When selling toolkits, we run into the same kind of problems that people selling hammers have. Most people won’t believe that the tool can build a house unless I show them a house built with the tool. With our software toolkits, many customers want to see the possibilities that the API is capable of. Because of this, many of the demos that we create have a touch of customization to them, some more than others. However, we always do it in a way that a customer can replicate when they are working with our APIs and we do it through the magic of plugins. Demos including dynamic terrain and video streaming are all implemented as plugins. (continued...)
So what are these magical plugins and how do you start creating your own awesomeness? Well, I’m glad you asked. For our VR-Vantage based demos, our plugins create and install a driver in the VR-Vantage architecture. Drivers are the secret sauce in VR-Vantage that allow you to do what you do best during each frame in order to accomplish something magical. In actuality, virutally all functionality with VR-Vantage is implemented as a driver. Even our new HLA Evolved capability is a driver (implemented in plugins!). We just insert our customizations to the existing system and we’re off and running. But wait - there’s more! We’re not just restricted to the VR-Vantage API within the plugins. In our streaming video plugins we are able to touch the underlying OpenSceneGraph API and modify the scene, then we go even deeper and play with OpenGL directly. The VR-Vantage architecture makes it easy to access everything at a very high level, but it doesn’t prevent us from doing anything that we want under the covers.