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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Contents

buildingEXODUS v6.3 F.A.Q.

vrEXODUS v5.1 F.A.Q.

buildingEXODUS v6.3 F.A.Q   TOP

Q1: What is the best way of finding answers to questions about the buildingEXODUS software?
A: The user documentation contains most of the answers to questions typically asked by users.  It is split into three manuals and supplied in PDF form on the installation disks and download area for buildingEXODUS. The main components of the manuals (v6.1) are:
a) a theoretical description of the capabilities and limitations of the software (Theory Manual),
b) a user guide for the software (User Guide),
c) advice into how to use the software and interpret results (Application Manual),
d) a collection of tutorials (Application Manual), and

Q2: Where can I download the latest version of buildingEXODUS?
A: You can download the latest version of buildingEXODUS from the following link: http://fseg.gre.ac.uk/exodus/restricted-area/exodus-users
However, to access this page you need to register first by sending an email to that effect to exodus@gre.ac.uk.

Q3: How do I get software support?
A: If you cannot find the answer to your question in the manual and you have an official Software Support Contract with FSEG, send us an email (exodus@gre.ac.uk) quoting your Software Support Number and explaining your problem. If possible, send us a screen grab of the error message.

Q4: The update.exe utility fails to successfully update the licence information on the dongle, what do I do?
A: Make sure that you run the update.exe utility on the computer where EXODUS is installed and the dongle is attached. The utility will not work on a computer where EXODUS is not installed. If all these are verified and the update.exe utility still doesn't work please report any error messages to your system manager or email us directly at exodus@gre.ac.uk

Q5: Why are the scenario set up conditions printed in output files by default?
A: The results produced by buildingEXODUS should always be accompanied by details concerning the scenarios that generated them. This is vital in understanding the assumptions made concerning the scenarios and therefore the context in which the results were produced.

Q6: Is the buildingEXODUS software restricted to simulating emergency response?
A: The buildingEXODUS software is able to reproduce many types of human behaviour. Furthermore, with the introduction and development of the itinerary function, source nodes, redirection nodes, signage (amongst other components) occupants can be made to perform numerous tasks that can be associated with normal circulation patterns. This is particularly useful in assisting in the understanding of how the structure and population may interact in normal usage.

Q7: What advantage does buildingEXODUS present over hand calculations that may be simpler to use and quicker to calculate?
A: Hand calculations tend to make simplifying assumptions relating to the behaviour of occupants, either assuming a distributed effect of the behaviour or ignoring occupant behaviour entirely. In contrast, buildingEXODUS is able to examine the impact of a number of different factors upon a particular scenario, examining the impact of altering specific parameters (behavioural, procedural, environmental and configurational) upon the results generated. In addition, buildingEXODUS can demonstrate the results of a simulation graphically, allowing a more straightforward means of explaining the results of a simulation.

Q8: Is there a quick way to run multiple simulations? Do you have a batch mode?
A: The quickest way to run a large number of buildingEXODUS simulations is in batch mode. In this mode you can setup buildingEXODUS to load up any number of models, specify various simulation parameters for each one of them and set the number of times that the simulations should run. This is particularly useful if you need to run hundreds or even thousands of simulations. At the end of each run buildingEXODUS can produce a simulation output file and replay files that will allow you to replay each one of the completed simulations.

Q9: How do I randomise occupants in a controlled manner during the Batch Mode process?
A: The best way to do this is randomise the occupants within their compartments as normal and then save the file as a new .EXO.  The multiple versions of the .EXO can then be loaded into the Batch Mode process rather than loading in a single file and randomising the location of the occupants.

Q10: What is the best way of interrogating the data generated by buildingEXODUS?
A: Using buildingEXODUS it is possible to generate a vast amount of data, either from a single simulation or from multiple simulations. This data is best analysed using spreadsheet software (e.g. Microsoft Excel). The askEXODUS utility supplied with buildingEXODUS can be used to manipulate the output files (i.e. *.SIM) into a form that is readily useable by the spreadsheet software.

Q11: How do I get buildingEXODUS graphs into my document for a presentation?
A: There are two possible ways, (1) use a utility to capture the graph as a graphic and paste it into your document.  This is the quickest approach, but not very flexible as you cannot control the presentation of the graph. (2) Save the graph data and re-draw the graphs in a spreadsheet package.  In buildingEXODUS, to save the graph data, go to SIMULATION MODE, select Data Output Options from the RuleBase menu, press Graph and configure the options. If you have created multiple simulation files from the same simulation you can again use the askEXODUS utility supplied with buildingEXODUS to merge and extract the graph data from multiple simulations. You can then import these into a spreadsheet program and re-construct the graphs. This approach allows you to control the presentation of the graphs and compare different simulation results.

Q12: What is the best way to run and view my simulation?
A: For repeated runs of the same scenario where it is not necessary to interact with or watch the behaviour of the occupants Batch mode should be used. This results in the shortest run times. Prior to using the Batch mode however it is advisable to visually examine the events of a scenario using the 2-D graphical interface to ensure that the occupant movement and the connectivity of the geometry are satisfactory. The 2-D graphical interface is particularly useful for examining the behaviour of the occupants. For relatively small cases, which are computationally inexpensive, this representation can be enhanced by using the Person Shape option. For larger cases this should be switched off to minimise the computational costs. For presentation purposes, the 2-D view should be used in order to represent specific behavioural activities of the occupant population. For users with Level B or C of the software, this can be enhanced through the use of the 3-D virtual reality interface which enables a degree of flexibility in the perspective from which the simulation can be viewed.

There are a number of other viewing options available relating to displaying the environmental conditions, population density and the spread of the potential map throughout the geometry.

Q13: When generating a population the model returns the error message that there is not enough space to generate the specified population?
A: It is quite easy to accidentally select a single node when manipulating a geometry. The user should make sure that this is not the case when generating a population and that they have selected the area in which the population should be situated.  If the population can occupy any location within a given window make sure that no nodes are selected by clicking outside of the geometry within the given window (or the work area).

Q14: How can I view the 2-D animation of a simulation, as when it is run the simulation is over too quickly for useful analysis?
A: By holding down the shuttle key the speed of the simulation can be controlled and the simulation will progress one time step at a time. The user can also control the speed of the simulation playback by using the Speed Control option from the Simulation menu in Simulation Mode.

Q15: Why is the DXF file that I have imported into buildingEXODUS not displayed or displayed incorrectly?
A: buildingEXODUS will only read AutoCAD files up to version 14. Therefore, you must ensure that the DXF file you have is compatible with the version of buildingEXODUS you are using. You may need to regenerate your file by exporting it again from your existing CAD package using version 13 or 14 DXF file formats. buildingEXODUS reads all layers, even hidden ones, of the DXF file and all objects must be “exploded”. Note that all AutoCAD XREF objects need to be converted to blocks prior to “exploding” them.

Q16: Why does buildingEXODUS appear to display information in my imported DXF file that does not appear in the drawing when displayed in the CAD package?
A: buildingEXODUS will display all the layers in a DXF file regardless of their status (visible or hidden) in your CAD package. Therefore, it is necessary to remove (i.e. delete) all redundant data from the drawing before exporting it as DXF.

Q17: How should I best prepare the DXF files?
A: Delete all objects that are contained within the file that do not relate to the area that can be occupied. For example, dimensional lines, text, hatched areas, dotted lines. These are redundant and can produce unrepresentative results. These objects would normally be interpreted by buildingEXODUS as walls as there is no information in the DXF files of the nature of the objects. Also, all objects in the DXF file must be “exploded”. Note that all AutoCAD XREF objects need to be converted to blocks prior to “exploding” them.


vrEXODUS v5.1 F.A.Q   TOP

Q1: Why don't I have a copy of vrEXODUS?
A: buildingEXODUS Level A cannot generate VR files and so vrEXODUS is not provided.

Q2: Do I need a dongle to run vrEXODUS?
A: Version v5.1 of the vrEXODUS software now requires the dongle to be inserted into the PC and for you to have a valid licence.

Q3: What do I need to do if the software locks up when running vrEXODUS?
A: If the vrEXODUS locks up when running, it is possibly due to the graphics acceleration mode (selected on start up) not being compatible with your computer. Close the software and run it again, choosing Software acceleration from the dialogue box. If you have turned off this prompt, you can enable it by running vrEXODUS in Safe Mode. To do this select vrEXODUS(safemode) from the Programs Menu, under FSEG Software>vrEXODUS.

Q4: What is the best way of finding answers to questions about vrEXODUS?
A: The user manual contains most of the answers to questions typically asked by users.  The manual is supplied in PDF form on the installation disk supplied with vrEXODUS.  The manual also contains a tutorial to get you started using vrEXODUS. If you cannot find the answer to your question in the manual and you have an official Software Support Contract with FSEG, send us an email (exodus@gre.ac.uk) quoting your Software Support Number and explaining your problem. If possible, send us a screen grab of the error message.

Q5: Why are occupants sometimes observed to pass through each other during VR playback?
A: This is because the current version of vrEXODUS does not have the ability to represent the buildingEXODUS capability of allowing people to slip past each other when they swap nodes or cross paths. This will not affect the outcome of the simulation in any way when displayed in vrEXODUS. Simulation results will be identical to those generated by buildingEXODUS.

Q6: When I load in my geometry to vrEXODUS, the stairs are all wrong?
A: In buildingEXODUS make sure that you have used landing nodes to connect flights of stairs.

Q7: When I play the VR simulation, why do occupants move through walls when leaving the structure?
A: This occurs because the boundary of the structure has not been edited to reflect the location of an exit. In order to create the impression of a door you have to delete the lines in buildingEXODUS boundary mode before running and saving the simulation.

Q8: Sometimes during VR playback people appear to walk partially through walls?
A: Check that nodes are not too close to walls after a node flood otherwise when viewing the simulation in VR you may observe occupants moving partially through walls. Also make sure that the arcs that connect across internal compartments do not pass though any walls.



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