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SpeedTree
SpeedTree Logo
Developer(s) Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. (IDV)
Stable release 5.0 / September 2009
Operating system Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Type Game Middleware
Website SpeedTree Official Website

SpeedTree is a programming package produced by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. (IDV) that generates virtual foliage for animations and in real time for video games and simulations. It has been licensed to developers of a range of video games for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Contents

Origins

In a "Postmortem" feature on Gamasutra.com,[1] Kevin Meredith of IDV recounted SpeedTree as originating due to their lack of satisfaction with 3rd-party plug-ins on the market. The initial version of SpeedTreeCAD (CAD standing for "computer-aided design") was developed by IDV for a real-time golf simulation. Although backers pulled out of the golf project, IDV refined the CAD software as a 3D Studio Max component for an animated architectural rendering. After refining SpeedTreeMAX for retail, IDV went on to produce the real-time version SDK version to much commercial success.

Components

SpeedTreeRT (RT standing for "real-time") is a software development kit (SDK) written in C++ whose source code is available to licensees. It is intended to be fitted into a larger graphical engine, with the SpeedTree software handling the rendering of trees and foliage alone and the specific product's engine incorporating these into the larger environment.

SpeedTreeCAD is a Windows-based specialized modeling tool created specifically for creating and editing foliage. SpeedTreeCAD permits specification of such variables as branch length, branching angles, bark texture and gravitational influence, and then generates a tree from that information. Trees created in SpeedTreeCAD can be more or less detailed, and consequently can be used for either real-time or prerendered display.

IDV also provides SpeedTreeMAX and SpeedTreeMAYA, plug-ins for the popular 3D Studio Max and Maya modeling programs.

IDV released SpeedTree v5.0 in July 2009. v5.0 represents a "complete re-engineering" of the software, according to an IDV announcement in March 2009, and will feature a new set of components: SpeedTree Modeler (replacing SpeedTreeCAD) and SpeedTreeSDK (replacing SpeedTreeRT), as well as SpeedTree Compiler, which prepares SpeedTree files for real-time rendering.

SpeedTree Cinema was launched by IDV in July 2009. This version of the software is based on the new modeling features of SpeedTree 5.0 and is meant for use in movies and other animations.

Licenses

SpeedTreeMAX was launched in February 2002, and SpeedTreeRT was licensed for its first titles, including The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in December 2002. SpeedTree has been licensed for PC and next-generation console titles in a wide variety of genres by developers including:

SpeedTree is a licensed middleware partner with both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

SpeedTree has partnered with Epic Games in order to integrate the software with Epic's Unreal Engine 3 and the free UDK engine released in November 2009. Partnerships have also been formed between SpeedTree and BigWorld Tech, the Vision Engine by Trinigy, Multiverse Network, the Gamebryo engine by Emergent Game Technologies and the OGRE open-source rendering engine by Torus Knot.

Recent releases

Other games

This list is incomplete, and may never satisfy certain standards for completion, as many game developers do not reveal their use of middleware, or will not announce the tools they have used until the game is released.

Non-game applications

SpeedTree is being used in the following non-game projects and offerings:

  • America's Army project, both the America's Army game and in non-public applications used for training, simulation, education, virtual prototyping and outreach
  • An optional foliage module with the Vega Prime visualization product line (official announcement) developed by MultiGen-Paradigm, Inc. (now Presagis) prior to its acquisition by CAE in May 2007. Vega Prime is a 3D visual simulation software package used by the global military industry and in other game and non-game markets
  • An Apache attack helicopter FLIR simulation developed for the US Army by Camber Corp. of Huntsville, Alabama, for pilot training under night flying conditions
  • The Expresso Fitness Virtual Reality Bike, a cardio exercise system developed by Expresso Fitness of Sunnyvale, Calif., and sold to gyms and home users
  • A combat simulation developed by Emergent Game Technologies for the US Department of Defense (official announcement).
  • A project under development by the Germany-based division of European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) (official announcement).
  • The Forest Fire project, developed by the Media Convergence Laboratory (MCL) at the University of Central Florida. The project is helping to determine if a virtual reality presentation of wildfires can influence local residents to invest in prescribed burns and other protective efforts.

Awards

  • Finalist, 2008 Develop Industry Excellence Awards, in the Technology & Services, Tools Providers category. Develop, a UK-based magazine and website serving the game industry, first recognized industry achievements in a variety of categories in 2003.
  • 2005 Frontline Award, Middleware category. This award program, sponsored by Game Developer magazine, recognizes exceptional game development tools.
  • Frontline Award Finalist: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009
  • MT2 Top 100: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008. The MT2 Top 100 awards are sponsored by Kerrigan Media International and Military Training Technology to recognize companies and technologies that have made a significant impact in the military training industry.

SpeedTree Cinema

SpeedTree Cinema was released by IDV in August 2009 for use in movies and other animations. The product includes SpeedTree Modeler, which offers procedural and hand modeling options for tree and plant creation and permits the export of models in a number of formats. Industrial Light & Magic has been identified as a licensee of SpeedTree Cinema.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Middleware Postmortem: IDV Inc's SpeedTreeRT". Gamasutra.com. http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20040917/meredith_01.shtml. Retrieved 2009-11-30.  

External links


Gaming

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

SpeedTree rendering a forest.

SpeedTree is a middleware engine designed to render natural-looking trees, forests and foliage in an efficient manner.

Games that use SpeedTree

  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

External links

  • Official site
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