. And so when you’re in VR, people typically will just kind of circle up if they’re in a group, just like you would in real life, like a semicircular circle. When they’re talking, I can see multiple people this way, this person talks, I can turn my head left. You know? So it’s just, we’re basically, we’ve recreated that in person experience using VR.

James Di Virgilio:

It’s , it’s a couple of interesting things. One, you just mentioned that sort of circle, which I think whenever I come out of a movie, people tend to form a circle and you discuss the movie, like it’s the natural human. This is how, and you’re seeing people naturally in the VR world where they could go anywhere they want, right. They can take their avatar and turn away from you, but they don’t, they’re actually forming the same social formation you’d form in the flesh.

Chance Glasco:

You’re utilizing 3D space. Video conferencing, it’s just a 2D panel in front of you, you know? And so when you utilize 3D space, you can do more of it .

James Di Virgilio:

I think one of the most interesting things that I, that I read that you had , um, you had said, and I think this is totally true, is when you put the VR headset on, you’re not distracted and with video conferencing or conference calls, I think anyone listening to this podcast knows that you’re on mute or you’re typing an email or you’re browsing the internet and you’re half listening, but the VR set is fully immersive. So you’re actually in the space with the person, much like you would be one on one.

Chance Glasco:

Yeah. There was actually a study from source enter call that I realized that 70% of people in video conferencing are doing something completely different. And at least one of the things , and it was emailing, it was texting, it was playing games, going into the bathroom, like all kinds of stuff. Right? So when you’re in VR and a hundred percent of your reality is being rendered. It’s not like AR where you’re rendering, you know , 3D over the real world. You’re completely blocked out to the real world. And so, and you had headphones and you’ve got headphones on. Right? And so, because of that, you know, you’re not, if I reached in and grab my phone, and get my phone out I’m not going to see my arm. I’m not going to see my hand. I’ll see my 3D avatar hand, but I’m not going to have a phone in it because that’s in the real world. Right? So it’s just a much better way to focus. And especially when with school, like if you think about online school, I don’t know if you’ve done any online classes, but people don’t have like memories. They don’t reminisce about online school. Hey, remember that time I typed that funny joke and hit enter, and then you type ha ha ha ha. And hit enter. Hell yeah. That was hilarious. Like you never have you ever , never have conversations about the online school, but what if you’re in a , what if your friends is what Harvard is doing? Harvard is using our software to teach Egyptology to Harvard students. And , um, I , uh , university in China. So you have Chinese students and Harvard students in a Egyptian pyramid, a 3D model and different pyramid with the PhD in Egyptology teaching them. They’re gonna remember that. They’re not going to remember the video of the guy talking and the text chat, you know?

James Di Virgilio:

Yeah. You’re absolutely right. I took a lot of online courses at the University of Florida. And then just remember maybe a weird thing the professor did, but there’s no collaborative field.

Chance Glasco:

It’s kinda de-humanized.

James Di Virgilio:

Yeah. It is. It’s a guy on a screen talking that’s that’s fascinating. So they actually feel this. So Harvard is , is presumably one of your?

Chance Glasco:

Yeah, Harvard, Full Sail University, Michigan, I’m sorry. University of Michigan, Wolverines? Yeah. I don’t sometimes there’s like, you know , it was like Florida State can say let’s just rearrange state’s names and the word state into five different colleges and expect you to remember their names.

James Di Virgilio:

So, so your technology is potentially changing the landscape of video conferencing and allowing for an immersive, almost realistic experience anywhere across the world?

Chance Glasco:

Yeah. I wouldn’t say, I said replacing rather than changing, you know , it’s like for instance, we had, you know, we have the first to telegram right? Then like a phone call and then we had , um, you know, audio conferencing and video conferencing. But for the history of human beings, we’ve been communicating from a very complex exchange of facial expressions, body language. Um, there’s all these little details that come together. And when we’re having a conversation , uh , my little shots of either serotonin and dopamine are coming from your little micro reactions in your face, you’re nodding your head, these things. So we’ve basically for the sake of convenience , um, you know, over pretty much during your , um, your lifetime in my lifetime have stripped away all of those human aspects of communication for the sake of convenience. Right? And so what we can do with the VR technology is we can actually rehumanize social media, you know, where we’ve got your body language , um, the new headsets , uh, the new Vive Pro Eye has eye tracking and that’ll probably be a standard feature in the future for most headsets. So now we have like how you’re moving and what exactly like what exactly you’re looking at. You know, just having one to one eye movement in VR , I have an avatar that’s the eyes are moving, how the real person’s moving. That adds emotion that has empathy. And so we’re kind of fooling your brain in a sense to feel. I mean , I don’t know if fooling is the right word where we’re just transferring more of those human aspects into your digital environment. So to give a sense of empathy.

James Di Virgilio:

Now, is anyone else doing this? Is this is this patent protected and how, where are we in that ?

Chance Glasco:

I mean, you can’t, you know, you can’t really patent protect the idea of people being networked in VR, you know , and that in itself is not necessarily a completely unique idea. I mean, we’ve had network games for awhile , but most of the companies that have are known are focusing more on the social, social aspect, not this, like we’re a private invite kind of system like Slack, right? You’re going to get to create a team and you invite people via email. Um , you’ve got other companies that are more of like an AOL chat room. I’m like in the early days we were just going in there and you’re talking to people I’m just more focused on some entertainment. And we realized there was a , a gap of like, Hey, what if you want to be productive? What if you want to get drunk together and actually be productive rather than just be like, Hey, where are you from? You know, that stuff, you can do that in Rumi, but you have to be invited to that team to speak to someone.

James Di Virgilio:

And Rumi is the name? The actual application?

Chance Glasco:

Yeah. Are you MII? Um , in Doghead Simulations is our company name dogheadsimulations.com is our website. But if you, I recommend if you’re gonna get Rumi, get it off of steam because there’s an auto updater. If not, you can go to our website and get it. And it’s free. It’s free up to five users. And so pretty much any small project can use it without paying anything.

James Di Virgilio:

And this works on a wide variety of VR headsets and it also works on non-VR.

Chance Glasco:

So we worked with work on pretty much every PC and Mac made in the last five years for non-VR mode. Uh, we support every major PC, VR headset, you know, the vibe, the Oculus, everything that’s steam, VR, everything, windows, all the windows headsets. And we also support the Oculus Go and the newest head site , which the museum just purchased a bunch of was Oculus Quest. And that’s what I’m really recommending for people right now. It’s not the most high fidelity headset because you’re, you’re not tethered to a PC. It’s basically a cell phone processor that’s in there, but it’s, there’s no wires and it’s easy to use. You put it on. It goes, it’s an amazing experience for $399. You didn’t pick them at best buy once they’re in stock again. But that’s the one that I think is really going to break through. It just came out like two weeks ago, maybe three. It’s a really, I think take VR into the mainstream.

James Di Virgilio:

A couple of years from now, if we look back on this conversation and this time period, what would you like to see Doghead Simulations accomplish?

Chance Glasco:

Yeah. There’s a lot of things I’d like to see. For instance, you could , you know, you can record your screen and have a video of a meeting, but imagine if we actually recorded your position in space, your body language, what you’re doing, all the audio, you could actually revisit a VR meeting almost like the time machine. You go into that environment. And all the avatars are playing back exactly what people were doing, what they’re saying, what they’re interacting with. And that’s cool because I imagine like, Oh, I missed that meeting, you know, last month, let me just go back into it. It’s exactly the same experience they would have with exception that if you talk to these people who quote unquote, they’re not going to respond because they’re basically recordings at this point.

James Di Virgilio:

That’s amazing. I’m really looking forward to using the technology I played around on your website. And I know beforehand, as we, as we wrap up the show, we want to talk a little bit about your background. You and I both had played some baseball and I heard on a different podcast. You talked about wanting to be a baseball player or an astronaut. And instead you wound up going down this path of developing, you know, one of the most famous games of all time, one of the most popular games of all time. And now you’re working on this. I know that no one’s success path is linear. It’s not a , it’s not a bottle rocket of success, not a rock show success. Tell me a little bit about what it was like for you coming through these different dreams you had and realities you had and going to Full Sail and kind of, what did that look like? What does your picture look like? What’s the story of Chance?

Chance Glasco:

I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I ended up well, it’s complicated. Technically I was kidnapped to Florida and missing for several years. But that’s a whole other podcast, but I ended up staying in Florida in the end. Um, and , uh, I went to Full Sail University. I , um, I’m a graduate of Satellite Beach High School, a class of 99′ of Satellite Beach , uh, spent most of my childhood in Brevard County , uh, Titusville, Cocoa and, you know, Indian Harbor all at that area. And then , um, I find out about Full Sail. I was like, Oh, this is a really cool school. It’s different. So I went of there, checked it out, I was like, I definitely didn’t go here. Didn’t have any money. Took about 40 grand in loans out to cover living expenses and school and all that stuff. I graduated 15, 16 months later, get an internship working at 2015 on Medal of Honor Allied Assault. And then that was successful that we didn’t like we work for. So 22 of those 30 people left, we started Infinity War and had to create a franchise that would compete with Medal of Honor, which we ended up calling Call of Duty. So that’s a , and then that kind of segues into what we talked about earlier is 13 years of that. But the success thing it’s like, it kind of just creeps up. You know, it’s like after when a Call of Duty one came out, no one heard of the franchise, cause it didn’t exist before they just need some Medal of Honor people made a new game. And so that was ended up like at first, not very popular, but because the reviews were so high people started buying it and they just hadn’t heard of it. And then multiplayer kind of made it stick and then Call of Duty two ee had Microsoft ask us to make a launch title for the Xbox 360. So that doubled our sales because we’re now on two systems PC and in 360 and then Cod Four broke us into like basically we’re up there with a Halo and GTA when it comes to sales and then buy Call of Duty, Modern Warfare two. It was, we were beating an Avatar, the box office, you know, so we went from, you know, one of the top three game franchises to , uh , biggest grossing entertainment franchise in probably that decade or somthing so.

James Di Virgilio:

Which is just simply amazing. And here you are with me at the Cade Museum having a conversation and what you’ve had, like you said, many of these conversations, and one last question for you, Chance, if you could go back and tell your, your first entrepreneurial self, so you leave the company you’re working for, you start a infinity , what would you give yourself as a word of wisdom? What would you say, Hey, you’re going to have all the success and things are gonna happen to you, but you kind of anchor to this. What would you tell your previous self?

Chance Glasco:

It sounds really good. Seemingly really good opportunities come along , um, and be careful with it , what your , your choices are. You know, it’s kind of like, you know, someone gets offered, what they think is like a really good record deal. They’re like, Oh wow, we got a record deal or whatever. And then they realize , you know, two years down the road that they were kind of blinded by the fact that there is a record deal and thought, you know, it’s magic or something and made some bad decisions. Maybe, maybe they should have waited for a different record company. Right? I don’t know that’s too cryptic, but?

James Di Virgilio:

Maybe patience with not every opportunity.

Chance Glasco:

Patience, yeah like sometimes when you get some amazing opportunity, that’s the first of many amazing ones and that’s not even the best one, but there are times where you do have to take that. I guess sometimes you look back and say, I should have done that.

James Di Virgilio:

Sure. And there’s no, there’s no, I think your story illustrates what so many others illustrate. Is there’s no perfect path. You can’t make every right decision.

Chance Glasco:

Yeah, yeah. Something that I think will resonate with you when I talk to students a lot, like when I do a lot of talks at Full Sail or universities is especially as I’m talking to usually game developers, people that are like that, you know, a lot of people don’t realize that if, if they’re not active, if they’re not exercising and eating healthy that their brain is not going to function like it should, you know, they’re going to like, Oh, I got to put down another Coca-Cola for my brain. It’d be home , you know, functioning. Right? And so something that I got really into when I was like, it was 2010, I got really into Brazilian jujitsu from watching MMA. And so I would end up going to the lunchtime to train. And it’s like, as a game developer, you’re behind a computer, you’re basically not moving for, you know , 10 hours a day or so. And so you kind of have to balance that with an extreme opposite. And so for me, I found that when I was putting myself in a situation where basically someone’s trying to choke me or break my arm or something, not quiet , you know, you , you know, that’s not going to happen, but you’re trying to get someone trying to put you to that point. Right? That it was so opposite to what I was used to, that it was like, this it’s extremely good balance. Like , yeah, I could have just gone out and gone running, but it wasn’t different enough from sitting in front of a computer. I needed something to really push me . And so also jujitsu, it’s very, it’s creative, it’s very technical. There’s a lot of problem solving. It’s not just brainless and I’m not, you know , attacking other martial arts, like just, you know , striking tons and tons of times over and over repetition. There’s a lot of variety within it. So , uh, that’s, that’s kept me kind of sane through that sitting in front of a computer. And so anyone that even like for me, I grew up a computer nerd, you know, I was programming when I was 14, I was a dork. I was kind of like, you know, into theater and like, you know, not athletic person at all, I still am not. But even if you’re not like find something to balance that desk life, because it’ll, it’ll make you a happier person and it’ll prove your life and other ways too.

James Di Virgilio:

I think that’s why it’s Harvard did a study talking about the different things our brains need each day. And one of them is exercise and others music. But especially if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re spending so much time on one task , it’s essential that your brain gets other space to do things. And something like jujitsu, is deep. You can go very far into that. You can lose yourself into that. And that makes a lot of sense. And I think that’s wise , he is Chance Glasgow. He is the Co-founder of Doghead Simulations. I’ve had so much fun spending some time with you today on behalf of Radio Cade on behalf of Richard Miles, who’s not here doing the interview today. I’m James Di Virgilio. I look forward to talking with you next time.

Chance Glasco:

Thank you guys.

Outro:

Radio Cade would like to thank the following people for their help and support, Liz Gist of the Cade museum for coordinating and vendor interviews. Bob McPeak of Heartwood Soundstage in downtown Gainesville, Florida for recording, editing and production of the podcasts and music theme. Tracy Collins for the composition and performance of the Radio Cade theme song, featuring violinist, Jacob Lawson and special, thanks to the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention located in Gainesville, Florida.

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