STATES CHRONICLE – The Destinations Workshop is Valve’s newest software. It is entirely free and addressed to Virtual Reality world creators and artists. Through the Destinations software, users may create, share, and view both 3D models and virtual reality photogrammetry scenes. Valve has created Destinations to be compatible with other existing VR hardware, such as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.
Through Destinations, users may travel at their own pace or simply teleport through the virtual world. The aforementioned world can be entirely artificial and user-made or it can be created using photogrammetry procedures.
Photogrammetry is currently commonly achieved with RealityCapture or PhotoScan. Software such as these, are used to accurately recreate the shape and size, texture, and relative position of objects or structures present within the world.
The same tools and technique were used by Valve to previously create “Postcards”, another quite ambitious project which was received with positive reviews and excitement.
The photogrammetry technique is still quite complex however, and not easily accessible to regular novice Virtual Reality enthusiasts. In order to effectively construct or re-create an entire scene in 3D, insight and skill into additional software such as Blender, Maya, or Autodesk ReMake is required.
Anyone could in theory gain up to an intermediate skill level in such software, if they had the time. There are several written and video guides, tutorials, lessons, and walkthroughs present and all one would need is time.
The Destination Workshop is using the Source 2 game engine, which is Valve’s currently majorly used graphics engine and renderer. Valve also set up a Wikipedia page whose end goal is to make the process installing Destinations and using all its features as easily as possible for most apt and interested users.
Several professional projects have already been made ready to view and share on the Destinations Workshop in order to demonstrate the software’s potential and to gain additional popular interest.
Considering the popularity and usage of Valve’s previous software releases made available for free, it is not an entirely outlandish idea to expect interesting applications of Destinations from mod makers as well as indie game developers.
With thousands of useful uses in the areas of education and entertainment, the only big detriment is the current complexity of photogrammetry. However, as Valve demonstrated in the past, if the Destinations Workshop gathers enough interested people, the company may be inclined to invest in the next big virtual technological breakthrough.
Image Courtesy of Steam.