Remote collaborative virtual walkthroughs utilizing 3D game technology
Shiratuddin, M.F. and Thabet, W. (2002) Remote collaborative virtual walkthroughs utilizing 3D game technology. In: 2002 ECPPM: eWork and eBusiness in AEC, 9 - 11 September, Portorož,Slovenia.
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For construction projects to be successful from inception through delivery, it is essential among parties to collaborate. The differing background, expertise and knowledge held by each party often lead to differences in the interpretation of 2D drawings, which are the main focal point of reference for the team Conventionally these drawings represent the intended building or facility to be built. Various misconceptions of reality can be expected at this stage, so do conflicts. For more complex drawings, a good sense of 3D thinking is therefore required. The much needed amplification can be achieved using 3D models and simulations in a virtual environment (VE).
In a collaborative VE (CVE), a user can communicate with another user (also to machine), and the users interface is the VE itself. A CVE can provide a valuable support tool for construction projects to display 3D project information in a structured and understandable way. Design components and assemblies can be visualized in a format that all participants involved in the construction design review process can discuss with one another. Remote or geographically dispersed participants can also meet virtually to discuss the design while being remotely connected through a network connection. This allows multiple viewers, working collaboratively, view the same 3D model from either the same or different angle. They can view/hide various segments or layers” of the model to identify design problems and potential conflicts of component placement and installation. This advantageous potential is however under-explored in the construction industry.
This paper describes a framework of a CVE with remote connectivity capabilities using the Unreal Tournament 3D Game Engine (3DGE) from Epic Games (www.epicgames.com). Using a real life example from the AEC industry, design conflict issues and design review practices are demonstrated using collaborative walkthroughs. Current limitations and future development to improve the current collaborative capabilities of the game engine are discussed.
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