Sundog Blog

Posted by Frank Kane on 11th February 2015

SilverLining Performance Tips

SilverLining clouds and crepuscular rays in the X-Plane SkyMaxx Pro add-on.Looking to maximize your FPS when using the SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK? We’ve made SilverLining highly configurable, so you can choose your own tradeoffs between visual quality and performance. Here are some tips for turbocharging SilverLining in situations where performance is critical.
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Posted by Frank Kane on 10th February 2015

We’re training astronauts.

Well, in our own little way. Sundog Software is involved with Project PoSSUM – a program to study noctilucent clouds from manned, suborbital flight next year. It presents an alternative to space tourism where you can conduct real science, and not just go along for the ride.

Training for Project PoSSUM, literally under pressure.

The first batch of 9 future astronauts were at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University yesterday for simulator training, while wearing their pressurized flight suits. Sundog Software developed the simulator’s visual simulation of noctilucent clouds, which allows the students to practice identifying the clouds from the ground, flying through them, and imaging them using the “PoSSUMcam.” Little is currently known about noctilucent clouds, but the principal investigator worked with us to develop a model of how these clouds are illuminated, where they form, and how light scatters within them. Their simulator was built using X-Plane, which we’ve worked with before.

Noctilucent cloud simulation for Project PoSSUM

I had the chance to sit on a few of the simulated training flights – hanging out with astronauts training for flight is not something you get to do every day! Also on hand was a camera crew producing a documentary on this project, which I’m looking forward to seeing later on.

Project PoSSUM sponsor banner

Overall the training went smoothly – feedback on our simulated clouds was good all around, and the team learned a lot from the experience. We at Sundog wish continued success to this truly unique program.

Posted by Frank Kane on 4th February 2015

Check Out our Latest Demo Reel.

YouTube user redpiper1 has updated our demo reel with new footage from our SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK, Triton Ocean SDK, and the SkyMaxx Pro add-on for X-Plane that features SilverLining. As usual, he’s knocked it out of the park:

Be sure to watch it in full-screen, HD glory!

Posted by Frank Kane on 25th January 2015

New X-Plane Video featuring SilverLining’s Clouds

YouTube user “redpiper1” has released another amazing fan video of the X-Plane flight simulator. It includes a lot of great shots of the SkyMaxx Pro add-on for X-Plane which is built using our SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK. But even though that’s not its focus, it’s just a great flight simulation video that we wanted to share.

Go ahead and watch it fullscreen in all of its HD glory!

Posted by Frank Kane on 13th January 2015

Breaking Waves Enhanced in Triton 3.06

Breaking Waves in Triton 3.06Version 3.06 of the Triton Ocean SDK features an improved breaking waves effect, seen here in this image from VT MÄK’s VR-Vantage image generator.

The effect now includes a foam texture to represent waves as they start to crest near the shore. These waves displace the water surface in three dimensions even before they start to crest, and as they approach the shore, they will spread out and flatten as they would in the real world.

Breaking waves rely on height map bathymetry data provided to Triton; this allows the waves to follow the contour of the underwater terrain, and break at the appropriate time. A long, shallow falloff will result in waves breaking further from shore, while a steep cliff will result in breaks right on the cliff.

While the effect looks good from the ground, it looks the best from the air, and so it’s most worth the effort in flight or UAV simulators.

See our documentation for more information on how to activate the breaking waves effect in your own Triton-based maritime simulation.

Posted by Frank Kane on 2nd January 2015

Sundog Revenue up 27% in 2014

Up and To The RightThank you for a great 2014! Sundog Software continued to grow, with annual sales revenue increasing 27% year over year. Sales remain strong of our SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK and the Triton Ocean SDK. We also saw growth from sales of the SkyMaxx Pro cloud add-on for X-Plane and from our assets for the Unity engine.

Sundog Software remains profitable and debt-free, so we are well positioned to keep innovating and serving our customers in 2015 and beyond.

Some major highlights of 2014 included:

There are many more improvements and new products in the pipeline for 2015, and we’ll continue to push the start of the art in real-time environmental effects. Happy new year!

Posted by Frank Kane on 12th December 2014

Sundog Software is becoming an S-Corp.

Sundog Software LogoSundog Software will be changing from a single-member pass-through LLC to an S-Corp for tax purposes in 2015.

Why does this matter to you? Well, if you’ve done business with us in the past, you might be reporting our sales or contract work to the IRS on a 1099 that’s made out to my personal social security number. If so, please update your accounting systems. I’ll be happy to provide you with our Federal Employee Identification Number instead, or a new W9 form if you require it. Just send me a note at sales@sundog-soft.com.

It’s all just a part of Sundog Software’s continued growth. We’re going to have some very exciting numbers to report once the books close on 2014! Thanks to all of you for being a part of our continued success.

Posted by Frank Kane on 12th December 2014

Per-Pixel Prop Wash in Triton 3.05

Per-Pixel prop wash in Triton 3.05Version 3.05 of the Triton Ocean and 3D Water SDK now has an option to apply propeller wash (AKA turbulent wake) effects on a per-pixel basis, instead of per-vertex. This leads to smoother prop wash effects, at a small performance cost.

To enable this effect, open up the Resources/Triton.config file, and set per-fragment-prop-wash to “yes”. Alternately, you can tie this effect to the ocean quality setting (see Ocean::SetQuality()) by setting auto-per-fragment-prop-wash = yes. In that case, per-fragment turbulent wake effects will kick in automatically if the ocean quality is set to “better” or “best.”

When prop wash is computed per-vertex, it means that the texture coordinates for the effect are only computed on vertex boundaries of the underlying water mesh. This could lead to texturing anomalies near the edges of the effect, that could manifest themselves as an odd stair-step edge on the prop wash. By computing the texture coordinates for each fragment instead, these anomalies go away.

Posted by Frank Kane on 12th December 2014

Ephemeris Model Improved in SilverLining

Triton and SilverLining in 3000AD's MMO Line of DefenseVersion 3.033 of the SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK features an overhauled ephemeris model – this means that the positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars for a given time and location are now more accurate than ever. The sun position should be accurate to within one arc-minute, and the moon within eight arc-minutes between the years 1500 – 2500.
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Posted by Frank Kane on 10th December 2014

3D Water for Oculus Rift

Triton 3D Water for Oculus RiftWe’re pleased to announce support for the Oculus Rift DK2 in Triton Oceans & 3D Water for Unity Pro!

Developers using the Unity Pro engine can now add real 3D waves into their virtual reality environments. Most water solutions just use texturing tricks to make water look 3D on a flat surface, but that just doesn’t cut it in a real 3D stereoscopic view. Triton gives you the most realistic real-time waves available, accurately simulating waves for any given wind conditions, swell conditions, sea states, or Beaufort scales. Triton also has 3D particle-based spray effects, 3D ship wake waves, a built-in buoyancy model for your floating objects and ships, underwater effects, and more.

A free evaluation of Triton for Unity Pro, including a sample scene for the Oculus Rift, is available at the Triton for Unity Pro product page.

Triton’s C++ SDK has also been used successfully with applications targeting the Oculus Rift. So even if you’re not using Unity, you can probably use Triton to enhance your ocean VR scenes.

The Oculus Rift and its Unity integration are still in beta status, so there are a few quirks you need to know about when using it. Here’s the new section from our documentation on the topic:
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