Unreal Engine for building a VR based CAD design tool

Hello All,
We are a German startup based out of Stuttgart dealing primarily in offering CAD design visualization for automobiles. Our recent interest has been in using VR to accomplish the same. We have been trying out Unreal Engine 4 since it comes with a lot of features for VR built in and so far are very pleased with it. One concern we had was that , our product must also have the capability of importing generic CAD models such as STEP, IGES etc during gameplay or in-game. However, the Unreal Studio Beta’s datasmith only offers importing these models in the editor. If anybody could shed light on whether what we hope to achieve using UE4 is possible or not, it would be greatly helpful to us.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Regards

It’s not possible without coding the support for those formats yourself.

Thank you for your reply. We have worked on HOOPS from Techsoft3D before where we developed much of STEP/IGES/SAT import support ourselves. There it was primarily tessellating the CAD model and importing it as shells into HOOPS. However, we are quite unsure of where to begin with in Unreal Engine . If you could provide a rough workflow / major steps required to achieve this in Unreal Engine 4 , we would be grateful and once developed, we will share the code so that others can use it freely too.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Regards

It can’t work with the formats as-is so you would need to code something that would convert it to a polygonal mesh, which it sounds like you’ve done before. I don’t know what to do anymore than that, I don’t do much in programming development.


I’m not sure why you want to import those models during game play. Usually in unreal we import models via OBJ or FBX file format as part of the project and then have them ready to load during game play. You can use 3ds max to convert a lot of formats into FBX or OBJ or use datasmith after you converted your file to one of the formats datasmith can read.

I don’t think I ever heard of anyone loading raw data in real time. There is always the step of converting the raw data into what unreal can use. It has to be prepared, like giving it materials or collision if needed. You can put as many prepared objects as you want into your real time project. Maybe you are looking at it the wrong way?

You probably want to look at the Procedural Mesh component in Unreal. It allows you to create new meshes at runtime by providing the vertices and triangles of the mesh. I’ve done this with importing files from Rhino at runtime.

There is also this plugin, which claims to be a more efficient alternative to Procedural Mesh (I haven’t tried it myself)

(S-Dot, there are probably thousands of reasons why someone would want to import at runtime. Of the top of my head, if you are building a car visualization tool for a designer, the user might want to be able to update the design of their car quite often. Having that capability at runtime makes iteration way faster, and you wouldn’t need someone with UE4 knowledge every single time)

the headline of AudiVTT says it all why they want to import the CAD data in Runtime.
They want to develop a VR design tool. That means you use an editor during runtime in VR. And then you have to be able to load and import any object without having to import the objects in advance into Unreal and edit and prepare them for realtime use. You do the loading, importing and further processing during runtime in the editor in VR. It’s in editor in the VR application to manipulate any object you want during runtime. VR editing in a VR application. Something similar if you would run a game and build a game with an editor inside that game.