Circle Pines Center Recreation Hall, Michigan
This project is an example of using virtual world simulations to model construction projects during the planning and fund raising stage.
This simulation was set up to allow comparison of construction options. Also, because these simulations are real-time and multi-user, it allowed the target donor audience a chance to better understand how it would feel to be part of a group using the facility.
Circle Pines Center is a non-profit organization in the woods of western Michigan. Established in 1940 it runs several full scale summer camp sessions for kids.
One building on the facility, the "Rec Hall" is a large open sided pavilion style building with rustic stone pillers holding up a massive rough timber gabled roof. In the summer it is a multi-use facility. The rest of the year it got little use.
The board of the organisation wanted to start a fund raising campaign to see if it could raise money to enclose the walls and add various amenities so that it could be used 12 months of the year.
After hiring an architect to present some design options they asked us to prepare a computer simulation based on that plan to help them explain the options to their members and potential donors.
We built the simulation so that viewers could switch back and forth between various options. For example flat windows v bay windows. Other switchable options included how much depth to allow on roof overhangs and how much kitchen and/or rest room facilities would be part of the new design. We also included Non Player Character (NPC bots) in the build to simulate various uses. These "bots" could also be switched on and off.
Several computers were set up at their 75th anniversary week-end gathering to run the simulation. This event was where attendees would be asked to make pledges in support for the fund raising campaign.
The simulation was made available during several sessions over the week-end where users both on-site and remotely interacted as avatars. This interaction was projected on larger screens during a period where those in attendance were able to discuss details with center staff.
The discussion among the people experiencing and viewing the simulation was lively and interestingly enough, not all in support of the plan. It turns out that enclosing the building for the winter was at the expense of having nature close up in the summer.
The simulation illustrated this trade-off much more effectively than just having 2-dimensional architectural drawings to look at.
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