MetaVR creates 3D real-time environments that provide the fidelity of geospecific simulation with game quality graphics and performance.
In this issue:
52.A – Warrior Prep Center's 32 new VRSG licenses used in part in NATO Unified Vision
52.B – Sixty new VRSG licenses for the JTC TRS program
52.C – Release of VRSG version 6.3 with shadows cast by static culture and clouds
52.D – Recent updates to 3D terrain
52.E – How to obtain VRSG version 6.3
The Warrior Prep Center (WPC) at Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Germany, uses Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) in multiple simulators for combat readiness training. With the recent acquisition of 32 new VRSG licenses a total of 54 VRSG licenses are used for joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), F-16, remotely piloted aircrafts (RPAs), and other training missions. Among the WPC's NATO exercises in which VRSG is used is Unified Vision, a bi-annual processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) trial, currently underway this month at multiple European, U.S., and North Atlantic locations. The goal of this distributed exercise is to test and improve interoperability of joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets. In Unified Vision, VRSG is coupled with BattleSpace Simulations' (BSI) Modern Air Combat Environment (MACE) for simulating RPAs, with Air Force Synthetic Environment for Reconnaissance and Surveillance (AFSERS) for U2 and Global Hawk simulations, and with Vignette Planning and Rehearsal Software (ViPRS) for ground simulations.
In training exercises, the WPC uses VRSG with MACE to generate dynamic scenarios, and VRSG Scenario Editor for culture placement and to create background traffic patterns. VRSG is also used with ViPRS for creating intricate scenarios depicting pattern of life, person-of-interest movement, and law enforcement apprehension of suspects. For example, the patterns of life ground scenarios in Unified Vision include a SWAT team's capture and arrest of two suspects at a busy train station.
The WPC is a training facility for the United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) and Air Forces Africa. With its interactive computer simulations in multiple networking environments, the facility's mission is to plan, engineer, and execute worldwide distributed combat readiness tactical and strategic training to joint, allied and partner nation warfighters in the European and African theaters.
The recent sales of 60 VRSG licenses to the U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Control Training Rehearsal System (JTC TRS) program bring the total number of new VRSG licenses purchased for the systems since 2017 to 180.
This partial dome simulator, which uses MetaVR visual channels (for out-the-window, sensor, and simulated military equipment views), geospecific 3D terrain, and culture and entity models, and Battlespace Simulations' MACE, immerses the JTAC in a 3D real-time virtual battlefield for certification and continuation training. Simulated battle scenarios, such as one recently organized by the Distributed Training Center (DTC) at Langley Air Force Base, VA, can be conducted across distributed locations over a virtual network for joint close air support training with the JTAC in the JTC TRS.
The DTC at Langley Air Force Base owns and runs the Distributed Mission Operations Network (DMON). The DTC has a host of personnel that provide a white cell team acting as scenario entities and as scenario leads for training, operating and controlling the actions during the simulated missions. They also have a number of MACE and VRSG based simulators (along with others), which they use to provide virtual aircraft, UAVs, and JTACs in scenarios. However, the DMON's main function is to interconnect multiple simulators together for mission training events using multiple simulators interconnected in any one scenario mission. They connect various simulators over an isolated, secure network with cross-domain solutions between various classification levels.
Recently, the DMON and the JTC TRS close air support simulator at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), WA, was used by U.S. Army Rangers using real world locations via geospecific imagery, real world current Rules of Engagement, and missions to create scenarios for training to current tactics. The Rangers used the Air Force JTAC dome at JBLM, and connected F-15E, B-1, and A-10C simulators from remote sites to include Seymour Johnson AFB, Dyess AFB, and Davis Monthan AFB. Personnel at the DTC provided players such as the ground force commander and UAS operators, using both their personnel and simulators all networked over the DMON. The A-10C Full Mission Trainer (FMT), Air Force Synthetic Environment for Reconnaissance and Surveillance UAS simulators, and JTC TRS all use MetaVR 3D real time visuals and terrain.
VRSG version 6.3 includes the following new features and enhancements, and 3D content:
- Ability for static culture models to cast shadows on the terrain. This option is available on the new Shadows tab on the VRSG Dashboard. Also on this tab is the option for displaying planar shadows cast by dynamic moving models (ground vehicles and characters), which was previously available on the More Preferences dialog box. Note that for this release the shadows are cast onto the terrain only, not onto other objects. MetaVR's VRSG video featuring an F-16 in flight over the virtual Greater Denver region (described in #52.D) highlights this new capability by showing shadows cast by 439,379 buildings and over 4.5 million trees in a scene with a far horizon of 100 km.
- Ability for volumetric clouds to cast shadows on the terrain. As with the shadow options described above, this option is available on the new Shadows tab on the VRSG Dashboard.
- Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) shading effect, which enhances the 3D perception of the shape of all models (static and dynamic) rendered in a scene. SSAO simulates shadowing caused by the blocking of ambient light.
- Improved HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift support with new options for using wand controllers with VRSG and for using the VIVE and Rift in augmented reality (AR) mode. Also support for user-developed VRSG plugins using new VIVE and Rift controller functions.
- Addition of 375 new models (of which 286 are military models) to MetaVR's 3D content libraries since the release of version 6.2 in April 2017. These additions bring the total model count to 7,193.
- Ability to change the color of a 3D ocean body for 3D ocean simulations. Also, a setting to control ocean depth bias for cases using narrow fields of view, like those used by UAV sensors where a larger depth bias is needed.
- Support 10-bit display, for use with monitors, projectors, and graphics cards that are high dynamic range (HDR) compliant.
- Visibility vertical scale option on the Environment tab, which changes the rate of visibility improvement as a function of altitude.
- Ephemeris-calculated positions of stars in the night sky, with an option to scale star size.
- Command-line options to auto-start VRSG in a customized visualization window and to control use of VRSG in tracking systems.
- Particle system features designed to better support tracer applications.
- Improved light lobe rendering to potentially support up to thousands of lights.
- Support for point feature instancing in the utility that converts OpenFlight terrain databases to MetaVR's round-earth terrain tile format (terrex-oflt2mds). This support improves both terrain conversion time and VRSG runtime performance.
- Model Viewer feature that generates cultural feature file (.clt) commands to set a model's appearances, articulated part states, and BVH animations for use in a cultural feature file.
- Default directory for storing VRSG screen captures that are set to be written to a file.
- Numerous performance optimizations.
- VRSG Scenario Editor, version 1.6 is installed with VRSG 6.3. See the MetaVR VRSG Scenario Editor User's Guide for more information.
In parallel with the VRSG version 6.3 release, MetaVR has recently released new geospecific 3D terrain:
- Three new high-resolution geospecific areas of interest to the Continental U.S. plus Alaska and Hawaii (CONUS++) terrain datasets.
- New continent terrain datasets to add to MetaVR's terrain coverage of the world: Australia and Oceania, South America, all of Asia, and all of North America (apart from CONUS).
The three new high-resolution geospecific areas of interest to CONUS++ terrain are:
- Virtual terrain of Greater Denver, CO, which is comprised of 439,379 geolocated building models. The buildings were generated with Esri CityEngine® using OpenStreetMap (OSM) data, exported from CityEngine in FBX format, and then converted to MetaVR's model format. The terrain of the area, including the modeled Buckley Air Force Base and nearby Rocky Mountains, has over 4.5 million trees. For simulating night scenes, the terrain contains thousands of cultural light points of the airfield, Aurora, and Denver. This urban area is part of MetaVR's Southwest CONUS++ terrain dataset.
- Virtual Leschi Town training site at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), WA. The 0.25 sq km geospecific virtual site was built with 15 cm per-pixel resolution imagery blended with 1 meter per-pixel imagery surrounding the area up to Seattle. Elevation source is 1 meter LIDAR blended with NED 1/3 (10 meter). The virtual facility features 52 geospecific building models with interiors, multiple levels, and articulated windows and doors. These models, together with over 100 models of other cultural elements, were created from publicly available photos and videos and geolocated on the terrain footprints. Over 27,500 tree and vegetation models round out the scene. This virtual training site is part of MetaVR's Northwest CONUS++ terrain dataset.
- Virtual terrain of Greater Seattle, which uses source imagery of 1 meter per-pixel resolution blended and NED 1/3 (10 m) elevation data. The culture includes the popular Space Needle and 83,025 other buildings and 160,771 trees. Like Greater Denver, the Seattle buildings (apart from the Space Needle model) were generated with Esri CityEngine using attributes from OSM data, exported in FBX format, and then converted to MetaVR's model format. This virtual city is part of MetaVR's Northwest CONUS++ terrain dataset.
New terrain of other parts of the world include:
- Australia and Oceania, built from 3-arcsecond STRM elevation data (Guam elevation is 3 meters (NED 1/9) and imagery ranging from 0.60 to 15 meter-per-pixel (mpp) resolution. The Australia virtual terrain includes 0.60 mpp high-resolution natural color insets of several areas of interest: Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The Oceania virtual terrain includes 0.60 mpp high-resolution natural color insets of Pohnpei and Weno Islands, Federated States of Micronesia; Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand; Rota Island and Tinian & Saipan Islands of the Northern Mariana Islands. The terrain also includes a 0.30 mpp inset of Guam.
- North America (apart from CONUS++), to include Greenland, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean is constructed with natural color imagery ranging from 0.60 to 15 meter-per-pixel (mpp) resolution and with 3-arcsecond STRM elevation source data. Includes 60 cm high-resolution natural color insets of many capital cities and others cities of interest.
- Additions to Asia and Middle East terrain to complete continent coverage, with imagery resolution ranging from 15 meters-per-pixel (mpp) to 0.60 mpp insets of many capital cities and other areas of interest. Additions include terrain coverage of Southeast Asia, South Asia, Pacific Rim, and the Middle East. Elevation is 3-arcsecond DTED level 1 and void-filled SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) elevation data, subsampled to achieve a nominal 60 m post spacing. Terrain additions include a replica of the city of Dubai, built with 60 cm resolution terrain and an urban model of over 6,000 geolocated 3D buildings. The buildings were generated in Esri CityEngine using attributes from OSM data, exported in FBX format and converted to MetaVR's model format with MetaVR's FBX conversion utility.
- Complete coverage of Europe, constructed with natural color imagery ranging from 0.60 to 15 meter-per-pixel (mpp) resolution and DTED 1 and 3-arcsecond void-filled SRTM elevation data subsampled to achieve a nominal 50 meter post spacing. The terrain includes 0.60 mpp high-resolution natural color insets of many European capital cities and other cities of interest. Among the additions is a high-resolution, geospecific replica of the city of Kaliningrad, Russia, built with 0.60 mpp resolution imagery and DTED 2 elevation data, and cultural features totaling in over 17,000 realistic 3D building models, which were generated with Esri CityEngine using attributes from OSM data, exported in FBX format, and then converted to MetaVR's model format.
- South America, built from 3-arcsecond STRM elevation data and with natural color imagery ranging from 0.60 to 15 meter-per-pixel (mpp) resolution, the terrain includes 0.60 mpp high-resolution natural color insets of many South American capital cities and other cities of interest.
These terrain datasets, in round-earth Metadesic format, are available for purchase to all MetaVR customers who are on active VRSG software maintenance and are U.S. Government agencies or contractors (for official use only). For U.S. domestic use only, not available for export. The terrain datasets can be viewed only with a valid VRSG version 6.3 or greater software license with valid software maintenance.
MetaVR customers on active maintenance can download the latest release of VRSG version 6.3 software and model libraries from MetaVR's Download Server. The release is organized in multiple components on the Download Server to facilitate customized updates. Customers on active maintenance can request an account on MetaVR's Download Server by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full VRSG 6.3 release is compressed to nearly 79 GB in size and can also be delivered on a Blu-ray disc. As a courtesy, MetaVR will provide at no charge, a Blu-ray reader device to facilitate the latest installation.
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 email@example.com.
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 6.3 release were developed as the result of customers' requests, at no additional charge.
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