Learn how ZeroLight uses Unity to develop world-leading interactive configurators for high-end technical products.

Published: September 1. 2014

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How ZeroLight uses Unity

ZeroLight is a software company that utilises its wealth of expertise to create engaging car brand experiences. With its specialist knowledge in graphics, modelling, materials, & physics, the company provides ultra-realistic, real-time configurable 3D vehicle solutions. The ZeroLight development team are Unity experts and harnesses the engine for multiplatform publishing and fast prototyping, as well as building its own asset creation toolset, advanced lighting pipeline and custom build tools on top of Unity’s core technology.

With Unity, ZeroLight has created the world’s leading virtual showroom solution. They are the visualisation partner for Audi and provide bespoke retail solutions for luxury super car manufacturer Pagani. By providing interactive visualization and configuration for world leading brands, they’re influencing and changing the way the world buys cars.

Why Unity

The ZeroLight team have a long history in development, stemming from one of the largest independent racing game developers. In 2012 they used Unity to publish Auto Club Revolution online via the Unity WebPlayer. After a great experience with the software, Unity was a natural choice for ZeroLight’s projects. Multiplatform rendering alongside a powerful, accessible and flexible editor are compelling features that continue to vindicate ZeroLight’s favour of Unity. Unity’s compatibility with propriety plugins and components allow ZeroLight to adapt and optimize for their highly specific projects.

The Workflow

ZeroLight creates Unity based tools right in the Unity editor. Their car configurator has a Unity based viewer as a tool for artists to quickly validate design. The content artists construct can either start as high polygon 3D models from car manufacturers, or as pictures and measurements when working with custom cars made without computer models. One case study saw them take over 5,000 photographs and measurements to build a high quality, accurate and approved digital depiction of a luxury vehicle. Alongside coders and artists, a number of other specialized roles also employ Unity for their projects. Examples include project management and UX design, ensuring the end result suits the client’s needs. Their customers operate in a fast moving, sprint-basedindustry of corporate web and app development. ZeroLight is the first company to deliver a high quality, real-time configurator to the web at 30fps based on its Unity developments. When developing ZeroLight’s cloud based solution, the team needed a rendering engine and toolset that would help them iterate extremely quickly. Unity’s ability to maintain performance, even on large and complex projects, is of high value. Frame rate stability and low latency user interaction on the multitude of display hardware used, including 90Hz VR headsets, 4KUHD screens and 3D projectors is of ample importance to deliver a consistent immersive experience.

“Using Unity as a solid base that our teams can build upon has enabled ZeroLight to concentrate on the features that make our product’s the best in the world. We work with the latest cutting edge hardware and we always push to be the first to create new advanced technology features, our developers enjoy the ease of prototyping these exciting innovative products with the help of the Unity toolset.”– Chris O’Connor

Value added experience

The ZeroLight team sees a huge shift in the engineering and automobile industry. Interacting with the vehicle at the highest visual fidelity gives the user a sense of reality. You can visualize how an exact configuration of a vehicle will look and drive on different terrain. Different designs also become modular. Changes can be instant because of a strict model hierarchy and real-time rendering - allowing customers to explore their exact car model before purchase. More and more retailers & manufacturers from a varied number of industries are seeing the value of real-time immersive experiences, embracing ZeroLight’s innovative use of real-time technology to revolutionize the customer buying journey.