nCircle Tech | Blogs | The Developers Guide to Develop 3D Mobile Applications
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Every other organization today works for developing customized mobile apps for both iOS/Android, as mobile apps is what enables you to connect directly with customers. Business processes and systems are therefore being streamlined to be in synch with the mobile apps. Apps are the easiest choice due to their computing power, ease of use and portability. More than 2 billion 

While the mobile app market for consumers is already intensively competitive, 3D mobile tools and apps for manufacturing and engineering industries has also become part of this, and aims at enhancing the customer experience even further.  Engineering enterprises are becoming aware of the benefits 3D apps offer to their engineers to capture ideas and concepts, view drawings and models and collaborate with other teams. 

David Chadwick from Siemens has wonderfully explained how these apps can make life simpler for all. For example, a maintenance engineer would be able to view the spare parts inventory on the device, find the correct spare part and check for its availability in the factory. One can also access 3D models and drawing of products to solve problems immediately, have quick access to specifications and drawings for a machine and increase the response time to clients’ queries or problems.  A deft implementation of 3D apps means an overall increase in productivity and effectiveness. Sales Engineers also stand to gain from using 3D mobile apps as they are able to demonstrate the 3D models without using desktops, thus saving time in sales cycle. 

 

Challenges:

  • To pick the best suitable toolkit to develop the 3D mobile application which can run on iOS/Android.
  • Issues faced by developers using third party libraries or prebuilt libraries to create applications
  • Using C++ as a base language for Android OS is complicated. STl is not completely supported for Android
  • RAM not sufficient to run heavy duty applications on mobile devices on both iOS/Android

Solution:

Keeping all this in mind, the nCircle Tech team developed a Guide suggesting 4 toolkits to build 3D visualization mobile apps. Hope you find it useful! 

 

Available Tools:

OpenGL® ES:

OpenGL® ES is a royalty free, cross platform API for full-function 2D and 3D graphics on embedded systems – including consoles, phones, appliances and vehicles. As a graphics API it specifies a standard software interface for 3D graphics processing hardware. Android supports several versions of the OpenGL ES API; however support of the OpenGL ES 3.0 API on device requires implementation of this graphics pipeline provided by device manufacturer.

System requirements for creating OpenGL ES app for iOS and Android include Visual C++ in Visual Studio 2015 for cross platform mobile development. The necessary third party tools and SDKs and Visual Studio Emulator for Android should be installed as well. A Mac computer will be needed to build and test the iOS app.

CoCos3D:

Cocos3D is an open source 3D application framework with MIT license for iOS, Android, and Mac OSX platforms. It uses Xcode and Objective C to help you build 3D games and applications and is quite user friendly. Cocos3D is a companion to Cocos2D which is a popular framework for building games and applications in 2D. It comes with features like 3D mesh models, perspective projective cameras. It allows you to import models from 3D editors like Blender, 3Ds Max, Cheetah3D and create your own models using Objective-C Code. Cocos3D and Cocos2D are built on top of the OpenGL ES frameworks that run on all iOS devices and are written in Objective –C.

To sum up Cocos3D offers the following features:

  • Let’s you create full 3D applications or games without switching over to C or C++ unlike other 3D frameworks.
  • Build 3D apps for iOS devices, Android devices, or Mac computers running OSX in which the same 3D content and game logic will run unchanged.
  • Allows use of OpenGL programmable pipelines for sophisticated GLSL shader rendering, or use OpenGL fixed pipelines for simpler configurable rendering.
  • Allows seamless integration with the iOS UIViewController framework.
  • Permits loading 3D models, textures and GLSL shaders on a background thread while he scene is being displayed, and automatically adds them to the scene when loading is complete.
  • Cocos3D arranges model objects in sophisticated structural assemblies which can be easily replicated. Each duplicated model can be independently controlled, animated, colored, or textured.
  • Dynamic materials, textures multi texturing and bump mapped textures can be used to create rich realistic imagery and create sophisticated surface effects for 3D objects.

Unity:

Unity3D is a popular paid multiplatform game engine using which you can create full range mobile apps with VR, and apps for desktop, Web, Console and TV platforms with just one click. It is highly customizable. Its integrated services speed up the development process and optimize the workflow by simplifying build tools and processes into a single automated pipeline.

Unity provides a range of services to help developers make games and engage, retain and monetize audiences like Unity Ads, Unity Collaborate, Unity certification, Unity Multiplayer, Unity Analytics, Unity Cloud Build, Unity Everyplay and Unity Performance Reporting.  All the visible pieces of a game can be put together (the IDE) with graphical preview and controlled “play it” function. 

Hoops Visualize:

Hoops Visualize is a paid graphics engine for developing high-performance applications.by Techsoft 3D. Hoops Visualize helps to develop a unified and modern API which helps to add high performance, interactive 3D visualization to desktop and mobile applications. It has a wide range of technical features including

  • A rich, flexible graphics display for both desktop and mobile: 3D/2D, point clouds, text, images
  • Optimized on-screen viewing, manipulation and interaction
  • Large model handling for real-time viewing of large datasets
  • Advanced GPU effects: real-time shadows, reflection panes, silhouette edges, optimized transparency and multi-layer texturing
  • Advanced multi-plane sectioning, sectioning with endcaps
  • High-quality TrueType and 3D text support
  • High-quality WYSIWYG hardcopy output (PDF, PostScript, GDI)
  • Optimized shader-based rendering for OpenGL2, OpenGL ES and DirectX
  • Multi-platform support: Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris, Mac OS X, iOS and Android
  • Wide-UI Support: MFC, Qt, WPF,  iOS Cocoa and Android SDK-Java
  • Language support: C, C++, C#, Objective-C
  • Multi-threaded and thread safe code

These toolkits enable a seamless development of 3D Visualization based mobile apps  for both iOS and Android! 

References

Image courtesy: www.pixabay.com

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nCircle Tech (inCorporated in 2012) empowers passionate innovators to create impactful 3D visualization software for desktop, mobile and cloud. Our domain expertise in CAD-BIM customization driving automation with the ability to integrate advanced technologies like AI/ML and VR/AR; empowers our clients to reduce time to market and meet business goals. nCircle has a proven track record of technology consulting and advisory services for the AEC and Manufacturing industry across the globe. Our team of dedicated engineers, partner ecosystem and industry veterans are on a mission to redefine how you design and visualize.

Over the last 7+ years, the organisation has worked on more than 150 large and complex projects for 50+ customers across 15+ countries.


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