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!
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.
Thank 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:
- Triton got 40% faster
- Volumetric decals and rotor wash added to Triton
- New high-resolution cumulus clouds added to SilverLining
- Triton supports external wave models
- Triton named among “Top 100 Tech in Games”
- Underwater God Rays added to Triton
- Version 2 of SkyMaxx Pro released
- Big visual improvements in Triton
- Sundog named a “Top Simulation and Training Company”
- Lighting improvements for SilverLining clouds
- Sandstorms added to SilverLining
- Initial Oculus Rift support released
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Version 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.
Version 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.
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:
The SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK now features visual simulation of large dust storms, also known as a “haboob”. You’ll find a new SANDSTORM cloud type, and examples of using it in our sample code and in our documentation.
There is a new Sandstorm section in the resources/silverlining.config file, which allows you to adjust things like the color of the dust cloud, and the density and color of the fog within it. Although it uses the same technology as our cumulus clouds, it features the use of “soft particles” so the intersection of the dust cloud with the ground looks smooth.
Below is a short video showing an approaching sandstorm using SilverLining, and the decrease in visibility as it passes over the camera. We’ve heard from our military customers that simulating sandstorms is important for training purposes, and we hope this new capability of SilverLining proves useful for training scenarios.
3000AD has released their MMO Line of Defense under Steam’s Early Access Program. Line of Defense includes both our Triton Ocean SDK and our SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK – and it looks great! 3000AD has taken advantage of pretty much every feature we have – multiple cloud types, dynamic time of day effects, and realistic water rendering for large and small bodies of water – even underwater effects.
Lately we’ve been donating time to Project PoSSUM. This NASA-funded project aims to launch citizen scientists to the upper mesophere on a XCOR Lynx spacecraft to collect data on noctilucent clouds, an elusive and mysterious cloud type found only at high latitudes, extremely high altitudes, and visible only under specific conditions. Little is known about these clouds, and this project aims to both learn more about them, and to make human spaceflight more accessible.
Our involvement has been in developing an add-on for the X-Plane flight simulator to accurately represent noctilucent clouds, which will be used for training potential astronauts for the actual mission. I’ve taken what little is known about these clouds from ground-based and NASA’s AIM spacecraft observations, and used these to make these clouds appear at the right time, altitude, and location. Their lighting is simulated by casting rays from the sun and handling the effects of forward scattering, and this allows you to identify the clouds from the ground, and then fly up through them in a simulated Lynx spacecraft, observe them from above, and return to the landing strip.
“These simulations will assist PoSSUM scientist-astronauts better identify noctilucent cloud structures of greatest scientific importance in the limited time available”, commented Project PoSSUM P.I. Jason Reimuller. “Sundog was able to quickly develop this software and we will work closely with them to mature the simulation”
We at Sundog believe strongly in the long-term importance of human spaceflight capabilities, and this project has presented a unique opportunity to apply our skills in cloud visual simulation toward this effort. We’re proud to be a part of it, and look forward to the first flights in 2016!