3D CSI Training Simulation

Custom Unity software development of 3D Crime Scene Investigation Simulation. Train personnel on gathering evidence and investigating effectively.


VRG, a VR software development studio based in Bangkok & London, has undertaken a unique project in collaboration with the United Nations in Thailand. This project involved the development of a 3D simulation aimed at training personnel to effectively search and tag evidence in vessels suspected of smuggling migrants. 

Understanding the Issue

Before we delve into the details, it's crucial to understand the context of the issue VRG addressed. Smuggling of migrants is a global concern, often associated with criminal organisations and human rights abuses. Proper training for law enforcement personnel is essential to effectively combat this issue and ensure the safety and well-being of migrants.

Challenges with existing training methods

Training tends to be classroom based or organised as a workshop. The investigation process is examined with a fictitious case study used as an example. VRG was tasked with dealing with the Crime Scene Investigation that follows when a vessel suspected of smuggling migrants has been seized. 

Ideally trainees would go aboard a vessel that had actually been seized because it was suspected to be used to smuggle migrants. But this is too expensive and time consuming. VRG was briefed to recreate this experience as 3D Crime Scene Investigation Simulation, where trainees could search a fishing vessel modelled on those actually used in these crimes.

Project Details - VR or Laptop?

VRG embarked on the mission to develop a 3D simulation that replicates the real-world scenario. The project objectives were:

  • The simulation needed to run on low powered laptops as there wasn’t the possibility transporting large numbers of headsets to the training locations spread across South East Asia.

  • Provide a realistic training environment: The VR simulation replicates vessels and cargo spaces, allowing trainees to practise various search and evidence tagging scenarios.

  • Enhance decision-making skills: Trainees can make critical decisions in the virtual environment, gaining experience on what might be relevant in a real investigation.

  • Promote efficiency and safety: The simulation helps law enforcement personnel develop their skills without the costs, time and hassles of a field trip.

  • Engagement: After many hours of classroom instruction this activity should be engaging and fun.

  • Group Discussion: Trainee search activity also needed to be accessible online by the facilitator who could then go through tagged evidence to discuss with the group what would be relevant.

Development Process & Results

Initially VRG surveyed the fishing vessel on which the 3D model was based using 360 photography and LiDAR scans. A base model was built in Blender and then the additional evidence models were created. The simulation was developed using the Unity3D Engine. Once the first draft application was ready for testing and feedback we deployed a server to handle trainee activity logging. We then continued a process of iteration and bug fixes until launch date.


This innovative approach addresses a pressing issue by providing a safe and effective training platform for law enforcement personnel. The use of technology in this context is both relevant and practical, allowing trainees to gain hands-on experience of something otherwise impractical.

The 3D CSI module has been deployed successfully at every migrant smuggling training course run since 2021. VRG's collaboration with the United Nations to develop this 3D simulation is a significant step toward improving the training of law enforcement personnel and, in turn, combating migrant smuggling. It demonstrates the potential of 3D training simulations to address complex real-world issues effectively.