Arena Concourse Comes to Life With Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Provides the Optics to Drive Better Decision-Making.

People experiencing a mall - 3D renderingAs teams change cities and new stadiums get built across the country, a specific design challenge falls to architectural firms. Inside every arena, lining the corridors, are shops, bars and food stands vying for the attention of event attendees. Each of those spots represents an opportunity for the stadium and for potential service providers. Getting it right, both for style and function, is a key element of the overall arena experience. Here is where virtual reality is poised to change the game.

Intel developed Project Mall as a proof of concept to demonstrate the commercial potential of VR in the architectural realm, but that's just a jumping off point. As more and more retail spaces seek out ways to engage consumers through virtual and augmented experiences, opportunities expand for innovative VR developers to flourish. Developers interested in learning to work with VR are invited to use the freely available source code to experiment with, change around, and create their own solutions.

Project Mall Brings the Retail Experience to Life in VR

People walking in a mall - 3D rendering

Intel partnered with InContext Solutions*, pioneers of retail VR and AR, to create a virtual reality solution for designers and architects working on large-scale projects, developed a stadium with a mall. InContext Solutions* is already harnessing the power of this new technology to create smarter retail experiences, from procurement to merchandising, to transaction. Their experience in the field made them natural partners for Project Mall.

Built on Unity*, the largest game engine, Project Mall offers a virtual walkthrough of an arena concourse design before ground is ever broken for construction. Investors can stand in the action, surrounded by a simulated crowd shopping for hoodies or buying pretzels and peanuts with the muffled roar of action from a game or concert just beyond the walls. The goal was to make the virtual experience as close to reality as possible, both for effect and for the insights that could be gleaned.

Turn 3-D Models Into a Rich, Photo-Realistic Concourse Experience.

Architectural firms are already seeing the potential of VR to support multiple stages of large-scale projects. Virtual collaboration on complex spaces makes communicating and visualizing design ideas easy. Meeting up in a VR space gives designers and clients alike the ability to see the way a design stacks up in reality, amongst a simulated crowd milling about during an imagined event.

People walking in a mall - 3D rendering

With Project Mall, every detail is tended to, down to lighting conditions that change with the time of day as set by the user or the application.

On a practical level, a virtual walkthrough of the arena concourse can cement logistics from restroom location to emergency management. Also, arranging stall vendors within a stadium is more easily accomplished when all interested parties can visualize the location, complete with crowds of people in need of goods. The simple addition of the human element, in a simulated crowd of customers, brings life to what might otherwise feel like dead space.

The open source code for Project Mall is available to any developer or firm with the hardware to accommodate the program. The requirements are modest, from a VR standpoint.

Project Mall can be experienced with a Windows* mixed reality headset and runs well with an 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor and Radeon RX Vega* M highend discreet GPU. This makes Project Mall an ideal tool for developers looking to expand into VR by experimenting with existing code.

All source codes, assets, plug-ins, white papers and documentation for Project Mall and Project Arena (a VR experience of the arena itself, beyond the concourse) are available free, download the zipped code today and start exploring what's possible with virtual reality, powered by Intel.

VR for emergency management

Understanding the movement of crowds in an arena space can offer valuable insights well beyond event planning. Information gleaned in virtual simulations has the potential to save lives.

Simulation data can be studied graphically to get a better idea of walk-time between seat and exits, and call out potential bottle-necks that could affect a mass exodus in the event of an emergency.

The ability to run drills in a virtual environment, replicated precisely, could prove invaluable for first-responders.

Learn more, for more information about Project Mall and Intel VR solutions, visit the Intel® Developer Zone (Intel® DZ) VR page.

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