MetaVR, Inc.

MetaVR News Volume XVIII, Issue 1 April 22, 2014  


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

MetaVR announces the release of MetaVR Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) version 5.9 with a new urban geospecific training database of Kismayo, Somalia, and VRSG Scenario Editor version 1.1. VRSG version 5.9 contains several new features, enhancements, and 3D content and is available to customers on active maintenance.

In this issue:

41.A – New Urban Training Database
41.B – New Sample Scenarios
41.C – Enhancement to VRSG's Real-Time Recording/Streaming Plugin
41.D – Model Viewer Enhancements
41.E – Additions to 3D Model Libraries
41.F – Other Enhancements
41.G – New Terrain of Africa
41.H – Aerial Imagery Collection Platform
41.I – VRSG Scenario Editor Version 1.1
41.J – How to Obtain VRSG Version 5.9

  Urban Training 41.A

New Urban Training Database

A key feature of VRSG version 5.9 is MetaVR's new high-resolution geospecific 3D terrain of the southern Somalia port city of Kismayo for supporting U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and NATO training. This new virtual 3D environment contains varied terrain representative of important training environments, from a built-up port to dense urban streets to a sparsely populated outer region that includes a commercial airport.

The terrain is populated with hundreds of geographically specific culture models built from ground-level photographs taken on the streets of Kismayo. In addition to these geolocated and photo-realistic models of buildings and other structures, several hundred other buildings were modeled by matching the structural footprints visible in the imagery as geotypical models with culturally and architecturally accurate details.

This virtual terrain was built with 50 cm per-pixel Digital Globe (GeoEye-1) satellite imagery covering 1,017 sq km of the southern Somalia port city and blended into 15 meter-per-pixel (mpp) NaturalVue imagery of all of Somalia with SRTM void filled elevation source data. The terrain was built in MetaVR's round-earth format for visualizing in VRSG using MetaVR's Terrain Tools for ESRI ArcGIS and VRSG Scenario Editor for feature placement and is available at no charge to customers with active software maintenance. The terrain database is an entirely self-financed venture by MetaVR.

Because of the highly detailed geospecific nature of the Kismayo terrain, this database can be used for a variety of training purposes such as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators practicing target identification, JTACs coordinating ground strikes, ground units preparing for urban exercises against insurgent clashes, World Food Program relief efforts, helicopter pilots practicing landing drills, and coastline security missions.

  Sample Scenarios 41.B

New Sample Scenarios

Delivered with VRSG version 5.9 are several sample scenarios that take place on virtual Kismayo, Somalia, and virtual Kabul province, Afghanistan, terrain databases. All the scenarios were created in VRSG Scenario Editor version 1.1 and are editable. You can now play these scenarios and any scenarios you create in Scenario Editor on the new Scenarios tab on the VRSG Dashboard. You can also play these scenarios directly from the MetaVR program folder on the Windows Start menu. HD resolution videos recorded with our new software real time video compression codec are available on our website.

Note that due to the memory required to load the substantial amount of content in the sample scenarios, MetaVR strongly recommends running these scenarios on a Windows 7 64-bit system with at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3 GB memory graphics card.

The sample scenarios are installed in:
\MetaVR\VRSG 5\Terrain\Somalia\Kismayo\SEv1.1\Scenarios\ and
\MetaVR\VRSG 5\Terrain\Afghanistan\SEv1.1\Scenarios\.

  Recording Plugin 41.C

Enhancement to VRSG's Real-Time Recording/Streaming Plugin

VRSG 5.9 has a new CUDA-based H.264 streaming/recording plugin which significantly improves the performance, quality, and bandwidth over the existing MPEG-2 plugin. This unique GPU encoding performance is achieved by licensed software from Zedasoft.

With a high-end NVIDIA card such as the GeForce GTX 780, you can record HD resolution videos at 60 frames-per-second for either network streaming or file-based recorded output. (The output continues to support the KLV encoding of UAV telemetry in a compliant subset of NATO standard STANAG 4096.)

MetaVR's recent videos of the sample scenarios that are delivered with VRSG were recorded with this CUDA-based H.264 recording plugin. You can watch the video recordings on the MetaVR website or on MetaVR's channel on Vimeo.

  Model Viewer 41.D

Model Viewer Enhancements

New in VRSG version 5.9 is the ability to have a reference image associated with a given model load as a background image in MetaVR's Model Viewer, which is delivered with VRSG. With this feature, Model Viewer can be used as a teaching aid for vehicle identification and combat target recognition. In the Model Viewer, comparing photographs of actual military vehicles next to military vehicle models from MetaVR's extensive 3D content libraries can be a way to instruct trainees how to accurately identify and distinguish between different nationalities of such vehicles. In the Model Viewer, the 3D model can be compared to a photograph of an actual vehicle; the model can be examined from any angle and with thermal signatures in various sensor modes. Now you can also preview a model's emissive properties in a nighttime view in the Model Viewer.

  3D Model Libraries 41.E

Additions to 3D Model Libraries

In addition to the 730 models that were created specifically for the new Kismayo terrain, over 350 other new real-time models were added to the MetaVR 3D content libraries since the last major VRSG release, in August 2013. MetaVR's library of military models now totals 1,400 models, including various paint schemes and markings. There are now over 5,300 models of all types in the MetaVR 3D model libraries. Customers on active maintenance should periodically review and download models from our download server as content is added weekly and often based upon current events. For example, several new vehicle models specific to the Ukraine were added to our military model library this week. Construction of these models was based on photographs taken in April of this year supplied by media outlets and amateur photographers. Due to size limitations, the VRSG installation media includes content at a lower texture resolution. MetaVR's full resolution models are available on our download server. Upon request, we can deliver the full-resolution model libraries on a hard drive.

VRSG now supports 64-bit appearance masks, which enables advanced features of newer MetaVR models to be assigned to bits that are not used by the SISO standard.

  Other Enhancements 41.F

Other Enhancements

  • Ability to have a persistent track or wheel impression appear behind a tracked or wheeled vehicle entity on the terrain.
  • New sea state options to simulate the appearance of seven wave ripple and swell patterns on the water surface. You select the sea states on the Dashboard's Environment tab.
  • New Predator (AN/AAS-52) and Reaper (AN/DAS-2) simulated HUDs.
  • New functions added to enhance the VRSG plugin API.
  • Ability to start VRSG with the visualization window displayed in a fixed, borderless window on the desktop; useful in cases where the VRSG visualization window is used within a simulation application that has other onscreen controls.
  • VRSG now supports Oculus VR's Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). VRSG support for the Oculus Rift HMD is native; no third-party DLLs are required.

  Africa 41.G

New Terrain of Africa

In parallel with this release, MetaVR has released its brand new terrain of Africa. This terrain was built in MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS with commercial source data of 15 meter-per-pixel (mpp) NaturalVue imagery and 90 mpp void-filled SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) and DTED1 elevation data. Terrain elevation information was based on 3-arcsecond STRM and DTED level 1 and subsampled to achieve a nominal 60 m post spacing. This terrain includes the aforementioned high-resolution modeled area of Kismayo, Somalia, and high-resolution 60 cm insets of many African capital cities and other cities of interest.

MetaVR's Africa 3D terrain in Metadesic format is available for purchase to all MetaVR customers who are on active VRSG software maintenance and are U.S. Government or NATO agencies or contractors (for official use only). You can order the terrain on the order form on MetaVR’s website. The terrain is provided in MetaVR's terrain format and will run with a valid VRSG software license of version 5.9 and above and a valid software maintenance of March 31, 2014 or later. For US-domestic use only, not available for export.

  Aerial Imagery 41.H

Aerial Imagery Collection Platform

In parallel with the VRSG 5.9 release, MetaVR is offering a new high-resolution imagery collection product with MetaVR's portable remote-controlled aircraft. MetaVRC collects high-resolution still-frame images at 1 inch resolution, which, after orthorectification can be used as source imagery to compile 3D terrain with MetaVR's Terrain Tools for ArcGIS. The resulting geospecific synthetic environment can then be rendered in VRSG. An example of terrain built from 1 inch imagery can be seen the VRSG-recorded "Desert Flyover" video, created with the CUDA-based H.264 plugin, and located on MetaVR's website and on MetaVR's channel on Vimeo.

Aerial imagery collected by the MetaVRC aircraft can be ordered directly from MetaVR by specifying the area of interest for a minimum of 20 sq km. For U.S. customers, access to the area of interest for aerial photography must be in accordance with FAA regulations. Customers will be responsible for obtaining the necessary authorization and certified access to operate within the particular area of interest for aerial photography. Customers have unlimited unrestricted use rights to the imagery. MetaVR retains the right to use the collected data and resulting terrain tiles and to redistribute the terrain tiles (typically as part of a larger set of terrain tiles of a region).

  Scenario Editor 41.I

VRSG Scenario Editor Version 1.1

Version 1.1 of VRSG Scenario Editor, which is delivered with VRSG 5.9, includes:

  • Improved workflow for exporting scenarios to VRSG and for playing scenarios in VRSG Metadesic. You can now play scenarios from the new Scenarios tab on the VRSG Dashboard in VRSG version 5.9.
  • Optimized integrated work flow with Terrain Tools for placing 3D content on terrain as part of terrain and scenario development.
  • Support for reloading projects and opening recently-opened projects.
  • New and more extensive scriptable viewpoint features, such as sensor views and UAV camera tracking.
  • Ability to enter non-integer times in the scripting editors (speed, animation, and so on).
  • Ability to add VRSG ModelMap options for a given behavior model.
  • Ability to have characters and vehicles fire their weapons in a scenario.
  • Ability to add your own thumbnail images to the feature palettes for displaying your own custom models and effects.
  • Support for 64-bit model appearance masks, which enables advanced features of newer MetaVR models to be assigned to bits that are not used by the SISO standard.
  • Entities that are attached to another entity (as in characters within a vehicle) are now automatically hidden with a new hidden entity state feature when the appearance of the parent entity is set to a destroyed state.
  • New orientation mode to follow the direction of a behavior entity's path (useful for aircraft and missiles).


How to Obtain VRSG Version 5.9

MetaVR continues to implement customer requested software features at no additional cost beyond the license purchase and the annual software maintenance fees. Many features in the VRSG version 5.9 release were developed as the result of customers' requests at no additional charge.

MetaVR customers on active maintenance can obtain the latest release of VRSG version 5.9 by downloading the version 5.9.2 software and model libraries from their account on MetaVR's Download Server. If you prefer, you can also simply download the latest models. Customers on active maintenance can request an account on MetaVR's Download Server by sending a request to

You can check the VRSG Dashboard's About tab to determine the maintenance status of a VRSG license. Annual software maintenance is $1,500 USD per license and can be purchased on the MetaVR website by clicking "How to Buy" or by sending a formal request for quotation with your MetaVR dongle ID to

VRSG's version 5.9 features and enhancements are documented in the MetaVR VRSG User's Guide, which is available on our website.

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 © 2014, MetaVR, Inc.
MetaVR, Inc.
80 Somerset Road
Brookline, MA 02445 USA
MetaVR, Virtual Reality Scene Generator, VRSG, Metadesic, First Person Simulator, 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.


This newsletter has been sent to: