Archive for January, 2008

Introducing Primitives



In Point Break, primitives form the building blocks of a 3D scene. Developers create primitives and initialize them with information, such as position and attitude. Primitives then take care of all the 3D rendering (drawing) and optimizations, allowing developers to focus on their application code.

An abridged set of primitives planned for Point Break include:

  • Models – Support for the industry standard COLLADA format and AGI’s MDL format.
  • Markers –2D images that always face the viewer and remain a constant pixel size. Markers are commonly used to visualize a large number of tracks moving in real-time.
  • Polylines – Used for rendering lines on the ground or in space. Polylines are used to visualize many things including country borders, drop lines, range rings, and access lines. Polyline variants can conform to terrain when drawn on the ground.
  • Triangle Meshes – The rendering workhorse for things such as area targets (e.g. states or countries), terrain and imagery extents, ground ellipses, and border walls. The surface mesh, a triangle mesh variant, can conform to terrain when drawn on the ground.

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Point Break Ab Initio



Since the '90s, STK has visualized the geometric relationships in 3D between land, sea, air, and space assets over time. Our 3D engine has been specifically designed around the core strength of AGI: astrodynamics. Given the emphasis that STK places on space, the engine is adept at precisely rendering very close and very far objects in the same view. Years of feedback have guided the engine's development to meet our customers' analytical needs for situational awareness, geospatial intelligence, spacecraft mission design and operations, etc. With Point Break, we are taking all that experience and lessons learned to allow our customers to use that same 3D engine in their own applications.
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Vertex 0



Welcome to the AGI 3D Graphics Team blog. Our blog primarily concerns Point Break, the future 3D visualization component for AGI's product suite. The name is inspired by the movie of the same name that entered the Western canon in 1991, and the name will likely suffer the same fate as FBI agent Angelo Pappas before going into production.

Point Break is AGI's 3D engine in component form ready to integrate into your application. Point Break can use either STK's astrodynamic libraries or AGI's C# based Dynamic Geometry Library (DGL) for astrodynamic calculations. Therefore, Point Break works with both 4DX and DGL based applications.

In this blog, we'll discuss our design decisions, our experiences implementing papers and algorithms, and major Point Break components and best practices. From time to time we'll make proposals and solicit feedback.