Multidisciplinary collaborative design in virtual environments
Design projects in the AEC domain involve collaboration among a number of design disciplines, usually in separate locations. There has been an increase in the interest in synchronous collaborative virtual environments as an alternative or extension to collaborating using CAD systems. This paper puts forward a 3D virtual world environment which provides real-time multi-user collaboration for designers in different locations and allows for the different design disciplines to model their view of a building as different representations. This 3D world is extended to provide a more complete collaborative environment. Relationships between the objects in the different models are seen as central to the maintenance of consistency and control while changing the design. Agent technology is used to manage the different views, the creation and modification of objects in the 3D virtual world and the necessary relationships with the database(s) belonging to each discipline.