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Epic Games has teamed up with Cesium to enable 3D geospatial technology in games that use the Unreal Engine.

Cesium will be available for free for all creators on the Unreal Engine Marketplace. It’s an open-source plugin for the engine that unlocks global 3D data and geospatial technology. This means that games that use it will be able to discover in real time the location of a player in a given 3D space, using accurate real-world 3D content captured from cameras, sensors, drones, and smart machines.

Marc Petit, general manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games, said in a statement that Cesium’s expertise in cloud-based geospatial software and emphasis on open standards for streaming massive amounts of 3D content fits with Epic’s vision for an open metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, recently talked about Epic’s ambitions for an open metaverse at our GamesBeat Summit event in January.

Cesium for Unreal enables developers to integrate global high-resolution 3D content in the form of photogrammetry, terrain, imagery, and 3D buildings data into their applications. Immersive geospatial applications require massive high-resolution real-world content to create a photorealistic experience for the user. This data can easily run into many terabytes of storage. Cesium uses the 3D Tiles spatial index to optimize the user experience by only loading content that is most important to the user’s experience.

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Using 3D geospatial technology in real-world environments — from building immersive experiences in artist-created scenes to those based on 3D content in its precise geospatial location — represents a shift in industries including training and simulation; architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC); automotive and transportation; film and television; broadcast and live events; and games.

Above: Cesium for Unreal allows users to integrate global high-resolution 3D content in the form of photogrammetry, terrain, imagery, and 3D buildings data into their applications.

Image Credit: Cesium/Epic Games

The plugin is the first step toward a future in which immersive, global-scale 3D applications with pinpoint precision are ubiquitous across industries.

It includes integration with Cesium ion for optional commercial access to curated 3D content like global terrain, 3D buildings, photogrammetry, and satellite imagery, and software to convert custom high-resolution 3D data into streamable 3D tiles.

Meanwhile, Epic Games also launched Twinmotion 2021.1, a tool for developers that enables them to create, develop, and present real-time visualizations, from first concept to advanced photorealistic experiences.

With the addition of the seamless Bridge to Unreal Engine, shareable Presenter Cloud, and thousands of high-quality assets through the new Quixel Megascans integration, Twinmotion 2021.1 opens up new storytelling possibilities to all creators, Epic said.

Twinmotion has a simple interface that enables architects, designers, and students to create high-quality 3D images themselves, without having to outsource the work to visualization specialists. Users can easily import their existing building models from most BIM and CAD programs — including Archicad, Revit, SketchUp Pro, RIKCAD, and Rhino — into Twinmotion, and rapidly supercharge them using the software’s sophisticated capabilities, resulting in pixel-perfect visualizations that can be created and edited in minutes rather than days.

Twinmotion 2021.1 is available at a 25% discount price of $370 (regional pricing may vary) for a perpetual license—offer ends April 1, 2021. This introductory price includes all subsequent upgrade releases until the end of December 2021. There’s also a free trial option for those wishing to evaluate the new features before purchasing, and a free educational version for students and teachers.

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