“Is there a 3D model import tool?” Daren Strange ‘Gets It’ and Transcends Limitations
March 6, 2007, 5:29 am
Filed under: architect, architecture, daren strange, rl architecture

Like every architect who visits Architecture Island, Daren Srange’s first question was ‘is there a way to import existing 3D models? Instead of dwelling on the setbacks of learning the in-world building tools, Daren immediately ‘got it’ and embraced the tools, making the best of what Second Life currently offers. While we all await a day when we can seamlessly integrate our 3D models into Second Life, I think designers like Daren deserve to be rewarded as early adopters and innovators in this field.

By looking at Daren’s build, it is immediately obvious that he knows how buildings work. His builds are as techtonic as prim-limits will allow in Second Life. In looking at his most recent build, it seems like he is mentally building the actual project piece by piece as if he were constructing it in real life. The windows have flashing, the rafters have bearing points, the drywall has a realistic thickness. But, he’s not afraid to take advantage of the virtual medium in the process…

” I think it is interesting that you can change the order of construction in second life. Hanging the windows was nice to do before the walls were up.”

Daren has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and has worked professionally as an architectural intern. More of his work can be seen at East Tower Design. I tried my best to ‘help’ Daren in the earliest manifestions of his project, but he was so quick to learn that he always seemed to be two steps ahead of where I was directing him.

With skills like his, it won’t be long before Second Life developers start approaching him with employment opportunities. He has already admitted a temptation (read desire) to leave the real world behind and become a virtual architect. Given the growing (increasingly fierce) competition for in-world design/build talent, coupled with the explosion of virtual world content demand in general, I think Daren is wise to consider a virtual transition.

Who’s next? 😉

12 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Be sure to adjust the ceiling height for the ability to fly in Second Life 🙂

Comment by z3rr0 Zeluco

[…] post by keystonesl and powered by Img […]

Pingback by Import Parts » “Is there a 3D model import tool?” Daren Strange ‘Gets It’ and …

why bother with items such as roof beams that will never be seen once the build is finished. They are just a waste of prims. Even if you wanted to see the beams from below in the upper story you could use a texture to accomplish this.

Comment by Rob Cornelius

I would like to know more about the 3D conversion tool that is mentioned on the beginning of this article. And simultaneously would it be very helpfull to refer to a link where to find such tools Daren Strange has used. Otherwise the caption of the article has no sense.

Comment by Horst Heberle

There currently is no alpha 3D conversion tool. The point of the article (i should have been more clear) is that Daren is using the basic in-world building tools with great success.

Comment by keystonesl

Daren still has plenty of prims left. I love the exposed structure, and think it adds a very techtonic quality to the build. Could you really represent 3D exposed rafters with a single texture? I’m not so sure.

Comment by keystonesl

I believe Daren is building this at 1.5 times real life size to accomodate for the fact that builds feel too small in SL when they’re built at exact scale.

Comment by keystonesl

i think it’s interesting seeing the windows floating in air like that, suggesting a wall.

the whole thing really reminds me of 3d cutaway drawings which i always love looking at. i can imagine partially finished shingles or exterior wall to show off the structure to get that cutway effect for the finished project.

Comment by parker

To be honest. You mention the talent and the ability and the detail. Most people would never use or be able to use a building like this is SL. For the size it is impractical using that many prims, and if you could spare that many prims then you could easily get a much better house.
I own a region in Sl and i have access to many builders who made far better structures on their second build, myself included, with much more reservation about prim wastage. What he has built is nice. Its ok. But to say it is exciting or innovative or even particularly good shows a lack of exploration into the SL building experience.
There are truely some good works out there and this build, even if I totally ignore the overwhelming need to save prims for most users, is no more than adequate or average.
My first ever build was on a similar line to this and looking back at it now, I cringe at the abuse of prims I added and the total averageness and similarity to so many other builds.
So yes, if this was a first attempt, very nice, good try, /me pats you on the back. Im sure it will improve.. Well I hope so. Or you are up against a lot of far better competition and a move to the virtual world will not be a good one for you.

Comment by Jakk

@ Jakk. I should have been more clear – this is a real life architectural project. His design is not intended for exclusively virtual use. He’s using this model as a visualization tool to imagine and show his clients the visual experience of occupying the design, as well as the construction details of the real life project. This is why his decision to expose rafters and include construction details, however prim intensive it may be, is interesting insofar as it is a professional tool for architectural visualization, and, I think, appropriate to the concentration of this blog.

Comment by keystonesl

@Keystones & @ Jakk

Jakk is 100% right. Even for an ‘architectural project’ SL with it’s architecture limitations and world building limitations fails and falls by the roadside compared to other free venues that have much better scale accuracy and rendering capabilities. Google’s SketchUP and SketchUP Pro are a much better example of this. Especially given the support of the architectural community already with these.

When second life gets off it’s ass and gives real tools for building and texturing, there’s going to be an explosion of in-game content.

I can sit down and in an hour have a 500 million poly realistic human form sculpted up from a simple sphere, rigged for inverse kinematic animations, with a new texture UV map and everything to go into ANY leading game engine, or ANY rendering or animation software commercially or open source.

I sat down and tried to figure out the ‘Oh my god why?’ of Sculpties (which would be the closest thing to editable meshes in game that are offered) and shook my head again and again.

SecondLife’s greatest scale building project that I’ve seen, is the Chernobyl Memorial.

Comment by Jagdt

@ Jagdt

Maybe we should have our next Architecture Group meeting in SketchUp! Oh wait…we can’t. =)

Of course there are better 3D modeling engines available.

If all you want to do in Second Life is build models in vacuum, getting frustrated when it isn’t the same as Sketchup, you’ve missed the point. It all boils down to the potent combination of community and collaboration that other apps simply don’t accomodate.

I doubt the majority of graphics cards used to render Second Life could handle rendering a realtime environment with other avatars present, where the entire place is built out of your “500 million poly realistic forms”? It isn’t that Linden Lab can’t figure out how to make the modelling capacity more complex, that would be easy. But making it work in a realtime streaming virtual environment, given the current limitations of hardware and technology available is the challenge.

The technology is still young, but the benefits already far outweigh the challenges and limitations.

Comment by keystonesl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: