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Oak Leaves

February 22, 2019


Egolf Photo 2

Brandon Egolf shows his PopCon badge from the 2018 convention in Fort Wayne. There he networked with other coders and voice-work artists.

MU Student's Virtual Reality is a Successful Reality


Kaleigh Gabriel

 

Brandon Egolf, first year communication studies major, goes between realities with ease.

A new era entrepreneur and ranked world player of Beat Saber, a virtual reality rhythm game, Egolf has started two technology businesses in the past eight years. The first was a successful digital coding business, in which he used coding for data protection. Recently his love for technology led him to start a second business, Spectrum, that will be the first company to bring virtual reality gaming to Fort Wayne.

Digital coding, or computer coding, is the process of writing scripts to carry out commands for an online program. While this may sound rather basic, there are many steps and special skills that go into digital coding, such as knowing how to read the code before it can even be written. Binary code is the most basic example of digital coding, but basic it is not with its mix of ones and zeros.

“I started coding when I was nine, and at 10 I started my first business in [Structured Query Language] which deals with back end web encryption,” Egolf said. “Basically, I was the guy who keeps a website’s data safe. After that I spent many years coding online servers for websites, games, and one-shot programs.”

From Egolf’s experience with coding and online programs, he became involved with work in virtual reality and the programing behind virtual games. Virtual reality is a form of gaming that is totally immersive for players as it indulges the senses, specifically auditory and visual feedback. Headsets such as the Samsung Oculus and the PlayStation VR are example of the ever-evolving technology used for virtual reality game.

“VR is a universal experience where you need no gaming or tech knowledge to experience it, you just need your basic senses and they do the job for you,” Egolf said. “I think VR is a universally accessible, where you need no gaming or tech knowledge to experience it, you just need your basic senses and they do the job for you,” he continued, while explaining the boom in virtual reality gaming.

Egolf says his amazement never ceases with VR technology. “I’ve seen grown men quiver as they stand 80 stories in the air on a tiny plank overlooking a city, and none of it is even real,” he said.

Why did he switch businesses? “Personally, I have understood the software that allows VR to work much better than the coding required to make experiences or games,” Egolf said. “The code allowing these machines is modern-day magic and I am shocked by the creativity of the companies and communities involved”.

Egolf told the story of this December when Spectrum had the opportunity to work with PopCon staff, a popular culture convention held in Indianapolis, to bring VR experiences to their event. During the convention he met and talked with one of the panelists, Taylor Gray. Gray is known for his voice work on “Star Wars Rebels” and “Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures.”

“We had him try ‘Richie’s Plank Experience,’ which is a game where you go to the top of a skyscraper and walk out onto a tiny plank,” Egolf said. “He was floored with how he couldn’t stop his body and mind from thinking he was really in the air. He stumbled and shook the half way down the plank but couldn’t bring himself to make it the full way.

“Spectrum has been featured in the Fort Wayne newspaper multiple times, even on the front page once, as one of the most exciting and affordable places to visit in Fort Wayne” Golf added.  Last Halloween their company was even joined by the ABC21 WPTA crew for a multi-day coverage event on their Hospital of Horror experience.

There are two Spectrum locations in Fort Wayne: 4714 Parnell Ave, and 6242 West Jefferson Blvd. Hours are 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., except for Mondays.

To learn more about Spectrum VR company you can visit spectrumvrarcade.com or their Instagram page @spectrum_vr_arcade.