In VR-Forces 4.3, we’ve made a number of enhancements that are not immediately obvious, but are still very useful if you know how to take advantage of them. In this post I’ll share some tips on how to make use of the improved Simulation Model Set (SMS) management that is part of VR-Forces 4.3.
For those who don’t already know, a Simulation Model Set (SMS) in VR-Forces is the set of configuration files that defines the entities and objects available for creation in a scenario. This includes everything from their names and type enumerations to their behavior logic and physical movement dynamics. An SMS is typically modified using the VR-Forces Entity Editor tool.
VR-Forces ships with some preconfigured SMSs with hundreds of objects to use in scenarios, however, it is quite common for customers to add specific models, or to modify the shipped VR-Forces models to suit the needs of various projects. In the past, this was most often done by editing the default SMS in VR-Forces directly, or by copying it wholesale and making edits to the copy. Both of these options lead to significant upgrade work when moving to a new version of VR-Forces where parts of the default SMS were edited, since the changes have to be merged.
Once the VR-Forces 4.1 release was completed and uploaded to the FTP site, we decided to have the VR-Forces team relax a little and express their creativity to see what could be accomplished with the new Scripted Task feature of VR-Forces.
If you haven’t already heard about it, Scripted Tasking is a brand new feature in VR-Forces 4.1 that brings scripting to the forefront and allows any VR-Forces user with even just a little programming or hacking skills build their own tasks and behaviors. We’ve incorporated the well known Lua scripting language into the base VR-Forces, and allowed access to much of the VR-Forces API. New tasks that you write can now be saved directly into a scenario, and easily exchanged among users.
Using this feature, it is possible to create all sorts of new tasks and behaviors in VR-Forces by combining any of the existing tasks, passing messages between entities, and inspecting the state of various elements in the simulation. To see just how flexible the scripting interface is, we had one simple rule: Make any behaviors you want!
VR-Forces 4.0 is getting close to release! As many of you are aware, we’ve been working hard over the past year to give VR-Forces a whole new GUI based on MAK’s VR-Vantage visual product. One of the key new capabilities of this GUI is the ability to work with many different views of the scenario at the same time.