Video Games as Tools of Architectural Visualization
Video Games technology has a massive effect on architectural visualization and has the probability to be something huge. Video games have evolved pretty much. Starting from Pong, to side scroller games like Super Mario Brothers, to the latest first person shooter Call of Duty franchise release which has the quality of real action movies.
Modern Video Games can transfer you into virtual worlds that are not only stunning visually, but also you can go exploring the world yourself, which is an evolution from still architecture visualization images to the “set camera path” animated imaging. Instead you can move through the building model, using a controller in the same fashion as doing in a video game, as after all the user will have nearly the same experience in the real world when moving through the real building.
The present state of first person video games permits you to move in first person viewpoint in digitally modeled cities complete with real-time illumination, mega continuous textures, large accurate details, and plenty realism that simulate how it might look like in the real world and at the same time allows you to explore it freely. Though in the meantime the AEC industry’s tools can’t accomplish a computer-generated 1st person experience of a single building without the game plot lines, the game physics, and virtual world complexity. But recently the use of the gaming software has turned towards the architectural and AEC industries and allowed their products to be used for architectural visualization rendering.
Though the progress has been slow but hope is still present as some major AEC software companies such as Autodesk™ has acquired a new game engine that might close the gap between the AEC industries and Video Game developing. And one of the most famous engines known to many in the Unity® Engine, which is Free and has many ports Like Xbox, PlayStation, exe, html, android or iPhone, so it has many users worldwide and a large base of developers. The problem with unity is that it needs programming. So the software is present but it’s not applicable mostly yet, if the architect doesn’t have programming knowledge or the firm doesn’t have a developer. Many integrations need to be merged into the BIM modelling including polygon/vertex counts, draw calls, material conversions (shaders), scripting, and complex lighting language/material baking among other thing, which needs of course many additional skills such as programming and design.
We can say that the learning curve is sharp and there are many obstacles to navigate the process. So what the AEC industries should do?
- They should have consultants from the video game companies to aid in the process
- Wait for updates from Autodesk with their engine to suite many people
- Forge new platforms and engines like unity but more architects-friendly