The Next Generation of Virtual Interaction
WORLDVIZ, a leading US Virtual Reality (VR) hardware and software supplier, has improved the functionality of its Vizard software by launching Live Characters, a feature that allows real-time virtual interaction. Virtalis, Europe’s leading Advanced Visualisation Company, is the sole UK reseller for WorldViz hardware and software.
Vizard is a 3D toolkit enabling the creation of interactive content. With its avatars known as Complete Characters and Soldiers, the new software plug-in enables full human presence for both first person and third person view points. Vizard was designed for rapid prototyping and lets the user choose between two scripting levels. Users with no programming experience can create interactive 3D content and instantly interface with a broad range of hardware devices via the simple scripting language, Python. Programming experts can utilise a C++ interface in the Enterprise Version of the software. Live Characters allows users to interact with a virtual Vizard environment and the system accurately mimics their movements in real time via motion capture. Observers can view the avatar’s movements both in the virtual world and those of the user, thanks to a split screen
David Heesom, Course Leader for the University of Wolverhampton’s Architectural Visualisation degree and recent Vizard convert, explained: “Our students love these avatars. They can have fun with them and even populate their designs with virtual versions of themselves and their contemporaries. We bought 20 licences plus additional light versions which allow the students to work in Vizard on their own PCs at home. This means they can develop their work on PCs and then display it to others on our 3D projection system.”
Wolverhampton’s Architectural Visualisation course is the first in the world offering this specialised discipline. It grew out of its previous course in VR Design in 2006 when the University noted that many graduates of this course were being snapped up for careers. The University therefore decided that the time had come to design a course devoted entirely to architectural visualisation.
“Originally, we approached Virtalis to buy a different software package”, commented David, “but after listening to our requirements they felt Vizard would give us the best results. I am glad we had their impartial advice, as our students, for whom the programming isn’t the ultimate aim, are able to achieve great results and tackle real-time VR modelling.”