Author Archives: 05 Craig Moyer

Personal Research Blog: Real Time Evacuation with Unity3D

Prior to reading this essay, please enjoy basic forms of my simulations:

Virtual DAAP Building Simulation

Pathfinding on the Urban Scale

My research began this semester with a seemingly simple task: model the DAAP complex spatial sequences in Revit, move said modeled building to an FBX file where it can then be imported into Unity to create an interactive “game” with the goal of studying evacuation patterns of people in real time.

Initially, the scope of my research included only modeling the DAAP complex and development of the code controlling the first person controllable avatar, along with the code for the “actors” which would be evacuating the complex simultaneously.

However, this all proved to be far more complex than originally thought, both by my own thought and with Ming as well. First and foremost, the coding along proved to be highly complex within the confines of the multi-level DAAP complex. With the building’s levels colliding at different elevations, and multitude of ramps, elevators and stairs made it difficult for the code to create navigational grids of each floor. These ‘grids’ were used by the software to judge what part of the model was navigable and which parts were not. Something seemingly as simple as creating the ramp that goes to the CGC from the DAAP cafe proved to be vexing to create within the code of the pathfinding algorithm. The computer could not recognize (or perhaps I could not communicate with the computer) the complexity of the building. A simpler approach had to be found.

With the complexities of the geometry of the building and the inability of the software to effectively understand the spaces (not to mention throwing in the physical computing requirements and calculations for thousands of virtual ‘actors’) the complexities of modeling the DAAP complex became simply beyond the scope of our research.

Instead, we opted for a simpler, more direct and metaphoric approach: a virtual city. Applying the very elementary and basic working code that I had developed for guiding an avatar to a determined point within the confines of one level of the DAAP facility; the same code was used to create a working model of an abstract city layout to determine what spatial patterns made it easier (or more difficult) for people to escape from. This task became inherently more direct and much easier to understand because jack of elevation change, and thus the code required was simpler.

Not only was the code simpler, but the metaphorical idea became simpler to understand and easier to see from an illustrative or visualization sense. Not only could the evacuation patterns be watched from above as a birds-eye view, but the evacuation patterns could also be witnessed or participated in at a first person level on the ground. This became a much more pragmatic and dynamic approach to understanding the complexities of modeling human behavior.

This work over the course of the semester has had a profound impact on not just my work as a designer but also my personal conception of space, both in the literal sense of physical, actualized space, but also in the more metaphorical sense of the “space” of computer code and writing algorithms. Indeed space can be an actualized, real-world thing, but space can also be what exists within a given coordinate system, as in the terms of GIS and planning tools (the world in which my background is in), but also in a more complex and ephemeral sense of coding languages, topology, and geometry.

P1 Craig Moyer 05

The Toronto based design research firm RVTR expertise spans a wide variety of disciplines from master planning through high performance building envelope design. However, their Resonant Chamber suspended acoustic ceiling system is particularly relevant to our current discussion.

One clustering of Resonant Chambers

The Resonant Chamber is an acoustic solution to dynamic interior sonic characteristics. It is adaptive to changing sound levels and modularly deployable, lending the ability to respond to even the most demanding acoustic conditions.

Back side of the Resonant Chamber

The approach to this unique sonic solution developed by RVTR is threefold: a modular system consisting of a tessellated perforated acoustic surface, coupled with a wireless microcomputer and speaker system to record and replay interior sounds in order to equalize sound levels. The solution is not only functional but also beautiful.

A diagram of the system

Diagram of the System

The modular nature of the device allows the system to be as small or as large as it needs to be to respond to unique sonic problems prevalent in situ.


VIDEO 1 / VIDEO 2 of the system in action.