I’m tempted to launch straight into the teaser for the 2020.3 release as there’s so much to cover, but given that this is the first time I’ve blogged on our Visionary Render/GeoVisionary product releases some kind of preamble/introduction is probably appropriate.
Firstly, me. I’m the software product manager and I joined Virtalis just over one year ago. As an organisation, we’ve undergone a lot of restructuring this year, including an office move, to make sure we’re well placed to continue to grow within the industrial visualisation space. And then there’s been everything else that’s happened in 2020, which I probably don’t need to go into in any more detail. It’s been a dramatic year, let’s agree on that.
Over this period, we’ve been steadily increasing the level of communication we put out there, from a new website to a developer portal and support desk. But there’s still more to do and these blogs are part of that.
We began the year with an overhaul of GeoVisionary, updating the branding to the latest Virtalis standard and addressing some customer requests to enhance the experience for users of the tool. This was the 2020.1 release. 2020.2 followed with a significant overhaul of the way we manage collaborative sessions, the focus being to make is more straightforward for users to create and execute collaborative training sessions. In addition, we took a look at how we can best ensure that we’re keeping up to speed with the latest developments and releases in the world of immersive devices: the Noitom Hi5 is now added to the list and we were able to scope some work that will ultimately be delivered at 2020.3..
2020.2 was a big release. We managed to cover a lot of ground in terms of released product, but we also laid some groundwork for an even bigger release at 2020.3.
I mentioned two topics above (collaboration and immersive device support) that we’ve carried over into this release: in the case of collaboration we’ve been focussing a little more on the mechanics and experience of setting up and maintaining a connection with other Visionary Render users. Users should expect to see a more straightforward, performant experience along with some other small, but important, enhancements, such as the ability to enter more useful computer/user names and thus be able to more easily see who is in the session.
Finally on this theme, we’ve added an integrated voice chat facility in Visionary Render. As a result, you will no longer need to use a third party application in order to talk with those with you in a collaborative session.
Keeping up with the latest releases on the immersive device front is a big task. One way we help manage this load is by ensuring that we are compatible with standards, like SteamVR. By doing so, we’re able to offer support for devices from a range of manufacturers. Nevertheless, one challenge that remains is ensuring that the associated hand controllers - and their buttons, joysticks and miscellaneous inputs - can be configured and used as required by end users. Traditionally, the only way we’ve been able to verify this is by getting access to the specific hardware in question.
Happily, for SteamVR devices at least, we’re now able to offer an alternative at 2020.3 as Visionary Render now has an integration with the SteamVR Input API. What this means in practice is that you can now create controller bindings for use in Visionary Render directly in the SteamVR application.
One final highlight is we’ve added a feature to our point cloud tool which allows you to scale the result based upon any relevant scalar within the data. Thus you can filter out ‘noise’ at the edges of your dataset or focus the display on a range of scalar values of particular interest to your analysis.
It won’t just be me blogging from Virtalis, you can and will see updates, essays, treatises and maybe even soliloquies from my friends and colleagues at Virtalis, each of whom have their own area of expertise within the domain of software engineering or extended reality technology. All in all, I’m expecting this to be a pretty vibrant place where we’ll be exploring a range of topics in and around the the extended reality space.
Please do get involved; we’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions for topics you’d like to hear us speak on.
Take care all!