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  3. Introduction to Rooms

Introduction to Rooms

IMVU is all about creating a place for people all over the world to meet up and express themselves, all within a virtual 3D environment. What your avatar wears is one form of self expression, but just as important is the place you choose to gather within. The IMVU Catalog offers a wide selection of Rooms, customizeable 3D spaces created by fellow Developers, which act as the backdrop for an even wider array of furniture items to populate them with. There is no limit to what a Room can be, big or small, but there are some specific technical challenges to creating your own environmental product.

Examples of just a few of the many Rooms created by IMVU, inc.

 

What is a Room?

Rooms are very much like Avatar Clothing, Furniture, or Accessories, they are 3D products that can be purchased and “worn” by its owner. The main difference is that Rooms can contain your invited friends, exist as a persistent Public place, and act as the setting for an activity or game. During the early development of IMVU, three dimensional environments were what we now call “Locked Rooms”. These are spaces that came “pre-decorated” and did not allow their owners to add furniture or customize them in any way. Today, Rooms are empty shells waiting to be filled by their owners, or Bundled with products fitting to their theme.

Example of a Bundle containing Furniture products that compliment the Room theme.

 

What Makes Rooms Different?

Rooms are not free roaming spaces, in fact Avatars, Furniture, and Rooms contain no collision information, so there is no way for an avatar to wander around inside a 3D Room, stand on a chair, or sit at a table by itself.

Rooms and Furniture items include invisible Nodes where an Avatar can stand or sit, and these Nodes can be placed anywhere, in any number, and they can include triggers for Avatar Actions and animations.

Nodes

Nodes are hand placed by the developer responsible for the creation of the Room, and these can live in the floor, walls, and ceiling of your 3D space.

Examples of Room wire frames with Nodes in place. Note the Node boxes on the floors, walls and ceilings of each Room.

 

Size Is Relative

The only limits to the size of a Room is its polygon count. Although it is possible to create a Room of any size, it is important to remember that the more polygons you have in your model, the slower the 3D software will run, especially on older computers. To be safe, try and be clever about where you use your polys.

Comparison of a small simplistic Room and a larger more detailed Room.

 

The same is true of the textures you use. Try and find a balance between detail/complexity and the file size of your finished Room.

Example 3D Scene

For those of you interested in making your own room geometries in 3DS MAX, IMVU has supplied you with an example file. Get the example 3D scene ZIP file and open it up.

Inside that ZIP file, you will see a MAX file and a nested folder structure. The nested folders contain the textures used in this MAX file.

Inside the MAX file, you will find all the bits needed to create a room including the room geometry (Room.MESH aka ‘the wall’) and the skeleton. The skeleton consists of very handy elements that are necessary when creating a room*:

  • skeleton.Room (the master root)
  • Camera.01.01.root (this is the camera view that users will look through when they load your room in imvu)
  • camera.01.01.root.Target (this is where the camera points)
  • Catcher/Pitcher nodes for both of the seats included in the skeleton
  • Handle nodes for both of the seats included in the skeleton
  • node.Room (this is where things like lights ought to be parented)
  • Omni01 (like a small sun in the room – it casts light in all directions)
  • Spot lights (directional lights)
  • Spot light Targets (where the spot lights point)
  • seat01.Standing (this currently has an avatar mesh parented to it so that you can see exactly where the avatar will be and be facing when you move this seat node. You can make multiple copies of this node as long as you increment the integer up one for each copy. seat02, seat03, seat04, etc.)
  • seat02.Sitting (this also has an avatar mesh parented to it. However, this mesh shows a seated avatar. You can use the suffix ‘Standing’ or ‘Sitting’ to automatically get embedded avatar animations.)

Be sure to visit the Furniture Tutorials to find out more about Furniture Nodes and other technical requirements specific to creating Rooms for IMVU.

Updated on September 24, 2018

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