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The Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities




A project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Greenwich for the degree of MSc by research

September 2000



This dissertation describes the development of a virtual reality (VR) interface for the evacuation model buildingEXODUS. The VR interface is intended to represent the outcome of a buildingEXODUS simulation in three dimensions and makes use of third party virtual reality authoring software. There were several stages involved in the process:

The first task was to investigate the current usage of VR in evacuation modelling, comment on its effectiveness and then come up with a list of key elements that should be included in a VR interface.

Then using these key elements as guide lines, a list of objectives was prepared and the design of the interface was constructed. Also a data transfer layer was designed so information concerning the evacuation could be extracted from the buildingEXODUS simulation and then used to faithfully reproduce the simulation in 3D.

Next the design was implemented using the virtual reality software package VRT by Superscape. This involved constructing 3D objects to represent the geometry and occupants in the evacuation, then using these objects along with the information extracted from buildingEXODUS the simulation was recreated, accurately showing the position and movement of the geometry and occupants throughout the simulation.

Once the geometry and occupant movement had been recreated, the user interface was implemented, giving the user full control of the playback of the simulation. A set of useful tools was also added that gave the user the ability to change the viewpoint, the speed of playback, the detail level of the occupants and record the simulation in order to create an AVI.

Finally the vrEXODUS software passed a vigorous testing phase, which included field testing and detailed comparisons between the vrEXODUS simulation and its buildingEXODUS counterpart.

The vrEXODUS software is now available, distributed freely with the buildingEXODUS software.

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