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Groundbreaking updates to earthwork systems

Expanding on the award-winning physics and dynamics that CM Labs is known for, Vortex Studio 2018c features retooled earthwork systems, providing the most realistic soil simulation to date:

Improved Soil Dynamics
Incorporating a water-bridge representation to model suction effects between interacting soil particles, soil now coheres better, equating to high-fidelity cutting, pouring, and piling when working with the simulated earth.

Soil Performance Enhancements
The soil particle solver has been enhanced, with a single-precision floating-point format for particle properties and time integration. This improves solver performance and enables the use of single precision vector extension intrinsics, for further speed-ups.

Visual Upgrades
Earthwork graphics have been updated with improved soil volume rendering. It is now possible to insert a noise overlay to reproduce rough soil textures, and adjustable parameters allow tuning of the blur effects of the soil surface. As well, the diggable zone of the earthwork systems now overlap better with the surrounding terrain, providing cleaner visual transitions.


Improved soil dynamics and an updated soil particle solver along with advances in soil rendering mean that earthwork systems look, feel and react more accurately, making simulations built on Vortex Studio better environments for training and prototyping.

Also new in Vortex Studio 2018c

Parallel-Processing Solver

Vortex Studio 2018c introduces a new parallel solver (patent pending) that allows calculations to be distributed across computing cores for increased real-time simulation performance. In particular, this will power major performance increases in dynamically complex systems featuring many rigid bodies.

This tool is coupled with a new Solver Group extension which allows users to break up dynamic calculations into sub-groups, necessary to take full advantage of the parallel solver.

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Upgraded Vehicle and Cable Models

From a mechanical perspective, CM Labs worked to enhance both vehicle and cable systems in Vortex Studio 2018c.

The vehicle tire model has been updated, allowing for simulation of hard ground-wheel interactions. Each wheel’s inertia can be set independently of geometry, allowing for better simulation of wheels based on actual laboratory data or specific scenarios such as flat tires or damage to individual wheels.

As well, cables can now break with a snap-back or “whiplash” effect that is important in safety training.

Physically Based Rendering (Preview)

Matching the technology seen in cutting-edge gaming engines, Vortex Studio can now use environmental maps for reflections and light levels. This leads to highly realistic visuals, including reflections, “metalness,” and indirect lighting.

The PBR feature is fully backward compatible. You can have both PBR and specular graphic materials in the same scene, so there is no need to update existing models.

Note: This is a technology preview only. The feature is currently usable; however, we’re working on adding the components required for a full PBR workflow (environment capture, custom light probes, etc.).

User Experience Enhancements

Vortex Studio also offers a number of updates intended to drive usability:

    • A revamped homepage with easy access to commonly used features and tools.
    • Additional grid capabilities for easier in-scene object alignment.
    • Inclusion of field arrays and field containers to simplify adjustment of parameters in a logical way.
    • The setup process has also been simplified with a step-by-step installation wizard that allows the choice of software packages and libraries, and simultaneous setup across multiple machines.
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For full details on what’s new in Vortex 2018c, download the release notes.

Get Vortex Studio 2018c