MIKE HIGHLIGHTS // VR Engineer - James Sundra

James is an engineer with a skill set ranging from low level engine programming through unique gameplay interactions. He has a passion for bridging complex technical solutions with beautiful artistic endeavours, often fixating on problems that are hard to visualize until they are finished. His most recent jobs involved working for Enklu and Matterport.

In his freetime he expands his skillet through other ventures like audio engineering and woodworking. His most adventurous personal project to date involved building a forge and blacksmithing a knife, just to see if he could.

How did you get started in the industry?

James: I studied Game Design & Development at Rochester Institute of Technology. During school and after graduating, I started building applications leveraging game engine technology before moving into the VR industry. I joined the Matterport team early on, and got to see first hand the unique use cases this technology could provide and it really got me thinking of where else it could go. In my free time I would create content, both for VR and AR and would make mini games for myself just for fun.

What drew you to VR specifically?

James: The raw potential to make an entirely new world. With VR, your entire perspective can be changed and the rules of the environment are fully customizable. You can set the rules for physics and immerse your viewer into a world of your making — the opportunities of what you can make are as limitless as if you were creating the universe from scratch. As the technology and hardware advances, I am eager to see what other sense we can work with the create a more fully immersive experience and how that can also push through the boundaries that a headset can. There are of course a lot of accessories out there, but what if I want the player to feel like they are, for example, a non humanoid creature — how do we embody that beyond just through vision.

What are some of your favorite work projects that you have created and why?

James: At Matterport, I created a bridged renderer to allow Unity and three.js to share the same 3d canvas and render individual components interchangeably. It was a lot of work, but satisfying to see it come to fruition. Apart from Engineering, while working at Enklu we hosted a lot of events with partners and we hosted a large booth at Outside Lands in San Francisco in 2019. For the event, we had to bring over 50 HoloLenses to the event and cross the festival every morning with them, which as you can imagine was a stressful component to the event. After the first day I went home and custom built a wooden cart with charging dock and cable management and locking system to be able to wheel the HoloLenses across the event. We ended up using it for most of our events. In general — I love creating things that are physical and digital.

Find out more about James Sundra

James Sundra

XR Engineer

Woodworker and Welder

Connect with James on LinkedIn

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