3D visualisations

Hey guys

I'm TA, and as a civilian career I am a 3D illustrator.

I've been thinking about joining the regs sometime in the future. And was struck by a thought - Could my 3D skills be put to use in the Army?

I have previously worked with a colleague that was ex-Hereford, and had decided to become an artist because 'It was less stressful'. He told me that occasionally they would be briefed using a 3D model of an area/house that was of relevance to the objective. (presumably if they were given enough time to plan it. Apparently in Iraq, they were doing raids every night!)

So my question is, who makes these 3D models? Presumably int-corps. Hence the post in this part of the forum. But could anyone else shed any light on this? Signals?

Also, who maintains/develops new content for the VBS package? I've worked with that engine before.

Don't know the answer, but my best guess would be that this would be an RE thing. Certainly few Int Corps types know their way around AutoCAD or Microstation, to say nothing at all of the 3D or georef stuff.
It's the RE Geo boys who look after this, some of the products they produce are very impressive indeed.

As for VBS, PM Bruno NoMedals on this forum.
Surely it should be The Artists Rifles?


Guy any muppet with half a brain using google sketchup and a bit of time ie a week can become proficient in this.

no one is going to give you an answer on what Them use, if you work for a company looking to get a byline "as used by them" I would go elsewhere. If as I think you may be genuine hawking your skills to a specific regiment is not a good idea.

Unfortunate thing about the army the people with the best skills, or knowledge never ever get used to their full potential. The army does not care about the individual skills of the man, but only the multiple of men to get the job done.


Unfortunate thing about the army the people with the best skills, or knowledge never ever get used to their full potential.
Dunno, I was mess wines member on many occasions & sampled to the best of my ability :wink:
Thats fair enough, I'd be joining as an officer so was under the impression any knowledge in my field may help. though however, from my experience of the TA (which are supposed to utilize peoples civilian skills Much more, according to the recruiting bumph) I am sadly in agreement with you, and was hoping someone would dispel this opinion.

From what i have seen so far, it appears that anyone less than a General/Brig has no real input in the way things are done, or the choice of tech. Its a shame really but never the less, something to consider if I end up at Sandhurst after all this inner-reflection I've been indulging in recently.

Thanks capability, and I will PM him when I get back from work, but before then - I heard that VBS content was made and delivered by a private company, does anyone know who this might be?
AFAIK It is only 'maintained' by the Army, as the army can't afford the porn-star salaries us graphics artists rake in. ('us' being - everyone but me).
Guy123, AFAIK the major mods to VBS have been made by Bohemia interactive themselves but I know some others have been made by different contractors and indeed MOD themselves. I believe the idea is that any modifications are fed into a central repository for the 'greater good' of defence, but I'm no expert. NoMedals will be able to give you chapter and verse.


Not quite. Use the technology on a dedicated and deployable server.

Microsoft labs will not let that tech out of there sight, plus the render farm must be massive (unless its cloud computing).

There is a alternate, costs a fortune and requires a dedicated artist to operate it. What that bloke will do for the 5 days of the week that he isnt working is beyond me, also its mentally demanding role. Also the army will not pay the associated rate of pay that a artist of this calibre requires, 45k p/a.

I have a close friend that does this for some studio in London. Just got of the phone to him. In fact he was the one I emailed AK photo to and ripped apart.

now to watch New Tricks, as my head is hurting from cloud computer WTF that is!
I don't know about building models, but terrain modelling is done by both the RE Geo guys and also Defence Geographic Centre. I believe the latter would be in possesion of some of the skills you're talking about, but at that scale...? I'm not sure.

As for VBS, the game itself is proprietary and maintained by its parent company, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (part of Bohemia Interactive who make Armed Assault, but not strictly the same company). Content can be developed by anyone and imported into the game - we often ask BISim to do it for us, but plenty of other companies are capable and have delivered some good stuff. Newman & Spurr Consultancy, Defence Academy @ Cranfield Uni (Shrivenham) and QinetiQ are the three that immediately spring to mind, but they're not alone. Further, we sometimes find military users who've got a small VBS setup in their school/unit/whatever and have people who will develop new terrains, vehicle models, weapons, etc. for their own purposes.

Anything that is developed using the MOD's license is, in theory, property of the MOD and should be returned to a central point for onward distribution. This is the same whether you're a commercial company or a Crown employee. In practice I'm not sure this always happens - partly because people don't know to give it back, and partly because there isn't really anywhere to submit it anyway. If you ever get involved with VBS in the UK MOD you'll soon realise that from a corporate perspective we really don't have a ******* clue what to do with the software. There is no governance, no organisation, and few regulations - there certainly isn't any resource to manage or enforce things.

The few military people with the skills to manage a game-based trainer or do 3D modelling who actually managed to find their way into a VBS-based post are there through sheer luck and good timing, and will still get posted after their tour to be replaced by someone who doesn't have the skillset. Such posts are created at the discretion of the end units, and depend on the CO having some knowledge of, and support for, the software. If the CO gets posted and the next guy isn't convinced, the role could easily disappear.

Units that currently make use of the skills in question include REME School Arborfield and RSA Larkhill, but they're hardly full-time responsibilities and, as pointed out in an earlier post, are done by people who've just picked it up and learned it on the fly. Despite your skillset, the chances of you managing a single tour in a post suited to those skills is slim. Picking it up as a career is impossible.

I imagine that's probably not the news you wanted to hear, but if you want any further details just ask.

If anyone wants VBS for their unit or a specific role, my advice is to have the CoC raise a formal requirement through the procurement chain. VBS has been dogged by a lifetime of slipping things through under the radar or striking short-term deals and is now paying the price. The more people who formally request its use, the more likely it is that someone with the power to make it happen will listen and pull their finger out.

Alternatively we could bin it in the next 12 months and ask Real-Time Immersive to provide something based on CryEngine.
CryEngine is superb. To benefit from rapid developments in the gaming world MOD needs to undertake a fairly regular technology refresh or the VBS's of today will evolve into the "legacy" systems of tomorrow - and no one wants that. That said, VBS is better than what lots of people already have, i.e. nothing, or systems with graphics courtesy of a Dire Straits video.
Remember that the CryEngine does not, on its own, constitute anything resembling a VBS alternative - it's just a physics and graphics engine. That said, with RT-Immersive creating viable training tools from it there will likely be competition soon enough.

Today I found out that CryEngine struggles with high entity counts and can't manage a terrain size more than 8x8km, so as Gucci as it looks it still has major disadvantages against VBS.

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