Newsletter 4

Travel to Tucson

Antonio and I traveled to Tucson, AZ to visit one of Caterpillars construction sites, the Tucson Proving Grounds. This was an amazing and enlightening experience. We were able to see material (overburden) being moved around and took close footage of it spilling over out of the blade. We were also able to see the overburden up close to see the variety of rocks that overburden is composed of and get reference photos of that.

Being up close to the machines really gave us a sense of scale and just how much material these machines can move. We were also able to talk to 2 operators that were able to give us more insight into what a day on the site is like as well as the most important visualization information for them. We’d like to thank our gracious hosts from Caterpillar for this great experience.

Cloth and Physics

I started off this week finishing off particle set ups on the mtl. What I did next was parent an emitter to the animating mlt. Now when it moves along the terrain it leaves behind a trail of particles.

The next step to putting the demo together is using

psychics. I started off by first getting the basics working. I did this by placing rigid body modifiers on some shapes. To have physic on an object be more dynamic you also need to use a script. This allows you to determine the reaction of the object. After creating code in Java, I then applied it to the objects that were going to have forces acted on them. After I had basic shapes interacting with each other, I then applied what I learned to the rocks in the scene.
While working on particles and physics, I wanted to look into a suggestion that we could use cloth. The reasoning behind this is that cloth could ripple and tear. The end result of this would be something simulating a lot like dirt being pushed. I tried out the cloth by having it interact with objects in the scene. I also got some very interesting results when another object with rigid body was dropped onto the cloth.

Achieving Milestones

This week I managed to complete two simulation tests in the Unreal Development Kit. The results were both exciting and limited. The first test was using a particle system that contained a PhysX module. A PhysX module tells the particles to inhibit physics effects; these effects can vary from honey like substance to a more fluid effect such as water. The second test involved several objects that inhibited physics effects, and then were dropped into the scene just like real-life objects.

What happened, however, was that each simulation lagged the system heavily and brought the frame rate to about ~10 frames per second (standard is 30). The simulation performed close to our expectations and provided the answer we were looking for: can UDK provide a real-time simulation of the spillage? Our next steps will be to confirm whether or not either of these methods can still be used by tweaking and optimizing the current simulation.

First Instance of UDK Script

I started making the first demo project using UDK script. First, I set up the environment by following the video tutorial, everything works fine but the last build of this project, it crashed 2 seconds after the program started, this problem happened under the environment of UDK2011-1, visual studio 2010 and nfringe 1.26301. After that I tried different version of visual studio and nfringe, however the problem remains. Today, I tested again using UDK ver.2009-11 and the test doesn’t crash but the map I indicated couldn’t be found.

This problem is crucial, since it is the root of the whole program. It should be worked out to move on.

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