NEW REALITIES FOR CANADA’S PARLIAMENT: A WORKFLOW FOR PREPARING HERITAGE BIM FOR GAME ENGINES AND VIRTUAL REALITY
With a growing interest in the use of virtual reality (VR) for dissemination of cultural heritage sites, the question of how to leverage existing documentation as content for virtual experiences becomes a potentially valuable opportunity. Notably, as sites are increasingly documented with building information modelling (BIM) for the purposes of conservation, there is potential to give these models a second life as content for public education and promotion. However, although software exist for viewing BIM in VR headsets, they are inadequate for complex models typical of heritage buildings, and lack functionality for integrating custom didactic content and storytelling. To make BIM performative in VR and allow for custom content, a workflow was developed to translate BIM into game engine scenes — which optimizes geometry following performance guidelines of VR while maintaining the high visual fidelity of the BIM. As a case study, six heritage spaces of the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament which had been previously documented and modelled by CIMS were prepared for Unity3D, enabling their later use in a storytelling experience.