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After another busy day on the show floor yesterday, MÄK let loose for the second night of our first ever“MÄK Fest.” We sent two busloads of MÄK staff, customers, partners, and I/ITSEC friends to Disney’s Epcot to enjoy a lakeside fireworks show, complete with dinner, drinks, hot chocolate, and the classically beautiful Disney Christmas décor.

While we enjoyed ourselves, I had the chance to speak with many different groups of customers. While the most common topic was the state of the economy, it was encouraging to hear how creative everyone is becoming to meet end-user requirements on reduced budgets. I was gratified to hear how MÄK is playing a role in meeting these challenges with our COTS products and solutions.

The evening was a complete success and I’m looking forward to tonight’s party at "Rising Star "“ Universal CityWalk." It will include a bit of classy karaoke, including a live band and back-up singers. If you’re at I/ITSEC now, stop by our booth (#2549) to pick up your tickets!

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It’s great to be back at I/ITSEC for another year"”seeing those familiar faces, a few that I haven’t seen in over 10 years, is a wonderful thing that makes being here a fun and special time.

As far as what’s happening on the show floor, I’ve seen some really innovative visual technologies around. Something that I’m sure fellow MÄK bloggers have commented on is how well our streaming terrain is being received. It seems like every time I turn around there’s a new crowd asking for a terrain demo.  I haven’t seen anything yet that is comparable to our streaming terrain"¦perhaps this explains our popularity.

Last night was a fun night for MÄK as well: instead of putting on the ChowdahFest as we do every year, MÄK decided to put on a series of events - the MÄK Fest. Last night’s event included lots of fun at “Howl at the Moon”, a renowned dueling piano bar in Orlando. It was fun to see all of our MÄK staff, customers, and I/ITSEC friends hanging out, wearing cowboy hats (the funny hat trend continues), and having a great time.  I’m looking forward to seeing fireworks tonight at Epcot and doing some karaoke tomorrow night at Orlando CityWalk! Fun times ahead.

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As mentioned by my fellow I/ITSEC bloggers, there’s quite a bit of buzz around the MAK booth! People seem to be instinctively drawn to all of our visualization products, streaming terrain features, and snazzy customer solutions, not only because of MAK’s hard earned reputation in simulation and visualization products, but also because of the eye catching displays and demos.

But (probably because of my role as technical product manager of link products) I just wanted to remind everyone attending I/ITSEC and those who aren’t able to attend that MAK is still going strong with our Link products! If anyone at the show is interested in learning more about MAK’s core products, Including the MAK RTI, VR-Link, VR-Exchange, and the Data Logger, come by our booth and talk to me! I’ve already spoken with a number of Link product users and gotten some great feedback:“ now it’s your turn! I want to hear what you’re currently using our products for and what we can do in the future to meet your Linking needs.

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In the midst of the first day of showcasing our products and solutions on the tradeshow floor, I’ve been pleased to see crowds of people actively participating and communicating with our MÄK“experts” and “sherpas”.

(To all those unaware, the experts are providing detailed demos to all interested I/ITSEC goers. The sherpas are stationed around the booth to be available to answer questions and lead people to different demo pods.)

What was thought to be a slow first day looks to be one full of promise. My predictions for the rest of the week are very optimistic and I look forward to seeing what’s in store!

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It’s only day one of I/ITSEC and I can’t believe how popular VR-TheWorld and our streaming terrain capability has become!

Last year we introduced the VR-theWorld Server and it made a small ripple. Today, however, we have been demonstrating our Hawaii database featuring streaming terrain, streaming elevation, and streaming features with 150,000 buildings, a cut-in and high detailed airport site, over 9000 trees, and a small town using point feature replacement--so far, it is a huge success.  

Our Hawaii database demonstrates multiple terrain approaches being ultilized together at the same time--we’re thrilled that those who experienced it today are as excited about it as we are!

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Well, folks, it’s here again. That long awaited and long prepared for season that comes only once a year: I/ITSEC season. MÄK is busy building and preparing our booth for the show, which starts this Monday at 2:00 pm sharp.

If you’re planning to attend the tradeshow, we invite you to stop by our booth (#2549) and introduce yourself! We’d love to meet you and answer any questions you may have about our product capabilities or customer-oriented solutions. If you can’t make it to the show, we hope you’ll follow our blog. We plan on posting several entries a day about the happenings at I/ITSEC, all written by our attending MÄK staff.

Whether you’re here in Orlando or joining us virtually on the blog, we look forward to sharing our I/ITSEC experience with you!

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This is part 4 in my series of blog posts on RTI RID configuration tips. Each of these tips, unless otherwise noted, works in HLA 1.3, HLA 1516-2000, or HLA Evolved. Check out the previous posts in this series, and stay tuned for more to come.

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Part 1: RID Consistency Checking 

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This is part 3 in my series of blog posts on RTI RID configuration tips. Each of these tips, unless otherwise noted, works in HLA 1.3, HLA 1516-2000, or HLA Evolved. Check out the previous posts in this series, and stay tuned for more to come.

Part 1: RTI RID Configuration Tips: Consistency Checking

Part 2: RTI RID Configuration Tips: the Advantages of MTL

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Recently, on the 20th of October myself and Ben Lubetsky, VP of Sales and Business Development, attended and presented at DEF SIM 2011, which was successfully hosted by EDS Technologies in Delhi, India.  DEF SIM 2011 was a conference where VT MÄK along with industry leaders such as BARCO were able to present to a very large crowd of delegates, applications suited for Military Modeling and Simulation Solutions. 

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We are working on our demos for I/ITSEC and the Traffic Generation feature in B-HAVE 2.0 for VR-Forces 4.0.1 is proving to be a big help. Jim Kogler has blogged about this feature in his Pattern of Life blog, but to recap, when you add spawn points and sink points to a scenario, VR-Forces automatically creates entities (civilian lifeforms or civilian vehicles) at a set interval at the spawn point. They then move towards a randomly chosen sink point. When they get to the sink point they are deleted. This provides a steady stream of entity traffic that moves purposefully without the need to create plans, assign tasks, create routes, and so on. So I thought I would share some of my experiences with them.

My scenario has 18 spawn points and 18 sink points in a relatively small area. After one minute of simulation, more than 200 entities get created. After four minutes more than 400 are created. So when you plan your scenario, consider how many entities you want (including any entities that have specific plans as the main point of the scenario) and plan the number of spawn points accordingly; otherwise, like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, you may find yourself dealing with a flood of entities.

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This is part 2 in my series of blog posts on RTI RID configuration tips. Each of these tips, unless otherwise noted, works in HLA 1.3, HLA 1516-2000, or HLA Evolved. Take a look at part 1 HERE, and stay tuned for future posts in this series.

RID files are written in Lisp

The RID file is written in MTL. MTL stands for MÄK Technologies Lisp. MTL is basically a limited form of the Lisp programming language. The primary purpose of the RID MTL file is to set specific variables which are parsed by the RTI’s MTL parser and loaded into configuration settings. The same goal could be achieved using other formats such as XML (another popular MÄK configuration file format), but there are advantages to MTL.

The first important thing to understand is the difference between the setq and setqb commands. The "˜b’ in the setqb command stands for "bound". This command is used to set the bound variables that are recognized by the RTI. So the only variables set using setqb should be those that are documented RID parameters that are accepted by the RTI. The setq command, however, can be used to set any temporary variables you want that can be used in RID processing. Why would you want to do this? Well, used in conjunction with other features of MTL, this can make your life just a little bit easier. Here’s an example: 

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Over the past few months, I’ve been your main support line for licensing issues outside of key regeneration. During this time, I started to notice a trend:“ there’s a lot of confusion over license configuration. After some research, I narrowed down the cause to be the documentation and the FlexLM tools that we include. We are well aware that the current tools aren’t the most adequate or intuitive.

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The other day I was talking to a customer about an interesting use case involving VR-Link. They are using VR-Link to network two simulations together for Aerial Refueling Exercises. While DIS and VR-Link have both been around for over 20 years, this was the first time that they were used for aerial refueling.  The aircraft involved are moving at high speeds and physically connect to each other during flight. It turns out, this is pretty tricky, which I’m sure most of you have already gathered. Using VR-Link, this customer modified how the messages were sent to make sure the simulation was fast enough to provide adequate training. If you are interested in seeing this in person, the Air National Guard will be highlighting this in their booth at I/ITSEC this year.

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As anyone who has edited a RID file for the RTI can tell you, there are a lot of different parameters available to customize how you want the RTI to function. It can be pretty overwhelming. Over the years we’ve tried to make RTI configuration as simple as possible, while still preserving the ability for users to get their hands dirty with the nitty-gritty details of RTI operation. To this end we’ve tried to choose default settings that make sense, and we created the RTI Assistant to allow you to quickly and easily edit the most commonly used connection parameters from a simple GUI. Hopefully that helps many of you stay out of the RID file as much as possible, but chances are at some point you will have to take the plunge and delve into it. To help you out when that day comes, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts with tips and tricks that will hopefully come in handy. I’m not going to go through each parameter in detail. Instead I’m going to cover some general configuration techniques and tips on debugging potential RID issues. If you have a question about individual RID parameters, please see the back of the RTI Reference Manual or drop us an email at support@mak.com. Unless otherwise noted, all of the tips I’ll be discussing can be used for all HLA versions: HLA 1.3, HLA 1516-2000, and HLA Evolved.

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This week I’m attending SEECAT in Tokyo, Japan. SEECAT (Special Equipment Exhibition & Conference for Anti-Terrorism) is part of the RISKCON (Risk Conference) and is it’s own closed off little world. While the rest of the show floor is packed with disaster survival equipment (everything from portable bathrooms and cardboard room dividers to amphibious earth moving vehicles) the SEECAT section is filled with mostly facility surveillance equipment. Dozens of camera and facility security companies are here as well as a few UGV (unmanned ground vehicle), UAV (unmanned air vehicle) and UUV/ USV (unmanned underwater vehicle/unmanned surface vehicle) resellers.
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Logger 5.1 now features an improved remote control interface (RCI), making it easier than ever for you to control the Logger remotely from your applications, such as After Action Review (AAR) systems and Instructor Operator Stations (IOS). The Logger RCI has migrated from a PDU centric toolkit to an API that mirrors the internal Logger architecture. The interface is designed to support multiple Loggers as if they were a single Logger, which allows for distributing the load among several processors or machines.

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The Aeronautics Institute of Technology (ITA) annually organizes the Defense Operational Applications Symposium (SIGE). This year the event was scheduled between September 27th to 30th. The SIGE, in the 13th edition, is an international event which the main goal is to create a suitable environment for experiences exchange between military and civilian academic, industrial and commercial institutions interested in defense research and development.

This is a conference where papers are delivered and companies such as Latin Media and VT MÄK are able to attend and exhibit today’s latest COTS technology.

ITA is basically a military school/college where a lot of students come to study aeronautical engineering.  There are a number of divisions within ITA, all offering their expertise and specialty.  There is one group within ITA who has a suite of VT MÄK products that we (I) provided them.  It is a collaborative effort with GMU (See attached) where they are developing a C2 application at GMU in Virginia and then this information and expertise is transferred to Brazil.

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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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During our work in the modeling and simulation space we’re often introduced to some very cool technologies. Some are synergistic with MÄK’s and others can be enhanced when used in combination with our own. 

One such technology was developed by a research corporation in upstate NY.  The innovation involves a unique approach speech synthesis.  It provides the ability to synthesize and manipulate natural sounding speech in multiple voices. The technology will allow users to synthesize a speaker from a short recorded sample and from that generate many hundreds of individual speakers. Ultimately, this will deceive a human listener into believing the synthesized speech was produced by a live human. This capability is of great interest to the intelligence community as it will help train linguists in the collection of accurate intelligence from communication intercepts and in the understanding of rare dialects. 

The company realized that it did not have an effective platform to demonstrate this new technology to prospective users and turned to MÄK for an answer.  They found MÄK’s VR-Forces CGF (Computer Generated Forces) product offered the perfect solution.  By utilizing VR-Forces’ robust open API and text messaging capability, some very compelling demos were developed. MÄK’s DIS and HLA Evolved connectivity products will also allow effective networking of these demos into larger distributed simulations. 

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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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