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Q&A with Bill Cole, CEO and President of MAK Technologies

We sat down with Bill Cole, MAK’s President and CEO, to ask him a few questions as he nears his two-year anniversary with MAK. Read about his impact on MAK over the past two years, the evolution and direction of the industry and MAK’s corresponding trajectory, as well as a few thoughts on how MAK is handling the new world in the times of COVID. 

You’ve been CEO and President at MAK for two years now. What would you say your influence has been on MAK during this time?

The team was tremendously talented before I arrived, so I can’t take all the credit for the past two years of success! MAK already had all the right ingredients - great people making great products supporting great customers. The fact that we’ve been able to grow during a pandemic while keeping our customer-obsessed attitude is something that I am very proud of and think it speaks volumes of this team. 

My role has been to encourage and support the team as they reach for bigger and more challenging opportunities - we can never be afraid to grow the company. We should always be thinking of new and better ways to approach challenges and try for bigger opportunities, and I’m here to help pave the way for that.

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We are pros at helping folks link, simulate and visualize virtual worlds in networked synthetic environments. But learning to navigate this new virtual world during COVID has been a unique challenge. With our MAK team, customers, and partners working from home over the past six months, we've focused our energy on developing strategies to keep us all safe and connected, while continuing to help our customers achieve their simulation goals. Here's what we've been up to and what's ahead as we continue the shift to virtual.

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John Schlott has been in the simulation and training industry since 1992. He currently serves as MAK’s Vice President of Orlando Operations with overall responsibility for programs and business activities in our Orlando facility.

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Modeling, Simulation & Training systems have been interoperating in local and wide area networks long before there even was an ‘Internet’ - it's safe to say that we’re no strangers to complex information technology (IT) architectures. That said, the commercial world of IT has exploded over the years. We've already taken a deep dive into the pulse of modern IT in our MAK ONE Guide to Virtualization, and we've illustrated how MAK products are designed to play to the advantages of servers, virtualization, and public/private clouds. Today I'd like to share a few learnings from our cloud deployments on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and our private cloud to demonstrate the world of opportunities available with MAK ONE. Our heads are already in the cloud - join us!

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If you read MAK documentation in PDF form, you probably know it's easy to search within a manual -- just type Ctrl-F in most PDF readers and enter a search term. But what if you're not sure which book you need to look at? Here's a way to search across multiple PDFs. We'll use Adobe Acrobat Reader here, but other PDF readers have similar capabilities.
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When dynamic ocean is enabled, ships and other surface entities produce wakes and prop wash. You can adjust the wakes and the prop wash to make them look realistic by using the Entity Definition Editor and setting the Ship Wake definitions.

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Recording streaming video from VR-Vantage with the MAK Data Logger is quick and easy.  Here are some tips for getting the best video quality out of your recordings. 

  1. Resize the VR-Vantage Window

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Recently MAK, along with our long term reseller KCEI, hosted the 5th annual Modeling and Simulation Seminar in Daejeon, South Korea.

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VR-Forces and VR-Vantage customers often want to add additional features to the terrains provided by MAK or want to understand how to add features to the terrains that they have developed. One type of feature that is often requested is fencing, for example around an aerodrome. 

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When VR-Forces added ‘scenario events’ back in release 4.3, the intent was to support a Master Scenario Events List (MSEL). In operations-based or discussion-based exercises, a MSEL provides a timeline and location for expected exercise events and injects -- actions that push the scenario forward.

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One of the features of VR-Forces Lua scripting that makes it so easy to create useful tasks and sets is automatic generation of dialog boxes. This feature makes it so easy to create dialog boxes that our developers often use it to create the dialog boxes for new C++ tasks, instead of using the Qt API. (VT MAK uses Qt, a cross-platform API to create the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for its products.) Unfortunately, other than providing some support for indenting, the automatically generated dialog boxes are very generic in their layout. Prior to VR-Forces 4.6, if you wanted a dialog box that supported the user with a UI design that was more than utilitarian, you were out of luck. However, in VR-Forces 4.6 we added the ability to use Qt Designer to create custom dialog boxes for Lua scripted tasks and sets. 

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When MAK launched VR-Engage in 2016, it came with a great set of roles for first-person play, including a helicopter pilot, driver, weapons operator, etc.  Now, we're adding a new role - a Sensor Operator.

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The MAK RTI has many configuration parameters that control how it connects federates to federations and how it implements the various RTI services. You can use these parameters to tune the performance of your federates and federations. In MAK RTI 4.4.2 and previous releases, these parameters were set in the following ways:

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Hola a todos

Last week, VT MAK was exhibiting at the Feria CAMAN 2018 event in Madrid, Cundinamarca, Colombia. The event allowed us to share with different visitors from the Colombian Air Force.

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Many factors affect the visual quality and performance of terrain databases and terrain developers must be able to assess the effect of their decisions when building terrains. VR-Vantage and VR-Forces have some built-in debugging tools that can help you with your terrain development process. This tech tip is a brief survey of some of these tools.

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Steve made three recent stops as he travels the world, spreading MAK software everywhere he goes. See if you can keep up!

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The Windows versions of MAK products are built using the Microsoft Visual C++ (MSVC++) compiler. Because application and library compatibility is usually broken between different versions of the compiler, applications that interoperate must be built using compatible compilers. To help customers choose the correct version of an application to install, each MAK application installer includes the compiler version it was built with in the installer filename. Additionally, the About box for each application includes the compiler used to build it.

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When you are creating a scenario in VR-Forces, you usually have complete access to all of the simulation objects in a simulation model set (SMS) and can create as many as you want. However, in the real world, commanders do not have unlimited resources. They are constrained by their Order of Battle (OOB), which specifies the men and material available in a hierarchical structure. VR-Forces now supports the creation of OOBs. You create an Order of Battle in the context of a scenario. However, once you create an OOB, you can export it and then import it into other scenarios. This lets you quickly create new scenarios that use the same OOB for training or scenario development.

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Hola!

Last week MAK held a Modeling and Simulation seminar in Bogota, Colombia.

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Many of the web sites that most of us read regularly are not composed of static pages. They pull content from a variety of sources to customize the pages for the reader. You might see the same news article show up on the sites for multiple different news outlets. This is called content reuse. The goal is to get maximum use out of each content component. Similarly, VR-Forces supports many strategies for reusing scenario components. Using the same terrains for many different scenarios is an obvious case, but for this tech tip we will focus on ways to reuse scenario content – simulation objects and tactical graphics.

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