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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Autodesk Stingray: Interactive Real-Time Game Engine for AEC

 
August 28th, 2015 by Susan Smith

Rick Davis, Autodesk marketing manager, Design and Animation and Erin Emery, industry marketing manager for Building Design talked about the recent Autodesk announcement at the Game Developers Conference Europe of the new Stingray, a real-time engine that can be used to create high quality 3D games, or be applied in the AEC industry to make BIM-informed 3D visualizations in 3ds Max design software fully interactive in a real-time environment.

 The Stingray engine allows designers, owners and stakeholders to access and visualize a building model in real-time to fully understand the scale, feel and experience of the building before construction starts.

The Stingray engine allows designers, owners and stakeholders to access and visualize a building model in real-time to fully understand the scale, feel and experience of the building before construction starts.

For years, Autodesk has had a foot both in the Media and Entertainment industry as well as the AEC industry. This dual viewpoint has given the company the vision of the two coming together.

“The AEC group would come to M&E for both tactics and software to help tell better stories around a proposed design,” said Davis. “Stingray was launched as a game engine, and it allows you to make all your 3ds Max scenes interactive and because it works with virtual reality, and it gives you the ability to walk through a building before it’s built. This helps understanding design before it’s built.”

The Stingray engine is built on the powerful, data-driven architecture of the Bitsquid engine, which Autodesk acquired last summer.The Stingray engine has live links to 3ds Max.

The Stingray engine features a live link ability with the latest version of 3ds Max, which makes it possible to have changes made in 3ds Max happen immediately in the Stingray engine

The Stingray engine features a live link ability with the latest version of 3ds Max, which makes it possible to have changes made in 3ds Max happen immediately in the Stingray engine

“With the release of 3ds Max 2016 it’s become easy to bring your Revit Models into 3ds to make them beautiful and add people, cars, trees, and bring them to life,” said Emery. “And now with addition of Stingray and live link you’re able to bring the 3ds Max scene into the live environment (real time digital environment) and make that scene fully interactive. So stakeholders and architects can have full control to walk through the building however they want, and can respond as though a person in the real world. “

Davis points out that it is not the first real time engine on the market, as architects have been playing in this space for a long time. But the buzz is around the direction connection.

“When you add a live link card to 3ds it is immediately updated in Stingray and you’re ready to go,” said Davis. “There are no other engines out there that are so connected to a content creation tool like 3ds Max. It makes workflow lots faster.

This is the technology that will power a whole lot of software and services moving forward.”

This functionality only works in 3ds Max where there is a button for live link in 3ds Max and one in Stingray. Stingray is not integrated into any other software but 3ds Max.

What Autodesk is trying to do is extend BIM solutions. BIM is so much more than Revit documentation. In the early stages you have the design on the napkin, then computational iterations with Dynamo through Revit, and then design lifecycle through visualization with Stingray.

“We’re creating an ecosystem of connected software services that is grounded in that BIM data, which is the future of design data, and finding more ways to make that workflow seamless and ultimately allowing architects and stakeholders to understand their design before anything happens in the real world.”

Right now sun and weather data is not directly mapped with 3ds Max. It is just for visualization context versus understanding actual effects, Emery said. “We have our eye on CFD data and understanding how we can bring that in. 3ds Max has a geo-accurate system in it, and because of that live link you can move the sun around in 3ds Max to the right placement for that part of the world and that would directly map in to Stingray.”

This is the first step: connecting all the tools, then adding the features that will help increase accuracy.

Prior to this announcement, building designers using Autodesk Revit software have had the ability to import models into 3ds Max to create stunning, photo-real images and animations to communicate design intent.  This workflow plays an integral part in the design process. Now, with the Stingray engine, Revit models can be brought into 3ds Max to be made visual and then imported to the Stingray engine to be made fully interactive, allowing users to explore “what if” design changes in a compelling visual environment, not unlike a first person walk-about in a physical building.  The compelling advantage of this is that architects, designers and stakeholders can visualize a building model in real time to better understand the size, feel and experience of the building before actual building begins.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, architecture, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, engineering, infrastructure, mobile, point clouds, reality capture, render farms, rendering, sustainable design, visualization

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