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Build Nearly Anything in VR With Google's Blocks App The new Blocks app, free for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, gives you a basic set of tools to create 3D objects in virtual reality, no PC required.

By Tom Brant

This story originally appeared on PCMag

via PC Mag

Dreaming of building a snowman in July? Assuming you're artistically inclined and own an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift, Google's new Blocks app will let you build a snowman and pretty much anything else you can dream up.

Google claims that Blocks is simple enough for anyone to use, even if you've never created a 3D object using software. Designing your virtual reality masterpiece on a computer means you can't test how it will look in VR without without the cumbersome process of donning a headset. Blocks, on the other hand, lets you design objects while you're wearing the headset.

Your only tools are basic shapes and a color palette. That doesn't sound like much to work with, but dozens of objects have already been posted to the Blocks web gallery, including a fairly convincing-looking black cat made by user Yagiz Mungan, who wrote that he created it in five minutes using Blocks for the first time.

"Today, it takes complex software and a specific skillset to create compelling VR and AR experiences," Google explained in a Thursday blog post. "That software also requires building 3D objects on a 2D screen -- something our brains aren't wired to do. It occurred to us that creating the objects while in virtual reality could make this easier."

If this isn't your first time using 3D modelling software, you can also use Blocks to build far more detailed creations, like chips and a bowl of guacamole, or even an entire forest. Google wants AR and VR app designers to use Blocks to quickly make objects that are part of a larger scene, so the app can export finished creations in OBJ format.

Google Blocks is a free app. Rift users can find it on the Oculus Store, while Vive owners can download it from Steam.

Tom Brant

News reporter

Tom is PCMag's San Francisco-based news reporter. 

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