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AEC professionals now concentrating on video game domain

Debamoy Ghosh

The video games are actually the tool of entertainment and gaming, but sometime it has passed itself in to the field of improving efficiencies and information sharing in some of the most critical areas of the society.

For example, there has long been an overlap between gaming and military initiatives; the U.S. Army launched the America's Army game franchise in 2002 as a recruitment, training, and public relations tool. More recently, citizen scientists have made headlines by using Foldit, an online game interface, to model complicated protein structures that researchers had been attempting to understand for years.

The AEC experts have been trialing with game technologies since the early 1990s. The only virtual reality (VR) situation in survival were room-sized chambers housed in university, government, or corporate laboratories, and the hardware contains projectors and screens or — extremely cutting edge — stereoscopic eyewear known at the time as "eye-phones."

The virtual worlds depicted had the same blocky, pixelated graphics as video games of the day. However, the researchers were under way at the University of Washington's Human Interface Technology Lab, the others, that invited working the architects to recognize the overlap between the emerging fields of CAD and VR. At this time, VR technology has progressed to the point where moveable and small gadgets and boundaries are so affordable and accessible that they can be used in any office.

Changing the Game: In the mid-1990s, some video game developers starts to include easy to use level editors in their games. These tools users to make changes within the game environment. But the days have changed, the game has changed.

AEC professionals now concentrating on video game domain

Today, contrary, almost all games are built upon game engines — whole packages of foundational code that provide the underlying framework of a game's mechanics and produce everything from its animation to its sound. Two of the renounced game engines that also have applicability in the architectural kingdom are Unity 3D and Unreal Engine. These programs have graphic interfaces, so designers can build games without being masters of coding, making the creation process easy to get to to more people.

Game engines have met with another developing technology: building information modeling (BIM). Developers are at present experimenting with uniting the 3D models produced via BIM software with the more immersive, practical environments that have so far been limited to the biggest-budget video games. The result is a imitation of the built environment that brings a new level of realism and engagement to designs, enabling architects, designers, and clients to see them in a completely new way.

Making the Virtual Seem Real: Rapid hardware development is taking place side by side with these software advances. State-of-the-art VR visualization technology consists of stereoscopic headgear or goggles that make wearers feel as if they are actually inside a particular 3D space.

The Oculus Rift is currently the leading product in immersive, wearable VR devices. Released to developers in early 2014 by Oculus VR, sales of the Rift developer kits quickly climbed into the tens of thousands and in March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion.

Coming to an Office Near You?

Right now, the use of gaming technologies in the construction industry is mostly limited to personalized product demonstrations, but gaming applications are developing rapidly, said Harkins. At Peddle Thorp, de Plater uses immersive rendering as a design tool, moving BIM models from Autodesk Revit into the Unity 3D game engine so that those models might be experienced in a more realistic way.

Time and the Building Model: Immersive rendered environments are capable of doing more than accurately depicting designed structures and spaces and providing realistic walkthrough experiences. They can also facilitate real-time information exchange, providing benefits throughout a building's lifecycle. For example, with integrated sensor feedback, the model of an office building could show facility managers temperature data in context with desk occupancy and even relocation options.

The Next Level: Harkins predicts that related technologies will continue to merge with VR to create even more useful tools in the not-so-distant future. Consider motion-sensing hardware — the kind that has become familiar in game technologies such as the Microsoft Xbox Kinect, which allows players to control games via their voices and body movements instead of handheld controllers.

AEC professionals now concentrating on video game domain

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