Realtime Cities by Arch Virtual: Welcome to Virtual Dubuque!

Introducing Virtual Dubuque, a premiere development of our new Realtime Cities initiative by Arch Virtual, built with ArchTech Engine.

Read the full post HERE.

This new community resource will provide free and easy to access windows into interactive, customizable 3D models of cities.  To learn more about how we can build a realtime model of your city or architectural project, send us a note here.  We’re currently seeking development partners to build new features, create custom content, and build out additional architecture and cities around the world, so please send us a note to learn more.

Over the past year,we have been partnering with local businesses and organizations in Dubuque, Iowa to develop features and sponsored content, including a project in the Historic Millwork District for a local real estate developer (coming soon!), as well as the Masonic Temple, where international members of Demolay will be working with industry pioneers in developing a world-class learning environment, using Virtual Cities as its core platform.

Read the full post HERE.

“We’re harnessing the same technology used to make the latest iPad apps and XBox 360 games, but we’re not making a game, we’re building dynamic and ever-changing models of cities that are designed to serve as true community resources that can be easily accessed directly from a website,” said Jon Brouchoud, Founder of Virtual Cities.

Using ArchTech Engine and the Unity3D platform, we’re now able to transforms buildings, geography and entire cities into realtime 3D environments that are easily accessible, and can be embedded on your website, or deployed to a tablet.  These interactive models can be geo-referenced to real-world coordinates, dynamically linked to databases, and layered with interactive content.

Virtual Cities by Arch Virtual - urban planning

As visitors explore virtual cities, links to websites and additional information about nearby buildings, parks, and businesses appear automatically.  For example, when you approach a restaurant, you can click through to read their menu.  If you’re near a historic building, you can learn more about its past.  Businesses and organizations can customize and enhance their space in the virtual model, layering it with more information or interactive features.

Read the full post HERE.

Proceeds from sponsorship and custom content are then re-invested in the ongoing development of the city model, enabling Realtime Cities to add more features, build new parts of the city, and refine models with more detail.

But a virtual replica is just the beginning.

Virtual Cities by Arch Virtual - Dubquque Iowa

“If you’ve ever experienced the Voices Gallery in the Millwork District of Dubuque Iowa, for example, you’ve seen how a building can be completely re-imagined into a destination that celebrates the unique architectural character of a place, yet transcends it to become something completely unique,” said Brouchoud.

“That’s really what Virtual Dubuque, and the Realtime Cities initiative is all about.  A replica of the city as it is now will certainly have interesting use cases, but I’m looking forward to seeing how cities can be re-imagined within an environment where anything is possible.”

Read the full post HERE.

Virtual Cities for architectural visualization and urban planning

Read the full post HERE.

Tips for Improving Camera Position for Viewing Real Life Scale Architecture

I recently sent out a plea via Twitter (I’m @Keystone) to find a better way to experience real-life scale buildings.  It has long been a frustration of mine (and just about everyone who tries to build rl-scale builds in SL!) that anything built at 1:1 proportions ‘feels’ way too small inside.  The most commonly cited reason for this is that people simply customize their avatars too big.  Now, this is true to a certain extent, but it isn’t the whole problem.  My my av has always been the same height as my real life body, and still has the same problem.  Others blame the FOV settings (you can change these on the fly by playing with cntrl-8, 9 and 0.  I’m still unclear about whether or not this distorts the perception of the build, and haven’t had much luck toggling those either.

The most commonly offered solution is to build everything 1.5x larger than the real-life dimensions.  By doing this, the buildings certainly feel larger, but now door knobs are at the avatar’s neck – and it isn’t to scale with the size of most avatars.

2 replies immediately surfaced – one from @oobscure who supplied the screenshot shown above.  To try this, you’ll need to adjust your ‘CameraOffsetDefault’ settings in your Debug setting.  After trying this, I googled the setting, and found this excellent description via JeanRicard in the comments on one of Prad Prathivi’s posts:

“Trick for making Second Life better for Real Scale Architecture Design and Walkthroughts:

To change your camera ie: visual eye height: Go to the Advanced menu, Debug Settings, Use the dropdown to find and select Camera Offset Default, then set X= -2.5 , Y=0 , Z=-0.1. Restart SL. ( you can later restore defaults)
You will see the world like a real person would, or at least closer to a 5′- 8″ eye height, and Second Life’s scale issues will make more sense to you. Use theses settings to walk through the Farnsworth House for example.”

I just modified this setting, and it works great!  Walking through a build of mine that was replicated at 1.5x the real-life size made the build feel much larger.  A dream come true!  I’m not sure if you can set these through an account, or if its tied to the viewer installation.  For example, if you set up an account in order to give a client a walk-through and set this ahead of time – would it stick if they logged in via a fresh install from their home computer?

Another solution came from @steven_nelson who suggested that an attachment could be scripted to set your camera view at a preset location when worn.  I think this option might work best – especially if you’re bringing a client in to tour a design concept and don’t want to wade through the Advanced > Debug > CameraOffset settings (unless you can set this up on their account ahead of time as well?).  Just give them this attachment and have them wear it.  If anyone has the script for such a thing, or the free time to write one, please let me know, and I’ll post it here as a follow-up!

Either way, this is a new day for architecture newbs like myself who had no idea such options existed!