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Preview: MakeVR

It’s long been known that the upcoming wave of virtual reality (VR) products will bring more than just new videogame experiences with it. Giving developers the opportunity to make new worlds that abide by the rules of our own – or even break them in ways we simply cannot do in the real world – is too compelling an opportunity to limit to just one form of entertainment. Or even to limit to entertainment itself, in fact, as can be seen with Sixense’s forthcoming MakeVR, a consumer product that has set its sights on a completely different audience.

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From the home made jewellery to the professional CAD designer; the fun of 3D printing without the worry about incongruous structures; the collaborative process of up to five friends working together to make something unique: these are the experiences that MakeVR will make possible. Using Oculus Rift and the Sixense STEM controllers for each collaborator, some or none of these items also, MakeVR is an approachable construction program that features depths far beyond it’s chunky polygon models and approachable landscape design would suggest.

The software is designed to be viewed as a virtual reality landscape and interacted with via a motion-control based interface, however neither are essential to use the product. They simply allow for a more immediate access to the many deceptively concentrated tools that MakeVR houses. The cartoon antics of pasting your own face on your avatar and moving across the landscape by ‘walking’ with your motion-controllers may aid with the attraction of casual designers but MakeVR is much more than these gimmicks. MakeVR is a 3D modeling application through-and-through, and this requires the ability to represent all the functions and performance of a professional-grade CAD engine.

MakeVR’s 3D multi-touch allows you to use your hands to interact naturally with the virtual world, pushing and pulling both your created items and the pre-packaged examples to reshape, redress or make something entirely new. Just as has become the accepted convention for touchscreen devices, the user is able to stretch and shrink items by mimicking the movements associated with doing so in the real world; moving their hands apart or together. Any items that pass through one another automatically form a water tight seal, and while the face value if MakeVR‘s creations are represented with base colour textures the user has full access to the wireframe models also.

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Everything created in MakeVR can be saved in any standard 3D printing format and sent to either a local 3D printer or to a 3D printing service within the software itself. MakeVR isn’t intended to be yet another impenetrable design package; it’s a product made for use in the home. It has an interface so intuitive that it might just achieve that lofty goal. MakeVR is currently undergoing a Kickstarter campaign and VRFocus will bring you more details on the project in the near future.