More from the AIA about virtual worlds

Last week, I wrote about MellaniuM’s use of the Unreal engine in architectural visualization.  Yesterday, the American Insitute of Architect’s newsletter AIArchitect covers another story about virtual worlds, this time about HKS‘s decision to license the most recent release of the same engine – Unreal Engine 3, by Epic Games Inc.  Read the whole story here:

It seems we have 2 vectors emerging.  On the one hand we have a kind of grassroots utilization of free virtual world platforms like Second Life and opensim that are leading with affordances for user-generated-content (UGC).  On the other end of the spectrum, we have high-end platforms like  HKS’s ARCHengine that are off the charts in expense and complexity.  What both vectors share in common is a ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) approach to design visualization.   Imagine it, architects spending 6 or7 digit figures to license a video game engine…

Speaking of DIY and UGC, I’ve been wondering lately…  Is Second Life to architecture what blogs are to publishing?

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Interesting notes. I have to tell you, I agree with your observations. It’s not unlike concept of “open-source” technologies. There are those who are open source embracers, they are the early adopters of technology. Then you have those who try to fence it into a closed-source mentality so they can put a sticker on it, patent it, protect and sell it. The real question comes into the users. Will users/consumers embrace the “open-source” mentality or will the pay to play model be accepted as standard? Knowing how much average architect’s actually earn, mixed with the construction industry tanking in this economy, hints to me that a majority of those architects wanting to evolve the industry may be gravitating to “open source”. We’ll see what happens!

Comment by Christopher Naumann

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