RealtimeVR: Biotic – Interactive laboratory

Dear UE4 Community,

We at LeFx are proud to present our newest reference project. As we both did not want to do an ordinary architectural visualisation and also wanted to showcase some of our industry work without disclosing any actual projects, we came up with this combined office and laboratory approach. In addition, we were aiming for a more interactive experience than our former UE4 Loft reference project was (

That’s why today we start off with the** showcase 4K video** of the scene in general and a second interaction video to display some of the functionality that we integrated into our project.

1) Showcase 4K Video

2) Interaction demo video


**Detailed Description: **

Our newest reference project is loosely based on an Evermotion Archinteriors Vol. 40 scene (source: from which we took the general blueprint.

Using the original data, which depicts a modern office space entrance, we built up a complete biological laboratory and office space with both comfortable conference and meeting rooms as well as meet & greet areas and an appealing reception area. The opening doors near the reception reveal a spacious office place including a recreational area. The furniture arrangement and the architecture itself is a fictional design by ourselves. And because every office needs a companion dog, we put an animated one in here as well. :wink: (The dog is also based on a static Evermotion model which we rigged and animated)

The office furniture is a mix of rebuilt models for real-time usage from as well as a lot of handmade stuff using real world references.
Isolated from the office is a small-sized laboratory with fume hoods and many other goodies. The models are also based on real world references.

We know that parts of the arrangement inside the lab would not be used in a real world scenario (which should be clear especially to industry insiders) but we wanted to get a bit creative while trying to achieve an overall convincing result as a showcase project.
With this project, we wanted to enhance our ability in creating larger level structures while maintaining reasonable overall performance and of course we were looking forward to present some of our UE4 work to the community.

In addition to creating a static archviz scene with a convincing look, we wanted to accomplish a higher level of interactivity. We created 3D data cards that can be displayed to the viewer as billboard cards representing further information about specific office and laboratory areas.
Additionally, we created several interactive objects that can be placed and moved throughout the scene as well as other gimmicks. For interacting with scene objects, there is a second edit mode with different controls and GUI, too. (The UI is only a prototype that we roughly put together.)
Here, the user can replace, move or rotate scene assets and change material properties.

Music “Photo theme: Window like” by Antony Raijekov

For now, we hope that you like the look and are eagerly looking forward to your feedback.

Looks very, very good; pre-rendered quality, but running in realtime. Lighting looked superb. Definitely looking forward to the interaction video.

The only thing that bugged me was the washer/dryer combo. You have all this clinical-looking lab equipment, and then a washing machine set. While I can understand their necessity, I would think(full disclosure: slightly educated guess) that they would be in an alcove or separate room, for noise and cleanliness reasons. Other than that, everything reasonably looked like it belonged there.

Simply put…

Fabulous :smiley:

Very impressive lighting quality and general attention to detail. I struggled to find lightmap errors or reflections. Would you mind posting some screenshots of your lighting setup, how your placed your reflection captures and a screenshot of the ceiling mesh?

Also really great sound choice. Watched it again just to hear that lovely music!

Thanks to you all for the compliments. And yes, Axtel, in retrospect we also have to say, that the washer/dryer combo wasn´t the best choice :slight_smile: In an earlier project this set was used directly in a lob-room without seperation and that´s why we also thought, that this is possible :slight_smile:

So Robbie222, of course we can share our setups:

First of all the mesh of the ceiling. All the edges are connected with the neighbour. The modelling is super easy, what is important is the UV-Layout, you can see at the right. We disconnected the parts of the intruded holes and give them more space that they have in the modelling, to have more place for the lighting informations.

For the Lightsetup we usually start with a skylight, to have a clean illumination. For this scene the intensity is set to 2. Next to the skylight we also have 6 lights, which have an absolutly low intensity (0.0XX) and casts no shadow. Each light is for one direction (-X,X,-Y,Y,-Z,Z). With these light you can illuminate parts of the scene, which are very dark or have problems to get enough light, like under tables oder in the corners of walls:

The third light is from reflectors in front of the windows. These lights we usually color them to a little bit of yellow, that they can interact with the blue of the skylight.

The fourth light is the sun, just standard directional light :slight_smile:

The other lights, for example for the illumination of the edge of the wall above the biotic logo are tube lights, also in standard use.

If you have problems in corners or with the light, than mostly it happens because of the lightmap. Mostly we give small detailed parts more space than the big flatten parts, for example like in the celling. And than add lights, not only where you would put some in the real world, also some to illuminate the scene in dark areas to get a smooth result.

So, i hope, we could help you. And for all, we are working on the interaction video :slight_smile:

We just updated our original post with the interaction demo video and really hope you like it. Comments and Critics are welcome! :slight_smile:

As I just said on your youtube channel- amazing project! Incalculable number of great meshes, materials and all of those small details make your scene very realistic. It’s really nice to see, that all of those meshes are movable in isometric view (3p)- I can easily imagine clients of architectural office being able to move object (or change type) just where they want to, without many long meetings and confusions. Being able to walk and read descriptions of rooms is also an amazing addon. Great work guys, keep it up!

Amazing! Cool combination of static and movable objects.

Thanks for all the nice words, guys!

@StephaBon: Nice to hear that from someone who also has a lot of experience in VR walkthroughs and ArchViz!
@Stephie’sCorner: Cool, just checked out your blog and it’s nice to get relinked, thank you! and we really appreciate it!

Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing such a detailed answer! Really appreciated.

What do you mean by “tube lights”?

By tube lights, we are refering to simple point lights that are set up with a small source radius and a larger source length, thus resembling a tube light/cylindrical light shape.

Very cool. Why do I keep thinking of a Stealth game sneaking around (with the lights turned low) or a FPS game where everyone’s shooting at everything and chairs, tables, computer screen, glass, etc. is all exploding and flying everywhere. Where this top-secret Biolab is where the evil villain (no offense if it is your client) is working on evil experiments and your role as a special shadow government operative is to infiltrate, download the data and escape with it. :slight_smile:

On a more serious note:

Indeed, if only research labs were this cool with dogs and zen gardens. And as you mentioned the lab equipment is well represented but actual labs would have tons more equipment and would not be so neat.

Some feedback:

  1. The demonstration video should be done with a console-type controller. Movements were a bit jerky for people unfamiliar with navigating in such a manner.

  2. Professional graphic designers (especially hardcore typographers) would prefer a different/better type and layout for the information popup cards.

  3. The interactive bits are of course superb, as a poster mentioned integrating the static and moveable objects so seamlessly is brilliant.

  4. Are any of the lighting elements interactive? As a layperson to me that would be a nice gimmicky thing. Would it be possible also to replace the level seamlessly with an evening-lit scene for example (without having to do realtime GI per se).

  5. As someone learning UE4, how do you foresee VXGI in your future projects/ workflow/ etc? What about app streaming to mobile/tablet?

  6. Finally, I think one of the underexplored areas of realtime ArchiViz right now is health & safety, hazard management and emergency planning. For example, simulation of fires, sprinklers, emergency lighting, etc. While ArchiViz focuses on the beauty and interactivity of such environments would clients also as part of the building and approval want to understand and visualise how to handle such scenarios?


Thank you very much for your detailed feedback!

  1. You are right and we are going to consider this for further in-game footage and presentations.

  2. Thanks for this input, too. To be honest we set ourselves a time-limit for the project to not get lost in every detail and we also just wanted to give impressions about what is possible, but of course the overall menu and billboard-card design could be improved!

  3. Thanks! :slight_smile:

  4. Well, in this particular scene, the light elements are not interactive and static. But this was just done for convenience. It would be possible to integrate dynamic lights for special cases, for example a desk lamp. Interactive lighting needs further preparations to look good and for the moment will not achieve the same visual quality as static baked lighting.
    What do you mean with “Replacing the level seamlessly?” We already did projects where the sun was interactive in that you could do a complete day/night cycle but this requires a more tuned setup as said above. If you talk about level streaming for changing to another office/laboratory etc. this is of course possible.

  5. We are not sure about VXGI but we believe that in about a year (or 2 years), there will be a lot more viable solutions for dynamic lighting that run well (on high-end hardware at least). And yes, we are also working on a streaming solution… :wink:

  6. Yes, we also think that this is an underexplored area but on the other hand there are special software suites that are more suitable for simulating those processes etc. But we could imagine using the UE as a frontend for visualising the output results and we are looking forward to a project in this area :slight_smile:

Cheers :slight_smile: …One thing came to mind, for realtime ArchiViz would having people walking around doing stuff (since it is realtime) help visualise how people would actually use the space? In “common” 3D renderings they have the people composited in eg. for shopping malls, city spaces, offices, buildings, homes, apartments, etc. I think right now the UE4 ArchiViz in general is very beautiful but somewhat “lifeless”. Just an idea.

This is very impressive!

I’m working on a interieur visualisation at the moment and I have to try the 6 directional lights. :slight_smile:

Do you have the “Lower Hemisphere is Black” Checked in the Skylight?

May I ask how many people were working on this project and how long did it take to get to this stage. Also How many of the assets were already done and how many did you need to make yourself? Just a rough estimate would be nice.

Thanks again for all your compliments and ideas. Some of them are really great and we are looking forward to implementing them in the next projects. For example about people doing “stuff” :slight_smile: (@ srmojuze)…in our past we did a lot of offline rendering arch-vis and we also used peolpe for giving life to the pictures…i think we have to do it for realtime too :slight_smile:

@ Seirei: usually we uncheck the “lower hemisphere is black” checkbox, also in this project. And to say something more for the skylight: the intensity is 2 for this project. In one of our last projects the intensity was 4. Usually we start with the six lights with really low intensity (something like 0.03) and do a pre-building. After these six lights we add the skylight (try with static and stationary, sometimes it is much better with stationary) and also do some pre-buildings. If the results are good, we add the reflectors with the spotlights in front of the windows. And also do some pre-buildings :slight_smile: At the end we add the sun, sometimes as static, sometimes as movable (depends on the type of project).

For this project there were two people working on it. But this only implicit the buildup and the setup for the scene, like build the lab, arange the furniture, lightsetup, build some furniture (like two chairs, the reception, etc) and so on. These two people worked for a week on it. The most furniture themselves were produced in other projects.

We hope that we could address your questions and if you have more feedback or questions in general regarding this project, feel free to ask us anytime.

Do you plan on selling the props used in the scene? I am looking a view and you have just the ones I need.

The lab flooring material and lab components look really good. Those are Waldner? I can’t imagine the amount of time to convert all of those for use in UE4. I’d also be interested in buying these.

Thanks again for the interest and the kind words.

@MrGoatsy and @ScottWaddell:

Yes, the lab furniture consists mostly of Waldner (inspired) pieces, but we also took reference from quite a couple of other manufacturers as well. The office furniture consists mostly of other realworld pieces, maybe slightly adapted for our usage.
Unfortunately, even if we really would like to, we are not at liberty to sell them, as they have been (at least to some extend) part of contract work for clients of ours, which do not allow the redistribution of this material. Thus, we are sorry that we can’t hand them out

Do you maybe know somebody who sells or makes lab props?