Opinion

Game On: New Service Brings Revit Models to Life

 

Hey, architects: Let’s play a game.

This is what Autodesk seemed to be saying when it announced its new Autodesk LIVE service, which will let Revit users create their own fully navigable, game-like environments—directly from building information modeling (BIM) models.

 

Combining BIM and Gaming

Autodesk is one of those companies that has its fingers in every pie. The company has technologies adaptable for all kinds of industries, so it isn’t unusual for a technology to be used by various divisions. LIVE technology, which houses Autodesk’sStingray game engine and 3ds Max modeling engine under the hood, will plug in to Revit and enable users to generate fully interactive environments for better design communication.

Users will be able to prep Revit models for rendering in a relatively short time (just a few minutes, reportedly). They will be able to create 3D interactive content, bringing the model and all of its relevant information to life. Users can also customize the content with specific data, including geolocation data to help convey information such as the time of day and year along with the resulting sun and shadow patterns.

 

Humble Beginnings

Like many of Autodesk’s add-ons and new software offerings, LIVE got its start in Autodesk Labs. Remember Project Expo? It spent some time in 2015 just after the official introduction of Stingray as a beta test for users to try out architectural immersion.

It’s now all grown up and hopes to bring the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry into a brave new world where experiences are the norm, not the exception to the rule. Users ought to have a tool to help them tell the story of their designs in real time without having to resort to difficult-to-learn systems.

 

Cloud Cover

One particular ongoing issue when it comes to bringing a high level of interactivity and visualization to BIM has been that of having a model that’s light enough to navigate easily yet detailed enough to work with as a BIM model on its own.

One of the unique features of LIVE is its ability to view details for BIM objects and edit the model while in visualization mode. It does this by tapping the power of the cloud to which Autodesk has been so meticulously moving its users.

For example, in the editing mode, an architect would be able to click (or tap, if on an iPad) on an object to bring up its relevant BIM information. The architect would also be able to edit features as required. Once the model is finished, a quick switch to presentation mode turns it into a game-like environment for clients to explore—which, by the way, can also be exported to Windows and iOS devices.

 

Planning for the Future of Technology

Those familiar with Stingray know that it already exports to virtual reality (VR) platforms such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Gear VR and Google Cardboard.

“One of the visions we’ve had for a while in this future of making things is blurring that boundary between physical and digital worlds,” explained Amar Hanspal, senior vice president of Autodesk.

With that said, it makes sense that Autodesk would plan to introduce LIVE to VR as well, which would be the next step in navigable models that let stakeholder step directly into a project. The company has already stated that this will be coming “very soon.”

 

Changing the Game for AEC

The LIVE service intends to ease the workflow in the AEC industry. After all, when an architect has to draw up several images and a video every other week to show a client, things get tedious very quickly.

LIVE promises to let Revit users create a visualization that lets a fussy customer see designs from every angle—practically with a click of a button.

The Autodesk LIVE service is already available through the cloud and will set users back $30 per month for all services, including cloud use. Viewer apps for Windows and iOS devices are free.

 

For more information, check out the LIVE website.