Google Unveils New Blocks Sand-boxing Tool for VR

Ever wish you could design your own three-dimensional objects and environments for use in virtual reality (VR)? Well, now you can, thanks to a new VR sandboxing tool released by Google.

What is Google Blocks?

The aptly named “Blocks” is a free-to-download program that allows users to create low-poly, three-dimensional scenes in VR using just six basic tools: Shape, Stroke, Paint, Modify, Grab and Erase. While that may sound subpar compared to the dozens of tools available in most graphics editing software, Blocks is simple enough so that anyone can use it.

Of course, this isn’t the first VR tool released by the search engine giant. Last year, Google released a similar tool called Tilt Brush. While Tilt Brush offers more painting and lighting options, Blocks focuses on low-poly creations.

According to TechCrunch, current VR design programs require substantial processing power, limiting their utility. Google Blocks, however, addresses this problem by focusing on simple designs. You won’t be designing any high-definition renderings using Blocks, but you can use the program to build low-poly objects and landscapes, regardless of your graphic design experience — and that’s why it’s great.

Supported VR Devices

Google Blocks isn’t available for all VR headsets, however. While the Mountain View company may port its program to other headsets, it’s currently limited to the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

While Blocks is specifically geared towards VR environments, you can still show off your designs to users without a VR headset. If you save your creation as a OBJ file, for instance, you can access it on a compatible VR headset. But if you save it as a GIF file, you can show it off just like any animated GIF.

If you’re interested in downloading Blocks, head over to Google’s official VR website here and scroll to the bottom. Here, you’ll find links to download Blocks for the aforementioned VR headsets.

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