Monday, May 15, 2006

Interactive 3D Training Simulations

Clark Aldrich posted this great resource for preparing an organization to start creating and deploying simulations.

I have had a great deal of experience in this space over the last 10 years, but have never blogged about it...'til now.

Over 10 years ago I created my first training simulation using a little tool called VRT from a company called Superscape. I still love that little tool even though they shelved it in favor of focusing on the mobile 3D market. That first simulation was created in the semiconductor industry for a piece of equipment called the Diffusion Furnace. 25+ steps were trained in less than an hour with 100% accuracy. We were very excited about the possibilities of doing this for all of the areas within the factory. Business downturns eliminated the training department and I needed to continue my work elsewhere.

Lucky for me I was able to use the technology to help another semiconductor manufacturer, however NOT in manufacturing but in Logistics. We converted the simulations into VB with an ActiveX control from Superscape which greatly enhanced the tool. After 20+ simulations and successful use for worldwide implementations we updated the tool again. This time we transferred to Macromedia (now Adobe) DirectorMX and .W3D format. The image above is the DirMX version with 3D content created in 3DSMax.

DirectorMX is a very powerful tool for creating these simulations. I was already a user and big fan going into the project. The gotcha is needing intermediate to advanced 3d modeling skills to create the .W3D file imported into Director. The entire completed file is small enough to be delivered via a web browser which makes it great for global implementations.

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