June 1st, 2016 multitudes of game developers descended upon Westergasfabriek, an Amsterdam convention center and park built from old gas factory buildings. The event, called Unite Europe, was a gathering for Unity programmers. Unity is a cross-platform game engine used to develop video games for PC, consoles, mobile devices, and websites.

VIM AEC was in attendance with, of all things, an architecture program!

Why would VIM AEC bring an architecture program to a four-day convention for Unity gamers? It’s pretty simple, really, but also quite exciting: VIM AEC’s software solutions allow potential construction projects to be viewed in an interactive 3D VR or AR experience.

Sanjay Mistry (VIM AEC) presented the ways Unity software is being used in architecture Engineering and construction, and how it’s being utilized to create an Interactive VR + AR Environments. His first point was clear: the architecture, engineering and construction industries are presently in the rapid process of adding augmented reality and VR to their oeuvre. In fact, advances in VR are completely changing ancient traditions in architecture, engineering and construction. VIM AEC, with the VIM product range, is cutting edge and has developed software solutions that make it very easy for the AEC industry to instantly create interactive experiences. With VIM, architects and builders are now able to create a 3D view, along with a virtual environment, that allows a project to be viewed as if completed, in real time, from all angles. Before the first shovel claws out the dirt of a new project, architects and builders can, in virtual reality, walk around inside a future building, inspecting every aspect of their design.

Mistry pointed out that architects and builders have, for some time, attempted to create VR experiences in Unity, but have faced difficulty in doing so. The reason is CAD/Revit takes an exceptionally long time to render into Unity. The process is convoluted, and huge pieces of data are often lost in the process. Further, there is a steep learning curve – one must be quite knowledgeable in all of the programs, especially Unity, in order to work effectively with them. Often, game developers have the Unity skills, but not the necessary CAD skills, while architects know how to operate CAD, but not Unity. VIM uses a cloud-based solution to overcome these difficulties. Users simply upload Revit files into the VIM cloud, where they are now able to automate and change whatever they need, and export it to the different platforms supported by Unity.

As Mistry made clear, this simplification of the process allows architects and builders to stay ahead of industry trends when it comes to VR + AR. But the practical advantages could be even more important. A fast and efficient VR program allows not only for architectural visualization, but also for design reviews and approvals through the actual build cycle itself. Expensive change orders and costly delays can be avoided when VR is used to review ongoing and upcoming segments of the build. Because a good VR program is repeatable and fast, redesigns can be accomplished more quickly than has ever been possible.

VIM AEC felt quite at home in the game developer community at Unite Europe. When 3D programmers and architects get together, great things can and will happen!

The AEC industry is changing and this is a Revolution…