ORLANDO, Fla. (USA) ― Building on the success of its prototype VBS World Server to Unreal Engine integration from its first Epic MegaGrant award in 2020, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) is further extending support for Unreal Engine thanks to a second MegaGrant from Epic Games. This benefits Unreal’s global community of developers by allowing them to integrate with BISim technology that is being leveraged by premier organizations with a demand for accurate visualizations including U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army.
The VBS World Server (VWS) is a highly flexible terrain server and geospatial data repository capable of storing and streaming terrain data such as elevation and features such as buildings and roads to multiple simulation and game engines. It is a significant part of the TSS/TMT solution for the U.S. Army’s Synthetic Training Environment (STE). VWS supports both dynamic terrain deformation and procedural enhancement for BISim’s own run times, VBS4 and VBS Blue IG. VWS also supports terrain streaming to Cesium web clients using open standard (OGC) web protocols.
BISim’s first Epic MegaGrant was used to fund the development of a prototype plugin enabling a direct connection between BISim’s VWS and Unreal Engine. VWS streams whole-Earth terrain layers such as Microsoft Bing and 3D Tiles to Unreal, correlated with other VWS-enabled applications including BISim’s VBS4. It also enabled dynamic terrain deformation (craters) to be correlated between UE4 and VWS-enabled runtimes such as VBS4.
The initial prototype BISim developed under its first MegaGrant was limited to rendering a small correlated terrain area in Unreal Engine. The second MegaGrant will enable real-world view distances, expanding the potential use cases for using Unreal as a complementary whole-earth virtual environment, streaming terrain directly from the VWS that is perfectly correlated with the terrain in VBS4 (and other VWS-connected applications).
BISim’s latest Epic MegaGrant also facilitates the import of BISim’s extensive environmental content library into Unreal Engine. BISim has developed thousands of trees, bushes and other environmental models to populate the virtual Earth. The same whole-Earth and realistic vegetation coverage that is provided in VBS4 will be available in Unreal.
“This project will serve as a starting point for Unreal Engine’s large community of developers to build their own applications using the VBS World Server as a source for streaming whole-earth terrain data,” said Pete Morrison, BISim Chief Commercial Officer. “We’re grateful to Epic for their support through Epic MegaGrants, as this effort opens up more opportunities for innovation and collaboration in the simulation market.”
"The freedom for Unreal Engine users to leverage any GEOINT format they want, and a completely open ecosystem to the simulation community are central to our mission at Epic Games,” said Seb Loze, Industry Manager, Simulations, Epic Games. “Empowering BISim to productize their initial prototype is enabling a complementary whole-earth virtual environment that is perfectly correlated with the VBS4 terrain, making new co-simulation use cases possible.”
Visit BISim’s booth #1071 at I/ITSEC 2021 to learn more.
Founded in 2001, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim) is a global software company at the forefront of simulation and training solutions for defense and civilian organizations. BISim utilizes the latest game-based technology and a 200-strong, in-house team of engineers to develop high-fidelity, cost-effective training and simulation software products and components for defense applications. BISim’s technology has recently been selected as the core simulation, visualization and terrain management software for US Army’s 2025 and beyond simulation capability.
Globally, many 100s of thousands of military personnel are trained every year using VBS software products. More than 60 NATO and NATO-friendly countries and over 300 integrators/prime contractors use VBS technology, many making significant funding commitments to extend VBS product capabilities alongside BISim’s internal investment program. Customers include the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Australian Defence Force, Swedish Armed Forces, French MoD and UK MoD and most major integrators. VBS products have become, by far, the world’s most widely used COTS product range in the military-simulation sector, supporting hundreds of military use cases and with vastly greater military exploitation than any comparable products.