Gaming Technologies & PLM? Part 2

By Virgile
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Hello! First of all, thanks for your comments on my previous post!

I spoke earlier this week about the transition from product centric to experience centric design. Let me now address the tools and technologies part. I think gaming technologies can be used in PLM.

The example of the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue screenshot confirms that the caviar for real-time 3D rendering quality is today (and will be tomorrow) found in video games.

But more importantly, this rendering quality has to be combined with a very high-level of interactivity. Many things indeed happen in a video game: fast camera changes, visual effects, large environments, etc. All these actions run on consumer equipment, like a PC, or, now, much more often on a gaming console.

So for PLM fans who would like to move to the next generation of what I would call “product experience based design”, I would strongly suggest using real gaming technologies in compliment to your traditional PLM software, with even an emphasis on those that support game platforms such as the Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

There are plenty of gaming technologies out there. Which ones should you trust?

The answer may be: the real gaming technologies, the ones you really want to use, are the ones that have undergone the challenging test of being used on today’s consoles. But why?

Let me explain. If you’re using gaming technology that was optimized for the console, you’ll most likely get more optimization for your PC. Building a game on and for a console requires the very highest level of work in terms of performance optimization. Game developers know their constraints (the console) and work hard to create amazing experiences despite them. As opposed to a game console, a PC by definition is rather unlimited in possibilities, as you can “cheat” by adding a more powerful graphics card, a more power CPU, more memory etc.

Having said that, game development is still a very young industry compared to more traditional industries, and it is difficult to find a gaming technology usable by people who are not game development experts. In addition, most technologies, as well as being hard to use, don’t allow a very fast prototyping and iteration process, which is essential to both PLM and gaming.

What do you think?


From Building Products to Experiences: Can Gaming Technologies Help? Part 1

By Virgile
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First of all, I’d like to say I’m happy to start blogging here. :-)

I’m writing today and in the next coming days about what tangible products and video games have in common.

To be sure we’re all on the same page, let’s go through a very quick definition exercise first. (These are at least my working definitions for this blog series):

  • PLM is historically about developing better products. How do we accelerate their time to market, plan for their manufacturing, determine what kind of factory is needed to make them (human resources etc.), and what materials are actually needed to build the products, as well as the simulation of these materials?
  • Video game development is historically about providing the best possible entertainment experience, not being worried about how realistic it was. Over the last 15 years, we’ve seen a democratization of high quality 3D through consumer video cards, with today video games that look almost as realistic as a photo.

Promoting fun and the experience:
In order to illustrate the way we look at products, I’ve selected two TV ads from Peugeot. The first one is from the 80s, the second from early 2008 (French version only, sorry).

Peugeot 205 ad: YouTube Preview Image
With this one, you clearly see a product centric communication. People are just turning their heads 180°, impressed when they see it.

Peugeot 207 ad: YouTube Preview Image

On this more recent ad, the communication is definitely experience centric. Yes, the car looks good, everybody expects that. What really matters here is that it’s fun to drive.

A few years back, designing and promoting a car was about the car itself: good looking, attractive, sexy, whatever. If you look at today’s advertising, the industry has widely evolved towards the experience (all ads) and the fun (most ads). This clearly states that the car itself is obviously important, but how you may feel or enjoy driving it is what makes the real difference.

In order to imagine and create the cars, car manufacturers therefore need to simulate these experiences: how does it feel to get into the car when you’re 2 meters tall? What about if you’re only 1.5 meters tall? How is it to drive it under the rain at dark? Do you feel safe or at risk? These are only a few examples, the other ones are easy to guess… but all of them ideally would require analysis very early in the design process of the “perfect car”, depending on its targeted customers and distribution regions.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about the tools and technologies that are needed to adapt from a product centric development to an experience centric approach.


P.S. The image at the start of this blogpost is a good example of how realistic today’s video games can look. Thanks to Sony for this stunning screenshot. The screenshot was taken from the game Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and developed by Polyphony Digital (one of Sony’s internal studios). You can find more of them on

Xplorair: A New Mobility Concept

By Richard
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Xplorair PX200

Here is one of our current Passion for Innovation projects: Xplorair.

When I was approached about it, I immediately thought, “Wow! Here is The Fifth Element taxi!” That being said, it quickly became obvious that Xplorair was a solid project, lead by an experienced aero engineer named Michel Aguilar.

The candidate projects we favor most in Passion for Innovation must bring something new and exciting to the world. There was no doubt about the excitement Xplorair generated when I read the proposal. And as for innovation, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself:

The Xplorair is a vertical take-off and landing without rotative wing vehicle based on the Coanda effect.

What is the Coanda effect? To put it briefly, it’s the ability of a fluid flow (liquid or gas) to “stick” to a convex surface and to attract it. It has been studied by the engineer Henri Coanda, therefore its name. A simple demonstration of this effect can be done by holding a sheet of paper by one of its ends, with one hand on each corner of that end. Blow on the piece of paper while aiming your breath between your hands, and you will see the free end of the paper rise up.

Congratulations! You have shown that upper surface blowing creates a bearing strength. This is what Xplorair is based on. If you blow on a wing’s upper surface, you will take off. If the wing is in fact made of two articulated parts with the jet engine blowing somewhere in the middle, it’s enough to change the angle between the two wing parts to make the transition between vertical take-off, and regular, horizontal flight.

The Coanda effect has already been used on some aircrafts to bring additional bearing strength and reduce take-off distances. However, Xplorair is definitely a breakthrough as it is the FIRST aircraft entirely relying on this effect for BOTH take-off and flight.

To spice up the project, Xplorair will treat the subject of greener mobility. The engine– a brand new kind of engine called a thermoreactor– is a second technical breakthrough in its own right. It will use second generation biofuels (i.e. non threatening for food nor biodiversity), and some cabin elements, such as the control panel and seats, will be made out of agro-materials.

Xplorair will come in several versions (1, 2 or 4 seats). For starters we’re working to develop the monoseat version, the PX200 (for Personal Xplorair, 200 km/h).

The Xplorair team is using CATIA V5 as the 3D CAD software for design, SIMULIA and CAA-partner CD-Adapco solutions to simulate the vehicle in operation.

So, is Xplorair an airplane? a flying car? a flying motorbike? No matter what you call it, it’s a new mobility concept.

And who could give this concept a shape if not DS Design Studio? I’m happy to announce that we just started the ideation phase with Anne Asensio’s enthusiastic and creative team. They were already sketching during the meeting. ;-)

Stay tuned for more info about Xplorair in future 3D Perspectives blog posts.

Keep 3D-ing!



P.S. Unfortunately, neither Bruce Willis nor Milla Jovovich will be delivered with the final product, just in case you’re wondering . . .

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