Networked virtual battlefield moves PCs

ORLANDO, Fla. - Observing a DIS (distributed interactive simulation) battlefield training or mission planning exercise can now be conducted from any IBM-compatible PC equipped with a Interactive Obsidian accelerator board from 3Dfx in Mountain View, Calif., and the VR-Stealth viewing product from MèK Technologies.

By J.R. Wilson

ORLANDO, Fla. - Observing a DIS (distributed interactive simulation) battlefield training or mission planning exercise can now be conducted from any IBM-compatible PC equipped with a Interactive Obsidian accelerator board from 3Dfx in Mountain View, Calif., and the VR-Stealth viewing product from MèK Technologies.

Debuted at the December Interservice/ Industry Training Systems and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Fla., VR-Stealth enables users to independently "fly over" a battle scene or attach to any DIS participant, such as a tank or aircraft, in one of 11 view modes to observe the action as it happens without actually becoming part of it. This will enable military and civilian defense officials to use their existing desktops to observe a DIS battle simulation whenever they wish.

While the resulting frame rate and resolution are lower than on a higher-end RISC-based system (such as the Silicon Graphics Onyx2), a VR-Stealth-equipped PC (Pentium 75 or better) can read the same database used by the most powerful computers.

With an expected price (not yet announced) forecast to be a fraction of the cost of a separate system, it will extend the DIS interface to thousands of new locations. VR-Stealth was to be shipped in February.

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