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Vortex® simulators comes in many different forms, ranging from an application running on a PC to complex, multiple touchscreen hardware configurations. However, each simulator retains the same basic concept of seats, roles and nodes.
These concepts are essential in understanding how hardware resources (e.g., CPU, displays, motion platforms) and software components (e.g., extensions, modules) are used as building blocks of the complete simulator, as configured in the Application Setup (.vxc) file.
To understand what roles and seats do, one must also understand modules and extensions:
A simple simulator could consist of a single computer running one simulation application. Most desktop or laptop computers with a compatible graphics card can easily run Vortex Studio Editor. For example, a simple Application Setup file need only include the following minimum requirements:
The case above consists of one node, requiring only one computer to perform all its tasks: the computation of dynamics data (handled by the Dynamics Engine module), and the display of the simulation (handled by the Graphics module which communicates with the graphics card of the computer, allowing the user to visualize the simulation).
However, most simulators are actually more complex than the example above, and a single computer does not have the necessary hardware and software resources to ensure that simulation performances are satisfactory. In these cases, the information is processed and shared through a network of different computers running synchronized Vortex simulation applications (called nodes), each having a specific job to perform.
The concepts of seat and role are especially important in a distributed simulation scenario, as they provide a way to switch a set of devices used by a user on a seat, a set of hardware nodes, to a different role without the need to configure each extension separately.
The Application Setup file defines the seats and nodes. Roles can be defined in content documents and the Application Setup file:
Nodes are then assigned to various computers on the network using the Vortex Studio Director, where the simulator can then be launched.
A role represents the viewpoint which can operate a specific equipment, avatar, camera or complete specific tasks using a seat. A simulator can be used simultaneously by several people, each interacting and playing a role. These roles are usually defined in the content (mechanism or scene):
The purpose of a role is to ensure that the extensions are used only by the person to which they are intended, e.g., the driving controls of excavator #1 will not conflict with excavator #2, or the crane operator will not hear the same ambient noise as the signaler on the ground. This is why the role needs to control certain extensions. When a role controls an extension, it is not managed by other roles.
Examples of a role include: excavator operator, crane operator, ROV operator, Humvee driver, signaler avatar, slinger avatar, instructor avatar, operator avatar.
To add a role:
A seat represents a software node or multiple software nodes that are coupled together along with hardware devices to provide a simulation experience to one user.
A seat refers to a physical location on the simulator, e.g., the operator's chair and its associated hardware. A seat can only contain modules that exist in the current Application Setup (.vxc) file.
The concept of seats allows the use of different controls on one or more specific nodes, thus allowing the assignment of different roles to a specific seat, while keeping the same communication with the hardware. For example, a motion platform is controlled by its module, which needs to be added to the seat. The motion platform will always be present physically, whatever the role applied to the seat.
To create a seat:
player.vxc; the default location is
C:/CM Labs/Vortex Studio X.x/resources/configwhere
X.xis the version number.
In the Player, you will see the new seat ("Viewer") and the default "Desktop" seat. You can now select a role to the seats.