4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD.
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4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD.
Follow on twitter @4Dpipeline - Insights in product strategy and emerging technology for Mobile, 3D, VR, Augmented Reality, Visualization, CAD, PLM, AEC, BIM, and downstream 3D. 4D Pipeline - We Help You Make Digital Experiences Customers Love.
Curated by Jed Fisher
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Unity raises $181M monster round at a reported $1.5B valuation

Unity raises $181M monster round at a reported $1.5B valuation | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Over the last few years, Unity Technologies has grown to become indispensable to the gaming industry and much of the entertainment industry as an engine for..
Jed Fisher's insight:

I remember meeting the Unity team in Copenhagen when they were a team of about ±20. It's been great to have seen what David and team have done and watch Unity grow! Exciting. 

Very interesting times now with Epic and Unreal Engine, and all the competition in this super fast moving space. 

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Unity and “a product tailored to your needs” (for AEC)

Unity and “a product tailored to your needs” (for AEC) | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it

A PRODUCT TAILORED TO YOUR NEEDS

Unity have partnered with our sole distributor VIMtrek to take the full cross-platform visualization power of Unity game engine technology and bring it to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industries.

Jed Fisher's insight:

(AEC = industry of Architecture, Engineering, Construction)

So we have seen the rise of Unity and Unreal in many industries now - no longer only games. At 4D Pipeine we often use Unity and Unreal for various projects in different sectors including manufacturing but also AEC. Sometimes it makes a great fit, other times we will “roll our own” and build a product or solution from scratch (increasingly with webgl).


It’s clear though that Unity is also seeing the demand, they have a AEC page now about it’s use and they have partnered with a AEC consulting company called VIMtrek.

VIMTrek seems to now be building an offering around an exclusive partnership with Unity and the Unity editor. VIMTrek is clearly focused on AEC and Unity seems to have backed them thus the offering is likely to grow.


The reasons for the partnership from Unity (per a post in the Unity forums from Unity reps): "

- We switched focus towards the end of developing our AEC features, Unity still has much to achieve in the video game space and it would be ignorant of us to think we had completed in our mission/s. 

- AEC market deserves a lot more respect and attention than we could offer, we tried to solve the problem of developing an engine that catered for this market but in essence we couldn't do it with the level of investment we could commit too. The team wrote a lot of code and developed some cool features, basically we didn't want to lose that hard work and disappoint all of our customers who had given us such awesome feedback already, we therefore felt it was our duty to seek out a solution that best suited as many people as possible. Allowing VIMtek to resell what we had developed was the way we went to get these tools into the hands of our users. 

- Announcement on VIMtek site here: http://vimtrek.com/unity/unity-announcement

- There's contact details at the bottom of this page: https://unity3d.com/unity/industries/aec

"


It will be interesting to see how this announcement is perceived, certainly some AEC consultants will see this as potentially competitive, also similarly some AEC solutions providers like Revizto (a solution built on the Unity platform) will see this as competitive.

It’s also in a vertical where there are a number of webgl editors and viewers appearing, companies like Cl3ver but more all the time. Finally we are also increasingly more AEC/BIM viewers (and platforms) in this space, for example BIMx, Onuma, bim+, and others. In short, there’s plenty of room, plenty of opportunity, it’s less about competition and it’s more about find a targeted well fitting solution. 


It’s clear that there is a demand for visualization in the AEC space; it’s also clear that there is a clear servicing need; and finally there is most certainly a space for products like Unity - as well as the traditional AEC solutions and BIM platforms/tools. In short - let’s watch this space and offerings in this space grow.



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Unity officially releases its new game engine: Unity 5! Valve, Unreal, Crytek, all also making announcements!

Unity officially releases its new game engine: Unity 5! Valve, Unreal, Crytek, all also making announcements! | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Unity has released the latest version of its cross-platform game engine. At the 2015 Game Developers Conference, CEO John Riccitiello announced a final version of Unity 5, which is now available on...
Jed Fisher's insight:

Unity 5 is finally here! All hail the king! Hurray! :-D

(Disclosure: Unity Technologies is a customer of 4D Pipeline).


Today after many months of intensive beta testing Unity5 is released to huge fanfare at the Game Developers Conference this week.

It's been a massive week for Game Developers and all of those (like 4D Pipeline) who use game engines for "serious stuff". 


The competitive world of game engines is starting to seem like the Game Of Thrones, we've got:

- Valve this week has released it's Source2 engine! 

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/03/04/gdc-2015-valve-announces-source-2-engine

- Crytek CryEngine managing to still just hang in there, popular still in Germany

- Unreal - excited everyone with their Free* pricing for Unreal4 engine (free being free but with royalties) 

http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/2/8134677/epic-unreal-engine-4-free

-  and Unity5 - is not only release but also their free version vastly improved with more than ever part of the "free" version (essentially everything minus team support and some advanced functionality).

 http://unity3d.com/5


Add to this, Valve, Unreal, and Unity all have VR output options. And Unreal and Unity both have WebGL publishing options. Each have pro's and con's, each is working furiously to make the best product possible. 

It's resulting in a win for the entire industry(ies). It means is more 3D, visualization, VR, AR, Games, interactive architectural walkthroughs, and 3D product experiences. The democratization continues! 


Contact me to find out more. At 4D Pipeline we help Automotive, Apparel, Product companies, and architects make compelling 3D interactive experiences that help them explain, train, and sell more of their products.


PS - meet us at GDC2015 this week, or GTC2015 next week!

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Now you can test drive a Lexus RC F with the Oculus Rift

Now you can test drive a Lexus RC F with the Oculus Rift | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it

Lexus has built a virtual reality RC F using the car's actual steering column, foot pedals and an Oculus Rift DK2 headset. It calls the setup the Lexus RC F Rift, naturally, and it'll be at select auto shows across the nation for the next several months. The player can race the car around a virtual track. At the very least, it's a novel way to get a feel for the car's interior, and a good look at how companies outside of the gaming industry may use virtual reality technology in the future.

Jed Fisher's insight:

Interesting article to follow the Unity/Oculus partnership also the earlier blog entry showing Ford's VR center. Excellent example of how a tool like Unity/Oculus can benefit a company like Lexus. 

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Oculus Announces Partnership with Unity

Oculus Announces Partnership with Unity | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it

The partnership was announced during the Oculus Connect 2014 conference, along with various details about how the two will work together to improve the development process for VR in Unity.

Through an add-on in Unity, developers will have a wide range of tools at their disposal to hone the more VR-specific elements of a Rift game, including stereo imaging optimization and 3D audio support.

Oculus' hardware will be supported in both the Free and Pro versions of the Unity engine.

Jed Fisher's insight:

A match made in heaven! Makes perfect sense for Unity, Unity Developers, Oculus and Facebook. 

One more platform for Unity's games and interactive 3D content.

At 4D Pipeline we often work with Unity and technology like Oculus for 3D VR (and AR) experiences for products, buildings, entertainment, and more. Give me a yell if you'd like a hand taking your product or idea to this platform. 

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Amazon Releases Its Own Game Engine (based on Crytek) For Free

Amazon Releases Its Own Game Engine (based on Crytek) For Free | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Amazon’s releasing their very own game engine. Lumberyard, as they call it, is based on Crytek’s famous CryEngine, and can be used to develop games for both PC and consoles. It’s also free to download, and comes with “no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue.”
Jed Fisher's insight:

When i started my career 3D and gaming were small niche markets - boy that changed! 3D is everywhere these days and gaming is booming, add to that VR and AR and the hundreds of use cases and industries that can be reimagined thanks to these technologies.

Amazon too is obviously seeing the potential.

They are now releasing their own game engine (competitor to Unity and Unreal) - it's based on the third player - Crytek of which they made a major deal with a few month ago to basically use Crytek as they want. Now their intention is clearer and they release Crytek as LUMBERYARD (with a logo of a penguin with a saw!?!)

Amazon may have licensed out the engine to use for their games, or, as some sources have suggested, they may be using it as a baseline to build their own proprietary gaming engine.

It's also worth highlighting the engine is completely free! 

In additional Amazon acquired Double Helix, the development studio behind 2013’s Killer Instinct.

My guess - expect to see more games on Kindles and my bet - Amazon releasing a VR headset or making a major partnership.

Games, games, games, VR, VR, VR! what else is there to say!

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GDC2015 - some thoughts and observations from the 4D Pipeline team

GDC2015 - some thoughts and observations from the 4D Pipeline team | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Jed Fisher's insight:

Tyler and Phil from our 4D Pipeline team attended GDC last week (next week we head to NVIDIA GTC). I thought i'd share some of their thoughts and findings - feel free to ask any questions.


Oculus : Everywhere. bunch of other headsets - such as OSVR also looking to get adopted but Oculus widely used and most of the big demo queues were to see Oculus related demos.  Oculus folks said Unity was the biggest authoring platform for them - though the had demos from Unity and Epic showing.


Oculus demos themselves - graphically better - didnt queue for the biggest ones  which looked stunning from TV views - but quickly samey - innovation and design is (as with anything) going to be a big differentiator for content and good interactive VR scenes -will up the requirements for design, interaction design and balancing visual quality against hardware requirements.. 


VR Hardware:

A lot of VR hardware on display that goes with headsets e.g. - tracking tools such as Sixense (http://sixense.com/) - which tracked your hand and feet to fully immersive you and platforms like or actually platform -Virrtuix Omni  - kind of specialist treadmill - which allow you to physically walk or run in virtual space (I was impressed how well this actually works (see http://www.virtuix.com/) was being demoed but nearly all seemed to be still at pre-order stage.


Interestingly - unlike earlier generations of VR hardware - these all pretty much seemed to work and i was a lot more impressed by Virtuix walking platform than I expected given it actually works really well. (but anything that requires special shoes plus physical tracking base is not a mainstream product).


I am not convinced there is a large home market for all this stuff  - not yet - it needs another evolution - right now - you need to buy headset (400 bucks) body tracking ( 199 - who will  pay 199 for a 3D space joystick?)   and onmi walker (699) plus PC with decent high end card (lets say 1300 inc card) - so total cost before you have content is $2500. 


Expensive for home - HOWEVER - for a VR training platform for industry, military etc or location based entertainment  - that is obscenely cheap. The  inclusion of hands - so tool world interaction and ability to physically walk through environments safely does change the experience significantly.


WebGL: - being promoted by Unity, Epic, Mozilla but seemed to be a common discussion element - especially with Facebook opening up Walls to support WebGL. This is major! And is bigger news in terms of market opportunity. It makes it of interest to advertising and agencies. Bunch of small companies with Webgl engines and webgl physically based shaders - PlayCanvas was the best of them - but they could get killed by the bigger engines. shame - good engineering - nice engine -fast and small - but huge market challenge given the big guns. Awesome to see Unity now publishing out to WebGL.


Epic Unreal - largest stand at the event and being used on lost of other stands either for games or to show how other products (VR, headsets, nvidia cards, or game engine components e.g. voxel engines) integrate with it. Architectural demos were stunning. WebGL looked awesome. Both Epic and Unity had stuff on show with Mozilla (epic had unreal content on Google, NVIDIA and Oculus stands as well)


Unity - stand popular and busy but unlike previous years where Unity dominated the show this year there were lot of folks comparing Unity and Unreal. Audio Editor in 5 is very impressive ( i think my favorite feature) (plus webgl publishing). Unity still has the best run everywhere capability, plus an incredible app-store and huge community.


Crytek - surprisingly impressed with the visual quality especially for environment demos. Crytek seemed to be in first place, closely followed by Unreal - Unity chasing hard with physically based shaders.  Crytek's subscription model (10 bucks a month - no royalty) was getting fair degree of interest (based on questions being asked) but they need a stronger mobile story. However if they can get their act to together restructuring the company around their platform play Unity will then have another really strong competitor coming into its home territory.


Physically Based Shaders:


Every game engine - Not just Epic and Unity but small ones like the webgl based PlayCanvas - were using Physically based shading - its definitely the new art and lighting method. 


Price War:

This weeks move to free will kill a lot of competition and there were already far fewer smaller game engines on display there this year than last . Even Sony who opened sourced  its windows based game authoring tool and level editor -was getting very little interest in this area. So there is a race to the bottom on pricing to dominate the market. I cannot see how the price drops are sustainable unless you have a platform play that is generating revenue in addition to authoring tool sales e.g. Unity with Asset store etc, or Epic - their own games + asset store and triple AAA licensing and royalty - or Crytek, Asset store plus their own game revenue, AAA revenue. Thats a big set of barriers to any new comer or smaller engine supplier.

--

Looking forward to NVIDIA GTC next week - ping me to meetup jed(at) 4Dpipeline (dot)com

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An Early Look at WebGL 2

An Early Look at WebGL 2 | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it
One of the common requests we’ve had since we started work to bring high-end gaming to the Web is the desire to take advantage of ...
Jed Fisher's insight:

WebGL continues to move ahead, gain support, and advance. Unity and Unreal are now both publishing to it (with their recent releases) and this means there will be a HUGE increase in the amount of WebGL content. Add to this WebGL 2 is coming soon (to the OpenGL ES 3.0 standard).

WebGL -> Better, Faster, Everywhere.

At 4D Pipeline we do a ton of cutting edge WebGL projects, including WebGL CAD tools, cloud rendering, building explorers, car configurators, and product retail experiences. Contact me to learn more and find out why our customers include some of the best of the best visualization brands like NVIDIA, Unity Technologies, Dassault Systems, and many others.

Reminder - we are currently looking to hire more WebGL experts in Europe. Ping me at success@4Dpipeline.com


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Ford demonstrates VR prototyping in Immersive Vehicle Environment

Ford demonstrates VR prototyping in Immersive Vehicle Environment | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it
We recently had a rare opportunity to take a look into a few areas of Ford’s Melbourne design center that are normally off limits, including the FIVE lab wh...
Jed Fisher's insight:

Interesting article to follow the Unity/Oculus partnership. Excellent example of how a tool like Unity/Oculus can benefit a company like Ford. 

What's nice about this article is it gives you an insight into Fords workflow, everything comes from the CAD. I've worked with most of the Automotive companies and it's a fascinating but complex process to see how these vehicles are designed and iterated through. UX/usability, styling, performance, are all being tested and fed back to the CAD for continuous checking and iteration. Lots of moving parts (no pun intended :)). 

Anyway - good read - Thanks to Robert from Motus Ventures for the link.

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Is the age of really useful CAD libraries finally here?

Is the age of really useful CAD libraries finally here? | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D, Mobile, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Jed Fisher's insight:

Last week GrabCAD very impressively hit 400,000 registered Engineers and Designers. 100,000 more in less than 3 months!

In the the AEC space, new arrival BIM Object (under a year old) has just passed a 100,000 downloads of their intelligent smart BIM object's (a very different and impressive approach which I will write more about soon).

Then there is Sketchup 3D Warehouse, once own by Google, now by Trimble, this is filled with all types of models, mainly buildings made in Sketchup. They keep quiet about the number of models but from my own research I estimate their is around 5.1 Million models in the database!

In the games space, Unity Asset Store continues to grow at a phenomenal rate and is well used by Unity3D designers and developers.

And finally, the long time Turbosquid continues to be used in the media and entertainment space.

A 3D model for every occasion!


Links:

http://grabcad.com/

http://www.bimobject.com/

http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/

https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com

http://www.turbosquid.com/

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