I often get asked, “What is the difference between modern VR software, like Virtalis’s Visionary Render, and game engine style software being used for VR, like Unity?”.
The answer is workflow, more specifically how do you want to interact with your VR world and its 3D data. The VR viewing method you choose is irrelevant (see our previous blog for an explanation on different VR hardware types).
The workflow with older VR software is also similar to a game engine, so that you create the code for the game and then you publish it in order to view it.
If you play interactive games like COD on PS4, you’ll know that the things you can do in the game, such as the path you take and the selections you make, are all pre-decided by the game developer. As a player, I don’t have access to the source code, so I can’t change these pre-determined behaviours. I can’t decide to pick up an object in the scene unless the developer has made that object selectable.
VR for engineering has to be more than just watching or pre-selected behaviour, therefore the fully interactive approach is better.
Modern VR software, it is more akin to CAD software, in that you load data into a 3D scene and you can immediately view that scene in VR. You have menus, from which you can change colours, add lights, add more data from another CAD file, setup animations or link objects together to move as one unit. The 3D scene constantly updates and with software like Visionary Render, you can actually pull up those menus in your VR viewing device.
If you choose an HTC VIVE HMD to access this VR model, you can use the VIVE controllers to make menu selections and make real-time changes to the 3D scene. There’s no need to go back to the development stage and code in the interactions you want to make. Furthermore, it’s not a singular experience, so you can connect with another user’s system and bring them into your VR world. Your colleague is viewable as an avatar and they can also interact with the objects in front of you, enabling collaborative working in VR.
An added advantage is that this workflow is more familiar with engineers and designers, because it gives them access to all the tools they need to make changes on the fly, just as they can in a CAD system.
These may seem like subtle points, but Virtalis users report that the productivity of their VR systems is transformed by their decision to use interactive VR software to access their virtual worlds.