Simulating the Dutch railroads with Unity3D

Creating digital twins of buildings and other objects and viewing them in virtual reality is something many municipalities and enterprises have shown interest in. Prorail & NS are no different. They understood how important it is to have a digital twin of the rail infra, in order to be used for simulations and / or training. This can be used in VR or normal applications and/or games to immerse train machinists and other personnel for some truly awesome training sessions, or some cool games, who knows!

Last couple of months I’ve had the pleasure to work on project NEO, a simulation & visualization project for Prorail & NS. The goal of the project is to create a digital twin of the Dutch rail infra, and visualize simulations. With other words, we are making an enterprise version of Railroad tycoon! How cool is that!

During this talk I will show you the journey of the NEO team past months to create this awesome visualization which is also VR ready! I will talk about design choices and how they impacted development and how we handled Unity3D, a game engine, in an enterprise stack full of legacy code and other frameworks. Unity3D is an extremely popular game engine and works quite well. But also is infamous about “forcing” developers to create ugly code, which in its turn results onto unmaintainable applications. That is one of the reasons many enterprises are reluctant to use Unity3D for their applications. In this talk I will also discuss the steps we made to make Unity3D more enterprise “friendly” and ensure that the NEO application is still maintainable in the distant future!