We are considering using Unity as the infrastructure for an application that allows the interaction with a three dimensional model of an airplane which is represented as a rendering built in Computer Aided Design (CAD) package which leverages a Unity supported file format.
The user could interact with the airplane, touch different elements of the airplane then have maintenance checklists be presented or other configuration related data.
So you can see that this is not a game that is being developed but an interactive 3d model of an airplane. Our investigation shows us that using Unity will save us considerable time since Unity will provide us the needed infrastructure and support as well as the ability to publish to the iPad.
Does our planned use of Unity make sense? Are there considerations we may have overlooked? Any suggestions or cautions in trying to achieve the building of this application via Unity?
Thanks in advance.
Keep in mind that CAD models tend to be horrible for displaying in real-time 3D, especially on something like the iPad where the GPU is quite limited. Unity has a 65,536 vertex limit per mesh (no real limits on the number of meshes), though that's not much of a limitation on the iPad since you don't want to get anywhere near that high anyway.
What you describe sounds feasible, even straightforward.
If each section of the plane is a separate mesh you will find it easy to detect which one has been touched/clicked, and highlight it. (That's not the only way to do it, but probably the most natural.)
Think about if there are any other requirements you haven't mentioned yet. For example, if you need the ability to push updates to the plane model, or print out the checklists. Unity may or may not have natural solutions to those types of problems. (Printing the checklists might be the hardest thing, at least until Apple addresses that in iOS 4.2.)
But an interactive 3d model sounds like a task that's perfect for Unity.