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A construction company is making buildings with the help of Doom

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Doom's source code has been available under a free license for 15 years, and just when you think you've seen all possible uses of the engine known as id Tech 1, a construction company comes along to change your mind.

Popular Science reports that DIRTT Environmental Solutions (for "Doing It Right This Time"), a Calgary, Canada-based construction firm, designs blueprints for prefabricated buildings using software they developed called ICE — software that is based on the Doom engine.

The original 1993 game rendered a 3D space from a 2D floor plan, and that's what ICE does as well. ICE works with industry-standard design software like AutoCAD, and allows engineers to create a virtual mock-up of a room, including underlying building features such as pipes and electrical lines. Then, everything is built at once, not piecemeal, which DIRTT says is a much more efficient method.

In an interview with Popular Science, DIRTT president Scott Jenkins said the goal of his company's approach to designing buildings is to reduce an issue that's rampant in the construction industry: having to re-scope a project when contractors realize they don't have the resources they need to get the job done with the original budget.

"Because of ICE, we don't have separate teams of manufacturers trying to coordinate with ordered engineering," said Jenkins. "You'd have to build the materials separately and then put them together later. That's all electronic for us."

Jenkins added that DIRTT is currently exploring possible integration of the Oculus Rift and other virtual reality devices into the company's design software.

"Imagine, if you slapped on those Oculus glasses, you could view what changes to make as if you were in the room," he said.

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