Gaming With Society Part 3 – Integrating Gaming in to BIM

It was only a matter of time. The foundation has already been laid, the outline has been written. Now, we just need to build it.

On my LinkedIn feed, I found a video posted by a contact in which a company is using a Game Design Engine to start building structures within the context of Building Information Modeling, or BIM. Here is that video below:

In this, entire buildings and constructed from an assortment of different layouts and can contain a wide array of technical information that the average visitor would never consider, such as plumbing, electrical lines, life safety protocols and Fire Alarms, HVAC ducts, even the alignment of light fixtures as they correspond with hallways and office spaces. These are the types of things that people will only notice when they are not functioning or aligned correctly, and will in turn be all too willing to let the building engineer how stupid their crew must be to mess up such a simple task.

These are typically the type of people who have no idea what it’s like to manage a massive construction project.

To help aid the non-engineer type clients, Architectural and Engineering (A&E) firms have begun creating artistic renderings of sample locations within a building project. these can be external views of the building itself or “Glam Shots” of typical hallways, room layouts, and the like. To modernize the process, CAD software like AutoDesk Revit has been used to to streamline the process from standard 2D CAD drawings in to 3D structures. This is a fantastic application of the software as the A&E Firm is able to coordinate multiple systems within the building’s infrastructure in a single model.

If you’ve played some of the more advanced AAA titles, you will probably notice all the detail work put in to industrial or mechanical settings. Most likely for the use of a tactical advantage in an upcoming encounter or searching around for collectibles, secret passageways, or just more loot in general. Given my engineering background, I mentally make note of the size of the pipes, the direction and alignment of the ductwork, and occasionally check the continuity of the wiring.

Because I’m a huge nerd and that’s the kind of ADD stuff that grabs my attention. OOOO! PIPES!

What I find most interesting in this application is the fact that they are using GAME engines to do so, not the traditional CADD suites. For example, Unreal is now FREE for use, and other game engines such as CryEngine and Unity 3D have been long toted for their quality.

So now consider this: As gaming tech has advanced, environments have become more and more complex. Consider games like GTA that have entire modern cityscapes for you to rampage through, or Assassin’s Creed in which historical cities are recreated, complete with many internal architecture. Heck, I am currently playing Fallout 4 which has plenty of both internal and external design within the same building!

Now consider current level of multiplayer tech found in any FPS, such as Borderlands or Destiny. Not only can you see the other person’s online representation, but you can see them move around, what direction they are looking, what they are currently holding, and everyone’s camera is set to the appropriate height for their avatar’s line of sight. There are even plenty of customization options if you would like to skin your avatar to coordinate with your company’s branding. With the current level of avatar customization you can easily identify different people based solely on their appearance, or if need be by their handle typically floating above them.

Clearly, the tech currently exists for the application. What needs to happen now, as stated towards the end of the video, is for construction companies to start recruiting game environment designers in to their drafting ranks. Not necessarily just Computer Science majors in general, as they may have a focus more in networking, hardware design, or one of the many, many other aspects of computing.

For more on the various applications of VR, revisit my conversation with XP-Earned.

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