â€œWOW!â€ Â Seems to be an almost universal reaction to a first experience trying on the newÂ Oculus Rift VR headset. Â Watching a playerâ€™s first experience with Rift is always interesting to see, as the player gradually becomes immersed, suspending their disbelief, and eventually becomes part of the virtual environment. Â With enthusiastic backing from numerous game industry titans, and a recent â€œWOW!â€ on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it seems all but certain that the immersive experience achieved with the Rift will be reasonably compelling.
If a player can clear levels in a first person shooter with full head and gun tracking, it shouldnâ€™t be too much of a stretch to expect a much slower paced architectural walk-through to be feasible. Â It wonâ€™t be for everyone, but I would imagine quite a few clients would thoroughly appreciate the opportunity to walk through a design concept before construction starts.
One of the biggest reasons realtime virtual tours of architectural designs is slow to catch on is because scale is never quite right. Â Trying to project a full 3D experience onto a 2D monitor will always be distorted. Â However, the stereographic technology in Rift promises to resolve this issue, finally offering scale-accurate realtime virtual experiences.
Visualizing architecture is one thing, but what Iâ€™m most excited about is the opportunity for immersive VR to completely change the way architects design buildings in the years ahead. Â Instead of the typical armâ€™s-length, abstract design process, youâ€™ll be able to experience, create and modify a buildingÂ while youâ€™re standing in it. Â There will no longer be a disconnect between design and visualization â€“ it can become a holistic and fluid process. Â Like a scene out of Inception, youâ€™ll be able to reach out and build walls, stretch windows, form the landscape and meet with clients and project stakeholders from inside the building â€“ genuinely feeling as if youâ€™re really there.
The developerâ€™s kit ships in March, and comes with Unity and Unreal integration. Â My first experiment will be to port Main Street Dubuque, followed by a couple of new designs for clients to explore. Â Iâ€™llÂ post my experiences here. Â Stay tuned!
(Reprinted with permission from ArchVirtual.)
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