MetaVR, Inc.
MetaVR News Volume XIII, Issue 1 April 29, 2009  


MetaVR creates 3D real-time environments that provide the fidelity of geospecific simulation with game quality graphics and performance.

In this issue:

26.A – MetaVR’s New 3D Afghanistan Terrain
26.B – Patent Issued for Metadesic Terrain Architecture

26.C – New MetaVR VRSG Version 5.5
26.D – Additions to 3D Vehicle Libraries

 Terrain of Afghanistan 26.A

MetaVR’s New 3D Afghanistan Terrain

To meet the needs of training NATO soldiers for warfare in Afghanistan, MetaVR has built 3D geospecific terrain covering 9,600 square kilometers, featuring a high-resolution virtual village with over 500 buildings in the Afghan province of Kabul. This virtual terrain is available in both MetaVR’s round-earth and flat-earth formats for visualizing in the company’s Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™). The terrain will also be delivered with correlated SAF databases in CTDB and OTF formats.

As a significant percentage of Afghanistan’s population lives in mountainous terrain, training warfighters in a simulated environment that accurately represents mountainous regions with small population centers is critical. Unlike the simplified, flattened terrain used to simulate urban environments in most image generators and video games, MetaVR’s Afghan village is set within mountains and complex terrain of varying elevation, enabling realistic training scenarios for operations in mountain villages. The virtual terrain for this area was built from geospecific high-resolution elevation and imagery source data and augmented with finer level terrain details that add to the realism near ground level.

This virtual terrain, built with MetaVR Terrain Tools for ESRI ArcGIS, includes 1,120 square kilometers of 60 cm Digital Globe commercial satellite source imagery and 90 meter elevation posts and features a highly detailed 2 x 2 km inset terrain patch of a geospecific Afghan village. This terrain is built entirely from commercial, non-export controlled source data.

This Afghanistan virtual terrain provides the opportunity for users to conduct challenging exercises within its tunnel and cave network, as is demonstrated in the example insurgent stronghold. Accurately simulating typical below-ground entrances is another important part of preparing soldiers for Afghanistan and other mountainous regions.

The modeled village is based on the small village of Khairabad in the southern part of the Kabul province. Khairabad, situated at an altitude of 1,843 meters, is located approximately 10-15 kilometers south of the Kabul city center, next to Qalai Naeem in the Char Asiab district.

This virtual village and its surrounding mountainous terrain give users the ability to conduct ground combat simulations, such as sniper and forward air controller (JTAC) exercises, with a high degree of realism. For example, the high-resolution terrain and models appear accurately, without visual artifacts, while being rendered as simulated magnified scope views and laser designator optics. Real-time recordings of a JTAC exercise scenario and other warfighter training scenarios, based on the Afghanistan virtual terrain, can be viewed on our web site.

MetaVR’s Afghanistan 3D terrain, built in collaboration with Simthetiq, is available free of charge in MetaVR’s terrain formats and SAF formats to all US Government and NATO agency and contractor customers (for official use only) on active maintenance. The terrain requires both VRSG version 5.5 or higher and active software maintenance in order to run. Please contact to purchase or renew VRSG software maintenance.


 Metadesic Terrain Architecture 26.B

Patent Issued for Metadesic Terrain Architecture

The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued MetaVR, Inc. a patent (US Patent 7,425,952) for the invention of its Metadesic virtual terrain architecture, which represents the earth’s surface in a geocentric coordinate system that accurately represents the curvature of the earth and handles ordinate axis convergence at the poles.

MetaVR’s Metadesic architecture is used with the MetaVR VRSG image generator and provides the following key benefits that address shortcomings of classic projection-based database architecture:

  • A geocentric terrain representation to accurately represent earth curvature and handle polar regions correctly.
  • A pageable format to enable databases of arbitrary resolution and geographic coverage.
  • Support for sparse coverage where the areas to be included in the database need not be rectangular.
  • A metadata-free design whereby the indexing overhead of the terrain data does not scale with geographic coverage or resolution of the source data.
  • The ability to update small regions of the database in short periods of time without the need to restart the run-time system.
  • The ability to incrementally update the database by adding to its coverage or updating pre-compiled regions with newer source data.
  • A robust database generation process that can be parallelized and restarted following computer or software failure.


 VRSG Version 5.5 26.C

New MetaVR VRSG Version 5.5

The release of version 5.5 of MetaVR VRSG software contains the following new features, enhancements, and 3D content:

  • Additions to the military vehicle 3D model library. Approximately 135 new models have been added to MetaVR’s 3D content library of military entities as described in item 26.D.
  • Sensor enhancements include significantly improved rendering performance of IR modes, and the ability to control sensor effects on per viewport as well as per channel basis. VRSG’s new sensor features include:
    • Digital zoom capability that simulates the expected blocky, aliased artifacts of a sensor as the pixel boundaries become visible at high levels of zoom.
    • Digital compression artifacts that simulate the effects of a sensor’s transmitted video. This process is entirely pixel-shader based, adding minimal impact on performance at sensor resolutions. This feature complements the new digital zoom feature, as compression artifacts are more noticeable on a zoomed image.
  • VRSG’s recording feature now has a new higher quality and higher performance MPEG codec with reduced latency, support for a broader set of resolutions, support for EG 0601.1 KLV metadata encoding, and the ability to record at 60 Hz. The plugin now simulates a plug-and-play video feed for applications such as the ROVER wireless video-transmission system. Also new in VRSG version 5.5 is a plugin for recording uncompressed AVI video for the highest possible quality; this plugin is useful for cases in which video authoring is the primary objective.
  • Sky enhancements that include an ephemeris model to calculate sun position, moon position, and moon phase from date, time, and geographic location. Lighting conditions can now be automatically calculated from date, time, and geographic location. Night scenes now also include a 40,000 light-point star field.
  • Ability to automatically generate cultural feature lighting from shape files of road networks. This feature, along with the moon disk, and star field features enable trainees in a simulator to navigate in a nocturnal exercise with accurate celestial references, and provide realistic stimulation of actual night vision goggles.
  • Support for up to 8 independent, concurrent, steerable light lobes for video cards that support Pixel Shader Model 3.0.
  • Enhancements to volumetric clouds, which include improved randomization and new absorption model for more realistic cloud illumination.
  • New shot effect feature that enables bullet marks to be created on dynamic entities or static culture.
  • New scope view feature that simulates looking at a scene through a sniper scope.
  • Detail texture capability for Metadesic-formatted terrain. Artificial microtexture applied to geospecific imagery at runtime for improved ground cues and sense of motion.
  • Ability to generate geometric ground detail such as grass, vegetation, or other surface details dynamically using the feature ID attribute of OpenFlight databases prior to conversion to MetaVR’s flat-earth (MDX) format.
  • Support for the Polhemus Scout head tracker.
  • New plugins to support distortion correction for OmniMap and Elumens dome displays.

Version 5.5 of VRSG is available for download to customers on active maintenance. Please contact to purchase or renew VRSG software maintenance.


3D Content Libraries 26.D

Additions to 3D Vehicle Libraries

Among the 135 new military models delivered with VRSG version 5.5 is a set of 29 technical vehicle models (modified armed commercial vehicles). These new technical models represent vehicles that are in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The paint schemes of the technicals are derived from publically available photos on the Internet of actual vehicles from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, and Somalia. Many of these models are used in the scenarios that are delivered with MetaVR’s Afghanistan database.

MetaVR’s 3D content library of military entities also includes a full set of models of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) production vehicles, including a new high-resolution Buffalo model with an articulated arm and optional cage armor, a photo-specific model of the M1A2 TUSK, and photorealistic F-15 and F-16 models.

The 3D content libraries that are delivered with VRSG contain run-time models with 512 x 512 textures. However, the latest additions to the military vehicle model library are also available from MetaVR with full-resolution textures of 1024 x 1024 or 2048 x 2048. Models with 512 x 512 textures keep the installation of the 3D content libraries small, are easily transferred on the Internet, keep VRSG’s rendering performance at 60 MHz, and require only a small amount of media storage. These models satisfy the needs of most of MetaVR’s VRSG users. The models with full-resolution textures are much larger in file size, thus they require greater bandwidth to transfer on the Internet and to store on media. However, such models are valuable to use in cases where the eyepoint in a simulation is very close to the entity, such as 10 meters or less. Viewing a large number of models with full-resolution textures simultaneously may affect rendering performance. Upon request, MetaVR will send to customers with active maintenance, all available full-resolution models. To receive information regarding additional models as they become available, please send an email to indicating "Subscribe to Models" on the subject line.


This electronic newsletter may be redistributed without restriction in any format as long as the contents are unaltered.

Previous issues of MetaVR News can be found at

Copyright © 2009, MetaVR, Inc.

MetaVR, Inc.
80 Somerset Road
Brookline, MA 02445 USA

MetaVR, Virtual Reality Scene Generator, VRSG, Metadesic, the phrase "geospecific simulation with game quality graphics", and the MetaVR logo are trademarks of MetaVR, Inc. Metadesic US Patent 7,425,952.

To subscribe to MetaVR News, send an email message to indicating "Subscribe to Newsletter" on the subject line. Please include your name in the email.

To unsubscribe from MetaVR News, send an email message to indicating "Unsubscribe from Newsletter" on the subject line.

Please view our privacy policy at

This newsletter is in full compliance with the enrolled (final) text of bill S.877, which became law on January 1, 2004, and which allows the sender to transmit unsolicited commercial electronic mail so long as the message contains an opt-out mechanism, a functioning return email address, and the legitimate physical address of the mailer.