I'm excited to introduce the latest innovative technology our team has been developing: MAK Legion — a next-generation scalability and communication framework that can manage and deliver millions of entities in both local and cloud deployment environments.
As you know, MAK has been a trusted and leading provider of simulation interoperability products since our inception 30 years ago. But about two years ago, we asked ourselves an important question, inspired by the needs of the US Army Synthetic Training Environment program: "If we had the chance to re-design DIS or HLA today — to meet tomorrow's most aggressive scalability requirements, and to better leverage modern technology such as multi-core machines, high-bandwidth networks, massively-multiplayer gaming paradigms, and cloud services — what would it look like?" Legion represents the answer to that question.
Legion's modern data-oriented implementation, client-server approach to mirroring of state, whole-earth geographic interest management, thread-safe API, simplified ownership transfer, reuse of SISO Enumerations and DIS/RPR data types, and powerful code-generation tools all contribute to Legion's ability to make large numbers of entities easy to manage from any engine or application.
We are almost ready to release our beta version of VR-Link for Unity - an HLA/DIS Interoperability module for the Unity Engine! The official 1.0 release is scheduled for late February. Meanwhile, you can see a quick demo video here.
On the right, you’ll see a helicopter flying a route in VR-Forces. And on the left, you’ll see that same helicopter being reflected in real-time into a Unity-based sample application - over HLA through the new VR-Link for Unity asset. For this demo, we used Unity’s well-known "bootcamp" sample terrain, which we also loaded into VR-Forces by exporting it as a height field and image. And through VR-Link for Unity’s model-mapping GUI, we mapped the HLA entity type to a pre-existing Unity helicopter asset.
I’m heading out today to the Fall SIW Conference in Orlando - the semi-annual Simulation Interoperability Workshop hosted by SISO (www.sisostds.org). As usual, MAK is participating in many ways:
On a quick walk around the show floor here at ITEC 2012 in London, I was excited to see the number of partners and other product vendors demonstrating new integrations between their products and ours:
1) Antycip Simulation is demonstrating a new dynamic ocean visualization plug-in to VR-Vantage, based on their MyOcean3D technology. This plug-in generates realistic-looking waves by using fast-fourier-transform techniques to generate a dynamic height field, encoding the height field in a texture, and passing the texture to custom shader code running on the GPU. The shader supports vertex displacement both vertically (for crests and troughs) and horizontally (for curling and breaking wave tips). In the demonstration, a ship simulated by VR-Forces bobs and rocks realistically on the waves. This is accomplished through a dynamic form of“ocean clamping&rdquo, where a simple physics model is run in VR-Vantage to offset the ground-truth positions and orientations published over HLA by VR-Forces. The MyOcean3D plug-in to VR-Vantage is already in use at one customer site, and we are interested in hearing whether you’d like to see this become part of the standard product offering.
2) Discovery Machine is demonstrating a brand new integration between their Knowledge Service Modeler AI software, and our VR-Forces CGF. With the Knowledge Service Modeler, users can construct strategies in a graphical language that is: accessible to a wide range of users; hierarchical in nature; object-oriented; fully reflective; and easily integrated into existing systems. In their demonstration, Discovery Machine is showing how users can quickly build complex and high-level behaviors in their editor, and immediately assign those behaviors to VR-Forces entities in an interactive simulation environment.
As the news of Warren’s upcoming departure from MÄK has spread after today’s announcement, I’ve heard from a few long-time partners and customers asking for my take on what this means for MÄK. So I wanted to share a few quick thoughts. But first, this is good time to express how lucky I feel that I’ve had the opportunity to work for Warren for more than 18 years.
I first met Warren when I was 20 years old, when he conducted an on-campus interview at MIT. As I walked past all of the other companies’ representatives wearing suits and ties, there was Warren wearing sneakers, jeans, and a T-shirt (although he did have a blazer on over the T-shirt). I said to myself“That’s the guy I want to work for!” And I have enjoyed doing so ever since. Over the years, I’ve found Warren to be a visionary leader, an eternal optimist, a businessman of unimpeachable character, an outstanding role model, and a good friend. I wish you the best of luck, Warren, in your post-MÄK life, and I thank you for creating and cultivating a company that remains engaging, successful, and fun even after almost two decades. (continued...)