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Old 06-26-2012
brett forbes brett forbes is offline
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Hi Anthony,

I must admit, I am not really a fan of the graphics provided by any current sim vendor (e.g. Simio, Arena etc). In my mind it is difficult to provide credible looking graphics in the way they do, to people who have grown up with video games. No matter how hard you try, the graphics will come out looking cartoonish, without even simple anti-aliasing of straight lines, and thus they lack credibility at boardroo-type presentations.

As you know it is much easier to realistically render a man-made object, such as a machine or a forlift, than a natural object such as a rock or a tree. In graphics, man made objects are conceptually complex, but visually simple, whereas natural objects are the other way around.

My current view is that if I am to present the outstanding Flexsim capabilities at a boardroom level or to a group of Professors, I am better off avoiding animations as they are visually simple looking. Thus board room people, or Professors, would correlate the simple graphics, with simple capability of the underlying software paradigm, which is obviously false, as Flexsim has outstanding capabilities.

Given any small software company has limited resources, it is obviously unrealistic for you to develop outstanding graphics, as the resource load is too high, and these valuable resources are better focused on driving and improving the underlying logic.

In my mind, the next gen simulation company will work out how to integrate their simulation capability with outstanding, game-quality graphics. Many sophisticated games nowdays have quite simple world-building consoles, enabling users to develop their own maps, paths, scripts and animations.

The salient question seems to be why don't simulation companies build similar capabilities? Why do simulation companies believe they should develop their own graphics, instead of licensing that caability in from manufacturers such as Unreal (, and focus on developing a simple world-building environments on someone elses graphics engine?

Surely from a business strategy perspective it makes sense to focus limited resources on the technical aspects of your core code, and not to try to replicate what other company's can build more successfully. Thus it would seem to be an obvious move to provide basic 3D capabilities as you have done, and then integrate with a game engine to provide next generation capacity for those who want it. It seems that you could deliver industry-leading capability relatively easily if you focused on developing a world-building environment on top of an existing game engine.

This seems particularly relevent to me as I am focused on customising your excellent base capability to suit mining scenarios, which obviously have a lot of natural features (i.e. rocks and hills). I do not believe any current simulation tool has a viable perspective on visualisation as they are all trying to use limited resources to deliver graphics capabilities, and thus have simplistic graphics, rather than partnering with existing capabilities in this area.

I note that if you were to achieve this partnering approach you would then open up a massive new market, the use of simulations for training purposes. Surely the value of your tool is in two areas, logic-heavy sims with some graphics (i.e. current market), and graphics-heavy sims with some logic (e.g. training market).

I would be interested in your opinion to this post.

Thanks for your time

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