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It sure does feel like we're on the back end of an era, getting phased out.

Had a conversation with a colleague the other day, about how NFT's will be the real-estate of the meta-verse. And how virtual architecture on the meta-verse will be the evolution of our discipline.


I for one am always skeptical of any hype, however, things are exponentially moving nowadays its getting harder to grasp new concepts before the next one comes along.


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Not a bad premise that gaming engines are future of design via realtime rendered views and animation. And, wonderful rendering it is!


But, I think at this time, the renders, however fast and responsive, are not replacement for CAD.  (guessing, here - set me straight).  If I understand the narration, scenes in the demos make a compromise with the vertex/facet count - front focus items have wonderful detail, distant items do not, until accessed via zoom or approach. All great for realtime render OF THE VISBLE SURFACES.


I think the difference is that CAD design is typically immersed in, and is expected to represent, the surface plus everything else beyond/below/through. Eg Buildings have complicated, data rich design for window, stair, rail, door, slab, roof structure, component walls, and esp material.  Landscape has below grade items, irrigation paths and nodes, specifics of plant dispersion/type with data for nomenclature, price, etc.  Lighting and event anticipate power usage, specifics of truss connections and loads, pricing, etc.


Somehow, I don't think the demos include all that data and structure beyond the visible surfaces in the frame.  Or, maybe it is there, or could be easily added and I'm just a skeptic with no knowledge or imagination.  Who knows?



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I believe it still is there, cos as you're exporting models/materials/assets to Unreal engine, all the geometry and BIM Data is in the Unreal project file. The 'magic' I believe on display (no pun intended), is that all that info is not accessed/visible until the user needs it. Sort of like streaming for online videos.

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Export CAD to gaming render was my assumption, but DC seems to suggest CAD not needed and sheets not needed. That the model somehow emerges without CAD and the info (dims, notes, ????) oft presented on sheets is instead is accessed in the rendered/ animated view. 

DC is a Master of Models so knows whereof he speaks. And is justifiably critical of sheets, tyranny is his word. I’m all for adopting the power and efficiency of the gaming environment, but what is the path to design at detail required for permit?  Maybe it’s already in place without familiar CAD?



Edited by Benson Shaw
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I think you raise fair points. And to be honest, we HAVE been hearing and seeing virtual reality since the early 90s. Yet the industry (AEC) has yet to fully adopt it in that time.

At the moment, I do believe CAD is still needed in the meantime, ONLY because the medium with which we are transferring our designs to site is still in 2D format. PDF's, printed drawings etc.


And sure with the advent of HoloLens and other AR solutions, the game is looking more and more adaptable to change. 


Some notable things with the UE5 release, is that these are things that we're never though possible with current gen specs, let alone, consumer grade specs. It's the accessibility for those on lesser budget/team that is eye-opening.



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These realistic real-time renderings have a completely different purpose to what things like architectural construction drawings do. So I'm not sure if they are really all that relevant as a comparison. Are hyper-realistic renderings of much use in conveying construction info? Most of the "information" they add is not actually useful for this purpose.


That said, it does seem a pretty poor show that all this detail can be rendered in real time while I still have to sit and wait for VW to update a section viewport.

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People determine the adoption of technology.  With your average AEC principle, chief planner, or city council person having graduated sometime between 1980 and 2000, it’s gonna be a while before this glacier of an industry moves as a whole, regardless of how fancy your video game engine is.


Somebody still has to design and then explain how to make or construct the thing.  Communication by specifications, drawing, modeling, rendering, and angrily waving of the arms has a special place in each step of the process… until AI and our robot overlords take over.


The only remaining relevant question is…

When society collapses and re-emerges into unique tribal units, will architects be viewed as shaman or charlatans?

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13 hours ago, twk said:

I think of articles like this:

This is interesting in of itself. So we have a fact that was true "two million Britons have logged off the internet".  That was a fact.  But the concept of the internet was not the problem.  It was apparently some other issues which got straightened out over time and here we are.


Please watch the video below.  Note how the facts were real but some saw a failure and Shelby saw a winning hand.  This is not just wishful thinking, as Shelby proved by winning the LeMans race at a later time...


I'm trying to figure out what this is called...As I notice it a lot in many things,  All have the same facts but not all see the same thing...

Some conclusions based on facts can be dead wrong. Interesting stuff.





Edited by digitalcarbon
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26 minutes ago, digitalcarbon said:

Sorry, but I'm really just plain getting tired of all this...

lags, delays, yearly upgrade anxiety, OS upgrades, Hardware upgrades...tired tired tired...


A lot of that still comes with working with Unreal as well. Plus it's not even modeling software; you still need to use a geometry creation software of your choice. I would love to see something akin to Unreal replace Renderworks (and 3D panoramas, web view, etc). But it's not the type of thing that would replace Vectorworks itself.


That being said, I do empathize with the original sentiment.

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12 hours ago, digitalcarbon said:

No lags, spinning balls, etc

That should be the goal! I think new, better tech for render, redraw general navigation is not same as ditching CAD. Instead it is substituting tools for something (new CAD environment) that works better in some way, or is more satisfying for designer, or for client, or for govt review, or for project archiving and future mods. Our current software is not fully embracing the available possibilities. But I think it should and wish it would. Or at least should demonstrably move in that direction. 

We interrupt this program to expand my critique of AEC vs gaming. As usual, I could be misinformed:

AEC will generally (always?) strive to represent the entire context correctly, eg for build or matching existing, etc. In the gaming environment, a stairway or other element is siloed. No need to provide correct number of steps or tread width or correct height between floors or railings spec’d to local codes or door/landing config or anything else except to provide context for the gaming plot conditions in the stairway. Likewise if the game plot transitions from stair through a door to a hall or room, no concern for precise elevation from ground or horizontal position of that door/hall/room relative to other out of frame or out of scene elements. Which is a long winded way of saying that in gaming you can just make stuff up to suit the plot. Gotta say that it is effective and often fun/rewarding for both game designer and the gamer, but done with different rigor and intent from AEC.


We return you now to the boss level of Soulblighter. 



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Maybe comparing The Gaming Experience/Industry vs The AEC Industry is an apples vs oranges comparison.


What the UE5 release is showcasing really, is a bit more to do with how the developments in gaming software (ie Unreal Engine) has caught up-to, and surpassed, both the Film and AEC industry and actually leading the charge now in technology foresight.


It's more of, there is now a gaming engine, which CAN accurately hold and display REAL-WORLD data on the fly, with minimum computing power. Which has effects in the real world in our industry. Overturning the traditional workflows of large studios, render farms, render times, etc. Everyone is having to rethink things. An architectural firm, which used to outsource renders to a specialised archviz studio, can now do it in-house, with renders that only take a day for videos flythroughs, seconds for still images. Real-world context can now be imported at the click of a button.. no more time-consuming travelling to site, etc. eg below.


Theres a lot that what Unreal as a company is doing that will potentially change how we do things. 




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Some years ago, Sketchup showed everyone that basic 3d modelling didn't have to be as difficult as most AEC type packages made it seem, and of course in the process they influenced (for the better) how software like VW deals with 3d (although, here's my opportunity to grumble that VW's push-pull tool still doesn't work properly, more than a decade after Sketchup made theirs).


A few years back I spent quite a bit of time considering whether I should switch from VW to Sketchup, and in the end I stayed with VW just because it's designed with architecture in mind and it allows me to do many of the tedious but important bits of the workflow properly (mainly, setting out sheets, and generating sections properly-ish).


I think that there are some architects who manage to use Sketchup but I don't think it's very common, and it kind of appears that maybe there's just not a big enough market for someone to build a fully functional AEC version of Sketchup.


So it will be interesting to see if any of these companies like Epic attempt to build a full package for AEC use but it seems unlikely they will, for reasons already discussed upthread.


It really would be great if someone were to build, from the ground up, and making full use of current technology, something that could do everything that VW does, but much better, and with no legacy baggage, and I'm sure that would be entirely possible in theory, but maybe the market is not big enough to make it worthwhile for anyone.


I've mentioned before, the Affinity apps that were built from scratch to become nearly as capable as Photoshop etc, but available at much lower cost. They have their problems but it was interesting to me that a seemingly relatively small team were able to build something to match what is a pretty complex piece of software evolved over a timespan of decades.

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