Author Archive

The SimplySim Blog has moved !

June 7, 2010

Dear readers,

As you might have noticed on the header of this page, we have created a new blog, which more looks like SimplySim, with an easier navigation and improved features. We have added new things such as a “recommended posts” category, a dynamic 3D tag cloud, a site map, and better sharing options.

Please note that the this is just and upgrade and that our bloggers and articles won’t change. We have already moved the content of this blog there so you can find all our old posts there.

New blog

Don’t hesitate to take a look and leave us your comments there.

Thank you for reading us on “simplysim.wordpress.com”. We hope you will enjoy http://blog.simplysim.net/ as well !

The many uses of real time 3D technologies

December 18, 2009

SimplySim designs software tools to create 3D applications. As you might already have seen in our drone simulation, these tools permit to design 3D simulation applications, but there are several kinds of 3D applications that can be created with them. In today’s post, we have a quick look at different potential applications.

SimplySim apartment simulation

This interactive simulation environment can be used for any application from robotics simulations to serious games, or architectural design project.

Simulation

There are several ways to use 3D simulation in different fields: from the experimentation of new systems to the fields of education and training, or the study of human behaviors in realistic conditions. As explained before, the SimplyEngine has been specifically designed for real time 3D simulation, not only for UAVs but for any system.

When we talk about 3D software, video games are what come to most people’s mind (probably because video games are the first 3D applications that have reached our homes). However when we started doing 3D simulation, we felt that today the industry lacks a real 3D real time simulation engine, a software that is really designed for simulation, not for video games.

Video games

Speaking of video games, the needs of the two fields of simulation and video games can often be the same (and that led some game engine to be used in simulation projects). However the priorities are different and sometimes conflicting: simulation needs more realism, accuracy and easy interactions with other software. That doesn’t mean that you cannot use our simulation engine for video games (and given the quality of our 3D graphic real time rendering this would be understandable), just be warned that the software has been created for simulation and that the first upgrades will be for simulation.

Serious Games

During the last decade, both simulation and video game industries gave birth to “serious games”, which apply video game technology to serious purposes. The limit between serious games, simulations, and traditional video games can be hard to define. We like to see serious games as a simulation that includes some game mechanisms. In any case our product is particularly well suited to the creation of serious games thanks to its high realism and multiple possibilities in terms of interactions.

Virtual reality

Another domain related to those above is the field of virtual reality. 3D has been used in virtual reality for several years now. This is a domain where software and hardware interactions are numerous, and deserve to be simple. Our solution is based on service oriented architecture, and offers very easy ways to integrate any software or hardware with the 3D applications you create with it.

Architecture, 3D Marketing, and more

Of course our tools can also be used in other domains, such as architecture (where 3D has brought a lot in terms of efficiency and cost reduction) or marketing (where 3D offers a new media for brand and product advertising). People working in these domains, and other newcomers to the 3D technologies should particularly appreciate the easy to use and “keep it simple” approach we used when we designed our tools.


More about our UAV simulation

November 27, 2009

Today, Loïc Morvan, who created the UAV  simulation (UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle). I have presented in a video last week, is going to tell us more about his work.

SimplySim UAV Simulation

Loïc, what is exactly behind this UAV simulation?

Well, this is a real physic 3D real-time simulation that you see here. It is based on Microsoft XNA for 3D rendering, and on different physic engines for physics. The simulated drone which is flying here has real physic attributes such as its mass, inertia, collision shapes… and it behaves realistically to torques and forces we apply to it. The physic equations are solved by precise discrete solvers, which make the drone having a behavior close to reality.

How did you build that simulated drone, and how long did that take?

The whole construction of the simulated drone did not take more than a few days.

First, we need the 3D model of the drone. That part of the work is done by our 3D designers, and it is actually the longer (1 or 2 days).

Then, we have to define the physic shapes of the drones, and physic constraints (mass, dynamic friction, static friction…). As the physic shapes are defined independently from the 3D model, we can choose our degree of complexity by using more or less accurate physic shapes.

Once the 3D model and physic properties are defined, I have attached some sensors, like the camera and the inclinometers.

Finally, I have added the rotors which are generic objects composed by a rotor blade and an engine (mechanic joint), so that the drone flying algorithm can be implemented.

That was over. The next step was to implement the drone control algorithms to test its behavior.

The simulated drone is supposed to behave like the real one, but you use generic objects, how can you explain that?

Generic objects such as the rotors have many parameters so that you can customize them to create your precise item. Here I have set particular max rotation speed and max torque for my rotors, but we could imagine setting other values for another drone.

What about the drone sensors (camera, inclinometers…)?

We also use generic elements. If you want to create a particular simulated motion camera, you just have to take our generic one and modify the parameters: size and quality of the pictures, number of frames per second, additional noise… That’s it!

Could you tell us more about how the wind is simulated?

The simulated wind is pre-generated considering the static objects (buildings…) which compose the simulation. This generation produces a 2D or 3D map which contains the wind information in each 3D point of the environment. Some of the algorithms we use for that come from the world of image processing.

The map is then inserted into the simulation and the wind is applied to every physic object.

You talk about “multi physic engine compatibility”, could you explain what it is exactly?

A physic engine is the program which computes the physic calculations. It contains the discrete solver used to integrate the equations. There are many physic engines available on the market: PhysX, Newton Game Dynamics, Havok, ODE…

Today, most of simulations are compatible with only one of these physic engines. What we do at SimplySim, is to provide the ability to be compatible with any of them, thanks to a technology that we have called SimplyDynamics. This is why we can talk about “multi physic engine compatibility”.

When you create a 3D simulation, do you only need the SimplyEngine?

No, I also need the 3D models of what I want to simulate. For the drone, we have modeled the drone and the 3D environment with 3D modeling tools which our not created by SimplySim. After that, we worked with the SimplyEngine and with our own edition tools.

Can you tell us a bit more about these edition tools ?

These edition tools represent an easy and graphic way to create the different parts of a simulation. For instance, we have one editor to design the physic properties, which is more user-friendly than typing code! There are a lot of other editors we prepare, some of them will be released in 2010, the goal is really to ease as much as possible the process of creating a 3D simulation.

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