Multipurpose function hall and variable seating prices

Going to get a seat to an Opera or Ballet performance in Wellington I usually trundle down to the ticketek office to book and get the tickets. When looking for seating they usually have a plastic folder with photocopies in and point to seats in the price range you are looking at (usually the cheap seats), and if there is a post in the vicinity they are usually no help in advising on the degree of view obstruction. If you book online it just gives you the next seats in the row, so little choice as to where to sit ( I knew there was a reason why I actually went to the booking office)

Andrew Nixon, a project manager at Wellington City Council told of his experience of booking seats at a Las Vegas show online. When you clicked the seat it would show you a view from that seat towards the stage. I checked it out and it had a general block view (the same view was used for a number of seats in the vicinity), and a normal image.

I have been thinking about this in terms of having reference inside a 3D PDF. Or on a web page with hot points that let you select a seat and then, on clicking, it shows you a panorama from that seat location.

Revit & Simlab 3dpdf plugin

Exploring the Simlab Soft Revit 3D PDF Plugin I came across a few challenges.

Firstly, in revit. You can have a parameter as a URL, but only a “TYPE” parameter, not an instance parameter. What this means is that the parameter is associated with the family name. So if you have seat type 1, then all seat type 1 will have the same URL. You cannot make it an “Instance” URL parameter. The URL parameter is a clickable link so clicking on that text will activate your browser and open a webpage of the link.

So, if you just made a normal “instance” shared (or project) parameter, you can put the url in it but it is not an active link. I tried 3 variations:

  1. . (ignore dot in front, that it to stop it becoming a link in wordpress)
  2. “”
  3. <a href=””></a> (HTML code)

None of the above worked inside 3D PDF from the model. The nearest to it, that would let you see the string, was number 1 above.

The interesting thing, is that if you did Model export, then an ACTIVE hyperlink came out in the CSV file, such that, when you opened Excel it showed the link, So, Ctrl + Click and it would activate it in a browser.

I have a wee programme called” Textify” that can grab text that you normally cannot select, but you cannot expect everyone to upload that programme onto their computer to grab the URL from a specific seat in a 3d pdf. I have emailed SimLab to see if there is a way around that, but I do not hold out much hope,

Browser plan with hotspot

The next thing to explore was the panorama setup I currently have, and adapt in to a seating plan as below. The issue being the seats are too small to read. So I split the blocks up into Zones

So, if you hover over zone A, it highlights a zone, and if you click on it, it takes you to another page to display that zone enlarged.

The seats are still too small to read the numbers, but if you hover over them they tell you what the seat number is. Also there is a coloured dot and clicking on that will take you to image/panorama so you can see view from that location (I don’t actually have any indoor seating panoramas as an example, I’m just linking to outside panoramas at present as this is a Proof of Concept)

So as far as the proof of concept goes, it works. I did run into some challenges with this process too.

I tried using href=”#tabs-2″ in the hotlinks, this is an html ANCHOR link that jumps to another part of the page, in the case I wanted to use it was to go from the site plan to the Zone A image. But internal ANCHOR references jump to the next area in the code, BUT DO NOT REFRESH THE PAGE, so the original site image stayed active, you can force it to refresh , see this Stack Overflow article. It does refresh, but only once, so in the end, I made a new page up for the different zones, that made sure that the page would refresh. Unfortunately, there were also JQuery Tabs, these are the Page links in the top right hand corner, and it will automatically go to the top one, so I had to re-order the tabs for each specific zone that you are viewing (ie each a new page with that zone as the top list item).

Anyway it works. The next part would be to link this to a database so that it would conceal the seats that have already been taken and make those seats inactive so you couldn’t click on them, or colour them out.

Revit seat arrangements

I had an idea for multi-function halls, that the seat costs would vary based on the arrangement. So if you were watching a basketball match, the seat would be of a different value if it was used in a concert where the stage was at one end. So I used the TSB Arena as an example where you could colour the seats differently based on what event was on.

This ended up being not too difficult to do. I had each seat have 3 shared parameters (maybe even project would do) Event 1 colour, event 2 colour and Arena Setup (1 or 2, although you could have a lot more). Potentially you could turn chairs off/on for different arrangements too.

I then made a filter up on pricing , I had 3 prices Expensive (A- Yellow)- Standard (B-Blue), Cheap (C-Red).

A quick way to change colour scheme is to isolate the Furniture (Seating) category, select all, and change Arena Setup from 1 to 2 (or vice versa)

For the 3DPDF’s I just created 2 files (although you could merge them into one file) so that one showed one setup for basketball, the other the setup for the Stage/concert. As you can do a Model Tree export to Excel you get all the correct seat priorities exported.

End comment

Whether you’d have 2 lots of HTML file setups, one for concert, one for basketball, or whether you just select an arrangement which sends you to a specific setup would need to be thought through.

Also whether you’d take 2 sets of panoramas, one showing a basketball setup and one showing a stage setup is also another consideration.

I think, like the Burnham camp map or the Elemental Housing Map, both of which have a database to store the information, you’d use a similar approach for storing all the links to your image/panorama files, as there will be lots of them, in the example above there are 2275 seats, so a big table.

Also, you’d need to do something to display seats already taken, so this data would need to be stored in a database table too, that could be refreshed as it slowly got booked up. You’d need some sort of PHP or JavaScript looping to iterate through them all. I would not do this until the zone stage or an even smaller area was selected, as Zone A has 1275 seats, so maybe first, on the selection, they would choose Yellow (gold?) , Blue of Red first to speed up the iteration only in that particular selection.

Whether you’d just show the ones taken by activating its highlight, say red. And when they hover over the other seats that are still available, it will show as a blue hover colour.

A bit disappointing that I couldn’t get a link within the 3D PDF file, may be t in another 3D PDF plugin, or it may be a Revit URL parameter issue.

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