London, 24 October 2017 – 3D Repo has turned to the latest gaming technology to enhance its cloud-based BIM collaboration software with quick and easy multi-platform access to 3D BIM models and data. Utilising a new rendering engine, based on the popular Unity gaming platform, improves 3D Repo’s memory footprint and unifies the BIM solution across the desktop, web and even Virtual Reality (VR) devices, so all new features are simultaneously accessible across all platforms.
“In recent years, Unity has become a popular platform for the development of a broad range of visualisation and VR applications due to its ease of use, cross-platform compatibility and accessibility,” commented Dr Jozef Dobos, CEO of 3D Repo. “However, within these applications, 3D assets are generally bundled with executables or streamed in a proprietary format, making frequent changes in design within the AEC industry impossible.
“Within a rapidly changing construction project this just isn’t good enough, which is why we devised the 3DRepo4Unity library, which is more flexible, platform agnostic and can be extended to other game engines, too,” he continued. “What is more, our solution allows access to the underlying metadata and engineering information that is simply not possible using Unity alone. That is because Unity natively incorporates only ‘dumb’ geometry in file formats such as FBX.”
Incorporated into the latest version of the 3D Repo collaboration platform – 3drepo.io v2.0 – the newly developed technology allows 3D asset models to be dynamically loaded from a remote, version controlled repository, such as the 3D Repo online knowledge base, and accessed from any web enabled device.
The new version of this popular open source BIM collaboration platform generates dynamic resources – or ‘knowledge packages’ – from a remote repository. The 3D Repo viewer easily visualises 3D revisions from the cloud without any previous knowledge of the assets, all in real-time. The use of the Unity game engine also improves the memory footprint of the 3D Repo solution as, once the data is loaded into the GPU memory, the main CPU memory is freed and available to power other applications required by the user. The new system is now available at https://www.3drepo.io for anyone to try free of charge.
A research paper detailing how the new 3D Repo platform can dynamically populate the Unity environment was recently published at the 22nd International Conference on 3D Web Technology held in Brisbane, Australia, titled ‘3DRepo4Unity: Dynamic Loading of Version Controlled 3D Assets into the Unity Game Engine’. This scientific publication received the ACM Web3D 2017 Best Paper Award. The full text of the publication is available online here.
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Notes to Editors
3D Repo, a spinout from University College London, is a multi-award winning company offering a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the cloud. Instead of architects, consultants and contractors sharing massive proprietary files in a costly and time consuming manner, they can simply point their web browser to an encrypted knowledge base in order to examine each project stage virtually, even on mobile devices.
With 3D Repo, users can then manage model revisions and highlight potential issues using live collaboration tools, which allow the whole project team to work from a single source of truth. More than 40 different 3D file formats are decomposed and federated in the company’s big data repository. Additionally, the project knowledge base can be accessed via VR giving a live experience which has applications in Health and Safety training and client experiences.
The 3D Repo team has collaborated on a number of large scale projects with companies such as ARUP, Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Crossrail and Canary Wharf. https://3drepo.com/