New technologies bring VR battlefields to the PC

ORLANDO, Fla. - Officials can now observe a distributed interactive simulation (DIS) for battlefield training or mission planning from any IBM-compatible PC equipped with an Obsidian accelerator board from 3Dfx Interactive in Mountain View, Calif., and new VR-Stealth viewing product from MAK Technologies in Cambridge, Mass.

Jan 1st, 1997

By J.R. Wilson

ORLANDO, Fla. - Officials can now observe a distributed interactive simulation (DIS) for battlefield training or mission planning from any IBM-compatible PC equipped with an Obsidian accelerator board from 3Dfx Interactive in Mountain View, Calif., and new VR-Stealth viewing product from MAK Technologies in Cambridge, Mass.

Debuted at the 1996 Interservice/Industry Training Systems and Education Conference in Orlando, Fla., in December, VR-Stealth allows 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 distributed interactive simulated battle 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 a price forecast to be a fraction of the cost of a separate system, MAK officials predict it will extend the distributed interactive simulation interface to thousands of new locations.

VR-Stealth is scheduled to begin shipping in February 1997.

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