MINDCONSOLE was commissioned by XVRSim to create an 3D environment for their training software. This included three new metro stations in Berlin including the tunnels connecting them. All of the stations were under construction by BVG during the project. This environment will be used for tactical trainings by Berliner Feuerwehr, simulating situations and scenarios that are otherwise difficult to train with a massive amount of resources, budget, time and personell.
The following items were created for this project:
To match the real look and feel of the stations, we took photographs of all possible textural elements on-site for an as-close-as representation in VR. That included wall tiles, flooring, lighting situation, rails, stairways, etc. In addition, all rescue-relevant assets such as the emergency pillars or smoke-screen systems have to be integrated and functional in order to train real scenarios.
In comparison to the real building, where engineers had to freeze the ground underneath a river in order to be able to drill to make way for the tunnel, our 3D modelling of was quite simple. Getting the "feeling" right for this project turned out to be a challenge on its own, as the "star-roof" and lighting plan for this station is beautiful and complex to translate into the game engine.
For UDL we had to include the cross-section of the U6, which is located just above the U5 and underneath Friedrichstraße. Also important for this location has been the integration of the smoke extraction system and the possibility to control it for the training scenarios.
For usage in XVR, we needed to create a clipping plane for every station. This is basically a visibility layer which can be turned on/off that allows us to see inside the stations within the XVR software in a useful manner. You can see our final implementation on the examples below.
After Stadler (the manufacturer of the IK metro train) delivered us the necessary CAD data for the train, it took us approximately 3-4 weeks to complete it. The main challenges with this model were processing the huge amount of CAD data we received from Stadler, modelling the low-poly versions and finding small "module" parts of the train that can be duplicated in order to optimize the model for game engine use.
For the entire project, we had to create a lot of small custom 3D models such as railings, benches, trash cans, signal lights, etc. that fill the environment. Below are some examples.
A project of this scale will always come with some technical requirements and needs. We try to create things according to industry standards and keep everything state of the art. We are not able to showcase many details from the stations' creation for security reasons, but we can show some other smaller elements from our workflow.
The creation of the train was a challenge in itself. We couldn't spend too much time on it, but we still needed high quality results. The complexity of the model proved to be quite high, yet we still managed to deliver and create an enterable, full train as requested.
CAD Data usually contains a lot of geometry that can't be used in game engines in order to keep performance intact. We did go throught each and every piece of the train, and recreated clean low-poly optimized geometry. The difference that such process makes is shown in the left image. (Use the slider to see the difference).
We looked at the train in detail and realized that a lot of parts are repeating or are the same. That's why we separated the entire train model into small modules which you can see in this image. This way we only need to texture specific parts thus saving a lot of texture space as well. We duplicate, mirror and join them together into a full fledged train.
Thanks to the module separation, we were able to optimize the textures to the maximum, not wasting any extra space. We have managed to use only 2 textures for the entire train, both of them shown below. This is just a full material preview, we do have all necessary PBR textures created as you will see in the tunnel example.
The tunnel was an interesting project where we tried out a technique called lightmapping. We can bake lights into the texture, making it much easier on the computer as it is not necessary to calculate the lighting after the fact, thus saving performance. Creating the tunnel was a fairly easy task where we simply extruded the tunnel profile along the line, created a texture for just one segment and applied it to to the entire model.
Most of the materials used in the entire environment use PBR (Physical based rendering) based textures. We use them to simulate the real-world flow of light. You can see an example of such textures in the picture on the right.