3D Virtual Drill Rig Site, Animation and Video Goes Live on HARC Web Site

October 15, 2012 - For the past 6 months we have been immersed in producing a massive project for HARC (Houston Advanced Research Center) that included several videos, on-location photo shoots, dozens of 2D & 3D graphics and even a 3D virtual rig tour using Unity 3D (one incredibly powerful game development program). epic worked closely with Rich Haut, Director of the Environmentally Friendly Drilling (EFD) Systems program, and Andra Wilcox, and EFD Systems Research Assistant.

"The 3D Virtual Drill Rig created by epic demonstrates the conventional way we drill for oil and gas, then contrasts it with videos and 3D animations of a host of new tools and techniques designed to reduce the impact of energy production on the environment,” said Dr. Haut. Some of that work is shown below, but you can see the entire application by visiting a new site created by epic: www.efdvirtualsite.org. We began by developing a video for EFD Systems that takes the viewer from concept to completion of a land rig.

This project took us on video and photo shoot at the American Association of Drilling Contractors (AADC), the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), and the yards of several rig builders around the Houston area. Next, we began development work on a video tour of a typical rig site. This 6 minute video provides the viewer with a basic understanding of how a drill rig is set up, how it operates, and exactly what happens downhole. You can see our work here

We then began development work on the virtual 3D rig tour. Initially, we had planned to use Flash for the multimedia part of the rig, but Flash will not work on an iPad, and could not provide the kind of walk through we had in mind. We discovered Unity 3D, a powerful game development program that is most often used for First Person Shooter (FPS) games. In our case, we set out to build an entire rig in 3D. You simply use your mouse and keypad to navigate around the environment.

To play the game you will need to download the Unity 3D player which takes less than a minute, and you only have to do it one time. We created a short help video so anyone who is not a gamer can understand just how to use the application. This video will also help you see the highlights of the application. 

This project was developed under a grant from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The drill site was designed to demonstrate traditional drilling technologies and showcase the new environmentally friendly alternatives that are available to drillers today. The 3D Virtual tour is a work in progress, and EFD Systems is looking for sponsors to take the project to the next level. This video will provide you with information on how you can help.