The FLAMES 3D option allows you to include correlated terrain and visualization databases in your FLAMES scenarios. The 3D option also allows you to visualize your scenarios in 3 dimensions (3D) in both FORGE™ and FLASH™.

Correlated Terrain and Visualization Databases

The FLAMES 3D option allows you to include a detailed terrain database as a part of the environment data in your FLAMES scenarios. Such databases can include a mathematical description of the terrain (the earth’s surface), bathymetry (the earth’s surface underwater), and cultural features (such as roads, lakes, and buildings). This data can be used by models to support their calculations, such as sensor models that consider the terrain, buildings, and other structures in their line-of-sight calculations and ground vehicle models that move a vehicle over the surface of the terrain or on a road.

The FLAMES 3D option also allows you to include a detailed visualization database in your FLAMES scenarios. Visualization databases can include detailed geometry data and high-resolution textures and satellite imagery. This data allows both FORGE and FLASH to provide high-fidelity, 3D visualization of your scenarios. Visualization databases can also support mathematical calculations if a terrain database is not loaded in a scenario.

The data used by the 3D option can be imported from terrain databases created by Terra Vista™ ProBuilder™ (from Presagis™). Terra Vista provides a powerful user interface for building complex terrain databases using geospatial source data in many different formats. Terra Vista allows a database to be exported in multiple formats, all of which are correlated with each other. The FLAMES 3D option uses data that has been exported from Terra Vista in two different formats, shapefile format and OpenFlight® format.

Using Correlated Terrain and Visualization Databases with FLAMES

Two sets of shapefiles exported from Terra Vista contain the attribute, geometry, and vector data of the database. These shapefiles are imported into the FLAMES Scenario Database using the FLAMES Advanced Correlated Terrain Importer. The OpenFlight data exported from Terra Vista contains geometry data and high-resolution textures and satellite imagery. The OpenFlight data is imported into the FLAMES Scenario Database using the FLAMES Enhanced 3D Scene Importer. With perfectly correlated terrain and visualization databases, wasteful and distorting operations such as “ground clamping” are unnecessary.

OpenFlight data created by programs other than Terra Vista can sometimes be imported successfully using the FLAMES Enhanced 3D Scene Importer. If you have such OpenFlight data and would like to see if it is compatible with FLAMES, contact Ternion to get an evaluation copy.

When correlated terrain and visualization data is loaded in FLAMES-based applications:

  • Models can query the terrain data for geometry and attribute data and request such calculations as line-of-sight, height-above-terrain, terrain intersection, and terrain slope.
  • Models can make queries for vector and attribute data from features, such as roads, buildings, and bodies of water. Models can also query a road network for road intersections and to perform path-finding operations.
  • 2D displays can be rendered on an elevation contour terrain map which also displays the polygons associated with features (such as the polygons associated with roads, buildings, and lakes). 2D maps can display feature vector data such as roads and the perimeters of lakes and forested areas.
  • 3D displays can render the terrain and the polygons associated with features (such as the polygons associated with roads, buildings, and lakes) in three dimensions, as described below.

Much of this capability is also supported when only visualization data is loaded.

3D Visualization

The 3D option allows one or more view windows to be opened in FORGE and FLASH to visualize a scenario in 3D. Each 3D view supports multiple viewing modes and controls for manipulating and moving around in the view. 3D views contain the following elements:

  • 3D rendering of the terrain and cultural features
  • 3D icons representing each player (Unit) in the scenario
  • One or more view overlays that provide additional information about the scenario

3D Terrain

3D views can include a 3D rendering of the terrain and cultural features. The rendering can be generated directly from the currently loaded terrain data using solid-filled polygons, or it can be generated from a high-fidelity terrain database in OpenFlight® format that has been imported by the FLAMES Enhanced 3D Scene Importer. View preference settings allow you to specify lighting and haze parameters for each view.

The following screen shots illustrate various 3D terrain renderings.

FLAMES 3D Terrain Rendering Generated from DTED

3D terrain rendering generated from FLAMES Digital Terrain data.

FLAMES 3D Terrain Rendering Generated from Correlated Terrain and Visualization Data

3D terrain rendering generated from correlated terrain data imported from shapefiles. Notice that cultural features, such as roads, buildings, and bodies of water, are included in the terrain.

 

High Fidelity 3D Terrain Rendering Generated from Imported OpenFlight Data

High-fidelity 3D terrain rendering generated from a visualization database imported from OpenFlight data that includes satellite imagery. Visualization databases can be “paged” to support very large terrain databases.

High Fidelity 3D Terrain Rendering Generated from Imported OpenFlight Data

High-fidelity 3D terrain rendering generated from a visualization database imported from OpenFlight data. Notice that the geometry in this scene is perfectly correlated with the geometry in scene above.

3D Icons

Each player (Unit) in the scenario can be drawn in the 3D view using an icon. Icons are generated from 3D models in OpenFlight format and support multiple levels of detail, animation, moving parts, and state changes. The FLAMES example scenario database includes many different 3D icons, and a 3D icon editor is available that allows you to create additional icons by importing your own OpenFlight 3D models.

3D Helicopter Icon with Rotating Blades

A 3D helicopter icon with rotating rotor blades.

3D Tank Icon in "Dead" State

A 3D tank icon drawn in the “dead” state to indicate that the Unit has been destroyed.

3D View Overlays

3D view overlays display supplemental information on top of a 3D view. A number of 3D view overlays are bundled with FLAMES that can display such things as flight paths and pairing lines between an attacker and its target. The 3D option includes the source code to all the bundled 3D view overlays and allows the bundled overlays to be modified and new overlays to be added to FLAMES using component plug-ins.

3D View Overlay of Aircraft Flight Paths

3D view overlay showing the flight paths of two fighter aircraft.

Note: 3D visualization of terrain and icons imported from OpenFlight data is supported on computers running various versions of the Windows® operating system. It is not supported on computers running the Linux® operating system.

Licensing

The 3D option is enabled without a runtime license in a FLAMES Runtime Suite application if the application is executing with only the bundled components loaded. Therefore, you can try it out using the free copy of the Runtime Suite. If custom component plug-ins are loaded, a runtime license to the 3D option is required to enable the option. Runtime licenses must be purchased separately. In addition, ALL of the custom component plug-ins loaded by the application must have been developed on computers that were licensed for the 3D development option.

A development license to the 3D option is required in order to create custom component plug-ins using the FLAMES Development Suite that support the option. Development licenses must be purchased separately. As stated above, the functionality of the 3D option is enabled in an application only if ALL of the component plug-ins loaded by the application were developed on computers that were licensed for the 3D development option.

A development license to the 3D option includes a runtime license to the FLAMES Advanced Correlated Terrain Importer, the Enhanced 3D Scene Importer, and the 3D Icon Editor.