• Metaverse 2.0

      Unrealizing the Potential of 3D Business Metaverses with Unreal Engine

      As 3D technology continues to emerge in business applications, companies are exploring how to leverage 3D experiences for marketing and training. One promising option is the development of 3D metaverses using Unreal Engine, an integrated 3D creation platform from Epic Games.

      Morpheus extended his hand and opened his fist. In the palm of his hand lay two pills - blue and red.

      “Choose the blue one,” said Morpheus, “and the story ends right here.” You will wake up and believe what you want to believe. Pick the red one and you'll be in Fairyland and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

      "But what's the use of pills," Agent Smith leaned over to him, "if you don't have a mouth to eat them?"

      Mark Zuckerberg's recent statement about meta-universes has stirred up the public. Humanity has been dreaming about virtual reality for more than a decade. I must say, not without reason.

      Modern content consumption formats no longer meet the increased needs, and the 3D format is the most promising, because the interaction mechanics are very close to the so-called "reality".

      While everyone is passionate about crypto-currency, launching their own business, developing all kinds of applications and websites, global business is looking to the future, to virtual reality. Already today, global Internet companies such as Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, Amazon, Epic Games, Nvidia, Microsoft are investing (just think about it) hundreds of billions of dollars in one of the most promising technologies of mankind - virtual reality, which will turn the familiar world, as happened with the advent of the Internet. Meta even coined the term "meta-universes", which doesn't change the point much.

      Science fiction writers Wachowski, Veldel, Kline wrote about virtual reality, but they hardly suspected that this digital wave would cover our present today.

      Virtual reality will not bypass anyone, as the entire business will begin to move into the virtual world at an unprecedented speed, and all the usual ways of consuming content will become obsolete simultaneously and without compromise.

      Thanks to the meta-universes, new branches of business, unusual professions will appear, the format of leisure for all mankind will change! Popular apps are transformed into something amazingly new, while others will simply disappear. New leaders will emerge in the procrastination industry, and old people (like Instagram, TikTok or Twitter) will retire.

      While Zuckerberg is talking about "meta", other companies (like Epic Games) have long built and developed them. So, for example, the audience of the game "Fortnite: Battle Royale" exceeds the mark of 350 million players. And no wonder, because Epic Games has been developing its engine since 1998, and with the advent of cloud computing and neural networks, it can offer the market high quality game graphics and effects. By the way, during the existence of the engine, the company has grown an impressive community of gamedev developers.

      It is worth noting the Decentraland project, a gaming metaverse that has gained popularity amid growing interest in NFT technology. Probably, after playing enough with NFT, players will lose interest in the game due to the low quality of the graphics, since the game is based on the WebGL condo technology.

      Epic Games - a tidbit

      In mid-2021, Google wanted to team up with Tencent to buy Epic Games, but was rebuffed. Meanwhile, Tencent owns 40% of Epic Games.

      Also, it was Epic Games that influenced the situation around the ban on the use of third-party payment methods bypassing the App Store, thereby depriving Apple of a significant part of its income.

      On September 10, 2021, the U.S. District Court for Northern California issued a verdict on the Epic Games lawsuit against Apple. The court ordered Apple to remove restrictions for app developers that prohibit accepting payments directly, without the participation of the App Store. And then, the Court of Appeal suspended that decision. But whatever the outcome, it is already noticeable what an impact Epic Games has on a huge industry.

      Special attention deserves the fact that Epic Games is not traded on the stock exchange, which means that the future of the company does not depend on market manipulations (at least for now) and with the advent of meta-universes, Epic Games has every chance of becoming the #1 company in the world .

      By the way, Epic Games gained universal popularity thanks to its Unreal Engine game engine, having opened its source code in 2015. Developers around the world have access to a powerful arsenal of game development tools for free. Also, Epic Games has secured a royalty of 5% and receives from game studios 5% of the proceeds from the sale of games built on the Unreal Engine, but only if the sales revenue is more than $3,000 per quarter.

      At the moment, we can say that Epic Games has no competitors. The closest engine, Unity, has focused on the mobile application market, overlooking the cloud gaming industry, which is growing at an incredible pace. Epic Games also has its own Unreal Engine Low-Poly mobile platform engine, which is in no way inferior to Unity, but it is not the main product of the company.

      Big things happen in the cloud gaming industry every day. Microsoft recently announced the technology to run Unreal Engine on its cloud servers (Azure), allowing the gaming industry to easily deliver high-quality graphics to users' devices.

      Also, Microsoft plans to buy Activision Blizzard, which specializes in game development, for $60 billion. Activision is the publisher of the Call of Duty and Destiny series of games, Blizzard is the author of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Overwatch and Hearthstone.

      This is not Microsoft's first major deal. Microsoft bought Minecraft for $2.5 billion in 2014 and Bethesda, the publisher of Fallout and Doom, for $7.5 billion last year.

      Very soon, we will all witness the meta-universe race, where Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple will fight for leadership in the meta-universe market against Epic Games. At the moment, Epic Games looks the most promising, thanks to perhaps the best game engine in the world (Unreal Engine) and open source code for third-party developers.

      The gaming industry at the service and business

      For a long time, the gaming industry produced only games, and for the rest of the business, the profitability of the production of such solutions was extremely low. But with the advent of cloud gaming, neural networks and high-speed Internet, the situation has changed a lot and in a couple of years we will see a new wave of transformation of the “web” from the usual “flat” look into an interactive one with high-quality 3D graphics.

      Now there are practically no companies on the market that implement cloud gaming for business needs. For example, we at UnrealOS create unique 3D business solutions based on Unreal Engine. We are confident that such solutions will change the rules of the game for large businesses in the near future.

      It so happened that in mid-2020, together with our Canadian partners, we launched a startup that intended to transform the real estate market. Imagine if property buyers could remotely travel around a future apartment or explore a building and its surroundings in 3D?

      One of our cutting-edge solutions was a technology for displaying investment properties through a browser. Just imagine the level of conservatism in the real estate market! But everything is changing, as buyers no longer want to look at boring photos and videos that not only do not excite the imagination, but completely distort the essence.

      We have developed a platform that allows customers from all over the world to fall in love with apartments even before buying - we broadcast 3D directly to customers' browsers, and they in turn can control the video stream, just like in video games.

      Already, buyers can explore the road junctions around the house, change the lighting depending on the time of day, find a suitable apartment, walk around the apartment, change the interior and much more.

      Having extensive experience in the real estate industry (Canada and Europe), we saw a great opportunity to develop a 3D solution for the real estate market that would reflect some of the properties of the meta-universe, for example, clients could walk through the apartment together through their digital avatars and make decisions faster about the purchase.

      So, we decided that our technology will open up incredible opportunities for investment property developers, because buyers will get the most accurate idea of the upcoming purchase from anywhere in the world, in a familiar game format with high quality graphics, right in the browser.

      After a thorough market analysis, we started implementation. The Unreal Engine game engine was taken as a basis, since it is one of the most advanced solutions on the game development market.

      We decided to recreate a copy of the city of Toronto, because. The Canadian market was the most capacious for us for further development, due to its investment attractiveness. Hiring about 30 developers, for a year and a half, with varying success, we created a copy of Toronto in 3D, often completely abandoning the work done in favor of more optimal solutions.

      Initially, we wanted to create technology to automatically recreate cities in 3D. In the process, we found out that the load on our servers for such a large-scale project was not profitable from a business point of view. After gaining experience and a little reflection, we focused on individual projects for Real Estate and focused on launching individual projects for developers. We never entered the Russian market with our solution. I think that the development of 3D streaming technology in Russia is a matter of time.

      During the development process, we faced a number of difficult tasks:
      • automating the process of developing cities and buildings (in passing, we developed a tool for converting BIM-data into Unreal Engine)
        the problem of graphics optimization, since servers with an Nvidia T4 card simply did not pull out a large amount of geometry, and paying for more powerful servers is simply not cost-effective;
        auto-scaling of servers, because for each session, you need to deploy a new server in the cloud (in a couple of seconds);
      • development of too many 3D objects (to achieve more realistic graphics);
      • integration of 3D into the browser, development of web interfaces for managing cloud graphics.

      I deliberately did not describe how we solved these problems, it would have turned out to be too much technical text that would distract from the essence.

      Cloud gaming involves the cost of computing power, since the entire process of processing 3D graphics takes place in real-time on cloud servers. The cost of such calculations varies from $0.5 cents to $6 per 1 hour of server operation (of course, depending on the characteristics of the project). For each user, we dynamically allocate a server, with an average duration of 1 session (5 minutes) and daily demonstration of objects for 1000 clients per day, the business will spend about $1500 per month on cloud computing.

      In the process of working on our solution, we received a grant from Amazon, thanks to which we developed and tested an auto-scaling solution for the 3D streaming cloud architecture, and now our solution supports up to 3 thousand simultaneous sessions (it is planned to increase to 50 thousand).

      When development was moving towards its logical conclusion, we began negotiations with major developers in Canada. Probably should have done it a little earlier. It turned out that the conservative real estate market is not yet ready for such changes and prefers to cover its needs with less professional solutions, for example, using WebGL or panoramic 3D tours.

      As of today, we have decided to suspend development for Real Estate and posted a demo on our website. In the example, we temporarily lowered the graphics quality (by a factor of 10) due to too much server load.


      So, soon the 3D streaming market will change the world, becoming a transitional stage from the flat Web to VR, as 3D streaming works both in regular browsers and in VR.

      Already today, it is possible to identify areas where 3D streaming will appear in the near future:

      • Online games and NFT projects
      • Medicine and healthcare
      • industrial production (Agricultural industry, Shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, aircraft building, etc.)
      • Transport logistics
      • Exhibitions and conferences
      • Architecture and design
      • Interactive online cinema
      • Interactive learning

      Perhaps 3D streaming will become a key solution for the NFT industry due to the highest quality graphics available today. In the end, in the crypto world, 1 month is equal to two years, i.e. changes are so rapid that the emergence of new technologies in this market is a matter of 3-4 months.

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    Industries for the Metaverses

    • Powerful tools for collaborative distance learning in 3D. Training classes, passing exams, communication.
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    • The best user experiences for interacting in the Metaverse through the browser of any device — in a few clicks!
    • Demonstration of investment property with the possibility of viewing apartments and choosing interiors.
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    • Solutions for the NFT market. High-quality graphics for NFT games — right in the user's browser.
    • Interactive 3D product display for retailers and showrooms. Highly realistic graphics pave the way for well-known brands.
    • High-quality presentation of NFT products in 3D format, with MetaMask integration for instant payments.