| Has anyone any experience with any software to do with designing and
| building a house?
| The type I`m thinking of is like they use on theTV programme "Grand
| Design" (with Kevin McCloud) which shows you the house design from all
| angles and lets you take a virtual reality tour through it?
| I realise that they must use something that is "top-of-the-range" ...
| and expensive ! :-( ..but I wondered if there might be something
| out there that is affordable to the D-I-Y market.
I think the two main ones are 3D Home Designer by GSP, which I have seen on
the Software For A Tenner carousel in the computer games shop, and the Imsi
home designer product.
The GSP one is based on Arcon which is the leading architectural design
software in the States. The Imsi one is based on their TurboCAD product.
I've used the GSP one for fun and it's quite good. As well as modelling the
house you can also put the landscape around it, and do 3D walkthroughs at
different times of day/night, etc with real-time shadows and raytracing.
I didn't find the roof generator particularly useful even on simple
buildings (it tends to assume American stick-building methods) and all the
furniture and plumbing is American sized. It's also limited to 4 storeys
(and the roof counts as one storey) so I have a roofless 4-storey castle
On drawing, it understands what a Wall is, so instead of drawing lines
everywhere you draw Walls and when the walls join up you've got a room. (You
can snap your walls to centre line, outside or inside edge.) You can do the
floor, wall and ceiling colours of your Room, insert staircases (ceiling
cutouts generated automatically, although you can also customise if you want
galleries and mezzanines).
It does plans but does not do elevations (the nearest it gets is pictures of
the building side-on.) You can pull in your own bitmaps for use as textures
on walls, (some) furniture etc, but you can't design your own furniture
objects with this package (you'd need a version of Arcon or other package
that will produce compatible 3D Object files). It has a very simple cost
calculator whereby you can put in area or volume
unit costs for the building and it totals up.
For the price (I got the Deluxe Edition from QVC which I hope has got more
in it than the For A Tenner version, as it cost more) it's amazing what it
can do. It wouldn't be suitable for Building Regs plans but could be capable
of producing 'artists impressions' of the building for planning apps.
I think the IMSI one would be more capable - it comes with their TurboCAD
product so you can design your own 3D objects - but that would be closer to
proper CAD software.