[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]magine, for a moment, you are buying a superyacht that is being built from scratch. How do you decide what the layout of the decks will be, the number of bedrooms it will have, the way the living rooms will be furnished and the dimensions of the hot tub?
Superyachts are defined as any yacht longer than 24 metres, but many are far more ambitious in scale than this. According to boatinternational.com, Azzam is the longest in the world at 180 metres, which is 17.5 metres greater than Roman Abramovich’s £1.5 billion Eclipse.
Needless to say, a lot of money is spent on these boats, so owners want to get it right. It can be easy to think leopard print upholstery will work, but sometimes you just have to see it in context to be sure. This is where Oculus Rift’s virtual reality headsets come in.
The technology has been used for some time in the real-estate industry, allowing potential buyers to have 3D tours of the properties they are interested in, from wherever they are in the world. “If you step closer to the fire, you hear it crackling,” says Gonzalo Navarro, principal of architecture visualisation firm ArX Solutions, in an article about using virtual reality to walk through a US$20 million apartment.
Setting the trend in the mega-yacht industry, superyacht charter and brokerage company Yachting Partners International (YPI) has partnered with Dutch tech firm Bricks and Goggles to deliver virtual reality experiences that help buyers customise their chosen vessel. We have come to a point in time when 2D is no longer good enough…
YPI director of sales, Russell Crump, explains: “Our system developed with Bricks and Goggles allows owners to walk around a complete virtual construction of their yacht both inside and on deck as well as seeing it from the air.”He continues: “You are transported and immersed inside your yacht. You can see and experience how the layouts feel in terms of space and volume as you walk around. You can see the textures of different interior materials used and zoom in if you want to see something in more detail.
“You can change the colour palette of your walls, ceiling or flooring, replicate different types of wood or marble finishing, include fine art in your interior designs and even change the time of day and lighting to see how everything works together.
“Essentially, this is your yacht and you are, for all intents and purposes, walking around it and experiencing it long before you are committed to building the real thing.
“For the first time in yachting history, you can iron out the elements you don’t like before you invest in the build – elements you may never otherwise have thought of when working from a 2D or traditional 3D representation. Imagine the money, time and potential disappointment that can now be saved thanks to this technology?”
The first project the two companies are collaborating on is the 105-metre new-build Raptor, pictured above.
Bricks and Goggles says on its website: “Our developers worked hand in hand with the architects from the Raptor project to build three scenes for the user to walk through. We used the Unity engine, the Oculus Rift and a custom-made PC to deliver a stable 75fps virtual reality experience.
“Next to that we developed a prototype Hardcase box for the PC that is strong enough to travel the world by car, ship or plane. With this box the brokers are able to take their experience to potential clients and show them the possibilities of building their dream yacht.”
Now all you need is the money to buy one.