The netOdrom application was initially developed for a public event - Lange Nacht der Forschung (Long Night of Science) - on Oktober 1st 2005. It was designed to demonstrate a variety of algorithms in the field of Networked Virtual Environments. The application is a networked simulation of fictional motor-race. What looks like a game demonstrates a physics engine, swarming algorithms, particle systems and a variety of modelling techniques. It was developed in cooperation between:
- Institut für Graphische und Parallele Datenverarbeitung (GUP)
- Zentralen Informatikdienst der JKU (ZID)
- Institut für Medien, Bereich Medientechnik und Vermittlung (DMA) der Kunstuniversität Linz
- The Visioneers
To display virtual environments in a fast way efficient data structures are needed. 3D models have to be converted and stored hierarchically to calculate the virtual world efficiently. The flexibility needed for the creation of a virtual environment has to be kept by this structures. The application is based on the open source scene graph library OpenSG which is used to store an display the graphical data (e.g. geometries, textures ...) in a highly efficient manor.
The simulation of physics has several application areas. In the case of the netOdrom application it is used to allow for realistic simulation of vehicle motion and steering. Collisions between the track and other vehicles, acceleration and deceleration at uprisings in the track have to be simulated. This type of simulation is used as well in the area of driving and flight simulations.
The interconnection of virtual worlds over the internet is a challenging task, since the virtual worlds should be accessed by several players. For that a consistent view on the environment is necessary. This is difficult since latencies between different components like input, message distribution, message retrieval, evaluation and the display exist.
To let worlds appear realistic light and shadow have to be taken into account. These effects are pre-calculated and are drawn in the textures of the geometries. Reflections and shadows are commonly used in computer games and virtual worlds.
Particle systems simulate fuzzy surfaces and were originally developed as a special effect for the movie "Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan" in year 1983 by Reeves. Today they are widely used in the movie industry. In virtual environments particle systems are used for the display of water, smoke and explosions (e.g. safety training, simulations).
Flocking algorithms were developed 1987 by Reynolds and are used to simulate flocks of birds or schools of fish. They play an important part in the movie industry. In a swarming algorithm each participant of the swarm decides individually about its behaviour, no central steering force exists. In the area of virtual reality such algorithms are used to let the virtual world to appear more realistic.
To achieve realism in virtual worlds not only special effects and physics are needed a creative and artful modelling is highly important. Avatars and environments have to be consistent in design, to achieve a high degree of immersion. Therefore modelling tools (e.g. 3D Studio Max or Maya) are used which are very common in the field computer games and movie industry.
The term avatar comes from Hindu mythology and means gods incarnation on earth. In the context of virtual environments an avatar is a geometry which represents the user inside the virtual world. An avatar contains of geometry, textures and a skeleton. The vertices of the geometry are connected with the bones of the skeleton. If the bones are moved the whole avatar is animated. This mechanism, is called mesh skinning and is used often in movies and games industry.
To implement the application different areas of the track were designed and modelled. The parts tracks can be placed as tiles in the track and allow a high flexibility in track design.
To display landscapes in the far background of the virtual world a technique called skybox is used. In the netOdrom application the skybox is used to create different ambient atmospheres with a variety of daylight situations. To display a skybox six different images are generated from a central position of the virtual world. These images are mapped on a cube and move with the user through the virtual environment. The user has the impression that he is moving inside the landscape.
- Christoph Anthes, GUP/ZID
- Gerhard Funk, DMA
- Friedrich Valach, ZID
- Jens Volkert, GUP
- Alexander Wilhelm, DMA/The Visioneers
- Christoph Anthes - Konzept, Datenstrukturen
- Helmut Bressler - Engine, Physik, Netzwerkprogrammierung, Reflexionen und Schatten
- Helmut Garstenauer - Avatare
- Martin Garstenauer - Avatare
- Franz Keferböck - Schwarmalgorithmen
- Roland Landershamer - Engine, Physik, Netzwerkprogrammierung und -konzept
- Stephan Reiter - Partikel
- Christian Wressnegger - Partikel
- Johannes Zarl - Schwarmalgorithmen
- Wolfgang Hauer - Umgebungen
- Marlene Hochrieser - Avatare 3DStudio Plugin
- Clemens Mock - Umgebungen
- Paul Pammesberger - Umgebungen
- Ivan Petrov - Avatare
- Georg-Friedrich Sochurek - Avatare
- Silke Wiesinger - Strassenabschnitte, Umgebungen
- Alexander Wilhelm - Avatare, Strassenabschnitte, Umgebungen
- Wolfgang Wögerer - Umgebungen
- ORF2, Oberösterreich Heute, 2.10.2005 (MPEG, 0:27, 32.5MB)
- ORF2, Oberösterreich Heute, 29.09.2005 (MPEG, 0:24, 28.9MB)
- LT1, Campus TV, 26.06.2005 (DivX5, 3:37, 14.7 MB)
- Medi@Terra (avi, 0:54, 9.6 MB)
- 01.12.2005 - Lange Nacht der Forschung: "Prima gelaufen!" (JKU News)
- 01.12.2005 - Mediaterra: Gaming Realities 2006 (gamesradio.gr)
Christoph Anthes, Alexander Wilhelm, Roland Landertshamer, Helmut Bressler, Jens Volkert
Net'O'Drom - An Example for the Development of Networked Immersive VR Applications
In Proc. of International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS), pages 752-759, Beijing, China, May 2007
Since a while the lecture Virtual Reality in the CAVE is held by GUP. The goal of this course is teaching VR technology. Topics like scene graph programming by using OpenSG and OpenGL Performer, using the EON Studio or 3D modeling are taught. At the end of the lecture the students are able to develop applications for the CAVE, the Curved Screen, the I-Catcher or the ReachIn Display. On these pages you find information about the assignments of the past courses.
- Industry projects
The Johannes Kepler University Linz is always interested to cooperate with the industry. The main focus is on the interface between students and research projects from the industry. To support this the VR-Center is one of the best equipped facilities in Europe. If your company is interested in research cooperation in the area of Computer Graphics, Visualisations or Human Computer Interaction or you want to realise your projects using VR technology you should contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.