Rooms, a 3D design app and ‘cozy game,’ gets a major update as users jump to 250K

Five months ago, Rooms, a 3D design platform created by former Google employees, launched its beta version on the App Store. Today, the free iOS app is getting a big update that will bring a wave of new discovery features, including an activity feed, explore page, the ability to browse by category, and much more.

Rooms is an interior design app that falls into the cozy games category. Players can create and code complex 3D rooms and mini-games using a library of over 7,500 digital assets. Users can customize items by editing the code with Lua, the programming language also used in Roblox Studio.

Rooms has a quarter of a million registered users, up from 40,000 in 2023. The user growth is a notable achievement for a scrappy three-person team that launched its web platform less than a year ago year.

“When we launched the project last November, it was sort of an experiment to see if our idea would resonate with people,” co-founder Jason Toff told TechCrunch. “We were pleasantly surprised that people were not only using it, but they were also creating a lot of rooms (and) much better rooms than we expected.”

Toff previously worked in Google’s AR/VR division. His former colleague Bruno Oliveira is also part of the founding team, as is Nick Kruge, who has worked at Uber, YouTube and Smule.

Image credits: Things Inc. (parent company of Rooms)

At launch, the mobile app only offered three vertical TikTok-style feeds: a “For You” feed, Editor’s Picks, and a Recent feed. However, as Rooms continues to grow, the founders want to give its users a way to easily discover other user-generated rooms and praise creators for their designs.

With today’s launch of “Rooms 2.0,” the company has added a trending feed to the home screen, helping to boost popular creators and their most-loved contributions. Additionally, users can scroll through more than a dozen new categories, including “Games,” “Art,” “Fantasy,” “Nature,” and “Weird.” There’s also “Tribute”, a selection of rooms inspired by popular IPs, such as Minecraft, The Legend of Zelda, Hello Kitty and others. The feeds were previously organized, but algorithms have now been added that control the order of pieces that appear in the feeds.

There’s also a new Explore page with even more ways to discover, like exploring user profiles, top games, and all-time favorites.

Additionally, the app introduces “Honeycomb View,” a hexagonal grid that offers a new way to navigate multiple rooms at once. Users can tap on different pieces and zoom in or out to see fewer or more designs.

“Our lack of discovery has become a hindrance… Everyone wants their work to be seen. We’ve also heard from creators that they enjoy (discovering) other people’s rooms… I think it will help a lot to have not just one surface, but dozens of new (feeds) to discover content,” said Toff.

The new Room Activity tab allows creators to track likes and comments, as well as when their room is “remixed” or published. Each room has an icon at the bottom to indicate its total number of remixes.

The Remix feature, which allows users to use someone’s design as a template, has also been updated to detect copy rooms, which will hopefully prevent creators from imitating someone’s design. ‘one that took hours to make. (According to the company, 1 in 8 users spent more than two hours editing their rooms.)

Under the hood, the team implemented a mesh optimization method (which minimizes the complexity of 3D objects) to make rendering large parts up to 20 times faster.

The majority of updates are to the iOS app, but Rooms is adding new categories and speed improvements to its web version.

In the future, Rooms is considering an AI-based tool to make coding easier on the app. The feature would “look at your code and tell you where the obvious errors are,” Toff explained.

As TechCrunch previously reported, the company was exploring generative AI functionality to help with room design, including the ability to generate images for a room’s walls and floors. Toff said they are not actively working on this feature due to the high costs. However, in the future, Rooms might offer a premium subscription offer, but the company is waiting for the app to gain more popularity.

Rooms will launch a desktop app on Steam in a few months. The company is also considering an Android app, but is not making it a top priority.


Back to top button