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Jim Kogler

An Engineer Down the Hall Evolves

Since our inception 30+ years ago, working closely with customers to ensure our tools meet our customers' needs has been pretty critical to our success. We coined the phrase "an engineer down the hall" to describe how we wanted our engineers to work with our customers. We want to be the folks you come and talk to when you have problems, and we want...
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Jim Kogler

The Threads that Weave the MAK ONE Tapestry

MAK is quickly approaching that magical time of year — release time! Almost every March for the last ten years, we have released the MAK ONE suite. Usually, I/ITSEC heavily influences our release roadmap; we have a general goal to finalize features to show off at I/ITSEC, and then a full push to go through final testing and bug fixing that culminat...
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Jim Kogler

Tech tip: Using Window Layouts to create customized interfaces in VR-Forces and easily toggle between them

Tech tip: Using Window Layouts to create customized interfaces in VR-Forces and easily toggle between them

Simulation and training exercises are often developed in distinct phases: planning, execution, and analysis. The goal of the Window Layouts feature in VR-Forces is to make it easy to create the phase-appropriate interfaces and then switch between the layouts as an exercise progresses. 

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Jim Kogler

Performance Tuning in VR-Vantage

VR-Vantage IG includes tools to help customers measure performance and manage tradeoffs between scene content and performance.

Performance isn’t just for IG users who have strong 60hz requirements, it’s for everyone. if you are building a scenario in VR-Forces or are using VR-Vantage as a stealth, it’s just as important to have smooth, quality movements.

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Jim Kogler

Light Points

Pilots rely on visual inputs the most to orient themselves in flight. Because vision is so important, night flying can introduce new challenges – limited eyesight, night illusions and light blindness. To combat these issues, pilots train to use a consistent, regulated set of lights (to indicate approach, threshold, etc) to help guide them through darkness, identify where they are, and assess how fast they are moving.

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Jim Kogler

MÄK Product Release: VR-Link 5.1.3

VR-Link 5.1.3, a maintenance release with several minor changes, is out! Here are some of the most notable changes:

Platform support changes: We have added support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (64 bit only). We have also ended support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, SUSE 11, and Windows MS VC 7.1 and 9.0. MÄK is committed to supporting the platforms our customers care most about; if you require discontinued platforms, contact MÄK support.

VR-Link Code Generator: We continue to improve the VR-Link code generator by making the output more intuitive and easier to read. The code generator now generates VR-Link internal classes as much as possible, helping to produce a highly consistent API. The code generator will also generate an HLA Evolved project without providing the standard MIM.

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Jim Kogler

MÄK Product Release: MÄK RTI 4.4.1

The most recent release of MÄK RTI 4.4.1 is a minor maintenance release that makes several minor changes.

New Platform Support: Microsoft Visual C++ 12.0 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 have been added. For both of these platforms, only 64 bit libraries are supported. MÄK products will only support 64 bit libraries for all new platforms. The MÄK RTI has dropped support for VC7, VC9, Red Hat Enterprise 4, and SUSE 11.

If you are a customer under support and require these platforms, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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Jim Kogler

Hot off the Press: VR-Vantage 2.0

VT MÄK is pleased to announce the release of VR-Vantage 2.0! This major release represents a huge leap forward in both the performance and visual quality of VR-Vantage IG - with upgrades to nearly every one of the product’s main components. VR-Vantage 2.0 includes a brand new shader infrastructure, dynamic lighting engine, real-time full-scene shadows, upgraded vegetation, environment, and dynamic ocean models, a robust CIGI implementation, and much more. With VR-Vantage 2.0, we’ve achieved our goal of delivering game-like visual quality in a high-performance, 60Hz immersive environment.

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Jim Kogler

VR-Forces 4.3: Even more exciting capabilities in MÄK’s CGF

The release of VR-Forces 4.3 is finally here! Version 4.3 is a major feature release that adds many exciting features to MÄK’s leading CGF. Some of these new features include:

  • Awesome 3D graphics: VR-Forces leverages VR-Vantage 2.0 technology to provide cutting-edge and beautiful 3D scenes and content. With our new shader pipeline, advanced lighting and rendering techniques are used to provide rich immersive scenes comparable to leading game engines.
  • New and improved DI-Guy characters: Not only are significantly more characters available, but you can configure what hand-held object each holds. Characters not only look better, but move better too; characters have firm foot placement and more accurate motions.
  • Upgraded DIS support: VR-Forces now supports DIS 7, including updates to the DIS IFF standard.Improved Models: Naval guns can now correctly target moving objects. Aircraft, like the A-10, can have ballistic guns that can target ground entities, locations, and slow moving helicopters.
  • Scenario Events for Role Players: The new scenario event editor, sometimes called MSEL (Master Scenario Event List), allows events to be added to a scenario. Events can be text, video, or audio automatically presented to users at a certain time, or when specific criteria are encountered. This feature helps an instructor notify role players of key inflection points in an exercise.
  • More Geographic Scenario Support: While VR-Forces has always supported extremely large terrains, we have added support for local weather areas. Now users can specify a global weather condition, but also stipulate one or more local weather conditions for specific geographic areas. Further, VR-Forces includes a global ephemeris model for visual sensors. This means you can specify a time at (for example) GMT-2 on a geocentric terrain and the correct lighting conditions throughout the world will be used for visual sensors.
  • VR-Vantage and VR-Forces Front-End Observer Controls: You can now control all VR-Vantage based applications from inside a scenario (and in real-time from VR-Forces). That means that not only can you control the views of any VR-Forces Front-End, but also views from any other VR-Vantage based application. This feature allows users to encode camera cues in their scenarios to create real-time demos using VR-Forces.
  • Map Layer Control: If you are using OSG Earth (.earth) files to specify your terrain, you can now toggle individual raster map and feature layers on and off in runtime.Finally, VR-Forces 4.3 introduces a brand-new Aggregate-Level Simulation (constructive) model to better support Command Staff Training and high-level wargaming scenarios. Keep reading...
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Jim Kogler

The MÄK FOM Editor: At Home on the Web

Maybe you’ve seen the newest addition to the MÄK Product Suite: the MÄK FOM Editor. Some of you may have been surprised to see it’s a web page "” most modeling and simulation applications are heavyweight desktop applications.  MÄK is leading the industry by bringing lightweight and powerful web applications to the modeling and simulation community. For this article, I want to describe why we choose the web for the MÄK FOM Editor and discuss some of the technologies that enabled it. I will also talk briefly about security and what is happening to your data when you use it.

At home on the web

We chose to develop the MÄK FOM Editor as a web-based application because we could do it quickly with less hassle than a standard desktop application. First, we could develop it once and deploy it on any platform for which our customers had a web browser (we assume you all do). Second, since there is no heavyweight deployment process, it means we could release new versions of it "“ with bug fixes and new features "“ almost every day! While the former makes development cheap enough , the latter is really the best part. Within a day of using it, one of the first users reported a few minor problems and within hours they were resolved.

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Jim Kogler

Introducing the newest member of our family "“ the MÄK FOM Editor!

MÄK has been a leader in interoperability for a long time. We have an industry-leading RTI, the MÄK RTI and  DIS/HLA interoperability library, VR-Link. MÄK is excited to add to our interoperability success with the new MÄK FOM Editor. The MAK FOM Editor is a free, web-based application where customers can build and manage their own FOMs (Federate Object Model).

(If you’re too excited to keep reading, you can get right to work by going here.)

For those of you who want to learn a bit more before you start typing, this is the first of several blogs that will discuss the tool and some of the rationale behind it.

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Jim Kogler

MÄK Delivers a World of Content with MÄK Products!

MÄK is continually increasing the quantity and quality of the content provided with our products. When you use MÄK products you get a world of content: terrain databases, simulation models, human characters, behaviors "“ all kinds of awesome content to make your virtual environments rich and effective for training and experimentation.

VR-Forces has hundreds of simulation models representing different vehicle types you can use to develop your urban, military, or maritime scenarios. DI-Guy 13 adds more than 100 new human appearances and with the DI-Guy variation system, you can randomly mix bodies, faces, and clothing to make virtually unlimited unique appearances - build huge crowds where you never see the same person twice! Our SpeedTree animated 3D vegetation and foliage gives your outdoor scene the look and feel of the real world. And layer all of this content on top of our many terrain databases, including Hawaii and a Middle Eastern Village:

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Jim Kogler

Behind the Scenes with VR-Vantage

MÄK is making a huge investment in our premier visual suite, VR-Vantage. Last year we made tremendous strides by adding ocean and maritime visualization. The work continues full force as we continue to improve our visual environment. The next release of VR-Vantage, 2.0, is planned for later this year and has two major directions: performance improvements and visual quality enhancements.

We are committed to improving performance in VR-Vantage. Look forward to shader optimizations that take advantage of game-based rendering techniques, an improved physics engine to enhance the visual interaction between objects (like ships that rock on the dynamic ocean), optimized loading algorithms for large terrains, and improved internal organization and grouping of geometries to maximize capabilities of the GPU. If that all sounds like techno-jargon, it is! We’re focusing on the complicated stuff so you can focus on better-looking, better- performing scenes that run at 60 frames per second (fps), the gold standard of smooth visualization.

Visually, we are concentrating on several areas: a beautiful environment, lighting effects (both day and night), improved trees and vegetation, and high fidelity sensor/camera modeling. Both the ocean and the sky in VR-Vantage have been greatly improved. The ocean supports many new features, including helicopter rotor wash, significantly faster/better wakes (both up close and from the air), and underwater crepuscular rays ("God Rays"). The sky draws faster and can be rendered with high-resolution clouds. Complex surf patterns on shorelines can now be configured through shape files, allowing surf to roll onto beaches and inlets accurately.

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Jim Kogler

Deep in the Heart of Texas: Configuring Stars in VR-Vantage

While MÄK is based in Massachusetts, we have some very good friends down in Texas. If you are in Texas, or if you’re just simulating it, you know that the stars at night need to shine really bright. VR-Vantage can help with that. VR-Vantage uses a real star map to calculate thousands of star positions for every day of every year. The stars are accurate, and if you look closely enough, you can pick out some of the planets as well.

When you are simulating at night, it’s necessary to make some of the stars brighter, or perhaps play with the luminosity of the moon. Here’s how you can do that: While some of the details of sky configuration can be found in the GUI, some of the more obscure and advanced settings can be found in the file vrvantage/data/Environment/Sky/SilverLining.config. If you look through this file, you will see lots of ways to configure the Sun, Moon, Clouds, Stars, and the Atmosphere.

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Jim Kogler

DI-Guy Product Line License Change

Ever since MÄK acquired the DI-Guy product line from Boston Dynamics in December, we have been working hard to make sure the transition for DI-Guy customers is as seamless as possible. The product line is still supported by the same DI-Guy developers (who are now part of the MÄK team), and we have continued development based on the original DI-Guy 13 roadmap. However, we are making a change to the way DI-Guy license management is implemented: DI-Guy products will now be licensed the same way the rest of the MÄK product suite is licensed. These changes are mechanical in nature and in no way affect the legal rights associated with product usage. We believe these changes will improve your experiences using DI-Guy. The changes are quite limited, as DI-Guy has always used FlexLM - the same license management software used by all MÄK products. This blog is designed to explain the changes and discuss their rationale.

Existing MÄK customers
If you are already using other MÄK Products and are familiar with MÄK licensing, DI-Guy 13 licenses onward will work the exact same way they work for other MÄK products. We will also start distributing DI-Guy 13 licenses in the same file with other MÄK products.

Hosted licenses
Our license software supports both hosted and node-locked licenses. Hosted licenses use a license server allowing the software to run on any machine that can connect and check a license out from the license server. Node-locked licenses are licenses that are restricted to a single machine. Before the transition to MÄK, most DI-Guy customers received node-locked licenses, as hosted licenses came at an extra cost.  MÄK does not charge extra for hosted licenses; our goal is to provide the licenses in the format which works best for you. We issue hosted licenses by default, as we do for all of our products. However, node-locked licenses are still available upon request.

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Jim Kogler

DI-Guy 13 "“ What New Capabilities To Expect

DI-Guy 13 is almost here and we can’t wait for you to try it out. Here’s a rundown of some of the new features you can expect and what they mean for you.

Streamlined Appearance Configuration System - This system reduces the need for hundreds of different appearances and allows you to view which carried objects can be used by specific characters. In DI-Guy 13, enjoy using the same character body with a variety of carried objects (guns, phone, video camera, etc) and different heads to customize that character’s appearance. This means that instead of modifying hundreds of soldiers with a new weapon, for example, just add the new weapon to a list of character-appropriate objects.

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Jim Kogler

MÄK’s top 5 ways to empower your simulation scenario

The size, complexity, and richness of your simulation scenario is typically a function of how much work it takes to set up and the computing power it takes to run at the desired fidelity. Here are MÄK’s top 5 ways to empower your scenario with VR-Forces.

  • Give your entities brains - Scripting is great when you want to precisely define what individual entities are doing. (Read this article about differences between scripting and AI.) But in general, the more intelligence you can give an entity, the less scripting you have to do to define its role in the scenario. Use Lua scripting in VR-Forces to assign behaviors to entities and give them an additional layer of intelligence; this intelligence will provide behaviors that they’ll use when they need to react to situations in the scenario.
  • Let one entity do the thinking for many - A simple example of this is embarkation. Imagine human character entities "embarking" in a vehicle; once inside the car, the humans can stop thinking about how to get around in the simulated world because the vehicle will do that for them. When the vehicle arrives at some destination, the human characters disembark and re-engage their brains to react to the circumstances at their destination.
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Jim Kogler

Scriptable Tasks - Is Faster Really Better? Yes!

Just because something is faster doesn’t necessarily make it better. We’re here to prove that faster really is better when it comes to creating complex behaviors for a CGF. Scriptable tasks in VR-Forces give you the power to quickly develop complex tasks, easily coordinate group behaviors, and script GUI components in minutes, empowering you to develop better and more compelling simulations.

Rapid development cycles let you take advantage of the often limited time your have with subject matter experts (SMEs). Together you can transcribe the problem into behavior, test it interactively, fine tune it, and make it right. The more reliable information about the problem that you can encode into the behaviors, the more valid your simulation will be "“ more iterations means a higher quality result.

Let’s say you’ve been tasked to develop a search and rescue mission "“ you have limited time and know little about the actual search and rescue patterns or protocol. You decide to consult the WSDOT Aircrew Training Text as your expert. After some research, you learn about the different visual search patterns and you throw together a quick script that incorporates a specific pattern, and then you test it out. 20 iterations later, paired with a little feedback from SMEs, and you probably have a pretty good script consisting of several search patterns embedded in one another.

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Jim Kogler

Embedded Entities: Easily Create & Manipulate Complicated Entity Types in VR-Forces

MÄK is always trying to make VR-Forces easier to use. This means that we are constantly looking for better ways to create and manipulate entity types "“ specifically, complicated entity types. When we released VR-Forces 4.2, we added many new types of weapon systems and ships to the default VR-Forces model set. As we set out to use these new systems, we realized that most entities hosted not only many diverse weapon systems, but also other entities that could be viewed as an extension of the host ship.

Let’s look at Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Ships don’t just fire torpedoes "“ they launch a helicopter to fly toward the target, which then drops the torpedo. The helicopter always eventually returns to the ship. We want to enable VR-Forces users to easily create this type of scenario by simply clicking on a ship, telling it to "Deploy torpedo here", and then have the ship automatically 1) deploy the helicopter, 2) have the helicopter fly to the appropriate place, 3) drop the torpedo, and 4) return to the ship. There are many types of scenarios where an entity hosts a separate entity that indirectly performs routine tasks. This is where our newest "Embedded Entities" come into play. Keep reading...

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Jim Kogler

Sneak Peek of DI-Guy 13

May is almost here and we are getting really excited "“ we can’t wait to finalize and release DI-Guy 13 at MÄK! This will be DI-Guy’s first major release as a part of MÄK. While there is a ton of new stuff going into this release, I wanted to share some pics of several of the new characters we are adding. Enjoy this sneak peek and feel free to comment if you have questions! (Click below to read more.)

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Jim Kogler

Antycip Simulation and VT MÄK are Proud to Support TACTICOS Thales’ Combat Management System

MÄK and our reseller Antycip make great partners! 

Paris, 20 March 2014 - Antycip Simulation, a subsidiary of ST Electronics (Training & Simulation Systems) Pte Ltd, is to support Thales Naval Systems for its combat management system, TACTICOS.  Part of Thales’ Combat Management Systems (CMS) family of solutions, TACTICOS meets the combat management needs of the world’s navies.  The combat management system is at the heart of naval vessels and integrates all the ship’s sensors and information received from various sources for real time situational awareness.

Based on a recognised fire control capability worldwide, TACTICOS combines Combat Operations and Maritime Security Operations in one CMS. Open standards technology and a massive amount of subsystems interface implementations, make TACTICOS the core of the mission solution with new looks and new features which are carefully designed for mission packages and are released according to the TACTICOS roadmap.

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Jim Kogler

MÄK has fish!

Guess what? MÄK has fish! (No, this is not an April Fools’ joke.) Check them out. Leave us a comment below or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you’re hungry to learn more!

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Jim Kogler

VR-Exchange: Adding Support for Your MATREX Federation

While VR-Exchange has always supported DIS and HLA through the RPR FOM (multiple versions), this year MÄK is making a concerted effort to broaden our support for other commonly used FOMs and protocols.

To this end, we have recently added several new brokers to support FOMs used extensively by the US DoD. We have started with a broker to support the MATREX Federation. We currently support MATREX version 7.x, but will upgrade to version 8.0 when it is released later this year. In the past we have had limited support for MATREX via a FOM Mapper plug-in. While this limited approach worked, we believe it was not very robust. All new translation to the MATREX FOM is done through a new stand-alone broker, offering robust and MATREX-specific translation options. Additionally, we are pleased to announce support for the Joint Land Component Constructive Training Capability (JLCCTC) Multi-Resolution Federation (MRF). We will also begin work on JLCCTC-Entity Resolution Federation (ERF) support in the coming months.

As with all new VR-Exchange FOM support, translation between these and other protocols and object models can be complicated. Depending on what protocols you want to bridge between, the object model may or may not support robust translation capabilities. Additionally,VR-Exchange has not been extended to support all the objects in any of these FOMs. As has been our historical practice, we will continue to expand translation based on the needs of our customers. Let us know what you need and we will be happy to figure out ways to make your exercise successful, in addition to explaining limitations you may face.

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Jim Kogler

What’s New in VR-Forces 4.0.4

VR-Forces 4.0.4 gives you Pattern of Life with B-HAVE, enabling you to quickly and easily add realistic background traffic into your simulation. But that’s not all, folks. We’ve put together a (non-exhaustive) list of more additions and improvements we’ve made to VR-Forces! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have questions or concerns.

Radar Modes - Being able to configure named modes for radar systems is an important part of electronic warfare (EW). VR-Forces now allows users to configure multiple named modes for radar systems. A named mode could be “off” or &ldquolow power&rdquo or &ldquosearch”. This is all done through configuration files. The F18 has two modes "Track" and "Search". Users can create new specific modes and then set them through plans. (continued...)

Entity Editor Model Configuration - The Entity Editor has been significantly overhauled to allow users to configure 2D icons and 3D models directly from the Entity Editor GUI. You can also show the bounding volume of the entity in relation to the 3D model. If you select a sensor, you can show where the sensor is placed on the vehicle with relation to the model.

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Jim Kogler

New @ MÄK - The Early Adopters Program

We are pleased to announce the introduction of the Early Adopters Program for MÄK COTS software!

These days, MÄK is moving full steam ahead with some exciting features in our product line - be ahead of the curve and learn about these upcoming features before their public release. As a member of the Early Adopters Program, you’ll receive download links to pre-released software; this gives you the chance to provide critical comments about feature usability and direction that can influence a product’s final release. These releases will also help you better understand the direction our products are going with regard to new features.

If you’re an engineer who likes to live on the bleeding edge and always plays with the latest and greatest, then the MÄK Early Adopters program is for you. Customers with up-to-date maintenance can sign up to receive download links to Early Adopter release versions of MÄK products.

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Jim Kogler

Platform Support Changes

Periodically, MÄK reassesses platform support for our product line. We consider a platform a paired version of compiler and OS. For example, Windows 7 and MSVC++ 8 is a single platform, while Windows 7 and MSVC++9 is a different platform.  In order to support the most popular and stable platforms while maintaining commitment to quality products, we need to limit the total number of platforms we support as part of the standard product offering.

In general, when deciding to support or not support a platform we consider a number of factors:

1. Does the product have a heavily used API? -“ some of our products are generally used out-of-the-box with little API usage. In those cases we can support fewer compiler variations.
2. Do customers have to integrate our products and libraries into legacy systems, or larger systems that they are developing? -“ this requires broader compiler variation support.
3. How easy is it for us to build and test on a given platform?
4. How many customers are actually using the platform at all?

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Jim Kogler

The Scenario Generation

Some people count themselves as members of Gen X, or the Pepsi Generation, but we here at MÄK are proud to be members of the Scenario Generation. When people see us at trade shows, they say,“Hey, there go those scenario generation fools.” No, wait. I mean they say, &ldquoHey, those guys have great scenario generation tools.” Right. And we just say, &ldquoLA, LA, LA.” No, I mean we say, &ldquoHLA, HLA, HLA.” That’s because we are all about distributed simulation. Yes. That’s us. The folks who do distributed simulation with great scenario generation tools. And great support. And people love our documentation too. They always call us up and yell, &ldquoHey, your doc is full of DISinformation.” And we say, &ldquoRTIUR.”

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Jim Kogler

VR-Vantage 1.4.1 Released!

VT MÄK is pleased to announce the release of VR-Vantage 1.4.1. This release marks another milestone in our Open Streaming Terrain story by adding the visualization of streaming vector data.  VR-Vantage applications (like VR-Vantage Stealth or VR-Vantage IG) can now stream in point, linear and areal features from a compliant terrain server using the open standard Web Feature Service (WFS) protocol, and use those features to generate textured 3D geometry on-the-fly at run-time.  VR-Vantage applications can:

  • Generate 3D geometry for buildings, fences, and walls by extruding polygons from geo-specific footprints (linear or areal features), and applying geotypical textures based on feature attributes
  • Place pre-built 3D models representing trees, geospecific buildings, lampposts, etc., into the scene based on the locations and attributes of individual point features ("point feature substitution")
  • Automatically populate forests with trees, or populate roads with telephone poles, fire hydrants, etc., by randomly placing 3D objects within areal features, or along linear features.

Combined with our existing support for streaming elevation and imagery, these new capabilities allow you to very quickly visualize 3D environments that are both global in scale, and visually rich:  Just upload your source data to a compliant streaming terrain server such as MAK’s VR-TheWorld Server, configure your feature-to-geometry mappings using an XML-based“.earth file”, and tell VR-Vantage to connect.

To demonstrate the new capabilities, we’ve collected readily available source data for the Hawaiian island of Oahu, put this data on our VR-TheWorld Online server, and shipped a sample .earth file with VR-Vantage 1.4.1.  Check it out using any VR-Vantage application (Download VR-Vantage FreeViewhere) or watch a video tour of Hawaii here.

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Jim Kogler

Rapid Scenario Creation in VR-Forces: Now with Chain Guns on Helicopters

A common question from people who are new to VR-Forces:“How easy is it to create new scenarios in VR-Forces?” It’s a good question to ask when you are evaluating CGFs. The answer is always: &ldquoIt depends.”

There are obviously some very complicated scenarios you could dream up that would make scripting them quite complicated and difficult. That said, most scenarios are very easy to script. At the end of this post, you’ll watch a scenario with a helicopter flying over some mountains - I whipped this one up in about three minutes. It runs a bit faster than real time, so you can enjoy it in about one minute or so.

After I create the scenario, I slow it down, play it, and show some of the new 3D/2D integrations that are making VR-Forces 4.0 so popular.  As a bonus, I also demonstrate a new feature coming to VR-Forces 4.0.4 in June. We’ve overhauled our machine gun model and added chain guns to helicopters and other vehicle types, which is something customers have been asking about for a long time.

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Jim Kogler

Plug-in Control: VR-Forces 4.0.4 Sneak Peak

In our effort to continually make the user experience better, I wanted to show a small feature we are adding to VR-Forces 4.0.4  -- due out in June 2012 -- which allows users to choose what plug-ins to load when they start VR-Forces. This is a pretty simple feature that’s best described with a picture:

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Jim Kogler

Better Aircraft Control Tasks: VR-Forces 4.0.4 Sneak Peak

Today I want to give a sneak peak of a coming VR-Forces feature. When we release VR-Forces 4.0.4 early this summer, users will be able to control aircraft in a new and intuitive way. 

Lots of people use VR-Forces to set up complex scenarios with aircraft. Historically this has been done with routes and waypoints. It means you must plan out your routes or set several waypoints, then build plans for your aircraft to move over the routes or between the waypoints. It’s a logical way to script air scenarios, but for pucksters who move a lot of aircraft around in real time, it’s quite complicated. 

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Jim Kogler

VR-Forces 3.12.x Maintenance Period Extended

I am pleased to announce the extension of the VR-Forces 3.12.x maintenance period to December 31st, 2012. While we have seen many customers quickly migrating to the VR-Forces 4.x platform, MÄK understands there are still many other customers who face complex schedules and tight budgets who have not been able to upgrade their VR-Forces 3.x based products yet. As a customer focused company, it’s MÄK’s goal to be as responsive as possible to customer needs. We believe this extension will provide the time needed for many customers to upgrade while still supporting existing systems. 

Of course, MÄK is also committed to helping our customers understand the upgrade process. VR-Forces 4.x has a completely improved and redesigned front end, so we understand the upgrade process can be intimidating. MÄK is currently helping customers understand and work through the challenges faced by an upgrade - we want to help you too. While we are helping customers through the normal support channels (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), we are also proactively helping through private customer-focused webinars and customer visits. If you are interested in working with us through any of these processes, please don’t hesitate to contact your sales representative (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).  

As always, the content of our releases and maintenance windows are highly influenced by your needs and requirements. Please don’t hesitate to let us know any concerns or questions you may have about VR-Forces maintenance issues, or any other issue for that matter. We will use your input to reevaluate the current maintenance window in October 2012 to determine if further extensions are necessary.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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Jim Kogler

SUSE 11, Welcome to the Family

Some of you may have noticed that MÄK has recently started supporting the SUSE Linux Operating System in some of our latest releases.  MÄK has a long history of supporting a wide variety of common Operating Systems. SUSE is a very popular OS in Europe and has been used by our customers for some time through custom ports. With the latest release of VR-Link and the MÄK RTI we are proud to announce we now officially support the platform with our standard interoperability products. That means future versions of both the MÄK RTI and VR-Link will continue to support SUSE.

For a complete list of standard supported platforms, please see the MÄK website. If you have a platform you would like to see supported, please let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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Jim Kogler

SimMetrics “ Links to really cool stuff

I recently wrote about SimMetrics, a joint effort between MÄK and AGI, which adds high fidelity navigational accuracy to your simulation. As part of this development effort, I learned a whole lot about the GPS, and"¦ well"¦ navigational accuracy.

By far the most interesting source of reading is AGI’s NOG: http://thenogspot.blogspot.com/. The older posts are hosted off of AGI’s older blog site and are the most informative for a Satellite Navigation newbie: http://blogs.agi.com/navigationaccuracy. As much as my wife didn’t like it, I took most of a Saturday a few months ago and read the whole thing. Believe it or not, it was quite a bit of fun.

If you are interested in a demo, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

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Jim Kogler

Node Configurable Compression: Always Getting Better

After we completed the recent update to HLA Evolved in the MÄK RTI, we have started overhauling our sockets to support IPv6 for the 4.1 release. One of the new configuration options we added to help everyone with complex network environments is Node Configurable Compression and Bundling.

Specifically, with the current version of the MÄK RTI, you can enable packet-bundling, and or packet-compression throughout the entire exercise. For example, you can do either of the below:

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Jim Kogler

SimMetrics “ It’s 10 o’clock; do you know where your children are?

In the next few blogs I want to talk about a new exciting product MÄK is working on with AGI”SimMetrics. SimMetrics is a cool product that uses AGI’s analytics and MÄK’s visualization to model sensors, sensor tracking, the GPS Constellation, and GPS receivers to produce a real time analytical capability integrated with your simulation environment. All of this is done to add high fidelity real time Intelligence, Surveillance, and Recognizance (ISR) capabilities to your simulation environment. To model a high fidelity ISR capability, you need to know where you are and where your targets are. SimMetrics helps you easily do both.

To help you understand where you are, SimMetrics models the entire GPS constellation taking into consideration both your position and the calendar time.

Accurate GPS catalogues are used so if a satellite is off line for maintenance or currently experiencing technical difficulty, two factors which will have significant impact on your ability to know where you are.

Continue reading
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Jim Kogler

Coming: Extrude your world

Today I wanted to give you another glimpse of some technology which is coming to MAK products like VR-Forces and VR-Vantage: streaming feature data.

Future versions of VR-TheWorld server will be able to load and stream geospatial feature data, including VMAP, .shape, and S57, among others. There are many applications for streaming feature data, but one of the better ones is to use to to generate richer terrains from raw source data. Currently VR-The World, VR-Vantage, and VR-Forces support streaming imagery and elevation source data. Adding streaming feature data will allow for the automatic extrusions of buildings and the placement of line, point, and areal models on top of the streamed imagery. It means when you walk off your embedded hand modeled open flight terrain (See Blog“How to get your terrain embed”), you will still be in a 3D world full of fairly rich objects.

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Jim Kogler

Coming: Lines sure to get your terrain embed

Okay, the title this week was a little weak, it was an attempt at a good pun on par with the Economist’s discussion of the S&P Downgrade:“Substandard & Poor: AAAaaargh! (ARTICLE)”. Sorry"¦

As many of you know, MAK’s vision of the future of terrain is a combination of live streaming source data coupled with high resolution insets. The idea is, you still need to obtain (or create) high fidelity terrain databases largely by hand. However, the technology to generate moderate fidelity terrain from streaming source data (imagery, elevation, and feature data) is getting better every day. So, the world you want is one where the hand generated terrain is smaller and smaller and well blended with the source data providing the rest of the world. In this world you may generate a DB for your base of operations, and a DB for the area where you will insert after a helo to fight. However, the space between the base and the extraction point will be procedurally generated to appear to be high fidelity from the perspective of the helicopter. Such blending should let you go from space to someone’s dining room table. In the three pictures below we embed the hand crafted OpenFlt DB "VR-Village" into the broader world as supplied by VR-The World (VR-TheWorld.com) (Yes, the transition is smooth and beautiful).

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Jim Kogler

VR-Forces 4.0.1: We’re back!

The title today is a bit of a positive spin on a few problems we have had with VR-Forces. Perhaps, we should say“VR-Forces 4.0.1: were sorry, but we will be better.” It’s important to always be honest, even when you make a mistake. With the introduction to VR-Forces 4.0 we were so excited about new visualization, we left out some important features. You let us know we messed up, and we understand. With VR-Forces 4.0.1 we have started to add the features back in, and have put most of the other features on a priority list where they will show up in VR-Forces maintenance releases later this year.

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Jim Kogler

Pattern-of-Life Simulation with B-Have 2.0

Pattern-of-Life analysis is becoming increasingly important in today’s military. It revolves around the continuous observation of behavior patterns for a population, town, or street. Most people and populations tend to have very distinct patterns in our lives. We get up, brush our teeth, go to work, go to lunch, go home, kiss the kids, and go to bed. Okay, maybe your life is more interesting than mine, but when you think about it in the big picture people in general are fairly predictable. This gives way to the“See something, say something” signs we see in airports. On a subconscious level everyone recognizes patterns in our lives: we wear winter coats when it’s snowing and shorts when it’s hot. When someone is wearing a winter coat and it’s hot outside, you notice it.

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Jim Kogler

Our Windows MSVC 10 Plans (and Windows Compiler Compatibility II)

While we don’t have firm dates picked for supporting Windows MSVC10 with all MAK products we are planning to roll out support for this new compiler across our product line throughout the year. Today I wanted to provide some details about our thinking, as well as describe how we want to handle the notorious issue regarding SCL and HID compiler flags 

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Jim Kogler

Windows Compiler Compatibility

In Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (VC8) and later, there are two special compiler flags developers need to be aware of:

_HAS_ITERATOR_DEBUGGING (HID)

_SECURE_SCL (SCL)

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Jim Kogler

Support Tip #3 - Post RTI 4.0 Include Paths

If you have upgraded to a new version of the MAK RTI, you have probably noticed that the RTI include paths have changed. This means that MS Visual Studio project files which worked with pre 4.0 RTI versions likely no longer work. This problem manifests itself when your previously compiling application can no longer find RTI.hh or some other standard RTI header file.

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Jim Kogler

Windows 7 and RTI slow down

Recently we have been seeing widespread Windows 7 adoption by our customers, we are internally moving to it too. However, we have noticed some very strange behavior on Windows 7 with some of our applications.

The most significant problem we have run into is extremely slow startup times for the MAK RTI. This problem is usually obvious; the RTI Assistant will take between 3 and 15 minutes to load.

While its loading you will just see a blank console window. HLA Federates may take an equally long time to load because they are waiting for the RTI.

Continue reading
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Jim Kogler

Thinking of Linking - Problems with MAK RTI 4.0 on Linux

As many of you may have seen, we just released MAK RTI version 4.0.1. This release fixed two significant problems with MAK RTI version 4.0 on Linux. We recommend all customers who are using version 4.0 move quickly to version 4.0.1 to prevent additional problems. Today I wanted to take a moment and explain in more detail the nature of the problems.

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Jim Kogler

HLA Evolved: Should I upgrade?

I am frequently asked the question“Should I upgrade my existing HLA Federate to HLA Evolved?” I confess, I cringe when I hear this, mostly because there is no clear answer and usually the inquisitor expects such. Anyone making the decision to upgrade the version of HLA they are using needs to answer a few questions first:

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Jim Kogler

HLA Evolved is Released; So is MAK RTI 4.0!

Just a quick note of good news. IEEE officially released the published IEEE-1516-2010 standard today. You can now order printed copies and download the PDF from www.ieee.org. Keeping with our promise to support IEEE, MAK is pleased to also announce the release of the MAK RTI Version 4.0!

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Jim Kogler

The HLA Evolved Upgrade (part 2)

After you have connected to the RTI and Joined a Federation, your federate will tell the RTI what Classes it will be publishing and subscribing to: these are the HLA Declaration Management Services. For objects, this is done through the RTIAmbassador’s publishObjectClass() and subscribeObjectClassAttributes() respectively. Additionally for Objects you will need to tell the RTI which attributes in the class you will be publishing or interested in. The process is similar for interactions, but with interactions you must subscribe to and publish all attributes.

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Jim Kogler

The HLA Evolved Upgrade (part 1)

An HLA Evolved compatible MAK RTI is almost ready for release. As we have been awaiting its release we have received a few requests for more information about HLA Evolved, specifically the work required to update a federate to the latest version of HLA. I was always surprised about this because I have always used VR-Link; our plan is to make VR-Link source compatible, so there will be almost no work required to upgrade a federate using VR-Link.

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Jim Kogler

VR-Exchange Demo

VR-Exchange is MAK’s Interoperability Portal. It’s a very easy to use application which allows users to bridge together two or more systems to form a larger exercise. Here is a small video I made to demonstrate VR-Exchange quickly. Please make sure you set your resolution to HD, it’s a bit blurry in the lower resolutions.

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Jim Kogler

RTI 4.0 and VR-Link 4.0 Status Update

Today I just wanted to provide a status update on our upcoming MAK RTI 4.0 release, and the corresponding VR-Link 4.0 release .  These releases will add support for HLA Evolved to each product. As most of you know, HLA Evolved is the latest version of the IEEE 1516 standard which was released this spring.

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Jim Kogler

Blog Upgrade: Comments

As you all know, MAK is always looking for ways to improve communications with our broader community. This Blog is one important component of that effort. The MAK Blog is a channel through which we can convey important information about our products,  or comment on industry trends and other changes. While Blogs are typically one way communication devices, they don’t always have to be that way. To help improve our communication with you we have recently enabled comments in our Blog.

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Jim Kogler

HLA and RTIs: What’s with all the crazy names?

Frequently people write to support and say“My RTI Crashed!”, or they write "I have 10 federates, and the RTI is installed on Machine X." When I read sentences like these I sometimes cringe. I cringe because RTIs really don’t crash; a component of your RTI crashed. Maybe I cringe because I have been working with RTIs for a very long time.

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Jim Kogler

Design Decision: Where is the rtiexec GUI?

Today I want to discuss a key design decision we made with the RTI in version 3.4: we removed the rtiexec user interface. For many years the MÄK RTI’s rtiexec had two user interfaces: a console and a QT based GUI. In version 3.4, we removed both options and made the rtiexec a simple daemon with no interactive interface.

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Jim Kogler

Design Decision: RTI Federations View and Network Component View

 

When adding features to a product we frequently need to make design decisions. Often these decisions come after many hours of sometimes heated arguments. Today I want to write about one of the design decisions we made with the RTI, and what its implications for the future are. I want to talk about the two main information dialogs in the RTI Assistant: the Federations View, and the Network Component View.

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Jim Kogler

HLA Evolved is Coming!

Good news! HLA Evolved has just cleared a major milestone with the IEEE SAB and REVCOM approving the changes to the HLA Standard. IEEE will now will complete an editorial review and then publish the new IEEE 1516-2010 family of standards. This pretty much means the standards are finalized and will appear on the IEEE website soon.

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Jim Kogler

MAK Support Changes

As many of you know, MÄK has an unorthodox model for technical support. We are proud of how we do support, and believe it’s a key reason why people buy our products (other than the fact that we make awesome products!). In the next few weeks, and continuing over the summer, we will be making a few minor changes to how we handle technical support.

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Jim Kogler

Support Tips #1 "“ Licensing: Maintenance date issues

Every year we receive a number of support questions which have to do with licensing. We hate to receive them, because licensing should be easy! For the most part it is, as many customers never run into any problems at all. However, when a problem does crop up customers frequently feel at a loss.

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Jim Kogler

The Long Journey of the MAK Gateway Family

VR-Exchange 1.6 is just finishing up Quality Control testing and should be released any day, if it isn’t already by the time you read this. VR-Exchange version 1.6 is a bit of a milestone for MAK: it is the first release of VR-Exchange which contains all the functionality of the MAK FOM Agile Gateway.

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