Best Paper Award at Web3D 2017
In recent years, Unity has become a popular platform for the development of a broad range of visualization and VR applications. This is due to its ease of use, cross-platform compatibility and accessibility to independent developers. Despite such applications being cross-platform, their assets are generally bundled with executables, or streamed at runtime in a highly optimised, proprietary format. In this paper, we present a novel system for dynamically populating a Unity environment at runtime using open Web3D standards. Our system generates dynamic resources at runtime from a remote 3D Repo repository. This enables us to build a viewer which can easily visualize X3D-based revisions from a version controlled database in the cloud without any compile-time knowledge of the assets. We motivate the work and introduce the high-level architecture of our solution. We describe our new dynamic transcoding library with an emphasis on scalability and 3D rendering. We then perform a comparative evaluation between 3drepo.io, a state of the art X3DOM based renderer, and the new 3DRepo4Unity library on web browser platforms. Finally, we present a number of different applications that demonstrate the practicality of our chosen approach. By building on previous Web3D functionality and standards, our hope is to stimulate further discussion around and research into web formats that would enable incremental loading on other platforms.