Posts Tagged ‘Ease of Use’

SimplyCube free NanoConcept demonstrations – final Part

May 5, 2010

Here it is! The final NanoConcept demonstration is online.

This suite of five demonstrations is designed to show you how to use the SimplyCube engine by creating a mini serious game. The goal of the game is to destroy viruses with a Nano robot in a blood vessel while avoiding red cells and lymphocytes.

In the two first demonstrations, we created the different objects needed for our mini game. The first one show you how to create graphic objects with physic properties and the second one started the game play by adding weapons, graphic effects and particles to the objects.

The third and fourth demonstrations added the environment (the blood vessel). Graphic options and post processing effects were added too to bestow the visual looking of the game. We also created a pursuit camera which follows the Nano robot. We set up an “in game” menu which allow us to change graphic options and the Nano robot controls. The “Head up Display” (HUD) was almost done with a speedometer and an arrow which shows the closest target.

In this final demo, we will create the game by adding some features at what we have done in the previous demonstrations. We will create a wind effect in the blood vessel in order to transport red cells through it, and we will add sounds to make the game more immersive. Then, we will generate all the viruses and red cells (hundreds). The final step will be the implementation of the game mechanics: paralyzing and destroying objects, time limit and, of course, scoring system.

Hurry up! You have five minutes to destroy as many viruses as you can!

I also invite you to visit the SimplySim forum, where you can make some feedbacks and ask questions about these demonstrations, or just share your best score with the other SimplyCube beta users!

Advertisements

SimplyCube free NanoConcept demonstrations – Part 4

April 28, 2010

Hello everyone, the fourth demo is released!

NanoConcept Demo is a suite of five demonstrations which designed to show you how to use the SimplyCube engine by creating a mini serious game. The goal of the game is to destroy viruses with a Nano robot in a blood vessel while avoiding red cells and lymphocytes.

In the two first demonstrations, we created the different objects needed for our mini game. The first one show you how to create graphic objects with physic properties and the second one started the game play by adding weapons, graphic effects and particles to the objects.

The third demonstration added the environment (the blood vessel). Graphic options and post processing effects were added too to bestow the visual looking of the game. We also created a pursuit camera which follows the Nano robot.

In this one, we will create an “in game” menu. We will be able to set up graphic options and control’s key binds through it. We will also start the “Head up Display” (HUD) of the game by adding a speedometer and an arrow which will show you the closest target.

Remember that you can post at any time feedbacks or questions on the SimplySim forum!

Last demonstration to come next week! It will be the final step and will add game mechanics, a wind map, and much more!

SimplyCube free NanoConcept demonstrations – Part 3

April 21, 2010

Here it is, the third NanoConcept demonstration is now released!
For the record, NanoConcept Demo is a suite of five demonstrations which designed to show you how to use the SimplyCube engine by creating a mini serious game.

The goal of the game is to destroy viruses with a Nano robot in a blood vessel while avoiding red cells and lymphocytes.

The two previous demonstrations were about creating the different objects we’ll need to make a full mini game.

The first one show you how to create graphic objects with physic properties and the second one started the game play by adding weapons, graphic effects and particles to the objects.

This demonstration is more about the environment. It is time to create the blood vessel, add our objects previously created in it. We will also set up a “pursuit type” camera which will follow the Nano robot trough the vessel.

Finally, we will make our environment look pretty nice by adding post processing effects and creating a graphic settings window which will allow you to choose (and try) different graphic configurations.

Remember that you can post at any time feedbacks or questions on the SimplySim forum!

Stay tuned for the next week’ demonstration release!

SimplyCube new free demo: NanoConcept

April 7, 2010

Hello everyone, as Bertrand announced a few weeks ago, I have joined the SimplySim team at the beginning of March 2010 and since then I’ve been experiencing with the SimplyCube to create content for the community. Today is an exciting day for me as we release the first results of my work. This is the first part of series of 5 small demos and each one will introduce a new aspect of what you can do with the SimplyCube. At the end of the fifth demo, you will have a complete 3D serious game. Ok, now let me explain you the concept of the application we’ll be creating in this demo:

NanoConcept

The concept

The idea is to create a video game where a small robot navigates through a blood vessel. The game is simple: the robot must avoid healthy cells (red cells, lymphocytes) and destroy viruses. This little game could then easily be transformed into an educational serious game.

You will learn throughout this series of demonstrations how to create your objects, add effects on it, set up the environment and add the game mechanics that will make, by the end, a very cool serious game from these demonstrations. The goal of this series of demo is to complete the tutorials already available in the beta, and better explain how the technology can be used to create a complete 3D application.

Getting started

Ok, now you probably want to download the package and start working on this project. Let me explain what you need to get started:

  • First, if it’s not already done, register for the beta of the SimplyCube
  • You’ll receive a link by email, that will enable you to download the beta.
  • Be sure to install all the required software listed in the “system requirements” (we know that the installation process is long and boring, sorry for that but for this first version of the SimplyCube we couldn’t include everything in a single installer, in part for legal reasons).
  • Once you’ve installed everything, you can download the first “Nano Concept demo” here.

In today’s demo you’ll learn how to create a new scene, how to create simple objects like viruses, lymphocytes or red cells. You will also learn how to create a complex object such as the NanoBot and understand how it moves.

We’ll try to release a new demo each week, so stay tuned! You can also follow me on my twitter where I try to give regular updates on my work.

SimplyCube beta first independent review

March 15, 2010

When we launched our beta a little more than a month ago, one of our main expectations was to see how people will review and comment our product. We’ve received recently a first in depth review of the beta by a PhD student at the Department of Computing of the Imperial College of London. To let you judge by yourself here is the conclusion of the review:

“The tool claims to be “The easiest tool to create real-time 3d software”, this beta release is a first step at this. It provides a good SDK for a rendering engine with physics. This provides some novel features such as the support for multiple physics engines in the same application and a nice Day/Night lighting system. The SDK looks like a good stepping stone to an intuitive user interface. Which is due in a future release. The engine is meant to support robotics and simulations however the beta currently gives limited intuition on how will it fulfils this role.

In summary this is an interesting product since it leverages and extends a number technically competent products from Microsoft namely the .Net framework in C#, Microsoft’s Robotics Studio and the XNA Games Studio. This provides a good starting point and it will be interesting to see how this product develops.”

SimplySim beta review

Click to read the full report (PDF)

This first independent review comes as a support for our SimplyCube, because although only a fraction of the final product has been tested (the editors are not yet available in the beta), the strong points highlighted by the review are the one we’ve been working for:

  • An easy to use 3D real time simulation SDK
  • A multi-physics engine, physics simulation
  • Advanced 3D rendering with post processing and lightning effects

The product continues to evolve, and as I said in last week’s post the next step is a series of demos showing a more advanced use of the engine. Of course, if you want to get a better idea of what our product is worth, register for the beta and test the product by yourself! And if you make your own review of our product, we’ll be glad to post it here.

SimplyCube beta available, Microsoft TechDays, New website

February 9, 2010

Today is an important day for SimplySim, we’re officially launching the beta period of the SimplyCube simulation engine.

SimplyCube box

SimplyCube Beta

The beta period for the SimplyCube starts today. This first beta package includes the first version of the SimplyCube simulation engine, along with the associated documentation and the Asset Compiler tool. We also include a large number of tutorials to help you get started with this new product. Our first tutorials cover the field of 3D rendering, physics, and sound. They will soon be followed by more tutorials, demo, and learning material (especially on our service oriented architecture).

We’ll open progressively the number of user allowed in, and eventually the beta will be fully public. You can register for the beta on our new website, and we’ll notify you when you have been accepted to the beta. The only thing we ask you, as our first users, is to notify us with any question or problem you encounter so we can help you. Please use our forum for that. You’re also welcome to showcase the project you’re developing on our simulation engine in the forum. And eventually we’d like to give some of you access to our blog to showcase and explain their project.

Microsoft Techdays

For those of you who are in Paris, Microsoft has invited us to launch our product in a session at the Microsoft Techdays. The session is in room 242A at 5:30 pm at the Palais des Congrès de Paris (Porte Maillot). The TechDays are free and I think there is an on-site registration, so it might not be too  late even if you haven’t registered yet.

For everyone else, the session are filmed and will be available on the web in a few days (we’ll notify you on this blog when our session is online). We’ll also make our presentation slide available tonight after the presentation.

We’d like to thank Microsoft once again for giving us this opportunity, and especially everyone in the Bizspark and IDEES program of Microsoft. These two programs are really a huge help for a young and innovative startup company !

New website

As some of you may have noticed already, we have recently launched a new website. This website is completely dedicated to our real time 3D simulation product offering. The website will still evolve in the following weeks (with more content in the gallery and the product section), and will eventually be completed with our online store.

SimplySim website


An inside look: the technology used in our 3D simulation

December 3, 2009

In today’s post we’re going to discuss the technology we use to create our real time 3D simulations, and what we think of these technologies. This inside look should also give you a good idea of what to expect from our products.

SimplySim realistic real time 3D simulation

real time 3D urban simulation using the SimplyEngine

Easy and rapid programming: Microsoft .NET

As we explain in our introduction post on our product, one of our goals is to offer you a product that is easy to use, to enable any developer to benefit from real time 3D simulation technologies. As developer ourselves, we already had an idea of what “ease of use” can mean for a developer, and that led us quite immediately to the choice of Microsoft .NET

As we wanted performance and quality 3D rendering we didn’t had many option: standard C++ or .NET (java was clearly not an option). Then the choice was easy: .NET had two major advantages, the first was for our team: .NET meant that we could develop more rapidly and efficiently (and Visual Studio is an awesome IDE). The second and probably most important advantage is simply that it would be the same for our customers! Plus they can choose their programming language in the variety that the .NET framework offers (as for us, we use and recommend C#).

Graphic engine: Microsoft XNA

The choice of XNA as a graphic engine came quite naturally too, it’s using direct X 9.0 guaranteeing performance and nice 3D rendering and it’s on .NET. Plus we liked their asset managing utility. We’ve tested many other 3D engines in many programming languages before, and XNA is, for now, our choice.

Editors interface: Microsoft WPF

An important part of the “ease of use” (or “simply spirit” as we like to call it) that we wanted in our products meant that we had to design efficient user interfaces for our editors. That led us to WPF, mainly because we liked the freedom we had to design our interface combined to the ease of use of the technology.

Software interaction: Microsoft CCR/DSS

We first discovered Microsoft CCR/DSS when we started to use Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, and we just love this technology. We had already played a bit with the concept of “service oriented” or “component oriented” architecture before and DSS is a really nice implementation of these concepts, while CCR offers a very smart way to solve concurrency and coordination problems. We’ll discuss more about this in a dedicated post, but to sum up the main advantage of this technology for us it to enable our 3D simulation to be really easy to interface with any other software application.

Physic engine: the multi-engine option

As you’ll have understood if you watched our first demo of our UAV simulation, physic realism is really important in our product. So we’ve had a look at all the different physic engine available on the market (PhysX, Newton, ODE, Havok, and a few others) and after an in depth review, we decided not to choose. In fact these physic engines have not been created for the same purpose, and they have different strong points. Some have very good performance with a lot of objects, some are really focusing on the accuracy of the movements, others are designed for fast moving objects… and we felt that the choice of the physic engine really depended on the type of application. So we’ve built the SimplyDynamics, a software library that gives you the opportunity to choose the physic engine you’re application is using. And as it might not be evident which one to choose, you can make this choice at the very last moment: at run time!

How we got it all for free: Microsoft Bizspark program

Finally another thing we like about the technologies and the tools we use is that we’ve access to it for free. We’re member of a really cool program called Microsoft Bizspark that helps innovating startup by providing access to Microsoft software, support and visibility. We had already chosen Microsoft technologies for our development because it answered really well our needs, but Bizspark membership clearly made things easier.

SimplySim is a BizSpark StartUp

Introducing our « 3D simulation engine » : the SimplyEngine

November 18, 2009

Since the beginning of 2009, we’ve been busy working on a new product to increase dramatically the realism of real time 3D simulations. I think it is now time to start showing the first preview of this new product… In today’s post we’ll talk about the driving ideas behind the product, why we created it, and the early conception choices we have made.

3D urban environment by SimplySim

Realism is more than just nice looking 3D

Since we have launched our company, our mission has been to bring the most realistic 3D simulations to our customers. 3D simulation consists of creating a virtual model of a real life (or hypothetical) situation, usually to study it (there are other uses of 3D simulation technologies that we will discuss in another post). Realism is of course the goal of anyone who develops or uses a simulation.

3D graphic realism can be stunning nowadays but it represents only one element of realism. 3D is only a tool, which should be made as useful as possible for the real aims of the software application. When we decided to create our simulation engine, we had of course graphic realism in mind (and I think the screenshots tells enough of what we have done on that point) but more importantly we had identified other essential aspects of realism for our product.

The SimplyEngine is what we like to call a “3D simulation engine”, that is the core software on which any real time 3D simulation can be built. We decided to call it a “simulation engine”, because it is not only a nice looking 3D engine, but it includes important elements for physic realism and for software and hardware interactions.

Physic simulation

Our first 3D simulations were made for robotic simulation. Testing and validating the behavior of a robot in a 3D software application is a challenging task. One essential aspect of this challenge is physics realism: creating a simulation where objects behave realistically, where they are liable to physic laws.

When we created our product, physic realism was one of the key priorities. We have created a full software library dedicated to it, with among other thing the ability to use any of the physic engines available on the market (NVidia PhysX, Newton Game Dynamics, Havok, ODE…).

Interactions with software and hardware

As I was saying above, we really consider that 3D technologies should be a tool. A tool that can be applied to many problems and that therefore should have the ability to interact easily with many other elements (software, hardware or human beings) to create a solution.

Our 3D simulation engine is based on a service oriented software architecture that has been designed to make every part of our product easily compatible with any other software application. We’ll discuss in an upcoming post the benefits of our service oriented software architecture.

Ease of use

Finally, we believe that the user should always be the main focus of any software application. That’s why our developments are focused on the ease of use of our products. Our goal is that any software developer should be able to use 3D technologies in his applications, and in ways relevant to his business needs, without any specific formation. Again it will take another post to tell you more about the efforts we made on the ease of use… stay tuned! 🙂