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Rooms, a 3D design app and “comfort game,” gets major update as user count jumps to 250,000

Five months ago, Rooms, a 3D design platform founded by former Google employees, launched in beta on the App Store. Today, the free iOS app is getting a major update that will bring a wave of new discovery-first features, including an activity feed, explore pages, the ability to browse by categories, and more.

Rooms is an interior decoration app that belongs to the comfort games category. Players can build and code complex 3D rooms and mini-games using a library of more than 7,500 digital items. Users can customize projects by editing code using Lua, the programming language used in Roblox Studio.

Rooms claims to have reached 250,000 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.

“When we launched last November, it was sort of an experiment to see if this idea we had would resonate with people,” co-founder Jason Toff told TechCrunch. “We were pleasantly surprised to find that people were not only using it, but building rooms in large numbers, [and] The room was much nicer than we expected. “

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

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

At launch, the mobile app has only three TikTok-style vertical feeds to choose from: the “For You” feed, Editors’ Picks, and Recents feed. However, as Rooms continued to grow, the founders wanted to provide a way for users to easily discover other user-generated rooms and praise the creators’ designs.

With the launch of “Rooms 2.0” today, the company is adding a trending feed to the home screen to help promote popular creators and their most popular contributions. In addition, users can scroll through more than a dozen new categories, including “Games,” “Art,” “Fantasy,” “Nature,” and “Weird.” There’s also “Tribute,” a series of rooms inspired by popular IPs like Minecraft, The Legend of Zelda, Hello Kitty, and more. These feeds were previously curated, but now algorithms have been added to control the order in which rooms appear in the feed.

There’s also a new Explore page with more ways to discover, such as exploring user profiles, popular games, and all your favorite games.

Additionally, the app introduces “Cell View,” a hexagonal grid that provides a new way to navigate multiple rooms simultaneously. Users can click on different rooms and zoom in or out to see fewer or more designs.

“Our lack of discovery becomes a barrier… Everyone wants their work to be seen. We also hear from creators that they love [discovering] Other people’s rooms…I think having not just one surface, but dozens of new surfaces would help a lot [feeds] to discover content,” Tove said.

A new Activity tab for rooms lets creators track likes and comments, as well as when a room is “remixed” or posted. Each room has an icon at the bottom to indicate its mix total.

The remix feature, which allows people to use someone’s design as a template, has also been updated to detect copycat rooms, which will hopefully prevent creators from copying someone’s design that would take hours to complete. (One in eight users spent more than two hours editing their room, according to the company.)

Behind the scenes, the team implemented a mesh optimization method (which minimizes the complexity of 3D objects) that renders large rooms 20 times faster.

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

In the future, Rooms is considering using artificial intelligence tools to simplify coding of applications. Tove said the feature will “look at your code and tell you where there are obvious errors.”

As TechCrunch previously reported, the company is exploring generative AI capabilities to help design rooms, including the ability to generate images for a room’s walls and floors. Tove said they were not actively developing the feature because of the high cost. In the future, however, Rooms may offer a premium subscription service, but the company is waiting for the app to gain more traction.

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

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