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New protocol revolutionizes 3D-design

25.07.2006
Verse, a protocol for 3D-applications, opens new possibilities for users to collaborate in real-time between different sites or just different applications. Architects and customers can for example collaborate on the design of a building, over the Internet.

The protocol and applications utilizing the protocol are developed in a project called Uni-Verse coordinated by KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. The project is funded by the European Commission.

Verse can replace time-consuming file transfers and cumbersome file conversion with real-time communication. Instead of storing 3D objects as files, they are stored in a server, which can run locally or at a remote location. Applications connected to the server will automatically get up to date copies of the 3D data. All changes are transferred directly when they are made. This means that all applications can work together with the most recent 3D data.

“Users at different locations can collaborate with a 3D design, but Verse can also connect applications on the same computer. Connected applications work together and behave in the same way as a single application would do” says Gert Svensson, Uni-Verse coordinator.

The Verse protocol and most of the tools developed in the project are open source in the same way as the operating system Linux. This means that the protocol and the tools including source code can be downloaded from the web and used freely. The project also develops advanced tools for sound and acoustic simulation. Typical applications areas for the Verse protocol and the Uni-Verse tools include areas like content creation for games, animated movies, virtual reality and the architecture of buildings.

During a construction project where one architect designs the geometry and another architect selects colours and materials, both architects can now work at the same time and can more easily collaborate on the project. Previously they have been forced to save the design in files which have been sent back and forth. To avoid extra work, often the same software package was used for all the tasks even if this package was not optimal for all the steps. Now the users can select the most appropriate Verse-enabled tool for each task and still combine them into a production pipeline. The architect can also get an idea of the acoustics in the building by using the Uni-Verse acoustic simulation module. Today this is usually done by an acoustic consultant working with a separate acoustic model of the building. With Uni-Verse the architect and the acoustic expert can work together with the same model and they can move a wall or change the material and directly get an idea of the result.

During SIGRAPH July 30 – August 3 the Uni-Verse project will be on display in the Open Source Pavilion and also organize a Birds of Feather Session on the Verse protocol.

“At SIGGRAPH this year we make the second release of the Uni-Verse tools including a modelling tool and a rendering tool specially designed for Verse” says Gert Svensson.

Verse connections for the largest commercial 3D tool Autodesk 3D Studio Max as well as largest open source tool Blender are also released.

Other Uni-Verse partners: Interactive Institute, Sweden, Fraunhofer IGD, Germany, Blender Foundation, Netherlands, Helsinki Technical University, Finland, Minusplus Architects in Hungary and Paregos a Swedish media design company.

Gert Svensson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pdc.kth.se

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