3D Architectural Visualization Using UDK as a Interactive Tool

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Title:
3D Architectural Visualization Using UDK as a Interactive Tool
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Language:
English
Creator:
Martel, Duncan
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts; University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date:

Notes

Abstract:
3D visualization in the field of architecture is an emerging discipline that has had a powerful impact on how architects present their work, especially with the use of the technology’s ability to communicate ideas. However, the potential for what 3D software can do is still being realized in the architectural design process. Although a plethora of ways to communicate exists, certain possibilities in the virtual realm are not being capitalized on. Spatial awareness in digital architecture, especially of real world representation, is not being utilized to its fullest potential, just as client involvement and interaction in the virtual space is limited to static presentations. This project proposes an alternative approach to the current design process by presenting a system that will develop a stronger relationship between the client and the architectural designer. By drawing from aspects in other fields of 3D design, specifically video-games, the project lays the framework for a system to be used by architects to immerse their clients in a proposed architecture and encourages interaction from them within the virtual environment. The project uses programs such as 3Ds Max, Photoshop, and Flash, to develop content for an environment realized in the Unreal Engine using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK). The UDK environment demonstrates the system described in my thesis research. This system incorporates the client participation and experience in an imagined space to create a knowledgeable understanding of the architect’s vision, thus developing a deeper understanding between parties’ wants, needs, and approaches.
General Note:
Digital Arts and Sciences terminal project

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Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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AA00017005:00001


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1 3D ARCHITECTURAL VISUALIZATION USING UDK AS AN INTERACTIVE TOOL By DUNCAN MARTEL SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: DEVANE, BENJAMIN CHAIR BARMPOUTIS, ANGELOS MEMBER WILLIAMS, ANNA CONSULTANT A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

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2 Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts 3D ARCHITECTURAL VISUALIZATION USING UDK AS A CUSTOMIZABLE TOOL By Duncan Martel May 2013 Chair: Benjamin DeVane Major: Digital Arts and Sciences 3D visualization in the field of architecture is an emerging discipline that has had a powerful impact on how architects present their work and communicate ideas to the client However, the potential for what 3D software can do is still being realized in the architectural design pro cess. This project proposes an alternative approach to the current design process by presenting a system that will develop a stronger relationship between the client and the architectural designer. By drawing from aspects in other fields of 3D design, s pecifically video games, the project lays the framework for a system to be used by architects to immerse their clients in a prop osed architecture and encourage interaction with this virtual environment. The project uses programs such as 3Ds Max, Photoshop and Flash, to develop content for an environment realized in the Unreal Engine using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK).

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3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my mother and father for everything, my girlfriend for her unending support, and my friends in architecture for showing me a different view of the world. Without any of these people, my life would be bleak and uninspired.

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4 T ABLE OF CONTENTS AC KNOWLEDGMENTS --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Project Introduction --------------------------------------------------------------------------------5 RATIONALE 2.1 The Current Architectural Design Process -----------------------------------------------------6 2.2 Spatial Presence in a 3D Environment ----------------------------------------------------------7 2.3 Precedents -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9 METHOD 3.1 Overview ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12 3.2 Construction ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------14 3.3 Design Process --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------16 3.3.1 Scenario based User Testing Methods --------------------------------------------22 RESULTS 4.1 Project Screen Captures --------------------------------------------------------------------------24 4. 2 User Reflections ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------26 CONCLUSION 5.1 Discussion and Future Direction --------------------------------------------------------------29 5.2 Summary ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------31 LIST OF REFERENCES --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------32 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------33

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5 Introduction 1.1 Project Introduction The purpose of the project is to create a system that will strengthen the communication between architect and client in the architectural design process. By using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK) software as the primary tool, the project demonstrates a wo rking system of interactive visualization and customization. The goal is to give the architect and client a mutual vocabulary of design By making use of a virtual environment, the architect can more effectively convey spatial presence in architectural d esign to the client. As a professional, the architect is assigned the task of creating a construct envisioned by the client that satisfies both the client's need and the architect's vision. Although the architect has the final say in aesthetics and the t echnicals of decision making, the client is the party that is paying for the service. Being the professional providing such a service, the architect must satisfy the needs of the client. Currently, the architect has a wide variety of tools to inform the client. Sketches, floorplans, sections, renderings, and documents all convey the design to the client and work well. However, they are still abstractions and they do not give control to the client nor do they accurately place them in the space. This proj ect presents an alternative approach to the design process I t gives the client the ability to experience a proposed architecture first hand in a virutal space, as well as execute control over certain elements in the architecture. Essentially, this proje ct combines the elements of video game design and gameplay with architectural visualization. The combination of these fields could re e nvision the way the client architect relationship is currently handled.

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6 Rationale 2.1 The Current Architectural Design P rocess Figure I Architecture Process The architect presents design ideas to the client for discussion and review. The architect analyzes the site, history, societal and environmental impacts, clients' requests, and a number of other factors. The architect develops sketches of possible solutions to show the cl ient in the early design phase to help the client visualiz e what the designer has in mind The architect then

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7 creates several adaptations of a refined proposal, which would typically be floorplans, sections, elevations, renders, flythroughs and diagrams of the intended functionality. Bids and construction costs would be discussed at each stage along with the hiring of additional consultants and contractors. Based on client feedback, the architect would then re design or adjust the proposed architecture. The architect would present a proposal again, and the cycle would continue until both parties achieve agreement. During construction, the architect would make site visits t o monitor progress and provide additional drawings or specifications as requested by the contractor (Makstutis, 2010, p. 88 89). 2.2 Spatial Presence in a 3D Environment In the architectural design process, it is difficult for a client to fully understand certain architectural aspects of the design that the architect is presenting to them, particularly the concept of space. Space is a nebulous principle defined in the vocabulary of modern m & Loureiro, 2007 ). The project addresses the issue of clients' understanding of space via immersion in a digital environment. Renders, floorplans, sections, and other architectural artifacts can only convey the aesthetic idea and the form to the client. While the clien t is able to see the building and the vision of what will occupy the site through these products, the presence of space remains elusive until a tangible construction is built. The concept is clear to the architect, but the o the visuals they are given Since space is the cornerstone of the modern architect's vocabulary, this project intends to help bridge the gap between the client's request for a particular spatial organization and the architect's design.

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8 The rationale b ehind this project is to address the issue of spatial communication between architect and client during the concept presentation and feedback stages of the architectural design process Given the power of modern technology and the recent developments in 3 D visualization and architecture design, the project aims to address the issue described above using a 3D environment in two ways: first by immersing the client in the virtual space and second, by giving the client a way to customize and interact with the virtual et al. 2007 ). Allowing the client to interact within the enivronment encourages the client to make alterations and decisions that align with their imagined vi ew of the proposed architecture. These two things are imperative to address because it gives the client a deeper understanding of the architecture being designed and thus how the real architecture will feel. It also gives the architect insight into how t he client is making decisions and therefore provides a clearer direction in future iterations of designing the proposed architecture. By utilizing more than the current means of representation (e.g. sketches, drawings, and renderings), t he project presents a method to reform the architectural process by helping the client understand and customize proposed design s. The project draws upon the execution of perspecitve in first person video games and the success of Spatial Presence (Wirth et al. 2007) those games exhibit. The project is also putting design in the hands of the client by giving the client an interface to manipulate the architecture with. Albeit, the client has control to the extent that the architect deems necessary. The client does not sup ercede the architect in design control and instead is given a choice in handling the formation of the architecture as dictated by the architect. Integration of the two aforementioned mechanics will narrow the

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9 gap between the expectations the client has and what the architect produces, by creating an interactive digital visualization system for clients. The system the project demonstrates does not focus on the aesthetics, or polish, but rather addresses the re lationships of spaces, explores the forms of participation at a deeper level between architect and client, and clarifys how the inhabitance of virtual spaces feel. (Wirth et al. 2007) utilizing firs t person exploration as means of immersion to an understanding of spatial design between client and architect as well as openin g a broader dialogue using the a lternative model of participation (Wulz, 1986, p. 158) between the vision of the architect and th e vision of the client. 2.3 Precedents As stated, the project focuses on immersing the client in a virtual space and providing them with the opportunity for more interaction with design choices To do so, precedents set in other fields of design must be examined Currently computer aided design methods in the architectural field focus on the production of static and non manipulable three dimensional representations. Examples of the typical tools an architect uses include drafting software ( like AutoCad ), 3D design software ( such as 3Ds Max, Rhinoceros, Google Sketchup, Revit, and others ), and post processing tools ( like Mental Ray, V ray, and Photoshop ). None of the aforementioned softwares use real time elements. Instead, they are used to create rend ers. A render is a portrayal of an image or fabricated object in a virtual envrionment, and in the architectural process, it is an image that depicts a 3D scene typically as real as possible. (Franklin, 2000) The programs are only used in so far as to create pictures that visualize the proposed architecture in a real environment. Unfortunately, in the industry this is currently as

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10 far as it goes. Some architects may push the limit by adding 3D rendered m ovie s but these are all immutable forms of representation. Just like a book or cinema, the viewer is subject to the story and cannot interact. Here is the beauty of game design and why it is necessary to take a look into the field and how it can relate to a rchitecture. Firstly video games that simulate 3D environments use game engines. Game engines are different from the software mentioned earlier for a variety of reasons. The most notable reasons are the use of real time elements, the ability to progra m interactions to be played by the user, and the ability to package the software for distribution to the client In regards to minimum requirements specified to pl ay the game (such as a computer with a poweful enough graphics card or a console like the Xbox 360). The player does not need the software that created the game to play it, nor do they need the cumbersome amount of technical skills to operate the program just to play the game. Using a game engine software kit to develop a system to be used in the architecture design process adds a great amount of potential in the of a game engine can b e packaged for universal distribution (any computer meeting basic requirements) and a client can download the package to the simulation. The Unreal Development Kit (UDK) was chosen for this project because it is a powerful and robust tool. UDK is a software kit that combines a multitude of assets from other digital programs to create a game or system using the Unreal Engine. In the game industry, many of the same tools currently used by architects are used to create assets (3D models, animations, sounds, effects, etc.) to be used in a game engine. Organizing the assets, adding game play

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11 elements, and programming interactions are all done through the game software kit. The culmination of these assets creates an experience for a person to play. On e of the most important features in UDK is the real time rendering environment. Real time rendering at a rapid enough rate that the viewer does not see individual images, but rath er becomes (Akenine Mller Haines, and Hoffman, 2008). This is a notable aspect of video game technologies and highlights the reasons why UDK was selected to demonstrate this project. The level of interaction one can ability to process real time rendering is poweful and immersive. Current a rchitecture practices that use 3D design do not create interaction. As stated earlier, most manners of representation of a design are through the medi ums of print, video, renders, drawings, or physical models. The quality of immersion and interaction is non existent in comparison to the level of video games. Even though many of the tools the ar chitect uses in digital design are used in the game indust ry, the architectural field lacks the equivalent of the game engine; an engine that can package and share a simulation, im merse a client in an interactive environment, and give the client a real time sense of space.

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12 Method 3.1 Overview To accomplish creating a system that architects can use to present their design, the project uses a variety of digital tools. Many of these design tools are familiar to artists and designers in the 3D field. An enormous amount of potential can be created through a wi de variety of 3D software and development kits. The decision to use certain programs, described in detail later, was based on personal familiarity as well as what the software is capable of or designed for. Much like how a craftsman uses tools to constr uct a house, a digital designer must pick the appropriate software to accomplish certain tasks. Ability to do so comes from the proper use of the software. Quality and success comes from the experience of the designer and his or her comfortability with their designated tools. Of course, tools do not entirely make the project. Well thought out decisions inform the direction of each st ep and ensure a path to comple tion. The workflow for this project is as follows:

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13 Figure II Design Process An idea was formed about what type of system is being presented to address an issue. Questions such as, what does the idea accomplish, how does the idea work, and what is needed to make it work are asked. The concept was tested through s ketches and writings, to develop a clearer goal. Software tools and resources for accomplishing the task were gathered and extensive learning on many of the functionalities in the programs were conducted (tutorials on modeling meshes, collision boxes, uv wrapping, ui creation, scene creation, etc.). Work on developing the system then begins through asset creation. Assets, are fabricated 3D models and components that were used to set up an environment and interact with. From asset creation comes the in tergration of those assets into one playable environment. Finally, after everything is set, an executable build is packaged to distribute to the client

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14 To understand the process outlined above in an easier fashion, imagine one is given the task to create a dini ng set. The type of dining set h ow it wil l look and serve people dining is the concept. Doodles and mock measure ments explaining how big the di ning set will look and the imagined style of it are the sketches and writing. The fashioning of chairs, table, and utencils are the creation of assets. Arranging them all to look coherent in a room is the integration of assets to form a cohesive, interactive environment. Publishing the dining set in a magazine for consumers to purchase or replicate is th e executable package. 3.2 Construction The project uses a multitude of design programs. 3DS Max 2013 a piece of professional design software was used to create 3D models It was primarily used for creat ion of 3D assets such as context pieces (the buildings on site) and the main programmatic pieces (the intervening architecture). Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 is a 2D editing program and was used to create textures for the meshes (3D objects) as well as any image adjus tments needed (like presentations etc). Adobe Flash an animation and user interface creation software was used for making selectable onscreen buttons through Scaleform environment It was used to create a user interface, in tandem with the Actionscript 3.0 scripting language that the user could interact with in the simulation. The Unreal Development Kit (version 2012, November Beta) (UDK), a game engine software kit as was described earlier, was used to bring multiple assets together and be placed in a scene The largest portion of the project work was done in the UDK environment. In UDK, Kismet, a visual scripting editor, was used to set up a system of mechanics (rules for interaction) Kismet is much like a programming tool and, in the project, it provides the framework for how the user interacts with the environment. UDK was used in the

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15 project to combine all of the assets into one cohesive simulation that allows the user to experience a virtual environment. Finally, to make the project accessib le so that a user does not need the entire development kit to run the simulation, a build was made that allows one to execute and play the simulation on any PC. The combination of assets, scene organization, scripted interface, and design methodo logy crea ted a simulation that supports the project objective. Figure III Project Work flow

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16 3.3 Design Process The first stage of the project development was to decide on where the virtual environment will be and how it will look. To do so, ideas were explored such as building a residential house or even creating a completely fabricated environment with no foundation in the real world. Both of these choices were dismissed in place of the final option which was to re create parts of do wntown Gainesville, FL. A real and local site was decided o n for several reasons which is discussed in further depth in the Design Narrative section Figure IV : Blocking out the Context and Site After deciding on the location, preliminary skeches and diagrams were created. Diagrams are useful tools for the architect that help analyze a site and inform the architect's decision on what the architecture should start to resemble. Creating diagrams in this project helped realize t he forms that would relate to the context.

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17 Figure V : Diagram Sketch of the Site A context is the immediate information around the intervening architecture which includes the landscape and surrounding buildings. The diagrams inf ormed the decision to make an armature piece with three adjacent interach design term to describe a core part of a structure that holds, grasps, or informs spatial qualities and physical pieces that relate to i t. At it's simplest definition, an armature could be considered a grid. In the project, the armature is a C shaped structure that serves as the entrance to the construct as well as the primary means of egress through the structure. Rooms in the armature are placed to fu l fill the most basic needs of any typical public building (such as bathrooms and a mechanical room). In this project, the armature is a permanent piece in the architecture and informs how the other spaces communicate.

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18 Figure VI : Armature (tan) Holding 3 Zones Three zones were created to serve as dynamic, interachangeable spaces where the client could customize the design Unlike a typical architecture d esign, these zones were created purposefully to s how the client and highlight multiple instances of rooms or spaces that could be placed in each respective zone. Each zone has three variations of room and each room has two variations of type. Creating three zones illustrates variety in selection. When starting the there is nothing in these zones until the user chooses to place something. This is atypical for the current architectural design process because in the typical process, one version is presented to the client before iterating on it at a later time The client does not get the option to change things instantly However, in this project, the option of selecting from and interchanging multiple instances is presented. Assets were create d to populate the virtual environment A rough layout of the site using volumetric shapes were built using a scale of 1:1 in 3Ds Max (1 unit in 3Ds Max is equal to 1 foot in real life). By using Google Maps and measuring out parts of the downtown Gainesv ille

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19 site, an estimate of the size and scale of the site was created. From there, context pieces (the surrounding buildings and streets) were constructed The surrounding buildings, such as the Hippodrome, Courthouse, and law offices were detailed to re present the physical buildings that exist. Construction of the variable architecture pieces were created as well Once the assets were completed, they were imported into the UDK software. Figure VII : Model of the Gainesville Courthouse In UDK, the context assets were placed in the 3D environment to emulate the real site. The armature was positioned on the intervening location in the site as well. The architecture assets (variable pieces) were placed into zones around the a rmature. Once all of the modeled assets were placed, A level is a virtual area where built enivornments are played (UDN, 2012). In the project, each interactive piece of architecture is made in a sub level. A sub l evel is loaded or unload ed into the permanent level (the scene with the context and armature) To clarify, the armature piece has three zones that make up the architecture. In each zone, there are three large scale variations (rooms). In each room, there

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20 are two small scale variations ( types ). Each room and type is dedicated to a sub level, so that when selected, they are loaded into the permanent level to be played. If a level is not loaded, the user does not see the assets in the environment. The reason for making so many combinations of pieces in the architecture is to demonstrate the proof of concept that part of the thesis illustrates client interaction in architecture through customization. Loading and unloading the levels requires scripting. UDK has a built in visual scripting editor called Kismet that handles user actions. Nodes, or visual scripts in Kismet, are organized to logically execute code that generates interaction. These are things like, user movement (walking and looking around in the virtual environment), camera controls (moving between first person view and th i rd person), and interface actions (button clicks from the mouse that tell the game to load or unload a scene). Figure VIII : Kismet Visual Scripting Tree

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21 To allow a user to interact with the architecture, an interface was created using Flash and Actionscript 3.0 via Scaleform Flash is an animation program and provides the visual of an interface. Actionscript is a scripting language that communicates inputs (such as mouse or keyboard) to the visuals in conjunction with Sc aleform An interface is a visual system, typically overlayed on the screen (like a video game) that reacts to user inputs. In the project, a user interface allows the client to easily load or unload architecture pieces as well as change cameras and clos e out or open the user interface display. The interface was created to easily allow the client to interact. This is a key part in the project for it gives partial control to the client over the architecture through simple actions. By creating an understa ndable way to interact and manipulate the architecture, the user interface allows clients to feel more immersed and knowledgable about design decisions. Clients can customize the architecture in real time, giving them immediate feedback. Figure IX : Actionscript Code in Flash Environment

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22 Finally, a build is made that compiles all of the scriptinging, levels, assets, and content that went into the UDK environment. The build is an executable (runable) file that allows most anyone with a Windows computer to test and play the simulation. Thi s gives clients an easy way to see their architecture design and even the chance to play with it without the architect being physically present. 3.3.1 Scenario based User Testing Methods A narrative was developed for participants testing the project. As nice as it would be, the project cannot use real clients due to several limiting factors like building permits, personal freedom to iterate components in the development of the thesis, and level of work necesary to succeed as a professional tool. Because this project cannot be realized in its fullest form currently, a narrative is needed in place of real world application. In architectural design proposed arch itectural construct that is developed on a site based on certain specifications (instructor set, site determined, solve a problem etc.). The intervention can be theoretical or actual (it will or will not be built) and in the case of this project, it was constructed on a parking lot in downtown Gainesville, Fl, on the corner of SE 1st Street and SE 2nd Ave. The program for the project is identified as a gallery and the narrative for the user testing the project is as an art curator. The role of art curat or and intervening art gallery was picked for several reasons. within the community and city. The creation of an architecture that could show off the art of vendors or serve otherwise during the art walks, would be endearing to locals testing this project. As a person involved in the community, it would matter what decisions are made when

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23 interacting with the project. For other users who are not involved with the community, the opinion of aesthetics becomes a driving motivation in the interactions in the project. Deciding on what piece goes where is important to the user because it gives them an abstract choice. Interaction between the user and the project beco mes meaningful and immersive and can provide valuable results. A pool of six users was selected to include people familiar with the location as well as those who are and are not educated in the architecture pedagogy. Having a diverse selection of users participants novite in architecture pratices as well as those familiar with architecture provide insight into both perspectives of thought the client ( unfamiliar user ) and the architect ( professional de veloper ). Users were also asked of their familiarity with 3D navigation in games to asses how comfortable they were (in regards to control and movement in a virtual space) when participating in the project. Users Familiar with 3D navigation Unfamiliar with 3D navigation Familiar with architecture principles 1 1 Unfamiliar with architecture principles 2 2

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24 Results 4.1 Project Screen Captures Figure X : Welcome Screen Figure XI : View from User Start Position

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25 Figure XII : Interior Perspective With Active User Interface Figure XIII : Overview from Arial Camera of One Selected Version

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26 4.2 User Reflections After demonstrating the project, in several user studies, I was left with some informative results particularly about how users interacted with the demonstration and suggestions on future iterations. A common issue was navigation in the virtual environment. Currently, the project controls are set up like a First Person Shooter (FPS) in compute r games. W A S D keys control the user s movement in the virutal environment forwards, left, back, and right respectively. The mouse controls the camera movement or view of the user. To s omeone who is familiar with first person video games, moving aroun d on screen in a 3D space i s second nature. Those who were not familiar with 3D navigation (especially in games), had difficulties manuevering themselves through the demonstration. The mechanic taken from many first person shooter games did not translat e as well as hoped into the experience of the virtual environment for some users. Using the WASD keys and mouse did not provide an intuitive navigation system. The interaction design of the menu system was another issue that arose during the user testing Across users, there were varying opinions on the amount of control given to the client. After intial studies, the issue seemed to stem from the user interface that was constructed. Users had problems with understanding what actions affected wha t space what buttons when clicked would create a certain room and going forwards or backwards in the interface menu. To solve this issue button titles were changed to represent the spaces more accuratel y. For Large Wi better, and more simply, represent what the user was expecting (instead of ordering by hierarchy, devoid of representation). Also, menu navigation was made easier by having a way to go back to the main menu at any time.

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27 However, during the seco nd round of testing it became apparent the issue lay a little deeper. Users still had a hard time changing from camera to camera and opening the menu to select main the issue as much as there was too much control over the system. The objective of the project to make a complex system that a professional uses simple eno ugh for typical clients to use was still too complex. The project was repreating the problem it was trying t o solve. Potential resolutions to these issues of spatial navigation and interaction design grew out of conversations with users. Several users in separate studies had insightful input on resolving navigation and interaction problems. To resolve the navi gation issue, it was suggested to look at intuitive designs that exist outside of the game design discipline like the Google Art Project and Street View in Google Maps. Those precedents utilize a very simple and intuitive interface that many users unfamil iar with navigation in 3D space have a way of quickly understanding. Instead of using a keyboard or controller, selecting and dragging (panning or rotating using the mouse and mouse buttons ) within the environment is the main way of navigating In rega rds to issue s of interaction design one suggested that the software should be revised to make it idiot allowing users full control o ver change s he suggested to give them the ability to change aspects they wish in real time as the project is currently presented but without the interface. Other suggestions consisted of letting the user discretion by giving the client the sa me navigational abilities but moving the interface that exists in the project into a separate system that the architect controls. Whenever the client wants to make a change, the architect has the tools disposable to make that change, without confusing the client or needing to guide the client

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28 through the process. Overall, user feedback on the concept of the process was quite positive Participants felt they had a much greater involvement when using the project in comparisson to typical representations. In users who have knowledge of downtown Gain es ville, there was an immediate recognition of the site. Those who knew the location felt that the project had a good representation of scale and enjoyed the experience of vicariously being there. As for proble ms mentioned earlier, many of them arose from lack of techincal means to create an intuitive full fledged system These issues are reedemable in future iterations with the right software and skill

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29 Conclusion 5.1 Discussion and Future Direction T here are a number of directions the project can take from here to improve both the immersive quality and control. Examination of results for future implimentation is elaborated on as follows: 1) Increasing the accuracy of materials and lighting representation : A large reason the UDK software was picked is because of its real time rendering ability and realistic environments In the project there are currently a few ways that the software places the user in a verisimilitude representation of the real site. There is much more potential with a real time software, that in the future, could generate a more immersive experience. In the Unreal Engine, dynamic lighting can be used to light a scene. Dynamic lighting is different from static lighting in that the progra m constantly updates the information about how light is cast on objects. Use of this lighting, f or example, could be a light that is placed in orbit around the scene much like the sun. In the project, this could be highly beneficial to understanding cer tain spaces and how they look at differrent times of the day. If there is a light (the sun) that can be changed at any time to replicate real world conditions, it gives the client a better understanding of how a lit space will look and feel in different l ighting moods With this addition, clients can make more informed decisions based on the lighting of the architecture. In the project, materials are simple solids. With future work, the materials on object can be changed to more accurately represent ma terials in structures like concrete, brick, tile, stone, plaster, etc. Adding materials to 3D objects is nothing new, but changing them immediately for the client, could be a pow erful addition. UDK utilizies m aterials that can be triggered

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30 (referenced or activated) through code and Kismet. If the client wishes to see a different type of material on a certain wall, they would be able to do that in real time. All that would be necessary is an interface to execute the desired action which is something the project proves is capable. A further addition to lighting and the look of the environment could be added in the post processing stage. Things like depth of field, motion blurs, etc... could be determined by the same interface and real time commands. 2) Imp roving client interaction through collaborative, real time design : Instead of giving the client full control, give them options and remove the interface The architect could be nearby, updating the virtual environment as the client experiences it, withou t ever being interrupted with a user interface screen. The architect would be networked to the client machine so that all changes would occur immediately upon request from the client. Options the architect could chose from could be then be much more rob ust. The incorporation of generative modeling could become an enormous help to creating a sequence of variables, almost endless, that the client can choose from. An example of generative modeling in 3D is the plug in, Grasshopper. It is a design softwa re that plugs into the 3D modeling program, Rhinoceros and is different from typical modeling software because it bases construction on a set of constraints. Each constraint in the hierarchy of an object being made is stored so that at any point in the co nstruction, the modeler can adjust a parameter to immediate feedback. However, it cannot be used in real time rendering because of the process intensive nature of storing each constraint. Instead, when the modeler is happy with a version

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31 therefore frees up memory). Baked models are then able to be exported and used in other programs, but do not retain the information that was used to construct it. If this process coud be utilizied in a game engine and with easy ways to interact, the pot ential for an enormous amount of customization is opened up in the client and architect design process. 5.2 Summary In conclusion, t he project articulates an alternative approach to the current architectural design process. It presents a method for archi tectural design that allows the user to navigate and customize architectural designs in a 3D space, which helps clients develop solid understandings of space in proposed constructions. The depth of experience goes further than current forms of representat ion by allowing a client navigation in a 3D space as well as real time, immediate iteration on parts of the architecture. This project envisions a future in which architectural designs find form in dynamic, navigable and customizable three dimensional envi ronments, that clearly communicate the structure of the envisioned space to clients. At this point, the project is just the first step in a much more powerful system. There is a great amount of potential, as well as work in future iterations. The biggest step is creating a system that architects can use easily and efficiently before presenting their ideas to the client in a professional setting Currently, it is done using a multitude of resources that are all used for other purposes. A new work flow would need to be developed to make it much less time consuming for the designer. The software would also have to be capable of real time rendering, like UDK. Before the architect can allow the client control, they need to first have mastery of the tools themselves.

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32 References Amorim L., Loureiro C. (2007), The space of architecture and a new conservation agenda. City & Time 2 (3): 1. [online] URL: http://www.ct.ceci br.org Akenine Mller T. Haines, E. & Hoffman N ( 2008 ). Real Time Rendering, Third Edition. Natick, MA: A K Peters, Ltd. Franklin, C (2000, July 15) "How 3 D Graphics Work" HowStuffWorks.com. http://computer.ho wstuffworks.com/3dgraphics.htm Unreal Developer Network (UDN)(2012) Getting Started: Level Editing. Retrieved from: http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/GettingStartedLevels.html Makstutis, G. (2010). Architecture. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd. Wirth, W. et al. (2007). A process model of the formation of spatial presence experiences. Media Psychology, 9, (493 525) Wulz, F. (1986). The concept of participation. Design Studies 7(3), 153 162.

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33 Biographical Sketch Duncan William Martel was born on October 3, 1989 in Ban gor, Maine. An only child, he grew up in Hudson, Maine, and moved to Ocala, Florida, in 1997. Graduating from Forest High School in 2007, he went on to earn his Bachelor of Design with a degree in Architecture from the University of Florida in 2011. Cu rrently, he is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in the Dig ital Worlds Institute from the University of Florida. He plans to graduate in May, 2013. Upon graduating, he plans to seek employment in the field of game design, as either a level designer or 3D modeler. His hope is to bring his experience and knowledge from architecture into the profession of game design.