Aerys debuts its 3D world editor and supporting 3D engine, and shows off applications in both engineering and game development.
Thousands of engineers and game developers overheated when the first Iron Man movie debuted in 2008. It wasn’t about the action scenes or the characters; it was about the holographic design technology, an interface to die for. Six years later a French startup wants to give everyone the Tony Stark experience.
Paris-based and government-funded Aerys has created Minko, a 3D world editor (Minko Studio) and a supporting 3D engine (Minko Engine) for game development. Being young and beholden to no legacy technology, Minko works as HTML5 web apps, supporting such new tools as the Bullet physics engine, the Lua virtual machine, the Oculus Rift virtual reality viewer, and the Leap Motion hand gesture user interface. As icing on the case, the Minko Engine is open source.
For a recent public demonstration in Paris, Minko threw together its latest wrinkle, Minko Enterprises, a 3D cloud collaboration platform. Twelve-year-old kids and the Mayor of Paris built and pulled apart (to varying degrees of success) an Iron Man-like model using the Oculus Rift to see it floating in midair and the Leap Motion interface to do the design work with hand gestures.
Minko is not an environment for original design, but like Unity in game development or GrabCAD and Lagoa in engineering, an environment for collaboration. “It’s like Dropbox for 3D models,” the Aerys website says over and over.
Aerys talks like a game developer but the 3D engine supports a few CAD-related formats including IFC-STEP, DXF, and STL. Game companies using Minko today include BigPoint, Ubisoft, and Chillingo. But that isn’t stopping some forward-thinking French industrial firms from playing around with the technology; Aerys says beta testers including LVMH (luxury goods), Denso (automotive), SNCF (trains), and Safran (aeronautics) are building business applications with Minko.
What do we think?
People with vested interested in graphics tied to desktop applications keep saying professional 3D and the cloud are not compatible. Young guns itching to prove themselves keep working on it anyway, and remarkable results keep coming. Minko is the first to demonstrate both engineering and gaming, and even if the engineering was really game based, it is a taste of things to come.