Unreal unveils groundbreaking VR application

Suffolk Construction used Unreal Engine’s VR technology to start a new build project with a virtual groundbreaking ceremony.

The ceremony, where the first shovel of earth is dug to signal the start of the project, was conducted entirely in VR, providing the assembled audience the chance to witness the structure rise out of the ground before taking a virtual tour inside.

Architectural visualisation specialist Theia Interactive, used Unreal Engine to bring the project to life.

Suffolk Construction, is expanding its corporate HQ in Boston and recently hosted the event attended by a multitude of press, senior Suffolk Construction VP’s, and the Mayor of Boston, Martin Walsh.

The team had only four weeks to put the entire groundbreaking into VR for experiencing on the HTC Vive.

“We started using all sorts of different software, but when we switched to Unreal Engine all the doors were blown wide open. We were amazed at the difference,” said CEO, Mark Pullyblank.

“We began with the actual architectural files that Suffolk created for their own visualisations which contained between seven and ten million polygons,” added Stephen Phillips, chief technology officer at Theia.

“There was a lot of data and a lot of hi-res textures that we were trying to use. But Unreal Engine handled it like a champ and we were able to get it running on VR smoothly. It would have been a real hassle to do that any other way.”

See the video here