Arch Virtual: Creating VR With Ready Assets
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Arch Virtual: Creating VR With Ready Assets
9 February, 2018
Interview

Jon Brouchoud from Arch Virtual talked about the way they manage to build amazing VR-experiences in a very efficient and quick manner, using some Turbosquid assets.

Introduction

Arch Virtual is a VR development studio based in Madison, Wisconsin, focused on creating custom VR applications.  We most recently brought Immerse Creator to Early Access on Steam, which enables you to explore, build and collaborate on creating virtual scenes together inside VR.  We’ve also done an NBA arena for the Sacramento Kings, a driving simulation for Suzuki, lots of architectural visualization and more recently virtual medical simulation.  You can see more of our work on our website here.

Building VR experiences

Whenever an activity is expensive, complicated or dangerous, we can offer very real value by doing things virtually before doing them in the real world.  This applies to the cost, risk, and complexity of constructing a building, the risk and complexity of medical procedures, or the danger of performing various tasks on the job where immersive safety training can offer measurable value.

We generally start with a storyboard, which helps ensure that our production team and the client are on the same page.  This gives us a chance to think through the project from beginning to end, so we eliminate any surprises and keep a close eye on scope creep.  We will often prototype interactions we intend to use in the application and create ‘gray box’ scenes with very simple massing models to help get a sense of proportion and scale.   

 

Every project is different, but for architectural projects, we’re often provided with very complex, high poly models exported from software like Revit or SketchUp that need to be optimized, cleaned up and otherwise prepared with proper UV’s before being brought into Unity and VR.  For most other projects, we develop the 3D assets in-house based on reference images.

3D objects

We are often able to save our clients money by using Turbosquid to fill in certain scene assets.  We’ve even given clients a link to Turbosquid, along with some search parameters to help filter the results appropriately, then have them provide us with links to content they would like to include in their project.  Users of Immerse Creator can purchase assets on Turbosquid and use them to create their VR scenes.  

The key to building quality spaces is to find the balance between detail and quality.  This is true of most game development, but the attention to detail is particularly important with VR development since players will be able to see and experience these environments and props very close-up.  If the assets don’t hold up in detail when viewed within a few inches, it can diminish the quality of the virtual experience.  This is a careful balancing act, because performance is arguably even more important insofar as a scene that doesn’t perform at 90 frames per second can cause motion sickness.  This balance and management of detail in a scene become one of the most important aspects of developing high-quality VR experiences.   

Recommendations

We consistently come back to basic principles of architectural design.  Fundamentals like proportion, hierarchy, scale, rhythm, and boundary play a huge role in making the virtual experience easily understood and comfortable for the user.  Books like Dr. Ching’s ‘Form, Space and Order’ are required reading for creating quality virtual environments.  

The best way to reach us is to send a note through our website.   Cost and timeline vary widely depending on the project scope, and can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 or more depending on the complexity and level of interactivity.  

Jon Brouchoud, Arch Virtual

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev
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1 Comment on "Arch Virtual: Creating VR With Ready Assets"

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Santiago Rivera Utrilla
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Santiago Rivera Utrilla
I agree. Here at Vriverity we’re developing VR experiences for laboratory automation planning merging BIM and VR in a high quality manner. I mean, there are some “oneclick” solutions for going form Revit to Vr but I’ve found they don’t have enoguh quality from a full inmersive point of view, only for early project phases decision taking. I’ve developed a metodology to link a lab automation plan done in Revit with our own families (2D and 3D views, two LOD representations, metadata, etc.) to Vr done in UE4. Exporting elements transform matrix using Dynamo scripts to CSV, later reading in… Read more »
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