In the early days of virtual reality, Real Serious Games had been conducting research and development on how this technology could be used to benefit the commercial industry for education and training. Virtual reality not only offered superior immersion in comparison to conventional 2D screens, but also provided users an opportunity to experience things as they would in the real world.

This led to Australia’s first commercial application to train Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) workers for the North West Rail Link project. As the construction company engaged for this project, Thiess John Holland faced the challenge of training a large number of TBM workers effectively and efficiently. Traditional training methods were time-consuming and costly, requiring on-the-job in-field training for six weeks.


To solve this challenge, Real Serious Games developed Australia's first commercial virtual reality training program for TBM workers. The program utilised Real Serious Games’ 4D Real-Time Engine to digitally build the construction environment, the TBM, and other assets, creating a realistic virtual training experience. The digital environment allowed for both virtual reality and desktop simulated training to integrate into the Certificate IV in Civil Operations.

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The simulated digital training experience was provided to 200 unskilled TBM operations personnel. As a result, the on-the-job in-field TBM training and commissioning component was reduced from 6 weeks to 2 weeks (4 weeks ahead of schedule), saving substantial time and money for the company.

The transition of personnel from the simulated training environment to the real TBM was seamless, demonstrating its success. With this training, the 200 personnel completed the full Certificate IV in Civil Construction.

Additionally, the training was so effective that the digital asset and delivery training was converted into two other resources - a tunnel induction module and emergency evacuation training. These were delivered to over 2,000 staff and workers in both Thiess John Holland and emergency services agencies.


The virtual reality training solution not only provided a cost-effective and time-efficient training program for TBM workers, but also demonstrated the potential of virtual reality technology in enhancing education and training in the commercial industry.

Virtual reality can also be used to create 3D models of construction sites, assisting with site planning, design, quality control, and project management. Architects, engineers, and workers across the project can use this 3D model to visualise and test designs, identify issues, and simulate scenarios in order to reduce errors, improve efficiency, and improve the quality of construction projects.

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