Help a new developer with storing a lot of 3D items!

Hello!

I am fairly new developer using Unity 4.6 for a university project.
The idea of the project are to use Oculus rift Devkit 2 and leapmotion, in order to inspect and interact with a lot of 3D objects to learn more about them. This will give access to old artefacts without having to go to a museum where they are located today.

I have already done a previous project which used same hardware and software for a short game where you hit planes and collected points so I am not completely new.

However this task is a bit different and I am not sure where to start, hence I am reaching out to this community.

I will recieve 3D models from 3DS Max which are created by another group in the project. But I am not fully sure how the best way are to store all these artefacts and get them into the scene when the user desire to. We are talking about 200-300 items of different sizes and shapes.

My vision is to let the user select one artefact at a time, either from a list or by walking up to them and select them for closer inspection. How would I store all these items for a optimal use and later on be able to have different “databases” in same concept?

Is it recomended that I import them all to unity and make them as prefabs and store them around in the scene? or should I use some sort of external database to then spawn them in when a user select items from a list? (I have experience with mySQL etc).

As you may understand this is still in the planning stage and so far I have just created a scene with a player which uses the Oculus rift and leapmotion and can move around in an open space.

Prefabs is the way to go, you wouldn’t want to import object on the fly because its 1 heavy on the engine, and 2 because you’d have to access an external server to download the objects at runtime. Just make a prefabs folder and organize it appropriately unless you want to generate the objects procedurally, then you could store a series of vector3’s and generate the mesh on runtime (again very heavy on the engine)