Ireland: Unity and PiXYZ have announced that you can now host AEC projects directly in the Unity platform, with all the associated metadata available in Unity. The two companies hope that their collaboration will start to bridge the divide between design visualization and data visualization workflows that exists in the industry today.
Previously, the PiXYZ plug-in let users import BIM geometries into Unity, which gave them a good feel for what a space might look like. Unfortunately, it meant that users still had to go back to the original BIM document for metadata like item materials. The updated plug-in enables users to conduct their whole workflow inside of Unity, without any need to switch back to the original file.
“The neat thing that’s starting to happen is that design visualization and data visualization are starting to converge,” said Tim McDonough, vice president and general manager of Unity. “You can build something that looks good and has all the data.”
Users can import BIM models from over 30 companies by turning them into a platform-agnostic IFC file and then uploading it directly into Unity. The plug-in also gives live updates: it recognizes when changes may have been made to the original model, and can bring them into the Unity file easily.
Officially, Unity made its AEC industry debut at last year’s Autodesk U, where the company announced that it was going to partner more directly with Autodesk. By the end of this year, the company hopes to bring Revit data directly into Unity, without any need to translate to an IFC file in the middle of the process. But Unity’s deal with Autodesk is nowhere near exclusive; one of the company’s stated goals is to achieve broad interoperability with multiple BIM platforms. “One of the reasons we started working with PiXYZ is that they supported almost 30 different types of file formats,” said McDonough. “We support the major companies today. What we don’t support, it’s just a matter of adding it.”
Ultimately, the companies want to develop a system that’s fast, format-neutral, and doesn’t draw attention to itself.“Historically it’s been a very manual workflow,” McDonough said. “It’s about making us disappear as a tool so people can get to the outcome.”