make it fresh

Discovering the new reality, together.

08.08.16

WHY AND HOW DID WE CHOOSE UNITY 3D TECHNOLOGY IN METIS-II PROJECT?

The world of games is a second life for most of us. If you’re a player, you must have heard of Unity. We combined our interests with already gained skills and achieved a spectacular effect.

At the beginning of our article, we’ll explain what Unity 3D really is. As the producer’s website says, Uni­ty 3D is a multi-platform games engine allowing for management of a larger number of devices. It’s very intuitive, easy to configurate and speeds up rendering of games with richly designed graphics. With the use of it, it’s possible to create any 2D or 3D game and implement it on many mobile platforms, VR, stationary and internet ones, including consoles and TV. As you probably guess, we’re not the only ones who trusted this solution.  Due to Unity 3D many projects have come into being, some of which are described on http://ma­de­with.uni­ty.co­m/.

You will find many examples of games and applications created with the use of this engine. Currently, this number is equal to 196 and will probably constantly increase. While browsing the portfolio, you’ll come across simple, minimalistic projects as well as more complicated, with many levels of complexity and eye-catching graphics. There’s a possibility to filter games in terms of platforms and category.

We decided to sort through statistics to confirm us in our decision.

According to statistical data, Unity 3D is used by 45% of global market and is used more frequently than other solutions. Besides, Unity 3D engine has gained much more appreciation among programmers in comparison to other software utilized for the same purpose.

 But it’s not statistics that we would like to tell you about. The main reason for this article is the fact that we took advantage of Unity 3D in a completely different aim than most of its users. We didn’t design a computer game as it might be assumed, but the visualization of transmission technology of 5G new generation data for co-founded by European Commission METIS-II.

Taking into consideration specification of our project, Unity 3D seemed to be the best solution – and we were absolutely right!

What convinced us to use this engine in the project was mainly a possibility to create efficient 3D visualizations. Another factor was its multi-platform character. This option enables us to develop one app version for PC and adjust in to Android later, according to compiler directives. It’s possible to create a version for nearly every operating system present in home entertainment sets. However, there’s no such need right now. What turned out to be an advantage was fluid workflow which is extremely useful during creation of models. They are placed in the catalogue Assets whereby they don’t require conversion and in the creation of next models overwriting the previous ones is enough. Furthermore, an easy deserialization of external xml and binary files definitely speaks in favor of Unity 3D. The elements of a certain presentation visualized on our platform are built, to a large extent, on external xml files – which enabled our partners to build their own presentations without the need of code changes. Work was easier thanks to extended 3D editor. We used it to place fixed elements of the presentation (buildings, lamps, antennas arrangement – so static elements) on the stage.

Because this tool is visual and shows a view similar to final application design, we saved lots of time and additionally, reduced frequency of corrections. Next step included moving information to external data files so that our partners could modify it. The fact that Unity 3D allows for writing scripts run during edition, let us save the stage configuration in any form adjusted to the needs. A huge resource of As­set­sSto­re gives the access to plenty of 3D models, textures, libraries of scripts and visual components. In the first stage of development, we downloaded a part of models from there which helped us prepare initial versions of the project. Later, we exchanged them with dedicated models. Another convenience is an expanded documentation and huge amount of really well prepared tutorials. The community connected to the engine is invaluable. Their members help each other solving more or less complicated problems. Despite so many features and advantages, we were unable to use all of them. Firstly, we resigned from physics and navigation/pathfinding. Unity 3D offers programming of paths used by the objects on the base of models’ shapes. After some deliberation on the possible simulation of real world and physical phenomena in telecommunication, we didn’t take it up. It required lots of time because tools shared by Unity 3D are simplified to match the games’ needs, not telecommunication engineering. We also gave up simulation of city traffic so it was made and delivered by our partners in the form of binary traces.

We didn’t try Mul­ti­play­er, Vir­tu­al Re­ali­ty, controllers’ service and Uni­ty Ana­ly­tics neither because they’re typical functionalities to a gamedev. A promising step would be adding Oculus Rift to our project but let’s leave it for the further stage. Work under METIS-II project is not finished yet, but we have already presented a few versions of visualization illustrating the potential hidden in 5G, e.g. during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

If this article triggered your interest and you would like to see how 5G influences network infrastructure, a download version of our visualization can be found on: https://me­ti­s-ii.5g-ppp.eu­/de­mo­-fro­m-mw­c16-a­va­ila­ble­-fo­r-down­lo­ad/.