Overstruct - A new software to create photorealistic VR simulations automatically
Overstruct is a new tool that let's you automatically create photorealistic VR simulations that you can walk with smooth locomotion, from any architectural design file. And the resulted simulations are so optimized, it even runs on mobile headsets like Gear VR and Oculus Go.
Here is a video captured on Gear VR with Galaxy S7 to show how photorealistic the visuals are. You can see a sample project starting at 00:20;
We have recently released our viewer software, check it out on Gear VR to try some featured projects that our beta testers made. Try it out, it's probably different than anything you have seen before:
Currently if you'd build an architectural VR project, you'd need to heavily optimize the scene received from the architect to run on Unity or Unreal. You'd need to redraw complex objects, re-do the textures, deal with missing textures and lighting, it's basically a painful process that often takes weeks to months. The result is visually worse than the initial design, and often does not work on a mobile headset. And of course because of these issues most architectural design firms do not use VR very often. That's what we're trying to solve with Overstruct.
At the moment it works with 3ds Max (and vray), but we plan to add support for SketchUp and Revit soon. You use our plugin (will be released soon) to do 10-15 minutes of configuration on your design file and the rest of the process is automatic. You don't need to touch nor optimize your scene, lighting or anything, all of them are preserved at the final simulation. And it works with ANY project with no issues at all. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'll explain how it works and it will make sense.
To achieve this, Overstruct uses a novel method (as far as we know) that we have been developing for a while. It basically generates a file that can be described as a "multidimensional animation". It includes 360 renders for all the paths the user might walk through stitched together as a single simulation that you can navigate smoothly.
With our plugin you define these pathways to instruct our algorithm where the user might walk. Once you finalize the pathways, you simply click the render button. The plugin renders multiple 360 images from the scene which you later feed to our main software. Our software uses our algorithm to create a final file from these images and the data files the plugin generates. Then you just open the final file with our viewer software and start walking in it, the process is this simple.
With this method the visual quality is at the exact same level the architect wants it to be. It's at the VRAY quality, which could only be achieved at static 360 panoramas before. Also as long as you can render it on VRAY, you can use Overstruct no matter how complex the scene is.
And it is so simple to use, any architect can create these simulations with no programming knowledge at all.
Of course this method has a couple of downsides. At the moment it's only 3dof, but we're working on a way to make it 6dof in future. It also lacks the interaction since all the scene is prerendered, but we're building an editor to add extra 3d objects to the scene that you can edit afterwards.
The current render time for an average apartment flat usually takes a couple of hours to a couple of days on a single computer. Which is a lot better than weeks to months that's needed in other methods. And if you use a render farm service, you can get the simulation in just half an hour.
So in the end compared to other methods it is a lot faster, a lot cheaper, higher in quality and even works on mobile. We think this will make architectural VR accessible to a lot more people.
Please try the viewer out, we'd love to hear what you think about it. We plan to release the plugin in 2.5 months and I'll definitely give away some free licenses here at the Oculus Start forums so you can play around with it.
Till the release, we offer generating these simulations as a service. You can send us your design files for us to turn them into simulations. This is how we fund the development, so let me know if you need such service.