Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Vizard 5 brings developers and artists a modern approach for creating stunning visual effects. We introduce two new and powerful approaches that will excite both the artists and the programmers. The new artist approach embraces the 3DS MAX workflows by giving full control over 15 different map types* that can be combined in 3DS MAX and then rendered in Vizard without any intervention. The new programming approach is a major addition to our Vizard programming library and provides methods for constructing, combining, and controlling shaders with ease. Needless to say, the two methods work hand-in-hand to maximize the potential of your artist and programming talents.
Vizard 5 incorporates a visual tool for configuring the huge inventory of devices that Vizard supports, including numerous displays (e.g., head-mounted displays, multi-screen projection walls, consumer 3D monitors), trackers (head trackers, gloves, full body motion capture), and input devices (e.g., wands, steering wheels, gamepads). Called vizconnect, this new technology also provides visual tools for authoring interaction behaviors such as grabbing, vehicle modes (airplane, helicopter, magic carpet), avatar inverse kinematics, and inspection tools such as a measuring tape.
Editor not only Inspector
Vizard users know Inspector as a snappy 3D model viewer that lets you quickly view assets, examine graph structures, see stats on polygon and texture usage, and preview animations. Now Inspector does the rest, including editing transform nodes (position, rotation, scale), clone/copy nodes, rename nodes, delete nodes, insert new group/transform nodes, and add/remove/modify descriptors. Inspector is now a powerful tool to transform content from many different sources (e.g., Sketchup, Revit, OSGB/T files, etc) and make substantial modifications without retreating to the source application. You can also use the new Inspector to layout a virtual scene by combining and arranging multiple independent 3D models.
Vizard 5 now includes both 32 and 64 bit render engines as well as 32 and 64 bit device drivers. 64 bit processing means you can build tomorrow’s high performance visual simulations by tapping into nearly limitless amounts of host and GPU memory (up to 16 exabytes to be exact). More memory means more models, polygons, and textures all that Vizard can load all at once for deploying simulations of huge datasets. This now allows you to maximize modern GPUs, some of which have up to 12 GB onboard GPU memory, and still be ready for anything tomorrow brings.
Vizard Core Features
Vizard Virtual Reality Software Toolkit sports one of the Python community’s richest integrated development environments. Try it and experience Python programming at its best with our built in intelligent code completion (based on in-depth background static code analysis), visual debugging (with breakpoints, variables watches and value change), embedded and interactive simulation engine. Now in Vizard 5, our handy asset inspector has become even handier with straightforward scene editing capabilities.
Tap into one of the world’s most accessible and powerful scripting languages, Python. Not only is Python ideally suited for rapid project development, it’s a portal to an enormous selection of community contributed libraries and toolkits. And rest assured while you enjoy Python to get your projects done faster, Vizard Virtual Reality Toolkit uses C++ to deliver optimal performance where it counts.
Advanced Avatar Features
Meet our avatars and you’ll immediately realize how they’re in a class of their own. The avatars in our virtual reality software feature unbeatable quality—both in terms of visual appearance and animation detail that include facial expressions and eye movements. Our avatars offer this richness without sacrifice—the assets have been incredibly well designed for efficient rendering and use of texture memory. And if you need avatars dressed in something other than civilian attire, you can also find military, medical, worker, and other uniformed avatars. Or see our selection of more than 20 types of animals.
Full Feature Solutions
Run your simulation synchronized across 64 separate computers without changing a single line of code. Everything you do in Vizard VR Software Toolkit, regardless of how complex the features you utilize, can be supercharged to run across a multiple PC cluster. Doing so let’s you light up more screens in a CAVE™ or increase your render performance in a head-mounted display application. If you want to install more than one GPU in a single PC, clustering is the method to utilize the extra hardware and build your own graphics supercomputer.
Augmented reality is a live view of the real world with virtual elements superimposed on the scene. When used with a head-mounted display, a user can move about a physical environment and see computer generated objects attached to the physical scene. When used with a desktop or handheld screen, users can experience an almost magical visual effect of seeing 3D object suddenly floating before themselves.
Vizard Virtual Reality Toolkit uses the widely known AR Toolworks (the commercial version of AR Toolkit) and another technology by Taiwanese Gathertek. Both virtual reality software technologies provide robust fiducial and natural feature based tracking.
Based on ODE (Open Dynamics Engine), our open source physics approach provides a high performance library for simulating rigid body dynamics. It features advanced joint types and integrated collision detection with friction. This physics engine is especially useful for simulating vehicles, objects in virtual reality environments, and robotics simulation applications such as mobile robot locomotion and grasping.
SDK / Extendability
The Vizard SDK gives C++ developers the ability to extend the functionality of Vizard. The SDK is used to create DLL plug-ins that can interface with Vizard virtual reality scripts. The plug-ins can be used for many things, including:
Access to underlying OpenSceneGraph objects (nodes, textures, etc.)
Creating custom OpenSceneGraph nodes and textures
Interfacing with hardware devices (trackers, sensors, etc.)
OpenSceneGraph 3.0 is used at Vizard’s core which provide a flexible platform for you to further extend its capabilities.