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VT MAK Announces the Release of VR-Engage 1.3

VT MAK is pleased to announce the release of VR-Engage 1.3. MAK’s VR-Engage multi-role virtual simulator lets you “Get in the Game” by controlling a first-person human character; or acting as the driver, gunner or commander of a ground vehicle; the pilot of an airplane or helicopter; or a sensor operator.  VR-Engage 1.3 adds significant new capabilities, including a brand-new Sensor Operator role; man-portable missiles; new virtual- and augmented/mixed-reality capabilities; enhanced voice-over-DIS/HLA radios; significant new terrain and content capabilities; and much more!

New Sensor Operator Role

VR-Engage now includes a new Sensor Operator role - allowing you to perform common surveillance and reconnaissance tasks by controlling simulated UAV cameras, gimbaled sensors, targeting pods, and fixed security cameras. Steer, zoom, and track targets using standard joysticks and game controllers, or configure VR-Engage for use with custom sensor-specific hand controller devices. The new capability allows you to:

  • Attach a gimbaled sensor to any DIS or HLA entity, such as a UAV, ship, or manned aircraft - even if the entity is simulated by an external 3rd-party application that was not built to include sensor capabilities.
  • Take manual control of a sensor that has been configured on a VR-Forces CGF entity.
  • Execute a multi-crew aircraft simulation – using one copy of VR-Engage for the pilot to fly the aircraft, and a second for the Sensor Operator to control the targeting pod.
  • Place fixed or user-controllable remote cameras directly onto the terrain, and stream the resulting simulated video into real security applications or command and control systems using open standards like H.264 or MPEG4.
  • Deploy a complete simulated UAV Ground Control Station, by using VR-Forces GUI to "pilot" the aircraft by assigning waypoints, routes, and missions; while using VR-Engage's Sensor Operator capability to control and view the sensor on a second screen.


VR-Engage comes with MAK's built-in CameraFX module which allows you to control blur, noise, gain, color, and many other camera or sensor post-processing effects.  The optional SensorFX add-on can be used to increase the fidelity of an IR scene - SensorFX models the physics of light and its response to various materials and the environment, as well as the dynamic thermal response of engines, wheels, smokestacks, and more. VR-Engage also supports customizable information overlays that can be displayed on top of the camera or sensor view.


Man-portable Missiles

VR-Engage’s human soldier characters can now carry and deploy shoulder-fired and tripod-mounted man-portable missiles. You can deploy and retrieve launch tripods (which are then managed as separate entities); fire missiles from tripods deployed by other characters; view the seeker’s sensor or video feed in an on-screen inset; and (for appropriate missile types) steer missiles in flight.


Virtual-Reality Improvements

We have significantly enhanced VR-Engage’s virtual-reality capabilities:

    • VR-Engage now supports a wide variety of VR devices, including the HTC VIVE, VIVE Pro, Oculus Rift, as well as other devices that support the OpenVR standard.
    • We have added support for hand controllers for both HTC VIVE and Oculus rift – allowing a user to point and aim the virtual gun by physically moving their hands, while controlling the character’s movement using the devices’ built-in joypads.
    • We have added support for hand controllers for both HTC VIVE and Oculus rift – allowing a user to point and aim the virtual gun by physically moving their hands, while controlling the character’s movement using the devices’ built-in joypads.
    • The action menu and other overlays are now projected onto a 3D billboard in VR.
    • We have added a high-fidelity 3D fighter aircraft interior model, with real geometry for switches and buttons, and working instruments rendered to the 3D panels - for a truly immersive VR flight simulation experience.


New Augmented/Mixed Reality Support

Virtual reality applications are visually immersive, but generally lack the ability to interact with physical devices, because you can’t see your hands, or the devices you need to interact with. To overcome this limitation, we have introduced Augmented/Mixed Reality support in VR-Engage 1.3.

VR-Engage can receive real-time mono or stereo video feeds of the real world around you from forward-facing cameras mounted on a head-mounted display, and can combine real and virtual elements into a unified mixed-reality scene projected onto the HMD’s stereo displays. Automatic masking of desired real-world elements such as your hands and body, touchscreens, and real devices such as throttle/stick and pedals or instrumented guns is achieved through a combination of green-screen (chroma key) techniques and geometry masks. VR-Engage has been tested and demonstrated with the HTC VIVE’s built-in mono camera, the VIVE Pro’s built-in stereo cameras, and with the higher-fidelity Zed Mini stereo cameras – which can be mounted on any vendor’s HMD. The mixed-reality flight simulation demonstration we showed at I/ITSEC 2018 can be run using VR-Engage software out-of-the-box (green screen and flight control hardware not included!)


Enhanced Radio/Voice Communications

We have enhanced VR-Engage’s built-in voice-communications model and interface (voice over DIS/HLA) - including more flexible configuration of multiple radios and channels, an updated UI, and the ability for an instructor to jam radios directly from the VR-Forces GUI.

CDB, Procedural Terrain, and other Terrain and Visual Content Improvements

VR-Engage 1.3 is built on VR-Forces 4.6.1 and VR-Vantage 2.3.1, so it is able to leverage new terrain, content, and performance improvements that were added in those versions, including:

  • Support for CDB terrains
  • Advanced procedural terrains techniques, including blending of high-resolution imagery with even-higher-resolution micro-detail based on land use data
  • Improved performance through the use of Indirect Rendering with Bindless Textures
  • Increased visual quality through Physically-based Rendering (PBR), with support for metal maps and Fresnel effects

In addition, VR-Engage now comes with several updated ground vehicle models with 3D interiors, new DI-Guy characters, and access to MAK’s latest high-fidelity desert village terrain – based on the “Kilo2” MOUT site at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base. Along with this new terrain, we now provide a new demo scenario that shows off many of the capabilities of VR-Engage and VR-Forces.



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