Gaming Vs Civil Engineering

Being an avid ex-gamer (ex = I am married with kids now) and present product manager for engineering analysis and design software, every day I think of one thing; when will the engineering disciplines start using gaming technology?

For those who know Tetris or Snake as only existing games (no offense, these games rock!!!)



Batman Arkham Knight

Just to give some perspective, in 2007, consumer spending on games and accessories was9.5$ billion and in 2013, it had raised to 21.53$ billion. So it is one of most rapidly evolving sector with tons of innovation.

To compare it with the Civil engineering design software revenue; my estimated combined revenue of civil engineering software from BentleyAutodeskAVEVATrimble etc. will not exceed 7$ billion. Growth in civil engineering is nowhere near the gaming industry.

To me, these are the advantages that the gaming industry has;

  • Lot of cash to spend on research
  • Attract best computer science talent
  • Extremely competitive, so everyone is forced to come up with the next cool thing
  • Younger user base, which is very acceptable to radical changes

In above aspects, civil engineering software industry is definately not neck to neck to the gaming industry. Interestingly, while developing new games, gaming industry solves many civil engineering problems. Gaming industry has own physics engines which can process thousands if not hundreds of thousands (depending on machine it is running on) particles/rigid bodies per frame. For example, NVIDIA PhysX FleX offers, unified solver for effects, rigid/deformable bodies, phase transition, particle, fluids, gravity control etc.

Check out the video on PhysX FleX 

Civil engineering needs many of these advanced techniques. You may ask, aren't existing civil engineering software good enough? May be they are good for the kind of tasks engineers currently perform, but why not take it further? If civil engineering and gaming industry start working together, wherein core engine is developed by gaming industry, and the applications are developed by the civil engineering industry, we will enter a new era.

Imagine a detailed computer model of Los Angles downtown subjected to various calamities like tsunami, earthquake, fires etc. and the city officials being able to come up with various action plans addressing this complex scenario. Each building will react differently to different forces based on its structural design, years in operations, interior details etc. Structural engineers will be able to perform complex analysis like 3 dimensional fire spread and design structures accordingly within a short time.

Definitely civil engineering is already moving ahead with the use cases that I talked above, but teaming up with gaming industry will give it, say a nitro-booster.

Check out the original article and interesting comments from LinkedIn

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