Sundog Blog

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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Posted by Frank Kane on 31st October 2014

Sandstorm simulation now in SilverLining

Sandstorm in SilverLiningThe 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.

Posted by Frank Kane on 31st October 2014

3000AD’s Line of Defense features Sundog Environmental FX

Triton and SilverLining in 3000AD's MMO Line of Defense3000AD 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.
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Posted by Frank Kane on 29th October 2014

Sundog Gets Involved with Space Research

PoSSUM team patchLately 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.

XCOR Lynx over Noctilucent clouds“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!

Posted by Frank Kane on 28th October 2014

Triton 3D Water for Unity Pro Updated

Ship buoyancy model powered by Triton for Unity ProWe’ve issued a new update for Triton for Unity Pro, incorporating all of the recent performance and visual quality improvements of the Triton Ocean SDK. 3D Water in Unity has never been this realistic before. Here’s a video showcasing how it looks, created entirely with Unity and unretouched.

In addition to much more realistic shading and lighting, we’ve added editor scripts to simplify the creation of standalone deployments that include Unity, as well as early support for the new Unity 5.0 release that’s still in beta. Be sure to read the documentation for Triton for Unity Pro to learn more – there’s a lot of depth to this asset and you do need to understand how to use it in order to get good results.

Posted by Frank Kane on 13th October 2014

Train Simulator 2015 Gets 3D Weather with SilverLining

SilverLining effects in Train Simulator 2015Dovetail Games recently released Train Simulator 2015, which integrates the SilverLining 3D Cloud, Sky, and Weather SDK to power their environmental effects. Our technology is powering their dynamic skies and time of day effects, atmospheric effects, 3D clouds, and precipitation!

Of course we had to go look at the feedback on Steam and the various forums – and we’re pleased with user reactions. Most users report these new effects have little to no impact on their framerate (similar feedback to X-Plane users flying with our clouds,) and there are lots of customers posting screenshots featuring Train Simulator’s new weather capabilities.

We worked closely with the developers at Dovetail to provide quick support on integration issues they encountered, and all in all I think the end result worked out quite nicely – we both ended up with better products in the end. We wish them continued success!

Posted by Frank Kane on 11th October 2014

3D Clouds and Water for Ogre 1.9

The Triton Ocean SDK integrates with Ogre 1.9We’ve updated our SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK and our Triton Ocean SDK to include example applications built with the latest stable release of the Ogre 3D engine, Ogre 1.9.

These sample applications are built using Ogre’s tutorial framework (included with our sample code), and illustrate stand-alone applications that feature our fast, simulation-quality environmental effects.

To get started, install an evaluation SDK for SilverLining or Triton on your system. You’ll see a folder installed for sample or example code, and in there you’ll find Ogre samples for Ogre versions 1.8 and 1.9. Set the OGRE_HOME environment variable to point to your Ogre SDK installation, and open up the included Visual Studio 2010 solution file. To get up and running quickly, just set your debugger properties to start you in the appropriate bin folder of the Ogre SDK as your working directory, so the necessary Ogre DLL dependencies will be found. If you’re using Ogre’s OpenGL renderer, you’ll need to add a line to Ogre’s resources.cfg or resources_d.cfg file as well, as described in the sample’s README.txt file. Build and run, and you should see our 3D water effects, or 3D clouds and dynamic skybox, rendered within Ogre with the familiar Ogre head.

The SilverLining Sky, 3D Cloud, and Weather SDK integrates with Ogre 1.9.

If you’re wondering how our Triton Ocean SDK compares to Ogre’s Hydrax water module, we’ve put together a feature comparison to help you out. Triton is free to try however, so please compare for yourself. SilverLining is comparable to Ogre’s SkyX, but offers a wider range of cloud rendering techniques and many features important to simulation and training applications. Again, it’s free to try, so please compare for yourself within your own application.