VR ToursTrue Virtual Customization for New Construction Homes
Developed under the working title ‘VR Tours,’ our software is being designed to allow soon to be homeowners to customize and experience their new-construction home before committing to the design. Users can customize their homes without the need to walk through a show-room. Every pattern, material and fixture offered by the home builder can be used. When customization has been completed, the user’s choices can be saved out to a file for the builder’s future reference, and the user can take home a render of their new home.
The VR Tours team is made up of people who have been experimenting with VR since the release of the DK1. We recognized that VR’s ability to give the user a true sense of scale and presence meant it would be a perfect fit for the Real Estate world, especially in the new construction market. Having already spoken with one of the largest home builders in the state of Iowa (where we are based), we knew that there was demand for the product.
Why HTC Vive?
“I recognized right away that room-scale VR was the only way to go for VR Tours. Additionally, the Vive’s commitment to packaging hand controllers, and the Lighthouse system’s ability to accept new interface devices in the future made it the obvious choice.”
-Kyle Biggs, Founder of Vivid Realms
Our product is different than most because we intend to target one set of hardware in V1.0. Part of our service package includes setting up all the hardware needed to run the system. Because of this, we didn’t want to divide our resources trying to implement multiple VR systems.
Why We're The Company for This?
“VR Tours started out as a pet project of mine when I first started experimenting with VR. I’ve been running a Real Estate photography and graphic arts company since 2009, which meant I was already well connected with agents and home builders. With my existing relationships, most of the legwork of securing our first client is already complete.”
How this Benefits HTC/Valve
It goes without saying that gamers around the world are well aware of your product, but introducing your brand of VR to non-gamers is key to the future success of VR in general. Our product will introduce thousands of people to virtual reality who might otherwise never have the opportunity to experience it. It is our belief that every major home builder will demand this technology some day. We want to be the company that starts the revolution, and we can think of no better choice in hardware than the HTC Vive.
The New Construction Market
The business of building new homes is unlike any other part of real estate. Clients are faced with the challenges of becoming homeowners, in addition to facing the need to customize their new home. The companies that build these homes expend vast resources to help their clients decide on every detail, to include the costly process of replacing fixtures or chosen materials if the client doesn’t like them.
The value of a VR preview of a proposed home is two fold:
- The homeowner can instantly see a representation of their choices applied as it will be in the final home. This means they can decide instantly if their choice of countertops match the backsplash, or if the color of a bedroom’s walls really works with their carpet.
- For the home builder, offering a VR experience is just the kind of ‘wow’ factor they’re looking for to set them apart. Those of us who have experienced VR know that it is an experience we’ll never forget. That kind of impact has its own value.
Simply producing VR software isn’t enough to gain traction in this market. VR Tours needs to be a all-in-one package, with each customer receiving a custom build of the software along with hardware set-up and support. Our intent is to include the installation of hardware as a service, and we want that hardware to be the HTC Vive.
Current Status of VR Tours
As of this writing, the VR Tours prototype is just months away from being ready. Users can already select a home, explore it and customize many aspects of it. The missing key is interaction. Up to this point we’ve been testing using a Xbox 360 controller, but we’ve known all along that motion tracked hand controllers are the only real option. The first thing our test subjects do when they enter VR is try and reach out and touch things. It is time we enable that natural instinct.
Founder & Art Director
- 3D Artist
- Everything Else
Co-Founder & Programmer
- Head Programmer
- VR Interface Guru
- Trello Overlord
- Web Designer
- Design Wizard
- Quality Control
- Customer Service
Level Designer & 3D Artist
- Head of Level Design
- Material/Shader Artist