Using Game Engines in Lightning Shielding: The Application of the Rolling Spheres Method on Virtual As-Built Power Substations
Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32795
Using Game Engines in Lightning Shielding: The Application of the Rolling Spheres Method on Virtual As-Built Power Substations

Authors: Yuri A. Gruber, Matheus Rosendo, Ulisses G. A. Casemiro, Klaus de Geus, Rafael T. Bee


Lightning strikes can cause severe negative impacts to the electrical sector causing direct damage to equipment as well as shutdowns, especially when occurring in power substations. In order to mitigate this problem, a meticulous planning of the power substation protection system is of vital importance. A critical part of this is the distribution of shielding wires through the substation, which creates a 3D imaginary protection mesh similar to a circus tarpaulin. Equipment enclosed in the volume defined by that 3D mesh is considered protected against lightning strikes. The use of traditional methods of longitudinal cutting analysis based on 2D CAD tools makes the process laborious and the results obtained may not guarantee satisfactory protection of electrical equipment. This work describes the application of a Game Engine to the problem of lightning protection of power substations providing the visualization of the 3D protection mesh, the amount of protected components and the highlight of equipment which remain unprotected. In addition, aspects regarding the implementation and the advantages of approaching the problem using Unreal® Engine 4 are described. In order to validate results, a comparison with traditional 2D methods is applied to the same case study to which the proposed technique has been applied. Finally, a comparative study involving different levels of protection using the technique developed in this work is presented, showing that modern game engines can be a powerful accessory for simulations in several areas of engineering.

Keywords: Game engine, rolling spheres method, substation protection, UE4, Unreal® Engine 4.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1173


[1] P. Abichandani, W. Fligor, and E. Fromm. A cloud enabled virtual reality based pedagogical ecosystem for wind energy education. In 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) Proceedings, pp. 1–7, Oct 2014. doi: 10.1109/FIE.2014.7044192.
[2] Bentley. Bentley Substation. solutions/substation-design, 2013. (Online; accessed June 20, 2017).
[3] Andrés N. Cadavid, Dinael G. Ibarra, and Sebastian L. Salcedo. 2014. Using 3-D Video Game Technology in Channel Modeling. IEEE Access 2 (2014), 1652–1659.
[4] Charalambos A. Charalambous, Nikolaos D. Kokkinos, and Nikolas Christofides. 2014. External Lightning Protection and Grounding in Large-Scale Photovoltaic Applications. IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility 56, 2 (April 2014), 427–434.
[5] ABNT Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas. 2015. NBR 5419-3 - Proteção contra descargas atmosféricas. ABNT, Av.Treze de Maio, 13 - Rio de Janeiro – RJ.
[6] Entegra. 2011. Primtech - Primary Technology CAE System for CAD Design of High-Voltage Switchgear. lightning_protection_calculation.php. (2011). (Online; accessed June 20, 2017).
[7] Xu Feng, Shan Daguo, and Yang Hongchen. 2010. Simulation research of crime scene based on UDK. In The 2nd International Conference on Information Science and Engineering. 1–4.
[8] Rob Foote. 2016. KFVS. All rights reserved. 31140647/who-rules-the-entertainment-industry. (2016). (Online; accessed June 10, 2017).
[9] Epic Games. 2016. Unreal Engine - BlueprintAPI. https://docs.unrealengine. com/latest/INT/BlueprintAPI/Components/ProceduralMesh/index.html. (2016). (Online; accessed June 15, 2017).
[10] Epic Games. 2016. Unreal Engine - Materials. latest/INT/Engine/Rendering/Materials/. (2016). (Online; accessed June 10, 2017).
[11] Joachim Greiner, Tobias Oesterlein, Gustavo Lenis, and Olaf Dössel. 2016. Virtualreality based visualization of cardiac arrhythmias on mobile devices. In 2016 Computing in Cardiology Conference (CinC). 1081–1084.
[12] INPE. 2017. INPE - Insituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais. http://www.inpe. br/webelat/rindat/menu/desc.atm/. (2017). (Online; accessed June 14, 2017).
[13] DEHN Lightning and Safety Equipment Surge Protection. 2014. Lightning protection guide 3rd updated Edition. DEHN + SÖHNE GmbH + Co.KG, Hans-Dehn-Str. 1 Postfach 1640 - Neumarkt - Germany.
[14] Neil McDonagh and Danijela Klopotan. 2012. The development of a 3-D rolling sphere algorithm for lightning protection. In Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC), 2012 47th International. IEEE, 1–5.
[15] Trevir Nath. 2016. NASDAQ - National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. (2016). (Online; accessed June 10, 2017).
[16] Andrés Navarro, Dinael Guevara, and Narcís Cardona. 2014. Using game engines and graphic technologies for ray-tracing in future wireless. In The 8th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP 2014). 1780–1784. https://doi. org/10.1109/EuCAP.2014.6902139
[17] Vladimir A. Rakov. 2012. Lightning discharge and fundamentals of lightning protection. Journal of Lightning Research 4, 1 (2012), 3–11.
[18] (R.B. Rodrigues, V.M.F. Mendes, and J.P.S. Catalão. 2009. Estimation of lightning vulnerability points on wind power plants using the rolling sphere method. Journal of Electrostatics 67, 5 (2009), 774 – 780. 2009.05.002
[19] Matheus Rosendo, Tiago M. Buriol, Klaus de Geus, Sérgio Scheer, and Carlos E. Felsky. 2011. Towards the Development of a 3D Serious Game for Training in Power Network Maintenance. In 2011 Third International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications. 16–23. 2011.46
[20] SBS. 2015. Substation Design Suite. (2015). (Online; accessed June 20, 2017).
[21] Angel Serrano-Laguna, Javier Torrente, Borja Manero, and Baltasar FernandezManjon. 2014. A game engine to learn computer science languages. In 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) Proceedings. 1–8. FIE.2014.7044112.
[22] Carlos M. Torres-Ferreyros, Matthew A. Festini-Wendorff, and Pedro N. Shiguihara-Juárez. 2016. Developing a videogame using unreal engine based on a four stages methodology. In 2016 IEEE ANDESCON. 1–4. ANDESCON.2016.7836249.
[23] Qizhang Xie, Stephane Baron, Simon Fortin, and Farid P. Dawalibi. 2009. Rolling Sphere Method using 3D Graphics Approach. In 2009 Asia-Pacific Power and Energy Engineering Conference. 1–4.
[24] Qizhang Xie, Stéphane Baron, Sylvie Lefebvre, Simon Fortin, Qingyi Han, and Farid P Dawalibi. 2016. 3D computer graphics enhanced shielding failure evaluation by collection surface method. Electric Power Systems Research 139 (2016), 75–80.
[25] Portal “O Setor Elétrico”. 2010. Desvendando os fascínios do raio. (Online; accessed June 14, 2017).