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Q&A Using Flexsim and building models

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Old 04-29-2010
Tom David's Avatar
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Default Lowest performance item?

I am searching for an item, which uses the lowest performance for the hardware.

I know, that an item with less nodes uses less performance.
I know, that an item without a shape uses less performance.

If I have a look into the flowitem bin in v5, I would think, that the Circle is the item to choose.
This item hast no 3D Shape and is just visualized by a bitmap (*.png).
The item has only 7 nodes on the first level.
What I do not like about the Circle is the billboard functionality.


I need an item which is visual, but this can only be a small line (like |).
The item did not need to change the color (black is fine).
I do not need to change the size of the item, so it can be fix (like x = 0.1 y = 1 and z = 0.01).
I do not need an item type (maybe yes).
I need some information (labels?), which are individual information for each item (around 5 information).
I do not want billboard functionality. It is enough, if the item (line) is just on the object, e.g. a conveyor.
In this sense the item is just a carrier of information and fires triggers. But there will be thousands of these items in the model which I need to carry the individual information. I do not know how many items will be in the system at the same time.

Yes, I will recycle the items.

So my questions are:
How to create such a low performance item?
Which nodes are necessary on the item for Flexsim to work properly?

I tried to make the bitmap (*.png) for this item based on the Circle.png but was not successful.
Like said, I just like to have a black line, which is placed on the objects (e.g. conveyor).

If I use a Plane as a base for my item, it is easy to make, but unfortunately has a 3D-Shape.

One additional idea I have, but I am not sure if this is a good idea, is to store the five individual information not on the item (labels) itself, but in a Global Array.
Maybe to use the item type or the name (value) as a Pointer which points to the Global Arrays. Different Global Arrays hold the needed five information.
This way prevents to have the five label nodes on the item.

I appreciate any hint and help.
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Old 04-29-2010
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Tom,

This post:
http://www.flexsim.com/community/for...read.php?t=209

tells you the minimum requirement of an flowitem. Maybe it is a start.

Steven
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Old 04-29-2010
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Default

My advice is that you might not want to worry so much about getting the absolute most optimized item. If you're recycling, then it seems to me that it's not that much of an issue to minimize the data of the item, because the max number of items you'll need to create is the maximum WIP, and that's very likely a small number compared to the total throughput of the model.

If you're looking to optimize the refresh rate, then the best option is to override Flexsim's drawing of the individual items altogether. In some of our refresh rate tests we've found that just doing the setup for drawing one object takes orders of magnitude longer than drawing the shape, even for a pretty complex shape. This is because 1 - the drawing of the shape is optimized into a display list, which is like a compiled drawing procedure stored in the graphics card, so it's very fast, and 2 - because Flexsim's drawing of an object is so flexible, i.e. it offers so many different options, just the amount of time to read all of the options, and, more importantly, to set up the OpenGL state appropriately, takes a lot more time than just drawing the object. So what I would do is toggle all of the objects in your model that will hold items to hide their content. This turns off all drawing for items inside those objects. Then have one object in your model that is the "item drawer". In that object, you write an ondraw trigger that goes through all the objects in the model, and draws the lines for those items. You should maximize the number of lines that are drawn between a glBegin() and a glEnd().

If you're trying to maximize for run speed, then you might want to look at the total number of events fired per item that goes through the model. How many steps (or in other words, events) does an item have to go through to get from model start to model finish? If the ratio (Max WIP) / (avg nr. events per item * total throughput) is very small, then item creation time is going to be a very small portion of the total time to run the model, so you might want to instead concentrate on minimizing the average number of events per item from start to finish.

Another thing you might look at optimizing is event list size. If the event list becomes very large, then sorting becomes a non-trivial operation, so your runspeed can suffer.

Anyway, there's a few things you might want to think about.

Last edited by Anthony Johnson; 04-29-2010 at 02:58 PM.
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