RealSpace: The VR industry is a new one, and is attracting creative individuals from many different industries. Please tell us a little bit about your background, and where you are coming from?
Aaron: I grew up playing in bands in Austin, Texas, drums, guitar and keyboards mostly. I was always interested in games but never thought I would be able to make them. I studied Psychology at UT Austin with hopes of becoming a neuroscientist. The rise of independent games and the availability of great tools like Unity inspired me to try my hand at game design. I threw myself fully into designing traditional monitor games, taught myself to code… Then the Rift came out and I abandoned the other monitor games I was working on and started making VR experiences.
RealSpace: There is a great photo of you on the Unello Design website, surrounded by art, literature and musical instruments. It seems as though you are an exceptionally creative person, and have a well-rounded approach to your process. Is there something or someone that you see as an important influence on your work or on your process?
Aaron: I’m influenced by many different artists and thinkers who take a multidisciplinary approach to their work. People like Jaron Lanier, Ben Franklin, Elon Musk, John Lasseter, and Walt Disney to name a few. For better or for worse, my own curiosity has driven me to this way of thinking. I like to know how things work, so in game design that means learning every single part of the process.
One of the upsides of knowing how to make music along with knowing how to code or make 3d models or do sound design is that if you are ever stumped by an especially hard bit of code or a melody that’s not quite right, you can always switch to one of the other tasks. More often than not, just taking a step back and thinking about something else for a while helps the solution become clear.
“I’ve always thought VR should be a tool for transcendence.” -Aaron Lemke