Google announced a major upgrade to their 3D, VR modeling and design app, Blocks, on Monday, which will allow designers to customize virtual reality designs even further AND with greater ease.
Blocks, which was released this past July, allows users to create 3D images - known in Blocks as “mesh” - with a true first-person view. To properly use the app, one must have either the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift VR headset.
With this new update, users are granted even more control over their designs than was available when working with a desktop app, as they are able to use the VR controllers to hand-pick and sculpt different designs to their heart’s content. Prior to the addition of these features, users could only craft their masterpieces in a sunny, dry desert setting.
Monday’s update changes that.
You will now have the option to change your background, with options including a nighttime desert, plain black and plain white. Blocks will also remember your choice for future use.
When it comes to the actual customization of designs, the app improves the functionality of their snapping tool. Blocks now provides users with a guide to show when their objects will be able to snap together when pressed.
“The ability to snap objects, edges and vertices together helps make your creations precise,” said Brittany Mennuti, Project Manager for Google in the company’s statement. “However, we heard that the existing snapping behavior was often unpredictable or difficult to control. To ensure every snap you make does what you expect it to do, we’ve vastly improved our snapping algorithm and introduced a brand new user experience to guide you.”
The app has also now added features requested by users to their labs. While they are only prototype versions, the features include:
Non-coplanar face mode - This feature now saves users the hassle of extra triangles when reshaping meshes. This is something that can still be enabled or disabled at user-discretion.
Loop subdivide - With a long-click, users can loop around an entire mesh to see a perfect subdivision loop around the object.
Edge, face and vertex deletion - One of the more-requested features from users, according to Google’s release, you can now simply delete any single edge, face or vertex using an erase tool.
Worldspace grids - This feature will let users see grids along every side of their world space. This will, in turn, allow for more precise measurement and placements along said grids.
Volume insertion ruler - Now, when inserting a mesh, users will be able to see measurements on each side of the mesh, allowing for a more accurate and to-scale model.
Expanded mesh wireframe - Blocks already allowed users to see a wireframe around a section of mesh that was being worked with, but now, that same wireframe can now be applied to the mesh as a whole.
Stepwise selection undo - In an attempt to help alleviate the stress of clicking incorrectly on an object while trying to mass select to undo or redo, users can now use their non-dominant hand controller to multi-select by simply holding down the trigger.
As we mentioned, these new features are still prototypes and are subject to bugs, but for those that are looking for the most involved and intuitive way to create models in a 3D VR setting, Google Blocks is taking steps in the right direction.
This update -- and the Blocks app as a whole -- is available for free at both the Steam and Oculus Rift store now.
What Google Blocks feature are you most excited for? Share in the comments below.