The ARCH


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.



Introducing the ArchTech Engine: Transforming buildings, cities and geography into realtime 3D environments

[Intro video]  I am very excited to announce the launch of our new ArchTech Engine, a technology that transforms buildings, cities and geography into realtime 3D environments that are easily accessible, and can be embedded on your website, or deployed to a tablet.

Read the full post HERE

These interactive models can be geo-referenced to real-world coordinates, dynamically linked to databases, and layered with interactive content.

Transform your architectural drawings and 3D models of almost any format (including CAD and BIM) into information-rich applications that are perfect for architectural visualization, and city planning, as well as learning environments, military simulations, historical recreations, training environments and more. Students can interact within a more memorable learning environment, and achieve much greater retention over reading a textbook. All within a web browser or tablet.

Your application can be customized to suit your project’s specific needs. Make it multiplayer with voice and video communication or a single player experience and add non-player characters or an entire crowd of people to bring it to life.

To learn more about Arch Tech Engine, or to get started on your own project, visit www.archtechengine.com Arch Tech Engine is built on the Unity3D, and was developed in partnership between Arch Virtual and Tipodean Technologies.

Read the full post HERE



$85 million Rutgers School of Business recreated virtually with Unity3D game engine

Construction is now officially underway on the new Rutgers School of Business, designed by the renowned architecture studio Ten Arquitectos (frequently covered by arcspace), but you don’t have to wait until construction is complete to explore the new design!  Arch Virtual recently completed a virtual prototype of the new facility for Rutgers University, replicating the design based on architectural CAD drawings, BIM models and blueprints provided by the architect, then publishing them into realtime 3D with the Unity3D game engine.  See a video preview of the virtual model below, and see some screenshots of the model here.

Read the rest of this post on our new site HERE.

Rutgers University leveraged the best of several virtual platforms throughout design development of this project. In early design phases, Arch Virtual replicated the design in Second Life, which was ideal for recreating the schematic and conceptual models and making the design accessible to students and faculty (seen here).  That model was then brought into OpenSim, where it was integrated into a more comprehensive model of the campus, including more of the context surrounding the Business School’s new building site.

When final construction documents were ready, we interpreted the architect’s CAD drawings and BIM model with Autodesk Maya, that could be brought into the Unity3D game development engine. Rutgers worked with Tipodean Technologies to export their OpenSim islands, including buildings surrounding the new business school. Tipodean converted them into Collada mesh format, along with the textures, which were then added to the Unity3D environment. The final result is a blend of the architectural model alongside meshes exported from OpenSim.

Read the rest of this post on our new site HERE.

With the model in Unity, Rutgers will now be able to embed the virtual model into a variety of formats. For example, they can embed the model directly a website or Facebook page, but could also publish the same model to be accessible from Android or iPad mobile devices, or as stand-alone applications that can be installed on a Mac or PC and run locally without being online, and at full screen.

To follow the progress of the virtual Rutgers School of Business, join the Rutgers University Virtual Worlds facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/ruvw3d

To learn more about how Arch Virtual can translate your blueprints, CAD, or BIM file into a virtual experience, contact us here. http://archvirtual.com/?page_id=3388

 

 

 

 

Read the rest of this post on our new site HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



3D mesh imports now (finally!) possible in Second Life! No, seriously… I have screenshots to prove it.
August 29, 2011, 6:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Read the rest of this post on http://www.archvirtual.com !)

This long awaited ‘holy grail’ feature in Second Life has now finally arrived on the main grid!  The subject of numerous false starts, April fool’s jokes, and much controversy – it is now possible to import 3D models directly into Second Life.  The implications from an architectural urban design and city planning perspective are obvious.  Having to rebuild architectural models with a patchwork quilt of 10 meter prims was only feasible for the most dedicated and patient developers, and the frustration of abandoning 3D models that already existed as a matter of daily practice in architectural software in order to build the same model all over again with prims just wasn’t an easy sell to most would-be SL residents hoping to use the platform for architectural visualization and collaboration.

(see the rest of this post on http://www.archvirtual.com !)



Now Available! Architectural Beginners Kit 2 for Architecture and Design Projects Build in Unity3D

Check out Architectural Beginners Kit 2!  If you’re not a programmer, this is a must-have toolkit for architecture and design visualization projects built with Unity3D.

Here’s a video showing the kit in action: http://vimeo.com/17939173

Here’s a demo build: http://archvirtual.com/ABK2.html

Here’s where you can purchase the kit for $45:  http://bit.ly/fx4TPQ

Here’s what the kit includes:

Click to Look: instead of having to lock and unlock the mouse to click buttons, this kit now includes a ‘click to look’ setup, where the scene doesn’t move unless you want it to.

Scene Switch: Load several models, and let visitors switch between them.  For example, you might load several iterations or options for a design project you’re working on.  Visitors will now be able to simply click a button to switch between them.

Waypoints: Set up various waypoints in your scene, and enable visitors to access those locations just by clicking a button.  For example, you might have waypoints set up for the Lobby, Offices, Cafeteria, etc. so visitors can quickly access those areas without wandering through the model trying to find it.

View Switching: The default mouselook view is great, but sometimes those traditional Plan, Section or Elevation views are helpful to understand the design.  With this feature, you can set up those views, and enable visitors to your project to switch between them.

Quality Toggle: You never know what kind of computer your visitors are using.  With Quality Settings toggle, they can adjust it to suit their own computer’s performance.  If they’re on a netbook, they can toggle it way down to ‘Fastest’ – which won’t look as great, but it won’t lag as much.  If they’re on a super fast machine, they can enjoy the highest possible quality settings.

Detailed Tutorial Documentation: As with the previous kit, the tutorial documentation is just as valuable as the prefab elements themselves.  You can drag and drop the prefabs into your scene, or you can dig deeper, learn how they work, and customize them to suit your project’s specific requirements.

We hope you enjoy the new Kit!  We’re already brainstorming the next kit, and welcome any suggestions for specific features you would like to see included.  Send us a note at info (at) archvirtual.com if you have any questions.

unity3d prefab tutorial documentation kit

Architectural Beginner’s Kit 1 is available here: http://archvirtual.com/?p=2950



Despite Cease & Desist Order, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spirit of Innovation Lives On

This site has moved to

www.archvirtual.com

The Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum, which was recently granted a licensing agreement with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (and later attained official 501(c)3 non-profit status from the IRS) was served a cease & desist order by lawyers representing the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

This is a story that hits home for me, quite literally.  I live in Wisconsin, with Taliesen East just a few miles away, and I consider Frank Lloyd Wright to be one of the greatest architects that has ever lived.  I’m also a firm believer in the architectural potential for virtual worlds like Second Life, and the very pursuit of architectural innovation in these environments has completely changed my life and my career path in immeasurable ways.   When I first created my account over 4 years ago, I did so with the intention of using the virtual world in my own professional practice, but quickly realized that Second Life was so much more than a visualization tool, it was a place. Despite its quirks and clunkiness, it was (and still is) the single largest collective expression of human creativity the world has ever seen.

For me, Second Life represented a glimpse into the future of the 3D web (by any name..).  Whether or not Second Life would become the standard for the 3D web, (I doubt that it will) it doesn’t really matter.  I’m not invested in Second Life, I’m invested in the premise and potential of the 3D web – a paradigm that’s only growing stronger each day, and I’m more convinced now than ever before that the 3D web will soon turn all things architecture inside out and upside down.  Second Life is a place to dream about how that might happen, and to start prototyping and experimenting with it.  Even though most architects won’t adopt virtual worlds for several more years, there is near unanimous consensus throughout the industry that realtime virtual models are the future of online architectural visualization.

This is precisely why I was impressed and inspired, and even a little surprised, that the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was so forward thinking and innovative in its support for the Virtual Museum through its licensing agreement.  Even if a virtual tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright design is only able to capture a tiny fraction of what its like to experience the real thing, and not every detail can be faithfully reproduced – at least its something.  Even if the graphic quality is still lacking because the technology is still young,  its still so much more immersive, experiential and social than looking at a picture or floor plan in a book.  Plus, it was a step in the right direction.  As the fidelity of virtual worlds matures over time, Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy would be right there with it, and I thought that was great.  When Frank Lloyd Wright was alive, he lived ahead of his time – incorporating futuristic and innovative new technologies at every turn.  He was always focused on the future, almost to a fault.  Yet, for all outward appearances, the Foundation seems focused on the past with this move – perhaps out of short-term necessity, more interested in the profitability of branded merchandise.

Fortunately, we don’t need a licensing agreement to carry on the *spirit* of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in virtual worlds.  Nobody holds a copyright on that, and I think that futuristic spirit of innovation is already alive and well all throughout the virtual frontier.   In fact, Mr. Wright may have been somewhat disappointed in our attempt to bring heritage from the past into this new frontier, in much the same way Americans were building Victorians in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  One of the very first orders of business in Mr. Wright’s career was to systematically dismantle that blind adherence to the past, and to find a new language of architecture for a new country, rooted in its inherent characteristics – not in an arbitrary past.  He looked to the innate qualities of the environment within which he was working (quite literally, the prairie’s of the midwest) and came up with an altogether unique and distinctive vision for a new architectural language.

I wish the Virtual Museum could stay open for its historical and educational importance, and I think its a short-sighted mistake for the Foundation to demand its closure, but I would argue that its far more important for us to find ways to build upon Mr. Wright’s legacy through his spirit of forward-thinking innovation, and discovering new languages of architecture that are specifically suited to the unique characteristics of the virtual frontier.  If Frank Lloyd Wright could experience virtual reality today, do you think he would start replicating buildings from the past?  I highly doubt it.  I think he would look to the future, and proceed to systematically blow our minds with conceptual breakthroughs and futuristic ideas that even the most visionary among us would struggle to comprehend – just as he did when he was alive.

Here’s how the rest of the metaverse reacted to news of the closure:

Shame on You, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation: http://www.johncartermcknight.com/blog/?p=1031

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Lawyers C&D Virtual Museum: http://www.secondtense.com/2010/12/frank-lloyd-wright-foundation-lawyers-c.html

Frank Lloyd Wright Museum to Close Sunday: http://primperfectblog.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/frank-lloyd-wright-virtual-museum-to-close-sunday/

Frank Lloyd Wright foundation Lawyers Reverse Position Cease and Desist on Previously Approved Second Life Content: http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2010/12/02/frank-lloyd-wright-foundation-lawyers-reverse-position-cease-and-desist-on-previously-approved-second-life-content/

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Forces Closure of Virtual Museum on December 10: http://www.betterverse.org/2010/12/frank-lloyd-wright-foundation-forces-closure-of-virtual-museum-on-december-10.html

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Withdraws License to Virtual Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in Second Life – Then Sends Cease and Desist:  http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2010/12/frank-lloyd-wright-cease-and-desist-second-life.html

Frank Lloyd Wright Museum to Close: http://music-island.blogspot.com/2010/12/frank-lloyd-wright-museum-to-close.html

A Sad Day for Virtual Frank Lloyd Wright Fans: http://brideswell.com/content/sci-tech/a-sad-day-for-virtual-frank-lloyd-wright-fans/

 



Introducing the Architectural Beginner’s Kit for Unity3d: Prefab Resources and Tutorial for Architecture and Design Visualization Projects

This site has moved to www.archvirtual.com

No doubt about it, Unity3D is a game changer for realtime, online architectural visualization.  Illustrations, animations and renderings are great, but online realtime 3D is better, and no other platform comes even remotely close to providing the level of flexibility, sophistication and ease of use that Unity offers.  Import your Revit model, publish the file to your website, and walk through the design in realtime from within your browser.  Its a killer app for architectural visualization, and best of all, its free.

You can download it HERE and start importing your models right away.  But if you’re an architect or designer with limited experience, even the simplest functions like doors, lights and cameras can be time consuming to master.  To help speed up your learning curve, we developed an ‘Architectural Beginner’s Kit’ designed specifically for architects and designers getting started with Unity3d.

This kit combines detailed tutorial documentation within a Unity package that contains some simple prefab items you can put to use right away.    You can drag and drop these items into your scene, but you also read the documentation to understand how they work, and how you might customize them to suit your project’s specific requirements.  Check out this preview build, showing off some of the kit’s elements.

This kit is only intended to serve as a beginner’s guide, to help get your architecture or design visualization project started with some very simple elements.  Some of the prefab elements included may be immediately useful in your projects, while others may require additional customization to suite your project’s specific needs.

Here are the elements you will receive with this kit:

  • Switch between lighting scenarios
    • Users click a button on the User Interface to switch tagged lights on and off
    • Example Use Case: Turn on or off different lighting scenarios – daytime, nighttime, etc.
  • Camera / Player Options
    • First Person Player – prefab and documentation describing how to setup a ‘player’ for your model, that visitors will use to explore the design
    • Click and Orbit Camera – allows visitor to click a button on the interface to get a distant, orbiting view of the design
  • Materials Changer –  2 setup options
    • Select an object, then click on different texture options displayed on the user interface.
    • Click on object -> Material Changes – multiple-clicks on the same object cycles through all textures
  • Doors
    • Door automatically opens whenever visitor approaches it – automatically closes when visitor leaves
    • 2 Door Types
      • hinged door – rotates 90 degrees
      • sliding door – slides X distance right or left
  • Crosshair setup
    • interaction with the design
    • Reticle setup – for highlighting objects
We’re really excited to make this kit available, and are already started on the next phase – which will include more advanced functionality.  If you have any questions, bug reports, or requests for functionality to include in future releases, please email info (at) archvirtual.com  Stay tuned!
The kit is available for $45.00, and can be downloaded here:

Unity3d architectural beginners kit