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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Walk around your Townscaper creations in first-person, in your browser

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Townscaper is delightful. But what could be more delightful than dropping from that architectural birds-eye-view to walk down the cobbled streets of your own creations?

Thankfully, urban planner Meli Harvey has given us the opportunity to do that with a free browser toy, Threescaper. Earlier this year, Townscaper received an update that let you export your creations as .obj 3D model files. Plug that file into Threescaper, and you’re free to take a walk through that town with rudimentary first-person controls.

Check out progress on a simple, first person #Townscaper exploration tool built with @threejs!Export, upload, and walk through your creations at the following link:https://t.co/nSjvOutqo9Message me with any bugs/suggestions! pic.twitter.com/IiDhGGPePpNovember 23, 2021

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There are a few caveats to the fantasy of walking around your own Townscaper town, mind. That lush, toylike aesthetic is somewhat lost in the export process—textures are muddier, doors and windows jut awkwardly out from buildings, and railings are only rendered with simple wireframe.

Nevertheless, after spending weeks cobbling together a sprawling seaside monstrosity, there’s a magic to getting to experience it from a human perspective. I’ve even tried my hand at doing this myself, pulling the .obj into an existing Unity project.

But if you don’t feel like going through the faff of installing Unity and setting up lights, player controllers, collision, environments and other such nonsense, Harvey’s tool is a much easier and welcome way to get a closer eye on Townscaper’s lush island towns. And hey, if you’re super-committed to your quaint seaside creations, you could even go and 3D print it.

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