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Virtual Map

Novapoint Virtual Map Frequently Asked Questions

General

Viewer

2.01 Rendering problems, slowness, viewer crashes and machine lockups with Matrox G400 / G450 display cards.
2.02 Display driver problems.
2.03 I have Matrox G400/G450, and VM viewer crashes.
2.04 Each time I launch a model in viewer, the program crashes/hangs or machine crashes/hangs.
2.05 Some objects, like building eaves, appear to flash (go partly behind the wall on some places and the come in front again). The phenomenom seems stripy. It appears more easily when looking at the buildings from far away and high.
2.06 Generated AVI has only a quarter or half of the render window visible.
2.07 Steering wheel doesn't work.
2.08 I am not sure how to customize the steering wheel for Virtual Map. I need the wheel to be on the right side of the dashboard, and Í hope the speedometer can also be placed accordingly.
2.09 Exporting VRML files to the Internet.
2.10 When I have a transparent object in my Virtual Map model, some objects "behind" the transparent face disappears! My model contains a building with transparent windows, and when I'm standing "inside" the building and looking out, many of the object outside don't show. People, trees, a bridge-mesh, lights, etc. are gone.
2.11 I can't change size of the tree directly from material editor while viewing the model.
2.12 Viewport angle config.
2.13 Gif transparency does not work for textures.
2.14 Apple Mac OSX compatibility.
2.15 Shadows not visible with the software OpenGL renderery.
2.16 Animated objects not in sync when exporting video.
2.17 Without a Virtual Map license, which Viewer features will be unavailable?
2.18 Problems with shader.
2.19 I’m using an aerial photograph as a base texture in my model but the base is all white. The model works fine except the photograph even though it’s in the Texture library. The photograph is 3 x 3 km and it’s in jpg format.
2.20 Problems with adding photo to Virtual Map.
2.21 I get message "Virtual Map is currently using non-accelerated software OpenGL driver." What does it mean?
2.22 Is shadow calculation correct in Novapoint Virtual Map?
2.23 Using older viewer packages when VM6 or newer is installed
2.24 I get message "GLUT: Fatal Error in Novapoint Virtual Map: pixel format with necessary capabilities not found."
2.25 How to improve video export?
2.26 Export package gives a warning "too big to work with 32-bit Viewer"
2.27 What file formats can be exported from Virtual Map Viewer?

ActiveX Viewer

Model Builder

Questions and answers

General

1.01 What is Novapoint Virtual Map?
Novapoint Virtual Map is an add-on tool for AutoCAD based applications. It creates realistic 3D virtual models from digital maps and other layout drawings. Modeling is automatic and parametric. The software is easy to use and needs no special knowledge at all. You can find more information about this product from Novapoint Virtual Map web pages.

1.02 Demonstration license key doesn't work.
You may have previously installed Novapoint Virtual Map and have already used your 14 day free evaluation period. In this case, you need to buy a permanent license key. Note that reinstalling will not reset the demo period. Please contact your nearest dealer.

1.03 I cannot import my vrml_file to 3DS_MAX.
Save your model in Virtual Map as Static vrml 97/plain mesh geometry (No object hierarchy). Save your file as *.WRL format, so it can be imported right away to 3DS_MAX. But if you saved your model with .vrml file extension, you can just rename it to .WRL in Windows.

1.04 Importing model from 3DS_MAX to Autocad.
When you export model from 3DS_MAX you should export it to DWG format. In Autocad, meshes will be polymesh objects. When you explode polymesh object you get 3d-faces. DWG export is also very fast.
The problem is that edges of 3d-faces might be hidden (characteristic of 3DS_MAX mesh object). If all edges of a face are hidden you can't see or select the face. Therefore it is important to turn all edges to visible before doing anything else in Autocad.
In AutoCAD you can set SPLFRAME system variable to 1. This will force all edges to be visible regardless of the visibility setting. To do this, simply type SPLFRAME at the command line and press enter. Then just insert the value 1 and press enter again. After this all edges will be shown and there are no problems selecting them.

1.05 I have imported my model to 3DS_MAX, but it is not in real coordinates and it is mirrored.
You have to select “Transform to original coordinates” when saving your file as WRL/vrml format. If something in mirrored in 3DS_MAX, you can always mirror it back to original!

1.06 Can I make AVI or MPEG files directly in Virtual Map?
Yes you can. You can save your movement path directly to AVI format or series of pictures.

1.07 Can I use USGS DEM or related files as a terrain in my model?
Yes, you can, but you have to convert them to consist of 3D_faces. 3DS_MAX reads USGS DEM directly, but you may find some freeware in the internet for this purpose.

1.08 I have some contours as ESRI SHP_file, how can I make a terrain of these for Virtual Map. You have triangulate them to TIN (Triangular Irregular Network of 3d_faces). This can be done in ARCINFO, 3DS_MAX or any triangulation program, which can export your TIN as DXF or DWG file.

1.09 The surface model has holes, erratic triangles or other things that should not be there.
Please check that you don't have surface simplification on in the Viewer configuration (in configuration, optimization→surface_simplify_threshold should be 0) and don’t have illegal triangles in the surface model: - triangles on top of each other - triangles are connected to each other by vertices - You should use continuous surface models generated typically by quality triangulation software

1.10 Transparency.
Texture black values 0-5 and white values 250-255 will become transparent. Textures with alpha channel (RGBA) will have transparency defined by alpha channel. You can create 32bit alpha channel images for example with PhotoShop (just add fourth color channel where black is transparent and white non-transparent and then save it in file format that supports alpha channel such as tga or rgb. Complete list of supported texture formats can be found from the help).

1.11 My model is visible in AutoCAD, but can't see a thing in Virtual Map.
Check by zoom to extent in AutoCAD, that you don't have some odd stuff far away from your target area. Notice, that this stuff is not always visible in AutoCAD. If you have some stuff very far away from your target area, it causes trouble with Virtual Map and your target are may not be visible. Delete this stuff and your model should be OK in VM after that.

1.12 I suspect that there is a bug in Virtual Map, that should I do?

  1. Check that this error is not caused by that something is wrong in your AutoCAD drawing.
  2. Read this FAQ
  3. If you have trouble with the viewer, make sure you have the newest display drivers.
  4. When you are sure that it really is a bug in Novapoint VM, report the bug.

How to Write an Useful Bug Report
Useful bug reports are ones that get bugs fixed. A useful bug report normally has two qualities:

  1. Reproducible. If an engineer can't see it or conclusively prove that it exists, the developer will probably stamp it “WORKSFORME” or “INVALID”, and move on to the next bug. Every relevant detail you can provide helps. Note that this is not (only) because developers are lazy and nasty, but it is in fact pretty much impossible for a software developer to fix a bug if he's unable to reproduce it.
  2. Specific. The quicker the developer can isolate the issue to a specific problem, the more likely it'll be fixed in timely fashion. If, for example, you have a 50MB dwg and the application does something funny with it, you should reduce the test case to the minimum. This is very often just a few triangles or so! The developer will have to do this reduction anyway, and the time (often hours) he'll use on that could be better used actually writing a fix for the bug.
  3. Let's say Virtual Map crashes while working with foffa.dwg, and you want to write up a bug report:
    1. BAD: “Virtual Map crashed. I think I was with foffa.dwg. It seems to crash randomly.”
    2. GOOD: “Virtual Map crashed while working with foffa.dwg. I selected 'change triangles to circles' from 'tools' menu. I was able to reduce the test case to few triangles (please find the testcase.dwg attached). The bug seems 100% reproducible for me. I have AutoCAD Map 20010, VM ARX 6.0.0 build 12012, Windows 7, etc”.
  4. IMPORTANT: Attach the following information:
    1. Always report the VM version (in viewer check the “about” box, in modeler, “check vm path settings”, or type vmarx_vmarxversion on autocad command line).
    2. If the bug concerns model builder, send the .DWG and the .INI file in question.
    3. If the bug concerns viewer, send the .VM and vm-viewer.INI.
    4. If the bug concerns viewer always report graphics card model and vendor and display driver version (control panel→display→settings→advanced→adapter→ properties→driver or similar depending on your operating system).
    5. Operating system version and service pack level
    6. For model builder, AutoCAD version (eg. “AutoCAD Map 2010 + sp1”)
    7. [For Windows XP or newer] please provide the system info dump (.NFO file): Start→Settings→Control Panel→Administrative Tools→Computer Management→System Tools→Right click on System Information→Save as System Information File
    8. Possible error message exactly as it was displayed (screen capture can be a good idea)
    9. As specific instructions to reproduce the problem as possible.

Providing enough information in the first place saves our and your time!

1.13 License Borrowing in Novapoint Virtual Map
The following is a description on how to borrow a license for Novapoint Virtual Map.

  1. The license server you are connected to must allow for license borrowing of the license
  2. On the client machine, start the LmTools.exe application.
  3. Open the Borrowing pane
  4. In the Vendor Name field, enter NOVAPT
  5. In the Return Date field, enter the expiration date of your borrow period in the format dd-mmm-yyyy. The mmm part is the three first letters of the month written in English. Return Time is optional.
  6. Click the Set Borrow Expiration button
  7. Start Novapoint Virtual Map.
  8. Disconnect the client machine from the network
  9. Exit the lmTools.exe application

1.14 I have installed Virtual Map with NP18.00. Whenever I click on a .VM file, the Novapoint installed is invoked. How do I get rid of this?
This problem is fixed in NP18.00.FP1a. Please install FP1a or newer to get rid of the problem.

1.15 Error message when installin Virtual Map 6.0 on a computer without previous installations.

Virtual Map 6.0 installed on a computer with out any earlier versions will give an error message (program should work but you still get an error message) when starting Virtual Map 6.0. This is fixed in Novapoint 17.20fp2g.
Exporting a Virtual Map model generated on Virtual Map that followed Novapoint 18.00FP1. And running start.bat will give a license error (same as you get if you don't have a licence) on features like Clash Control this is fixed in 6.0.1.
Workaround: from C:\Program Files\ViaNova\Novapoint\18.00\VirtualMap\Program copy regbase.config and place this in the export.

1.16 Virtual Map unicode file format changes

Starting from Virtual Map 7.1.2 (or higher) - modeler and viewer start to support unicode characters, including characters using from different windows code pages not selected by current language in given windows. (Specified by system locale).

But this introduces multiple backwards compatibility breaks to existing file formats including:
• Virtual map internal file format (.vm)
• Virtual map viewpoint format (.pth)
• Virtual map configuration file format (.ini)

If you attempt to load using older vm viewer file format generated by new modeler - you will see any non-ascii characters (Including Finnish ‘ö’, ‘ä’, or Norwegian ‘Æ’, ‘Ø’, ‘Å’) will appear as corrupted. If you see such character corruption DO NOT try to export geometry in .vm file format further, because it will propagate corruption further (After which model cannot be recovered anymore).

If you try to use update any existing viewpoint (In ansi code page) with new virtual map viewer - viewpoint file (.pth) will be automatically saved in unicode format (utf-8). Characters will be converted correctly to unicode - assuming that windows system locale is not changed (Or if they are used multiple computers on same network - they all must use same system locale). Old viewer will not see new file format correctly but will not report any error about this (E.g. double click on same viewpoint will do nothing). If you detect such cases - do not edit that particular viewpoint (using old viewer), because it will loose all information in it.

(Edit, update location, update group state, add column, configure markers).

Last two operations - add column and configure markers can lead to corruption of all viewpoints, so it’s highly recommended to update viewer to newer one and make sure that you don’t use accidentally old vm viewer.
Virtual Map configuration file format (.ini) will be also upgraded to unicode version (utf-8) - same problem with characters corruption can occur if you accidentally use new configuration file format. If you load .ini file with old modeler - special characters (like Finnish ‘ö’, ‘ä’, or Norwegian ‘Æ’, ‘Ø’, ‘Å’) will appear as corrupted. Do not save such configuration with old modeler further because character corruption will propagate further. (Special characters cannot be fixed)

For people, who needs to return and use older viewer and modeler - it makes sense to save and update .pth files only using old viewer (After which .pth is compatible with old and new viewer), and avoid using special characters ( After U+007F / 127 in character map ) in configuration file format (.ini), and avoid using same characters in .dwg / .vm / .ini files.

Saving and loading .dwg, .vm and texture files with characters using non-system locale is supported only by new modeler, new viewer and new vdc explorer. Old modeler and old viewer will report errors (in different form) related to such model builds. (Cannot open, cannot save, and so on).

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Viewer

2.01 Rendering problems, slowness, viewer crashes and machine lockups with Matrox G400 / G450 display cards.
We have found problems in Matrox display drivers. At least driver version 4.70.011 and older are buggy. The problem has been reported to Matrox and newer drivers may fix the problem. So we don't recommend using Matrox graphics cards with Novapoint Virtual Map.

2.02 Display driver problems.
Please use always the latest versions of display drivers. Vianova takes no responsibility for display driver installation problems. Especially ATI and Matrox cards have had problems with their OpenGL drivers so please keep your drivers up to date!

2.03 I have Matrox G400/G450, and VM viewer crashes.
Please download latest drivers from Matrox web site or upgrade your graphics card to NVidia chip based cards which are found to be much more reliable.

2.04 Each time I launch a model in viewer, the program crashes/hangs or machine crashes/hangs.
This is most likely a display driver bug. Please update to newest display drivers from your display adapter vendors web site (or nvidia reference driver www.nvidia.com for nvidia based cards.) Is this doesn't help, report us which display card, operating system and driver version you are using. If possible, try another machine with another display card brand.

2.05 Some objects, like building eaves, appear to flash (go partly behind the wall on some places and the come in front again). The phenomenom seems stripy. It appears more easily when looking at the buildings from far away and high.
This because the display card z-buffer is not accurate enough. The z-buffer is used to hold information on which point is behind which in the scene. Usually these values are 16-bit or 32-bit. 16-bit is less accurate but uses less memory. If the flashing irritates you, you should try to switch to 32-bit z-buffer. The z-buffer size usually follows the display color depth you have chosen. So in true color display mode you have 32-bit z-buffer and in hicolor mode 16-bit z-buffer. Some display drivers allow you to force 16-bit z-buffer in truecolor mode and 32-bit in hicolor mode. Note that changing to truecolor mode takes a lot more display card memory and can slow down the viewer considerably. You can mend this by switching to a lower resolution (1024×768 → 800×600). See display properties→ settings→ color quality (Highest 32 bit / Medium 16 bit) and display properties→ settings→ advanced→ geforce→ opengl (exact location may vary depending on display driver and operating system).

2.06 Generated AVI has only a quarter or half of the render window visible.
This might happen when antialiasing has been turned on in the display adapter's driver settings.
So far, we have seen this behaviour with only a particular version of ATI FireGL 7800 drivers. A later driver revision solved the problem. Whether or not this happens, depends highly on the way the display card and its drivers implement antialiasing internally and we haven't found a way to workaround this so far.
Try updating to the latest version of the display adapter drivers.

2.07 Steering wheel doesn't work.
Firstly you need to have Windows XP or newer for the USB support. Driving wheel is activated with a % -key. You also sometimes have to press gas pedal before the steering works.

2.08 I am not sure how to customize the steering wheel for Virtual Map. I need the wheel to be on the right side of the dashboard, and Í hope the speedometer can also be placed accordingly.
The dashboard you can customize (just edit the dashboard.png picture),. The speedometer location, color, unit etc are fully configurable in the configuration system. See config→dashboard.

2.09 Exporting VRML files to the Internet.

  1. Export the VRML file with selected options:
    • Dynamic model (each element is independent, texture elements follow the camera)
    • Static model (each element is independent, texture elements are static non-moving crossed plates)
    • Static plain geometry (elements are mesh objects separated by materials)
    • Collect textures collects texture files to the VRML file directory
    • Texture extension (default jpg) defines the texture extension in the VRML file
  2. GZIP (search suitable GZIP tool from the Internet) the VRML file to decrease download time. You will get propably 20% of the original size

2.10 When I have a transparent object in my Virtual Map model, some objects "behind" the transparent face disappears! My model contains a building with transparent windows, and when I'm standing "inside" the building and looking out, many of the object outside don't show. People, trees, a bridge-mesh, lights, etc. are gone.
The only solution is to use simple holes as windows, if you want that all elements will be visible. In OpenGL, you cannot achieve true transparency without a big performance impact. That is why VM doesn't implement it.

2.11 I can't change size of the tree directly from material editor while viewing the model.
Material editor is only for editing material appearances. You can change the texturing size for surfaces. You can also change the texture size of single element but you can't see the change in real time because the change reguires a change in geometry and that reguires generation of the model. Solution: adjust materials in Viewer in real time and sizes of single elements in model builder.

2.12 Viewport angle config: I set the viewport angle in the config, but is seems the actual width of view is wider than expected.
The Viewport angle in config is vertical angle. If you measure the horizontal angle, it will indeed be wider if the window is wide.

2.13 Gif transparency does not work for textures.
Virtual Map doesn’t currently support transparency for Gifs.

2.14 Apple Mac OSX compatibility.
Novapoint Virtual Map is not supported on Mac platform. Support for Mac platform is not planned at currently. Note that also Autodesk CAD products are not supported on Mac platform.

Virtual Map Viewer might work on Mac platform using some Windows emulator that has support for OpenGL 3d-graphics. Our brief study points that nor Wine or VMWare Fusion support OpenGL but Parallels has OpenGL support. This has not been tested so Vianova can't confirm it to work.

2.15 Shadows not visible with the software OpenGL renderery.
Unless you have hardware accelerated OpenGL driver, not all features will work. Notably, shaders, simulated sky and shadows will not work. Almost all computers have proper OpenGL drivers these days, but if you run Virtual Map under VMware, via Remote Desktop or similar environment, you may only have software OpenGL.

2.16 Animated objects not in sync when exporting video.

  • Set parameter “Cull when not moving” = yes. This improves export speed.
  • Use good codec for example DivX, WMV AVI or MPEG2.
  • Set Antialiasing 4x and Anisotropic filtering 4x to improve picture quality. This might slow down the computer.

Using lower resolution and smaller framerate will also help.


Solution in Finnish:

  • Säädä optimointiparametreista “karsi kun ei liikuta” = “yes”, koska äänitettäessä kamera pysähtyy joka framen kohdalla ja jos tuo ei ole päällä, piirretään koko malli ja se vaatii aikaa. Voit säätää myös poistamisetäisyyksiä pienemmäksi sekä “hakualueen säde” ja “esitettävien max määrä” arvoja pienemmiksi, nuo kaksi jäkimmäistä liittyy nimenomaan animoituihin objekteihin
  • Käytä äänitykseen hyvää codekkia esim. DivX, WMV AVI tai MPEG2. WMV pakkausta voi käyttää AVIn sisällä, jos asentaa Microsoftin sivuilta “Codecs Installation Package for Windows Media Video 9 VCM”
  • Laita antialiasing asetus 4x ja anisotropic filtertinng 4x, niin kuvan laatu on parempi. Poista, jos menee liian hitaaksi.
  • Äänitä kiinteällä esim 25fps frameratella ja varmista, että kone pystyy äänittämään halutulla frameratella. Jos framerate äänitettäessä laskee alle asetetun, eivät kappaleet pysy synkronissa.
  • Säädä codekin parametreja nopeampaan enkoodaukseen (esim. WMV codekissa buffer sizen kasvattaminen 500000 ja performancen asettaminen Faster moodiin lisää enkoodamisen nopeutta, ja tietenkin pitää käyttää CBR moodia)
  • aseta näytönohjaimesta “VSync = off”, niin näytön päivityksen synkkaus ei rajoita äänittämistä

Jos nuo eivät auta, niin ainakin laskemalla resoluutiota ja käyttämällä pienempää frameratea, saadaan animaatiot tallennettua oikein.

2.17 Without a Virtual Map license, which Viewer features will be unavailable?

  1. Clash Calculation
  2. Calculate Sun Position dialog (enabling shadows is possible, but not calculating sun angles)
  3. Export Viewer Package
  4. Export VRML
  5. Material Editor
  6. Edit Object Material

2.18 Problems with shader.
If your hardware is not new enough to run a shader, there are a few different versions for older hardware:

  1. fragment.shdr
  2. fragment_limited_streetlights.shdr
  3. fragment_minimum.shdr

If the first one doesn't work, use the next, and if that fails, use the last.

2.19 I’m using an aerial photograph as a base texture in my model but the base is all white. The model works fine except the photograph even though it’s in the Texture library. The photograph is 3 x 3 km and it’s in jpg format.
The display adapters have two restrictions:

  1. maximum size of a single texture, often 4096×4096
  2. texture memory that has to be able to store all the textures

Virtual Map should automatically scale the textures to fit to the maximum size. This might not always work if the display adapter gives incorrect information about the maximum size.

The second restriction should appear as a remarkable slowing when the textures are moved forth and back between the main memory and display adapter. Also in this case there might be these kinds of problems if the display adapter doesn’t work properly.

In general, the photographs and pictures should be processed so that they fit to both restrictions: the size of a single photograph doesn’t exceed the maximum and the combined size of all the photographs doesn’t exceed the memory of the display adapter. One also has to notice that the display driver’s memory is used also for other things so it’s good to leave some “loose” memory.

You can check the size of the display adapter’s memory in Virtual Map Viewer by going Tools → Texture Statistics. Memory is shown on the last row as also the currently used texture memory and the maximum size of a single texture.

If the problem isn’t about exceeding the size of a single texture, it might help to split the photograph into smaller pieces.

2.20 Problems with adding photo to Virtual Map.
Usually this is caused by too big aerial photograph. To use the photograph, it has to be reduced by using a image processing software. Virtual Map and OpenGL aren’t able to use photographs bigger than 4096×4096 or 8192×8192, depending on the display adapter. You can also split the photograph into smaller pieces.

2.21 I get message "Virtual Map is currently using non-accelerated software OpenGL driver." What does it mean?
It means you are lacking the correct Windows Display Driver for your graphics card.
This will make Virtual Map very slow, and certain features (such as shadows) will not work.
Please check for drivers in the Windows Update or from your graphics card manufacturer's web site (http://www.nvidia.com or http://www.ati.com).

2.22 Is shadow calculation correct in Novapoint Virtual Map?
Shadow calculation in Novapoint Virtual Map is based on program. These calculations are tested against other software, such as 3D Studio Max, to ensure they give the same results. Sunlight in Novapoint Virtual Map is always focused in the center of the model. Sunlight analysis might then differ if the selected location is a long distance from the actual model location. Using the accurate lattitude and longtitude coordinates for location and verifying the results in reality should give correct results.

2.23 Using older viewer packages when VM6 or newer is installed
Older viewer packages don’t get a license from VM6 and newer installations and therefore will notify that license is not available when using advanced Viewer functions like clash calculation. Users must open these models using licensed version of Virtual Map Viewer (meaning VM6 viewer). If VM6 is properly licensed the clash calculation and other advanced functions are available when opening older packages with VM6 viewer. Opening a package with newer viewer is easy, just double click the model file and newer installed viewer will load model with package settings.

Another option is to open the old package with new viewer and export that package with new viewer to a new package.

VM6 and newer versions will automatically check licenses of newer installations so VM6 viewer package will check license from VM7 if that exist and so on.

2.24 I get message "GLUT: Fatal Error in Novapoint Virtual Map: pixel format with necessary capabilities not found."
Viewer is configured to use higher video display capabilities, than currently configured from viewer ini configuration file. For some display cards you might need to enable those display capabilities from display driver control panel - for example to enable 3d stereo for NVidia display, you need to right click on display, select “NVidia control panel”, Select “Manage 3d settings” - “Stereo Enable” - select “On”. Same kind of approach applies to antialiasing and anisotrophic filtering graphic card capabilities.

From error information you can see graphic capabilities being requested from display driver - after text “Tried to find a match for the following Criteria:”. and below are listed video display modes being supported by your graphic card. (After text “Mode ##”) Typically if viewer requests “stereo = 1”, and all graphic modes says they don't support stereo mode (“stereo= 0”) - this is typical error case.

You can also start viewer without loading model, load model specific configuration file (Typically vm-viewer.ini), and try to modify configuration file and save it back.
Most probably you need to check following configuration parameters:

  • Rendering / enable_stereo
  • Rendering / anisotrophic filtering
  • Rendering / fullscreen antialiasing


Updating viewer to newer version might also fix problem.

2.25 How to improve video export?
Here are some tips to improve video export

  • set antialiasing to 4x or more (makes edges smoother)
  • set anisotropic filtering to 4x or more (makes textures like ortophotos sharper)

Export video to Matrox AVI using Matrox VFW codec MPEG2 HD iFrame with 90 000 bit/s and using 1280×720 or 1920×1080 resolution 25 frames / second.

For video export the rendering speed can be controlled with optimization parameters. When exporting video VM exports like each frame standing still.

  • cull_when_not_moving = yes. This culls elements, makes export faster. When no, draws every frame whole model without culling which is slower.
  • set culling distances large enough so you don’t see elements popping too close to camera

If you are using Adobe Premier for video editing, you can reduce flickering by setting “reduce flickering” for each timeline element from field options (cannot remember if this correct but it is in right click menu)

Export WMV / MP4 with at least 6Mbit/s to keep quality high enough, for 1920×1080 video you need more bandwidth maybe 12 Mbit/s.

2.26 Export package gives a warning "too big to work with 32-bit Viewer"
When trying to export package Viewer gives a warning about model is being too large to work with 32-bit Viewer.
This warning typically occurs when loaded model consumes more that 2GB of ram.
After 2 GB limit is reached 32-bit Viewer might hang or crash. Problem comes from model being too large and limitation set by processor and Windows.
Same problem does not exist when you try to export package using 64 bit Viewer (That's “Textures, vm-viewer.exe, the model and vm-viewer.ini”)
- because same limitation does not exists on 64-bit PC's - however using 64 bit exporting will require user pc to have 64-bit processor and 64-bit Windows operating system.

2.27 What file formats can be exported from Virtual Map Viewer?
Virtual Map Viewer 7.0 supports several file formats for export:

  • Alias Wavefront Object File (OBJ)
  • Collada (DAE)
  • FBX
  • LandXML
  • Virtual Map file (VM)
  • VRML

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ActiveX Viewer

2.1.1 Unable to load models, protocol 404 error. I've placed the webbundle.wmz on the web server in the correct directory, but when I try to download it, I get an "HTTP 404 Not found" error.
Microsoft Internet Information Server™ (IIS) in certain configurations is known to refuse to serve files with unknown (unknown to the server) MIME type. The symptom is the confusing “HTTP 404 Not found” error.

Solution: Add ”.vmz application/x-vm” MIME type to the IIS MIME type configuration. Restarting IIS is required for this setting to take effect.

For more details, see:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/WindowsServer2003/Library/IIS/deeac9ef-cf55-4acd-86ce-b46022ff5479.mspx Requests for static files return 404 error (IIS 6.0)

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;326965

IIS 6.0 Does Not Serve Unknown MIME Types

2.1.2 Virtual Map ActiveX viewer and Mozilla Firefox
Firefox doesn't support ActiveX by default.

There is a plugin to implement ActiveX for Firefox: http://www.iol.ie/~locka/mozilla/plugin.htm

(See also http://devel.viasys.com/cgi-bin/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=1460#c29

Perhaps better option is IETab: http://ietab.mozdev.org/

2.1.3 WWW Proxy requires authentication while trying to use vm from the .fi website
Www proxy sits between your web browser and the web server. Some of the proxies require authentication and only work with certain browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer.) Virtual Map tries to load the VMZ file (the virtual map model) from the www server but the proxy will not allow this.

You can work around this as follows:

The web model is a file with .vmz extension (basically just a ZIP like file with the .vm file and the textures and other stuff.) The name of the .vmz file is mentioned in the source code of the Virtual Map wwwpage.

For example, if you open page http://www.vianova.fi/vm/File/vmweb/Finnoo/index.html and check the source, there's
<param name=“vmFile” value=“Finnoo.vmz”> in the bottom. Just take the take the URL of the page (http://www.vianova.fi/vm/File/vmweb/Finnoo/index.html), remove “index.html” and append the model file name. You get
http://www.vianova.fi/vm/File/vmweb/Finnoo/Finnoo.vmz

You can download that file with Internet Explorer, and save it on the disk.
You can then open it with the Virtual Map viewer. Just do File → Open → C:\Finnoo.vmz (or where ever you saved it.)

The other workaround is to allow anonymous access to the proxy or direct connection to the internet.

We will look into fixing this in the upcoming versions of Virtual Map, but it'll take some time.

You are not supposed to open the ZIP nor need the password.

You need to save the whole .VMZ to disk without opening or extracting it first. Virtual Map viewer will be able to open it as it is.

When you type the URL (e.g. http://www.vianova.fi/vm/File/vmweb/Finnoo/Finnoo.vmz) to the address bar, Internet Explorer asks whether you want to save or open the file. (At least for me, it asks - see the attached screen capture.)

Now select “Save”, and then open the file with Virtual Map viewer.

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Model Builder

3.01 No surface model.
Try setting surface model layer=*. This will read all 3d-faces from your AutoCAD drawing as a surface model.

3.02 Trees / texture elements appear either dark or bright depending on the viewpoint.
Specular color defines the strength of the shininess effect. Shininess parameter in material defines the wideness of the shininess effect. If shininess is 0 the specular color affects the whole surface. Shininess effect is usable only to surfaces that have curvature or to mirror like surfaces. For trees and texture elements it does not work well because the shininess is either dominant or no dominant because the surface is flat. So, the solution is to set specular color to 0,0,0 for texboard elements.

3.03 Trees / texture elements are too dark on the shadow side.
Set tree material emission to 0.5,0.5,0.5 or some other suitable value. This will decrease the lighting system's effect on the texture element.

3.04 Surface colors are too bright or burned to white.
You have too intensive specular effect, decrease the value of your specular color and increase the shininess value. Typically the shininess should be 0 for matt surfaces and 1 for very shiny surfaces. Usually real world materials are not shiny because of dirt. Shininess can then be 0,0,0.

3.05 Material colors.
You should set ambient and diffuse color to match as closely as possible the real color of the surface. Specular color should be 0,0,0 if shininess is 0 (see above). If your material has a texture it will replace the material diffuse color.
You should use only color values instead of a texture if you don't have any variance in your surface. Using textures with only one color is not recommended and will use texture memory for nothing. If you want a solid color, leave texture field in the material empty and define the color with diffuse and ambient values.

3.06 I have question to do with the placement of sewer lids on the ground. I have blocks where the bitmap for the. sewer lids are suppose to go, but they are standing up on an angle. How do I get them to lie down on the ground?
One way is not to use single elements for sewer lids, and use material areas instead. Another is to use single elements and set z-rotation to 90 degrees.

3.07 Purge deletes materials that are in use by wildcard definitions.
Currently purge functionality does not recognize materials that are used only by wildcard definition to be used materials. Solution: Don't use wildcards and purge with the same configuration. In general it is good not to use wildcards since purge is more used function.

3.08 AutoCAD materials and mapping - general info.
The problem in texturing in AutoCAD usually is that the user had AutoCAD material / adjust bitmap / map style set to fixed scale which means that scaling of the texture is in world units starting from 0,0 and using the material scale value. The setting has to be Fit to Object which means that the manual object uv mapping is used.

From AutoCAD help:

Fixed Scale:
Specifies a fixed scale for rendering materials built from images containing multiple, repeated patterns, such as bricks, stonework, tile, and wallpaper. The Scale U and Scale V values control the scale at which the material is tiled onto drawing objects during rendering. Fixed Scale applies only to tiled bitmaps.

Fit to Object:
Specifies a fit to the object for rendering landscapes or objects whose material is based on a single image, such as a billboard or a wall painting. Bitmap placement offset and scale values must be adjusted manually.

3.09 Virtual Map grid triangulation handles break line material poorly.
Virtual Map grid triangulation is meant for point data triangulation. If your input consists of break lines solely, you should consider using proper triangulation like the one in Novapoint Base.

3.10 Meshes sometimes generate slow.
If you have Autocad Render materials in the drawing, Virtual Map needs to look through them while generating meshes. This is slow. If you do not need the Autocad Render materials for the Virtual Map model, remove them from Autocad drawing them while generating model.

3.11 17.20FP2f unable to load VM6.
This will be fixed into FP2g update.

Workaround: install VM5 and then VM6.

3.12 Seems like I don’t have enough memory in my computer to generate my model. Is there some way to reduce the size of the model?
The model can usually be reduced. Road lines and material areas are usually the culprit number one. It helps a great deal to run them through the Novapoint or AutoCAD map polyline tools simplify and reduce the number of vertices down to half or one third. This can usually be done without loss of quality.

The second culprit are the meshes. If possible, one can simplify them with PolyTrans or similar 3rd party application.

3.13 I have been testing a project but the problem is that it takes 15-20min to build.
Whenever you have these sorts of problems, it always helps to strip the test case down. To find the source to the problem, do the following:

  1. Turn half of the layers off
  2. If it helps, the problem is the disabled half - turn it back on and the other half off.
  3. Now turn half off the active layers off.
  4. Continue until you find the problematic layers.
  5. Then you can delete half of the visible model. If it helps, the problem is in the deleted objects.
  6. Undo and continue with the other half etc

3.14 In the font dialog I can only choose the size 20. How can I change the font size?
Text size is set in the AutoCAD drawing. If the text size is 5 in the drawing, text size will be 5 in the model.

3.15 What is the model generation order?
Model generation order is listed below. Each block (topic) under Threaded section is executed separately – i.e. they are executed in parallel (as much as possible). The rest is executed sequentially.
If you disable threading (VMARX_SETMAXTHREADS → 1) the threaded blocks are executed sequentially from top to bottom.
Threading is also the reason the progress bar no longer is and even theoretically can’t be very accurate. If you disable threading you get more accurate progress indication but less performance.

  • Build Autocad DWG lookup Caches

Threaded section

  • Surface generation thread
    • Build Surfaces
    • Build Plugin Surfaces
    • Build Cutted Surfaces
    • Apply per layer materials to Surfaces
    • Build Roads (VIPS)
    • Generate Dummy surface if no surface triangles generated so far
    • Sort prioritized material areas, ditches and roadlines
    • Build prioritized material areas, ditches and roadlines
    • Build surface model into VM file
  • Building thread
    • Build Buildings
    • Build plugin buildings
  • Fence thread
    • Build Fences
    • Build Plugin Fences
  • Pipe thread
    • Build Pipes
    • Build Plugin Pipes
  • TexBoard thread
    • Build Forests
    • Build TexBoard Chains
    • Build Plugin TexBoard Chains
    • Build TexBoard Areas
    • Build Plugin TexBoard Areas
    • Build Single TexBoard
    • Build Plugin TexBoard
    • Build Triangle-based TexBoard Areas
    • Erase TexBoards based on negative Element Areas
  • Text thread
    • Build Texts
    • Build Plugin Texts
  • Mesh thread
    • Build Meshes & Solids
    • Build Plugin Meshes

After the above threads have finished

  • Interpolate Elements (TexBoards, Buildings, Fences, Meshes…)
  • Replace Placeholder TexBoardElements With Meshes
  • Transform VMFile to correct coordinates
  • Ensure all materials are present in the VMFile
  • Write VMFile to disk

3.16 Reference files are not generated into model
Make sure that you have selected Model>Include XREFs from Virtual Map Model builder.
Unloaded references are not supported. Virtual Map requires all xref's to be loaded until XRefs can be read to model. This is due to limitations in AutoCAD XRef Bind function.

3.17 What file formats can be imported into Virtual Map?
Virtual Map 7.0 supports several file formats for import:

  • Novapoint Water&Sewer
  • IFC
  • LandXML
  • Generic 3D (fbx, dae, obj, 3ds, dxf, etc.)

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Last modified: 2012/10/09 10:59 by admin
CC Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.