Image Generators (IG) are essential for military training as they provide highly realistic and immersive representations of virtual environments. With a specific focus on rendering detailed terrain, objects, and entities, IG enables military personnel to train in virtual scenarios resembling real-world conditions. VBS Blue IG, Bohemia Interactive Simulations’ (BISim) flagship product, is a 3D whole Earth IG widely adopted by thousands of military personnel worldwide for diverse training applications, including flight simulators, Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), vehicle driver simulators, and helicopter rescue. With its most recent advancement (VBS Blue IG 23.1) and upcoming software update, VBS Blue IG continues to grow its training use cases and enhance its integration capabilities with other simulators and training systems.
In this two-part blog series, BISim's Lead Architect, Ryan Binns, and VBS Blue IG Development Lead, Gavin Ryde, explore the cutting-edge features of VBS Blue IG available to system integrators and discuss the training value it brings to military training and simulation.
1. VBS Blue IG is introducing major feature updates. What are these new features, and how will they help with training and simulation?
The addition of new features in VBS Blue IG in November 2023 will offer significant advancements that will even further enhance training and simulation experiences. . Some of these notable updates include:
New Infrared (IR) Simulation: VBS Blue IG is introducing an all-new physics-based IR simulation that will unlock new training use cases, offering one of the most realistic sensor views ever available in military simulation. The IR simulation enables trainees to:
- Differentiate targets from background clutter to identify and prioritize potential threats or objects of interest.
- Recognize the superior visual clarity attained in challenging visibility situations such as fog, smoke, or heavy rain.
- Comprehend unique signature variations across different wavelengths and configurations to recognize target objects and adapt tactics accordingly.
These training capabilities are valuable given the wide range of military applications for IR sensors, including surveillance, security, and weapon targeting.
New Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Support: VBS Blue IG is introducing a new SAR simulation, an important tool for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. SAR simulation enhances the fidelity and realism of training scenarios involving radar-based surveillance and target identification.
Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) Receiving Capability: VBS Blue IG 23.1 includes the DIS to Common Image Generator Interface (CIGI) conversion tool (DISCIGIBridge), facilitates seamless integration with other DIS-compliant systems, and enables interoperability in training and simulation environments. This enhancement allows for collaborative training exercises involving multiple entities and platforms.
Common Image Generator Interface (CIGI) 4.0 Support: VBS Blue IG 23.1 compatibility with CIGI 4.0 ensures smooth integration with other CIGI-compliant systems, allowing interoperability with the latest generation of simulation hosts. VBS Blue IG also supports the CIGI 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 standards. The robust and user-friendly CIGI Test Host and CIGI Router tools in VBS Blue IG allow faster development, testing, and integration into other simulators.
Enhanced Performance, Especially for Multiple Viewports VBS Blue IG 23.1 has undergone performance enhancements, particularly in multiple viewport scenarios, to enable more efficient rendering and smoother performance when operating in complex multi-window or multi-display configurations (such as domes, 3-screen driver trainers, and so on), and improve the overall training experience.
2. Can you explain how VBS Blue IG addresses the challenge of creating realistic and dynamic virtual environments for military simulation and training?
VBS Blue IG offers two key features that contribute to creating realistic and dynamic virtual environments—the VBS content library and the whole Earth environment.
VBS Blue IG provides access to BISim’s VBS content library, which has an extensive collection of over 18,000 models. It includes military vehicles, lifeforms, civilian vehicles, animals, buildings, structures, props, vegetation, and other common representations. The advantage of this comprehensive library is that it likely already contains the content needed for most simulators, making integration with VBS Blue IG faster and reducing development time and costs.
Another significant advantage of the product is its whole Earth environment capability. This feature allows training to occur anywhere worldwide, eliminating the need to develop and load different terrain areas. For example, if someone wishes to drive a tank across Europe, they can do so without limitations. The base detail level of the world has been procedurally enhanced to provide excellent detail on the ground, ready for high-fidelity ground simulators. Additional data sources can be incorporated to improve accuracy and correlation further. The terrain is also dynamic, with realistic weather effects such as snow, moisture, and wind influencing the environment; destruction effects such as craters and building damage impacting the simulated terrain in real-time; and tracks left on the ground surface by vehicles, humans, and animals contributing to the realism and dynamism of the environment.
3. How does VBS Blue IG solve the challenge of terrain correlation with other simulator systems?
Terrain correlation issues arise when different IGs and simulator systems represent and interpret terrain differently. As a result, the terrain displayed in one simulator may not align accurately with the terrain shown in another, leading to discrepancies and inconsistencies in the virtual environment that directly impact the effectiveness of training and simulation exercises.
VBS Blue IG provides a whole earth representation with excellent detail from space to blades of grass, allowing high-fidelity training out of the box. This data can be directly queried and used in real time, reducing the need for extensive adjustments or modifications to integrate with other simulator systems.
For instances where terrain data already exists in a different simulator, VBS Blue IG supports custom terrain insets using tools like TerraTools or Mantle ETM. By leveraging TerraTools, VBS Blue IG can incorporate terrain from third-party sources, such as standard Geographic Information Systems (GIS) formats, OpenFlight, and Common Data Base (CDB), ensuring a consistent and accurate representation across simulators. Mantle ETM, BISim’s customized terrain pipeline, offers automated terrain production, which significantly reduces the overall effort required to provide correlated terrain services. It also offers a customizable pipeline that automates high-fidelity terrain data import, enhancement, and storage.
Mantle ETM implementation at a glance
If you are an integrator or an organization looking to explore how VBS Blue IG can support your specific needs, please contact our sales team at email@example.com and we will be delighted to provide you with more information.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. Stay tuned for part two of the VBS Blue IG series in the coming weeks!