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 made by ex-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-first features, including an activity feed, an explore page, the ability to browse by category, and more.

Rooms is an interior decorating app that falls under the cozy game category. Players can build and code intricate 3D rooms and mini-games using a library of over 7,500 digital items. Users can customize items by editing code with Lua, the programming language that’s also used in Roblox Studio.

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

“When we launched last November, it was in some ways an experiment to see if this idea we had would resonate with people,” co-founder Jason Toff told TechCrunch. “We were pleasantly surprised that people not only used it, but that they also made rooms a lot, [and] a lot better rooms than we expected.”

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

Rooms app 2024

Image Credits: Things Inc. (Rooms’ parent company)

At launch, the mobile app only had three TikTok-style vertical feeds to choose from: 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 added a Trending feed to the home screen, helping boost popular creators and their most-liked contributions. Plus, users can scroll through over 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 curated but now it’s added algorithms that control the order of rooms that appear in the feeds.

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

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

“Our lack of discovery became a hindrance… Everyone wants their work to be seen. We also heard from creators that they like [discovering] other people’s rooms… I think it will help a lot to have not just one surface, but dozens of new [feeds] for content to be discovered,” Toff said.

Rooms 3d app

Rooms’ new Activity tab lets creators track likes and comments, along with when their room is “remixed” or posted. Each room has an icon at the bottom to indicate its total number of remixes.

The Remix feature, which allows people to use someone’s design as a template, was also updated to detect copycat rooms, which hopefully prevents creators from imitating someone’s design that took hours to make. (According to the company, 1 in 8 users have spent over two hours editing their rooms.)

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

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

rooms ipad app

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

As TechCrunch previously reported, the company was exploring a generative AI feature to help with designing rooms, including the ability to generate images for the walls and floors of a room. Toff said they’re not actively working on that feature due to the high costs. However, in the future, Rooms may offer a premium subscription offering but the company is waiting until the app gets more traction.

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



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