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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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VR-Vantage | |

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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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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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 support@mak.com for more information.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 info@mak.com if you’re hungry to learn more!

fish

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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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