Building Blocks in Tech Development: Unity and Geopipe

Posted by Christi Kroll.

Those who dabble even casually in game environments are familiar with Unity Technologies, a highly successful software development company that has garnered worldwide acclaim. They are best known for Unity, a game engine that makes it easy to build video games and apps by providing common components and infrastructure to developers of all skill levels. While initially created to develop their own games, the focus of the company shifted to producing the tools needed for game development. Unity provides independent developers with the resources to create their own games. The accessibility of the tool across multiple platforms is unrivaled, and its popularity exploded as demand grew for mobile gaming.

Game development process without a game engine like Unity

The game development process without a game engine like Unity is slow, expensive, requires reinventing the wheel, and is impossible for all but the biggest studios.

While video gaming is at the heart of Unity Technologies, the game engine has expanded its purview to real-world applications, such as the automotive industry, medical technology, and retail. The same technology that can put the real world into virtual reality can put virtual reality into the real-world, allowing for imaginative and revolutionary advances in multiple business applications. According to an interview with Business Insider, John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies, believes that “traditional businesses…will eventually replace video games as Unity’s main customer base and source of revenue.” Unity supports simulations that can be used in the film industry, medical advances, sales platforms, car design, construction, urban planning, and more.

Game development process with a game engine like Unity

With a game engine like Unity, all the work of building the framework for gaming - from a rendering and particle engine, to loading and showing environments and assets, to providing networking and controlling NPCs - is already done for you. You simply layer your own assets and game mechanics on top.

If you’re building a car, Unity provides the parts. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel—you can execute an artistic vision with existing infrastructure. Geopipe does the same thing—it provides accessible tools so that you can spend more time on accomplishing your goals and less time building things from scratch. Where businesses would have to outsource or develop geographical context “in-house”, Geopipe facilitates interaction with the real world in virtual space—in an accelerated timeframe. Where Unity has developers who create the pieces that game designers can reuse, Geopipe teaches AI to understand the real world from sensor data, rapidly creating city models that lots of architects/game developers/simulation creators can reuse. We see strong parallels between Unity's work and Geopipe's mission: we both want to bring easy-to-use tools to the masses that simplify and democratize powerful technologies that would otherwise be out of reach of all but a few professionals.

Environment development is easy with Geopipe

Geopipe, like Unity, makes the game and simulation development process easy. If you need a real-world environment, or even just a huge environment, you can get started in minutes, not months.

As opportunities abound for self-taught and independent developers, the market grows for tools that narrow the gap for those with less technical backgrounds. Applications like Unity and Geopipe foster success by providing building blocks used in the newest tech endeavors. “Democratizing development—in our minds, we don’t think is the wrong thing, we think it’s the right thing,” says Marcos Sanchez, head of global communications for Unity. “You want more people understanding, and everyone’s gotta start somewhere.” Geopipe aims to make it possible for anyone to visualize, interact with, and simulate the real world, not just those with the resources necessary to collect real world data, then painstakingly model each building, tree, sidewalk, road, etc., then figure out how to stream all that data into a game engine or other piece of software. Geopipe streamlines this process by converting sensor data to immersive and interactive 3D models that anyone can use. Like Unity, Geopipe opens up an aspect of the digital world to more professionals, visionaries, and developers - and if you're in one of those categories, you can even use Geopipe and Unity together.