How did you decide that texture compression could be a viable business, and do you see any other great opportunities for graphics middleware comparable to Basis? (basically, tell me what company I should start, please)
I first built crunch in 2008-2009, and open sourced it while I was at Valve on Google code (then github). The Google Maps team was crunch's first big customer. More and more products started using it, and many of these teams would contact me with bug fixes, or feature requests.
So last year, Stephanie was saying we needed a product, and creating a commercial version of crunch seemed like a no brainer. A ton of teams were already using the library, it cut game downloads in half or more, and we had (and still have) no competition in this space. Unlike many startups, our technology already works and is deployed in the field! So it was a natural fit.
I started rewriting crunch right after out initial announcement last year.
For other middleware, there's definitely a need for a good binary delta compression codec. We'll eventually get to that if nobody else does. On the graphics side, I think there are plenty of opportunities in the AR/VR space.
Rich did a good job talking about Basis.
What company should you start? :) Well, I just want to highlight how much of an opportunity there is for middleware especially in the engine space.
Basically, what's a problem that companies don't have engineering time or expertise to totally perfect, that would be easier to just buy a solution for? So many things. Engine teams are not that big compared to the amount of problems they run into. AI, networking, all kinds of different rendering issues (font, particles, water, cloth, hair, different kinds of lighting, on and on...), build processes, different kinds of physics issues, so much...
I think the product you should build should be the intersection of what you can do with what customers you have. We originally started Basis because we knew we could do it, and we knew exactly who the customers would be.
So you should find your customers. Network. Talk to people. Build up trust in your abilities. Make a good website, portfolio, tech blog. Find someone who would buy your product. That's the first step!
Thank you both for the responses. I admire how open and helpful you are.
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