Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) in Houston, Texas, was a significant player in the 1960s-1970s Jesus Movement, but gradually declined after that. I was a member of the church as a child, after the heyday had already unraveled, and while it was a great church in many ways with many wonderful people, there was a sense that it was in a slow decline. 

There were a lot of friends I made in this church, games and activities, thousands of hours spent in activities, sleepovers and services in that church building. Many of the people I knew there remain close friends to this day. You can find some of them in my video projects - will soon feature both wider public videos and some private-ish ones accessible to a smaller pool of people. 

The reality of the private videos is that there's not signed paperwork documenting legal agreement from all the cast members. They may have tacitly agreed the videos would end up online when they agreed to make them, but there's no solid documentation proving it, so it's best if those videos don't become widely shared/available. Many people did in fact agree to that though so videos with just those people will be 100% public.
Those videos at times include some scenes in or around the church. Plus crazy things - clone armies, monsters, robots, aliens, huge battle sequences, absurd humor and sight gags, and any other weirdness I came up with using my growing range of VFX skills.  

That's a random aside. But I had a great time with those people at Redeemer. The Davis Bros. (Josh and Michael Davis) and Salvador Nava, the Tenney family (it's always a party at their house because that family had six children) and Jason Lindsey, Bradley Wallace, Mark Ball, Jeremy Huntington, Lani, Nathan and Tyler CourPalais, Johnmark Devlin, Jonathan Barker, etc, many others over a long stretch of time.  

The scout troop where I reached Eagle rank also met there and I had friends in that group too. That was Troop 4 and it was the longest continuously running and active scout troop in the Houston area. They were founded in 1916, went inactive briefly around 1918 during the influenza pandemic, and lasted from then until 2020. So basically they ran from one pandemic to another. And I made a bunch of comedy videos with the scout troop too. 

In the end, the scout troop did shut down for good, as did the church - there was one video actually spoofing the church building's situation (bad wiring, failing stone structures, etc) and turning that into a disaster movie. From 2011 to 2014, the writing was pretty much on the wall for the meeting place and in the end it had to be vacated and the property sold off. So when that winding down was taking place, I recorded some key events like the closing service and the last worship service with the church organ, plus other bits of stuff - and made that into a DVD / BluRay collection for the church members. It sold at $20 per copy and there was a profit margin there but I had a very specific aim in mind with that. 

You see, I'd photographed every surface of the building, inside and out, as well as the adjacent rectory, the gardens and playground... I had a library of a few hundred high-res digital photos and a test 3d scene built from the ones around the sanctuary. So essentially, when I sold the discs I was raising funding to get the entire space rebuilt in 3d in a form that could be run as a desktop level for people to explore.

At this stage, it's more complete than what is shown in the video above. Still not done, mind you, but the first floor is pretty much all there now plus parts of the basement and second floor. 

I'm rebuilding it all in Unity, and am trying to implement VR support. So people will be able to explore this historic structure in both a notrmal UI and VR. It will be available as a download for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Android, thought the Android version will of course only be possible to run on very high-end Android systems. An old, cheap phone won't work.  

The end result will be posted completely for free here at some point in the near future. I'm hoping by mid-2023 at absolute latest. 

As for the $400 raised by church members for the project, I've burned through all that and that's okay. About $120 of it was for the costs of the discs and cases themselves - a four-disc DVD set has a cost, of course.

And the rest poured into a string of different tools relating to texture extraction and processing, as well as various Unity addons that made progress easier and nicer looking. That even included a shader editor so I could make a custom shader, bake in animated lighting to every surface in the level. The lighting pass runs with a sun passing slowly overhead in the sky, in a direction-accurate way. The day/night cycle occurs over the span of 30 minutes, and there are also weather effects outside like wind and intermittent rainfall. All of this has been tested.

The size of the 3d environment is going to be pretty massive - over 500k polygons and about 2.5 GB of texture data in the desktop version. And that is WITH good optimization. We're talking about nearly a thousand UV texture maps here, and the corresponding animated lightmaps at half that resolution. Needless to say, it's a big level with a really significant attention to detail.  The Android version will cut all the textures to 1/4 that in dimensions, and crunched as well so the filesize can be brought down to around 600mb at most.