Publication | ACM Symposium on User Interface Software & Technology 2018


A Cross-Application Bridge from Minecraft to 3D Modeling


Blocks-to-CAD: A Cross-Application Bridge from Minecraft to 3D Modeling

Ben Lafreniere, Tovi Grossman

ACM Symposium on User Interface Software & Technology 2018

Learning a new software application can be a challenge, requiring the user to enter a new environment where their existing knowledge and skills do not apply, or worse, work against them. To ease this transition, we propose the idea of cross-application bridges that start with the interface of a familiar application, and gradually change their interaction model, tools, conventions, and appearance to resemble that of an application to be learned. To investigate this idea, we developed Blocks-to-CAD, a cross-application bridge from Minecraft-style games to 3D solid modeling. A user study of our system demonstrated that our modifications to the game did not hurt enjoyment or increase cognitive load, and that players could successfully apply knowledge and skills learned in the game to tasks in a popular 3D solid modeling application. The process of developing Blocks-to-CAD also revealed eight design strategies that can be applied to design cross-application bridges for other applications and domains.

Download publication

Related Resources



DreamSketch: Early Stage 3D Design Explorations with Sketching and Generative Design

We present DreamSketch, a novel 3D design interface that combines the…



Investigating How Online Help and Learning Resources Support Children’s Use of 3D Design Software

3D design software is increasingly available to children through…



Data Visualization and Visual Analytics

Visual data representations leverage the power of human perception to…




Just as Amazon and Netflix recommend products and movies to their…

Get in touch

Something pique your interest? Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about Autodesk Research, our projects, people, and potential collaboration opportunities.

Contact us