IntelliDrive Interactive BETA!
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IntelliDrive Interactive BETA! Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, May 03, 2010 4:50 PM


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Presenting IntelliDrive Interactive


The Goal


Create a driving simulator to demonstrate IntelliDrive technologies. 

The Client


 Michigan Department of Transportation

The Crew


• Scott Shogan – Executive Producer
• Dave Thorp – Producer
• Thomas Shannon – Lead Designer/Lead Artist
• Rachel Cordone – Lead Programmer
• Tracey White – Lead Modeler
• Eriks Strals – Hardware Integration
• Mark Kauffman – Sound
• Sara Wedul – Narration
• Ryan Sander – Dashboard Designer
• Mark Steuben – Writer

The Hardware

• 3X HP Z600 workstations
[INDENT]o Quadro 4800 1.5Gb
o Intel  5570 CPU
o 6Gb RAM
o 2x 160Gb 10K SATA HDD in Raid 1[/INDENT]• 3X Samsung displays
[INDENT]o 1080p
o <.5” bezel
o Commercial quality[/INDENT]• 1x Custom Built Chassis
[INDENT]o 1000w 5.1 surround sound
o Haptic Feedback system
o Cup Holder[/INDENT]

The Software

• Unreal Development Kit
• Autodesk Max 2010
• Photoshop CS3
• CrazyBump
• FRAPS

The Beginning


In December of 2009, PB Project Viz was asked to consult with MDOT to create a demonstration of IntelliDrive technologies. The client had some very specific goals and requirements that shaped the early development of the system. The first and foremost was the desire for those experiencing the demonstration to become personally involved. To this end, the suggestion of a driving simulator was presented. This immediately excited and invigorated the client’s imagination. Through the initial brainstorming session the following requirements were laid out:
• Real-time driving simulator
• 180 degrees of view
• Realistic input control mechanism
• The system is reasonably portable and reusable
• Delivery by the start of the Michigan Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) meeting in May of 2010

UDK


In December of 2009, Epic games released the first beta version of the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), the low-cost version of the Unreal 3 engine. The visual fidelity and networking capabilities of the engine made it an immediate candidate. While the UDK was brand new, the technologies behind it have been around for years and proven in a multitude of blockbuster video games.
After researching a multitude of other engines, looking at graphical performance and fidelity, ease of development, networking performance and robustness and developer availability, we decided to try the UDK for this project.
Due to the incredibly short turnaround, the UDK was immediately attractive because of how well it fit with our modeling pipeline for AEC visualizations. The Lightmass system in the UDK allowed us to achieve very high quality graphics in a very short period of time, allowing us to concentrate on the script and level design.
When we reached out to the Unreal development community for a programmer the response was admittedly light but fast and very impressive. Individuals with over 10 years of experience working with the Unreal Engine were applying for the job and demonstrating a capability for utilizing it that surprised the team and made us very confident that the UDK could meet our goals.
Quite simply put: we were unable to find another real-time engine that provided the features we needed at the price point we were willing to pay. Was the UDK perfect for our needs? No. was it workable? Definitely.

Hardware


Because of the limitations of planar projections and the existing rendering power of computers, the decision was made to use three identical computers to generate the images on the three monitors. The monitors are Samsung 460UX-2 1080p thin bezel monitors. They are INCREDIBLY bright and sharp and really make the graphics pop.
The computers are very well equipped to ensure the best performance we could get. Because of our tight timeframe, optimization had to be kept to a minimum as we had so much content to produce. We also chose more expensive workstation class parts to ensure reliability and service and support in the event of a malfunction.  We certainly could have achieved a higher performance with consumer video cards and processors at a much lower cost but the risk of failure is far too high.
The Chassis is an off-the-shelf simulator system built by HSC (http://www.myhomesimulator.com/products/home-racing-simulator-pro.html). It’s really a beast with a LOT of sound and fury. We’re really having a blast rumbling down the street with this thing.
All together you get something that looks like this:

The Result


As you can see, the system has come together incredibly well. While we are still ironing out some of the rough edges, we’re pleased to find that what we’ve developed is better than we had initially hoped. Of course we’d love a bigger team, more budget and more than 4 months to work on this, but we’re all incredibly proud of what we were able to make.


Early video (more to come really soon!)
[URL="http://vimeo.com/11308667"]http://vimeo.com/11308667[/URL]











THOMAS SHANNON


SENIOR DESIGN VISUALIZATION SPECIALIST
PB Project Visualization
http://www.pbprojectviz.com/

Post #2947
Posted Tuesday, May 04, 2010 4:22 AM


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That is so freaking awesome!




http://www.digitalputty.net
Post #2948
Posted Tuesday, May 04, 2010 10:34 PM
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Jaw-dropping stuff!
Congratulations to all involved.

I've just recently downloaded the UDK to look into some real-time visualisation. Seeing the results that you guys achieved with UDK just inspires me to get into it a great deal more.

AM


Regards

AM
Post #2950
Posted Wednesday, May 05, 2010 1:13 AM


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Thanks everybody! We're crazy proud of it and can't wait until it's done

The UDK is great. Beware the licensing terms and get a programmer/unreal scripter. Seriously. Don't f*ck around. it's VERY complex, but VERY powerful in experienced hands.

Here's a few shots of the environments:










More here:
II Screenshots


THOMAS SHANNON

SENIOR DESIGN VISUALIZATION SPECIALIST
PB Project Visualization
http://www.pbprojectviz.com/

Post #2951
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