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myVR Software AS

User Manual
NetView, ProView, Publisher,

MAX/VIZ Exporter & Server
version 1.1

Confidential

pre-release version

Table of Contents

1. Installation 3

2. Uninstall 3

3. myVR Viewer 3

1. Purpose and function 3

2. File formats, reading. 3

3. File formats, saving 3

4. Exports 3

5. Controls – how to move around in a 3D scene 4

6. Keyboard shortcuts 4

7. Menus – functions and explanations 5

8. Icons – Quick reference 6

4. myVR Publisher 7

1. Purpose and function 7

2. Icons – Quick reference 7

3. Connecting to the server 8

1. MAX and VIZ exporter plugin 8

2. Modeling for real time VR. 9

1. Scene units 9

2. Model origo 9

3. Z-fighting 10

3. Supported materials and objects in 3D Studio MAX 11

1. Materials 11

2. Texture maps 12

3. Lights 12

4. Camera 13

5. Billboards 13

4. Exporting the scene to a local file 13

5. Publishing a scene 15

6. Users and groups 16

7. Security (password protected data) 16

5. Server 17

1. Installation 17

2. Changing admin password 17

3. Configuration 17

1. Data root-folder 18

2. Max number of clients 18

3. RAM cache 19

4. Viewer and publisher auto-update 19

4. Stopping and starting the server 19

6. Copyright and version 20







1.Installation


All myVR 3D programs comes with a standard windows installation program. Installation requires administrator rights on the computer you want to install on. If you do not know what this means you should consult with your local network administrator or other qualified support personel first.
Please follow the instruction in the installation program. You should find the instructions intuitive and easy to follow, if in doubt the suggested defaults is almost always right and you may just click next.

2.Uninstall


You may uninstall all software the standard windows way through the Add/Remove programs icon in the Control Panel.


3.myVR Viewer



1.Purpose and function


myVR is a multipurpose viewer for easy access and viewing of 3D models. The model file must be published by myVR Publisher in order to be accessible. File downloading time is reduced to an absolute minimum, as the complete 3D model itself is not downloaded. You may not make any alterations to the model file itself, however you may make snapshots and camera animations to take you through the 3D model. These photos and camera may be sent by e-mail to other recipients, allowing them to follow your path. The camera animation may also be rendered to a digital film file (AVI format).

2.File formats, reading.


The myVR publisher software generates all file formats necessary for viewing, Viewer users do not need to consider this issue. However you may import a camera animation sequence (format .cam) created by another myVR viewer.

3.File formats, saving


The myVR viewer allows you to save still photos (format .jpg), save a round trip in the model for distribution by e-mail (export format .cam) or generate a digital film sequence (format …).

4.Exports


The myVR viewer allows you to save still photos (format .jpg), save a round trip in the model for distribution by e-mail (export format .cam) or generate a digital film sequence (format .avi).

5.Controls – how to move around in a 3D scene


You navigate through the VR model using your mouse. Click and hold down the left mouse button in the middle of the scene to move forward. Move the mouse in all directions while the left button is pressed, to change directions. To stop the movement, simply release the mouse button. You may experience a short delay. Press the keyboard space-bar to come to an immediate full stop. To move backwards, press the right mouse button.

If you want to pivot without moving forward or backward, press the middle mouse button. If your mouse is not equipped with a middle button, press both the left and right buttons simultaneously.

You may also move sideways or up and down by using the arrow-keys on your keyboard.

To change the mouse motion speed, press the 1,2,3,4 or 5 number keys on your keyboard. 1 being the slowest motion, and 5 the fastest.

If the scene has defined more than one camera position, you may toggle between camera positions using the camera dropdown list on the toolbar, or by pressing the 'C' key on your keyboard.

6.Keyboard shortcuts


Arrow up Lift camera

Arrow down Lower camera

Arrow left Move camera to the left

Arrow right Move camera to the right

Space bar Complete stop mouse motion.

1 Mouse movement very slow speed turtle

2 Mouse movement slow speed man

3 Mouse movement medium speed rabbit

4 Mouse movement fast speed helicopter

5 Mouse movement super fast speed fighter plane

C Toggle camera positions – if multiple cameras.

G Toggle gravity – between free float and the perspective of a person 1 meter and 80 centimeters tall.

I Toggle collision detection on/off.

A Toggle camera animation on/off. This only works with animated cameras

F11 Toggle fullscreen mode on/off

X Save screenshot to file

W Toggle wireframe on/off

F Toggle fog on/off

Ctrl+O Opens an myVR model file stored on your computer

Ctrl+U Opens an myVR model on a given Internet location

Alt+S Show/Hide scenegraph window

Alt+C Show/Hide console message window

Alt+F4 Closes the application

Ctrl+F4 Closes the current scenes

Ctrl+S Saves the model

7.Menus – functions and explanations


File

Open File Opens a myVR model file stored on your computer

Open Location Opens a myVR model on a given Internett location

Close File Closes the current scene

Save File Saves the model

Take Screenshot Save screenshot to file, format .jpg

Render animation to file

Render a camera animation to a digital film file (AVI).

Export/import Allows to export and import mouse movement animations recorded by myVR as .cam-file

Send to Send screenshot or animation to an e-mail address



View

Select camera Select camera position

Next camera Go to the next camera position

Full Screen Fullscreen mode on (use F11 to switch off)

Show Statistics Displays drawing statistics on screen, on top of image

Options

Setup Wizard /Her må noen hjelpe meg…./

Preferences Settings

Collision Toggle collision detection on/off.

Gravity Toggle gravity – between free float and the perspective of a person 1 m 80 cm tall.

Set speed (sub menu under options)

Turtle Slow

Man Normal

Rabbit Fast

Helicopter Copter

Fighter plane Jet

Wireframe Toggle wireframe on/off

Fog Toggle fog on/off

Record new camera animation
Record camera walk-through

Play camera animation

Toggle camera animation on/off. This only works with animated cameras

Window

Show animation control

Displays animation dialog tool on screen

Show console Displays messages console on screen


8.Icons – Quick reference


Open a model from a local data file

Open a model from a server location (URL)

Settings

Displays drawing statistics on screen, on top of image

Toggle collision detection on/off.

Toggle gravity – between free float and the perspective of a person 1 m 80 cm tall.

Mouse movement very slow speed

Mouse movement slow speed

Mouse movement medium speed

Mouse movement fast speed

Mouse movement super fast speed

Toggle wireframe on/off

Toggle fog on/off

Save screenshot to file

Render camera animation to a digital film file (AVI).

Fullscreen mode on (use F11 to switch off)

Record camera walk-through

Toggle camera animation on/off. This only works with animated cameras

Toggle camera positions – if multiple cameras.

4.myVR Publisher

1.Purpose and function


myVR publisher is used to export 3D models from content producing programs like 3D Studio MAX or similar in a myVR compatible format for viewing either offline or online.
The myVR publisher consists of two parts; an exporter plugin for the 3D production program and a standalone publisher program used to transfer 3D models to a remote server. The standalone program may also be used to manage access control, users and groups on the remote server.

2.Icons – Quick reference


Connect/Disconnect to Server

Create a new folder

Refresh

Delete a file or folder

Publish a local myVR model to a remote server

Get a myVR URL for the selected model

Manage users and groups

Set security properties for the selected folder

Show server statistics

3.Connecting to the server


When the publisher program is started you will automatically be presented with the «Connect to Server» dialog.

In order to connect to a server you need to know it's hostname or IP-address, port number and proper user name and password. If you do not know which values you should use here you should ask your local network administrator.




The dialog will remember the last used server hostname and user name between sessions.


1.MAX and VIZ exporter plugin


Before you can publish a scene to the server, you must first export it locally from a content producing program like 3D Studio MAX or another supported application. This will produce a file you can view locally with myVR Professional Viewer.
First make sure you have installed the appropriate myVR-Exporter plugin for your 3D application, then select export from the File menu and select the myVR file type. Give the file a proper name and note in which folder the model is exported to.
It is generally a good idea to create a new folder for each model you exports since each model might produce quite a number of separate files.
The main model file is the .myvr file, you may open the model in myVR viewer by double clicking on this file. Any .mdr, .mdr.gz or .rgb files are texture files associated with the model, if you want to copy the model to another media you will need to include any of these files that where created when you exported the model.
NOTE: Many graphic cards are not capable of showing more than one hardware accelerated program at the same time. You may therefore experience extreme slowdowns in the viewer if you do not close 3D Studio MAX or any other 3D program before starting the viewer. In some cases it is enough to minimize the other programs.

2. Modeling for real time VR.


In order to avoid common problems and achieve best possible results there is a few simple guidelines one should be aware of. Many of these are releated to fundamental differences between the way real time rendering systems like OpenGL/Direct3D and renderers like 3D Studio MAX operates. And will be relevant for most if not all real time rendering systems.

1.Scene units


Altough the myVR viewer is calibrated for models using units of one meter, it does not really matter which unit the original model in 3D Studio MAX/VIZ where using (millimeters, inches, feet etc).

However it is important that the correct units settings are applied in 3D Studio. In 3D Studio MAX you set the display and system units with the “Customize/Units Setup” menu.

When the scale is properly configured in the model all data will automatically be converted to the correct scale and unit during export.

2.Model origo


3D geometry is defined and positioned using 32 bit floating point numbers. The largest limitation with floating point numbers is that they really only have sufficient precision close to the origo (0 0 0). The further away your model is located from the global point of origion in 3D Studio MAX, the lower the precision will be, and the greater the possibillity of visual artifacts will be.

A quick way to move a whole scene closer to the origo is to select everything, create a new group and move this group to the origo (0, 0, 0).

A common sympthom of precission loss due to a model far away from the origo is flickering between parallel polygons that is located close together.

However this could also be a sympthom of z-fighting.



3.Z-fighting


Z-fighting is a flickering artifact between parallel polygons that are very close together. Real time graphics hardware uses a depth buffer (also called z buffer) to separate objects in the depth dimension of the viewport.

T




Illustration 1: Z-Fighting
his only works if there is both sufficient separation between the polygons and large enough precision in the depth buffer.

If the polygons are nearly coplanar like in Illustration 1 then it might produce z-fighting. Each pixel in the overlapping region will be randomly choosen from one of the polygons for each frame, producing a very visually disturbing flicker.

Since one cannot control the precision of the depth buffer (depends on the users actual hardware), one should instead try to minimize it by other means:


  • When modeling avoid overlapping polygons with different materials.

  • If possible, try increasing the distance between the polygons.



3.Supported materials and objects in 3D Studio MAX




1.Materials


The current beta of myVR only supports the MAX “Standard” material. Support for more materials will be added at a later time. There is also some preliminary support for “Shell” materials.



Features supported for the Standard Material:

  • Ambient, diffuse and specular colours

  • Opacity

  • Diffuse textures

  • Self-illumination textures

  • Bump mapping textures (preliminary)

  • Reflection textures (spherical maps only)

Opacity textures is not supported, if you need opacity then you should create an alpha channel in the diffuse texture.

The myVR exporter recognizes certain keywords in the material name. Just add these keywords to the material name “01 – Default (KEYWORD)”. These keywords are used to set additional options that have no counterpart in the MAX standard material.

ALPHA_TEST=0-255

Alpha test is used by myVR to discard texture fragments with an alpha threshold below the specified value. This can be used to tweak “cut out” textures like billboard trees or wire fences.

NO_LIGHTING

This keyword will turn off all lighting calculations on the material. Use this keyword if you have created a sky dome with a sky textures for instance.

FORCE_AMBIENT=0-255

This keyword can be used to increase the ambient lighting level on materials. One use of this keyword is if you have created cross trees with alpha textures for the branches/leaves of the tree to prevent the side facing away from the light source to become to dark. A value of 190 or more might give pleasant results.


2.Texture maps


Textures may be any of the following formats:

  • TGA

  • TIFF

  • JPEG

  • RGB (SGI)

  • BMP

  • PNG

  • Animated sequence of images using any of the above formats

Do not use the Offset, Tiling, Mirror and angle options in the texture map rollout. Use a UVMAP modifier on the textured objects instead. Support for these options will be added at a later time.

Do not use any keywords here, they should be added to the material name not the texture name.

3.Lights


myVR supports up to eight lights of the following types:

  • Omni

  • Target spot

  • Target direct

  • Free spot

  • Free direct

However more than 1-2 lights in VR is usually very slow on most graphics cards, even on high end hardware. Try not to use more than one or at most two lights for each scene.

4.Camera


You may have as many cameras as you like in the scene. Both free and target cameras are supported.

5.Billboards


Billboards are objects that always faces the camera. You create a billboard by making a plane in the front view of 3D Studio MAX. It is important that you create the plane in the front view and not in any of the other views, it will probably not work just rotating a plane creating in any other views. The name of a billboard must also start with BILLBOARD in capital letters.


4.Exporting the scene to a local file


Select export from the file menu in 3D Studio MAX and select the myVR file format.

The following objects will be exported:



  • All lights, note unsupported lights will be exported but with undefined results.

  • All cameras.

  • All objects that are either a mesh or that 3D Studio MAX is capable of converting to a mesh.

Hidden objects will be ignored. You may also use the export selected menu option in 3D Studio MAX, in this case only selected objects will be exported.



Default camera:

Select which camera will be used by default when the VR scene is loaded.



Clear color:

Background color in the scene.



Enable headlight:

This will insert an extra “headmountet” spot light in the scene, the spot light will always follow the camera.



Enable skybox:

This will create a nice blue sky with a light cloud cover moving slowly over the sky.



Enable groundplane:

This will insert a ground plane in the scene at the specified height.



Force overwrite of old textures

This will force all textures to be overwritten if you re-export an old scene. myVR will usually not overwrite a modified texture when re-exporting. If you have modified a texture and re-export you must either delete the texture.rgb and texture.mdr file in the export folder or enable this option for the change to take effect.



Automatically resize to nearest power of two:

All textures in OpenGL or Direct3D must be of dimensions that are an power of two. If you enable this option then all textures that are not power of two will be automatically resized when exporting to a proper size.


5.Publishing a scene


After the scene has been exported to a local file on your computer and you have verified the scene with myVR viewer then you can publish it on a myvr server.
myVR-Publisher is used to publish the scene to a server. First connect to the server and then use the publish icon to start the process. Clicking the publish icon will bring up the «Publish scene» dialog.


Scene to publish: This is the local scene file (.myvr file) you want to publish.


Remote folder: The folder on the server you want the scene placed in.
Initial texture cache: When viewing a scene remotely the viewer will first download a small amount of textures before viewing is started. A low value here may produce a blurred initial view, increasing this value can make the initial view sharper but it will take a longer time to show.
Anim-texture quality: It is possible to use small image sequences as textures. However long image sequences takes a lot of space and must be compressed. This value decides the comression ratio/quality for image sequences.

The default sengs works in most cases.

When you start the publishing process by clicking «OK» it will first VirtualizeTM the scene, this processes the file to a format suitable for remote viewing. After the virtualize process has completed the file and all textures will be uploaded to the remote folder on the server. If you interrupt the publishing process it will resume next time you start the publisher. When completed (100% Success in the status field) you may remove the job by selecting it with the mouse and press the «delete» button.

6.Users and groups


You may define users and groups of users to enable access control on the server. By default there is created an administrator user called «admin» with a default password «admin», it is recomended to change the password for the admin user immediately after installation of the server.


Each user may belong to one or more groups.


7.Security (password protected data)


You may control security individually on different folders. Each user and group may be given read and/or write permission.

By default the guest user has read-only permission in all folders, this means the viewer can view scenes in these folders without a password. If you remove the guest user in the security settings for a folder then it means the viewer must have a valid username and password to view scenes in that folder.







5.Server

1.Installation


Installation should be easy for anyone familiar with installing Windows software in general. Just run the setup executable and follow the installation wizard. When install is complete the configuration wizard will be run.

2.Changing admin password


The server is installed with a default admin password: admin

It is important to change this immediately after installation for obvious security reasons. Use myVR Publisher to log on to the server and change the admin password by clicking on the «Users and Groups» icon , double click on the Admin user and type in a new password.


3.Configuration





1.Data root-folder


This is where the server will store all published files. This folder must also be read/writeable for the local windows system account.

It is recomended that the folder is located on a local filesystem, a network path might work but this is not supported by myVR Software AS.

You may possibly select another folder than the default, but if you do this you must manually move any data files to the new location.

2.Max number of clients


This is the maximum number of simultaneously connected clients the server will serve. This parameter is intended to prevent service of denial attacks (flooding the server with an enormous number of fake clients) and preventing the server from beein overloaded and not able to service any clients at all.

A reasonable value here is the maximum outbound bandwith available for the server divided by the expected average bandwith needed for each user.



Example:

If you have a 20 megabit outbound Internet connection for the server and you expect each user to have about 1 megabit Internet connection (adsl user) then you can service at most 20 simultaneous users.

It does not matter if there are 20 users viewing the same model or 20 users viewing 20 different models. The bandwith usage is the same.

Note:

Each client connects 2-3 times to the server for each session, only one connection will last a long time. The extra connections are used for checking for available upgrades and when authenticating. Sometimes the extra connections will linger a few seconds after they are used making the server see more than one simultanious connection from the same client. Therefore it is not advisable to set the maximum number of clients allowed to a very low value (less than five users for instance).


3.RAM cache


Ram cache is used to store frequently needed objects in ram so that the server does not need to load it from a slow harddisk each time it is needed. You may change the size of the ram cache for performance tuning purposes.

Example – Dedicated server:

You are configuring a dedicated myVR-Server that will have 1 gigabyte of RAM running Windows 2003 Server.

Windows need about 200 megabyte ram to run efficiently that leaves about 800 megabyte for other applications. Since we are running a dedicated server we can use most of this ourself. A reasonable value might be 75% of free memory i.e 600 megabyte ram cache.

In case of a non-dedicated server running other programs in addtion to myVR-Server you would have to make an educated guess about how much ram you can allow myVR-Server to use. It will need about 3-5 Megabytes in addition to the ram-cache.



Note:

The ram cache setting is not a «hard limit».

If a client requests an object that does not fit in the ram cache, then the server will temporarily use more ram than the specified max ram cache.

Generally it is not recomended to use a ram cache lower than the default 64 megabytes.


4.Viewer and publisher auto-update


This is used to distribute updates of the client software. Client programs will check their internal version number with the value in the server configuration and present the user with the option to automatically upgrade to a newer version.

4.Stopping and starting the server


You may stop, start and change the configuration any time from the «myVR Server Manager».


The server manager also shows you some statistics about current bandwith usage among other things.

The server is installed as an native Windows Service, this means you can also control the server from the «Services» icon under «Administrative Tools» in Windows Control Panel or with «net start/stop» on the command line.

6.Copyright and version


This document pertains to version 1.1 of all myVR 3D software unless otherways stated.

This document and the software described herein is Copyright (C) 2004-2005 myVR Software AS http://www.myvr-software.com/ All rights reserved.



See licenses.txt for details.

Copyright (C) 2004-2005 myVR Software AS Page of


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