Stephen Corwin

Wohndebauung Eiswerder Berlin Virtual Simulation

The Pavonis Group is a german real-estate company that was making plans to build many offices in various locations. They wanted to have a 3D representation of the offices and their campuses prior to building them. This would allow them to presale offices. To prepare for this endeaver, they needed a company that could provide their 3D simulation needs. The Pavonis Group decided to do a trial run with several agencies to test out which one they wanted to do longterm business with. I was currently workng at BLDG-25 at the time. Our task was to take the blueprints of a proposed office layout for the island of Wohndebauung Eiswerder Berlin and create the scene virtually in a game engine. Branding was also encouraged. The kicker was that we only had a week and a half to do it. I was placed into a team of four consisting of a graphics designer, two 3D specialists, and myself as the game/ux programmer. We chose to use the Unity 3D engine because I was already familiar with it from my previous projects. This engine is great for a putting together a project very quickly. We started out by discussing features that we wanted to include. This was a pitch directly relaying our ability to think creatively and execute on a strict timeline. After some debate, we decided to go with a simple branding theme that would implement some user interaction by taking advantage of the game engine we were using. Our 3D specialists would divide the work and crank out as many models as possible within our timeframe. It was decided that we would only demonstrate the penthouse suite for the interior and then focus on the exterior. The idea was that if we can get one interior very detailed, it would demonstrate the quality; but we wanted a sexy exterior camera view to open up on. I started out by implementing a simple first person controller pawn. After some thought, we decided to limit camera rotation to being only horizontal. If the user was able to freely look around, it was possible that they would be disoriented and end up facing a wall or ceiling. Still allowing them horizontal camera freedom in combination with WASD movement would still provide them with a fair amount of mobility while reducing the learning curve of using this tool. I used the screen dimensions to determine if the user's cursor was close to the edge of either side of the screen. If it was, it would start panning the camera. Afterwards, I created a branding HUD (heads-up-display) that would hold their branding as well as allow the user some interaction. The HUD included several pages which were toggleable in addition to the company logo and current location information. I implemented a point of interest system using Unity Prefabs. I would place one of my POI Prefabs near an area such as the courtyard, garden, or beach. The Prefab would then expose itself to the HUD and provide itself as a choice. If the user were to click on this choice, it would teleport their pawn to the location. This provided a really cool interaction that allowed the user to quickly navigate to exactly where they wanted to investigate. He would still have the option to manually walk to the location, but this provided a direct route. By this time, there were a good amount of models already created. I started organizing them and placing them in the virtual world. I had to make sure that they looked as natural as possible. Lighting was a real challenge for this project. It was my first experience with placing lights and baking ambient light into the textures. I only had a few day to figure out the advanced lighting details. In the end, we had a thorough simulation experience. I was happy with the level of interaction that was provided to the user. The interior was finished, however the exterior buildings were not fully textured in time. If we had more time a higher quality exterior could have been achieved. In hindsight, I wish I had spent more time on lighting as it is the most obvious way to improve the visual quality and feel of a simulation. The Pavonis Group was impressed with the amount that was achieved in such a short amount of time. Our competitors did not take the branding approach. The Pavonis Group really liked this approach and applauded our creativity.