Game engines can be used to create user-friendly interactive 3D environments to visualise a complex range of information. In the field of urban design and strategic planning, they provide a useful complement to traditional methods of site assessment such as mapping, plans, and aerial photography. In particular, the model can be used to assist decision makers to visualise new built form and test development scenarios in full context and total freedom of movement. Over the last two years ASPECT Studios have used game engines to create interactive models for the development of Activity Centres in Melbourne such as City Street in Dandenong ,Carlisle St in St Kilda, Oakleigh Village, and within the Banyule Municipality.
ASPECT’s approach is to create their own new software, harnessing the power of game engines. After several years of experience in visualisation, we were able to synthesise a standard set of interactivity features from the participant’s needs, such as viewing from any angle, real-time shadowing, measuring, and GIS data import. Since many projects will already have rich 3D information, or a full model for the purpose of rendering or animation, we can create interactive models simply by importing the existing data into our software, ready to present at a workshop or community consultation.
As part of the Revitalising Central Dandenong project, an interactive model was developed comprising City Street and Station North Plaza and several surrounding blocks. In workshops with VicUrban (and other internal stakeholders), the model successfully investigated the impact of several development scenarios. The ability to raise and lower the heights of proposed buildings and change the width of the plaza allowed the rapid resolution of issues surrounding impact on view lines and overshadowing. The model was particularly useful in external workshops where the design team was confident that the public was viewing the proposed design in an accurate context.
Interactive environments can also be used on larger scale projects. For example, Banyule City Council’s Municipal Model incorporates a digital terrain of their entire municipality with major Activity Centres and structure plans modelled. Council actively uses the model to develop and communicate a vision for the future of the city, describe design guidelines for development to achieve good design and explore changes for a better planning scheme for good design. The Municipal Model was used in a design charette for Burgundy Street where possible built form scenarios were immediately visualised and reviewed in community consultation. Banyule City Council’s ability to create an active discussion with the community led to The Heidelberg Project being recognised by the Planning Institute of Australia, at the 2009 Victorian Awards Ceremony.
Interactive 3D environments using game engines provide efficiencies in gaining consensus from a wide range of decision makers. By using the game engine to turn design parameters into user-friendly interactivity in a 3D model, multiple development scenarios can be quickly tested. By empowering strategic planners and decision makers through interactive 3D environments, we can focus on the implementation of better urban design.
Also in UDFQ 92: December 2010:
- National Spotlight on Urban Design
- Melbourne Place-making Series
- QUDAL Celebrates 10 years
- Vale CABE?
- Integrating Heritage and Modern Design
- What Have Fridges and Washing Machines Got To Do With Improving Housing Quality?
- Knowledge Hubs, Innovation Precincts, Technology Parks, Employment Centres
- Urban Dreaming: Australian Cities For The Future
- Who Has Trump Cards and Who’s Bluffing? The Age Old Sydney-Melbourne Rivalry
- US Leads Way To Communities of The Future
- Shaping The Future
- CABE Celebrates Vintage Year For English Housing
- A Charter for Queensland Places
- Conferences, etc