Like all technology fanatics out there I pre-ordered the Oculus Rift and took delivery in July this year. When I received it, I went about the various detailed workflows to take a model from ARCHICAD into a suitable format to view using the Oculus Rift. The one thing I struggled with is the number of steps that were required and the lack of quick workflows for ARCHICAD users and the file types that it exports that are accepted by Gaming Engines.
Yes, gaming engines can accept a variety of file exports from ARCHICAD including SKP and 3DS, but the time to save the file, export into the gaming engine, learn the steps to make the file suitable for first person VR with collisions etc. is very time consuming.
Now before someone comments, wait there is BIMx! Don’t worry there is a place for BIMx. It is a software tool that I have used as part of my communication processes for many years, and will continue to do so.
As a side note BIMx now has VR capability through Google Cardboard. This is a budget option for VR experience and one that is more portable. But for me the quality of the VR experience is best in a purpose made VR headset.
Now skipping forward a few months and I had a discussion with Joe Banks about VR software. This guy knows everything VR and has undertaken significant testing regarding software, hardware and even video cards. A fortnight ago I got to see his presentation at BrisBIMx of VR solutions and got excited. There is a solution out there that enables VR in the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive direct from ARCHICAD in only a few clicks! Fuzor
developed by KallocTech appeared to be an impressive piece of software and I had to test it.
I invited Joe to my office to show me how it worked and how it linked from ARCHICAD. The process is as simple as this.
In your ARCHICAD Project: Click on the Fuzor Menu > Scroll to Fuzor Main > Click on [Fuzor] Launch Fuzor
Fuzor then launches and begins to load. Once loaded you click on Drop Avatar > Then place the Avatar on your site > Then Click on Virtual Reality Navigation Mode.
Then you are ready to walk around your ARCHICAD Model in VR.
The software isn’t purely focused on VR and depending on the version of Fuzor you purchase there is a broad range of features for design visualisation, collaboration with consultants and use by contractors on site.
The key feature of the software is the Live Linking to ARCHICAD / Revit. This means you can make changes in your ARCHICAD model and see the changes appear within seconds in Fuzor. This opens up greater collaboration potential with stakeholders with changes being made on the fly immediately visible in VR. Another key feature is the ability to have multi-user VR collaboration where people can log into the model from all over the globe.
The power of the software is also impressive; it can handle really large files easily which is great for presenting master plans and large projects and sites.
You can do sun studies, lighting analyses, place trees and make them grow. Place vehicles and people that can follow animation paths. After all of this you can create movies of the project within the software in real time, almost without the need for complex frame by frame rendering. For a full list of features click here.
I have only just begun my testing of this software and I have to say I am very impressed. Over the next few months I hope to really pull it apart and push it to its limits. I will try and share with you other exciting finds next year.