Exercise manager

  • About Visual simulator
  • Preparing exercises
  • Creating new exercise
  • How to view different parts of the chart
  • Setting weather
  • Adding objects to exercise
  • Own (active) ships
  • Routes for target ships
  • Target ships
  • Navigation signs and radar transponders
  • Clouds
  • Setting object properties
  • Moving objects
  • Copying objects
  • Deleting object
  • How to undo changes
  • How to find objects
  • Saving exercise
  • Loading exercise
  • How to create new vehicle type from a CAD file
  • Vehicle description file format
  • Equipping active ships
  • Running exercises
  • Starting exercise
  • Controlling ships during exercise
  • Stopping exercise
  • Resetting exercise to its initial state
  • About Visual simulator Visual simulator is a simulator of navigation. It contains interconnected simulation modules (separate executables) which exchange data between each other and exercise manager - main program which controls preparation and running exercises. Exercises are geographic areas with ships (active and inactive). Areas for an exercise can also be equipped with navigation signs. Active ships are able to carry electronic equipment i.e. simulators allocated for them. Exercise manager program An exercise is
  • a terrain (geographic area) +
  • weather +
  • objects (ships, buoys etc.)
  • The exercise manager is the main means to prepare and control exercises. This is a kind of main component of the whole simulator to be used by the instructor. Creating new exercise
    To create a new exercise, select "File/New exercise". The selection dialog shows a list of currently available areas (terrains). Select one.
    How to view different parts of the chart There is a number of ways to pan and zoom the chart :
  • the first and most straightforward way is to drag mouse over an area to zoom it to fill the screen
  • to pan the area, you can use scrollbars of the window
  • press [SHIFT] keyboard key and drag the chart after the mouse cursor
  • click at some point of area to centre the image (do not spot an object, otherwise you will drag the object)
  • use numeric keypad "+" and "-" to zoom in and zoom out area around screen centre
  • the same effect is accomplished by using the mouse wheel
  • you can use "View/Zoom in" or "View/Zoom out" menus to do the same
  • you can unzoom to the dimensions of the whole map by "View/Unzoom"
  • Click here for a detailed description of keyboard and mouse usage. Setting weather
    You can specify many parameters related to weather, including time of exercise. In addition, the dependency of wave height on wind can be specified. Use the "Wave height vs wind speed" tab. Drag curve control points to provide this graph with the desired shape.
    Adding objects to exercise
    Now, we can add different types of objects to the terrain to make an exercise. Figure to the right shows how they look in the exercise view window. You can see different types of objects :
  • Gipsy Moth 1 is an active ship
  • Stockholm 1 is an inactive ship (target) moving along the Route 1
  • Stockholm 2 is a target moving at a specified heading
  • Buoys, beacons and lights are navigation signs
  • Own (active) ships
    First of all, we need at least one or more active (own, controlled) ships which will be equipped with different navigation equipment. Click "Objects/New active object" menu item. Select a desired ship type from a list and provide the new ship with a name. If you click OK, there appears a set of property sheets, which, in addition to usual ship parmeters, like MMSI numbers, include a set of changeable functions representing ship dynamics, like function of maximum speed on throttle and many others. At the creation, the functions are default for this type of selected vehicle. Adjust the vehicle dynamics to your needs, if necessary. If you click OK, there appears a cursor shaped like a ship. You should move the mouse pointer to the desired location on the map and click the left mouse button. The new ship will appear at this place. A right-click will cancel adding the new ship.
    Routes for target ships
    Target ships are not controlled by students, they move either along straight lines with constant heading and speed specified or along smooth curved lines at constant speed. Such lines are mathematically represented by Bezier curves, which makes them easily editable. We shall refer to these curves as routes. To set a new route, select "Objects/New route" in the main menu. A message box displayed will tell you to mark waypoints of the route by clicking the left mouse button and end the route by clicking the right mouse button. At the end of the route, if a route is closed, it is normal to move target ships along this route with "start from the beginning" option in the target dialogue or set them to "move back", if it is not. Figure to the right shows a typical route - a target will move around the island with constant speed. Now, if needed, you can edit the shape of the curve, thanks to its Bezier representation, by simply dragging its control points. In case you wish to smooth the curve, click the right mouse button with mouse pointer over a curve node and select an appropriate action. Targets can start moving not only from the very beginning of the route, but at some distance from its beginning; also, they can move with a specified distance from the route curve. The last two features are used to let multiple ships move along a single route without collisions. It is now possible to specify route point height over sea level for aircrafts (Z-coordinate). This coordinate should be set to zero for routes for ships.
    Target ships
    Now we can introduce target ships into exercise. Target ships are not controllable by steering controls and they do not carry simulators of navigation equipment. However, their motion can be controlled by the exercise manager by right-click over it and setting its properties when the exercise is running. Targets move initially at a constant course or along a route. . Select "Objects/New target" and select a desirable vehicle type from a list. Target properties window is similar to that of active ships.
    Navigation signs and radar transponders
    At the moment, these objects include
  • Buoys
  • Beacons, may be racons
  • Lights, may be lighthouses
  • Radar transponders (SART)
  • Every type of navigation sign or radar transponder has a set properties to define its shape, dimensions, colour pattern, top mark, light, and even list amplitudes and periods for floating objects.
    You can add clouds to the exercise which produce rain clutter on radar displays. Select "New cloud" and specify its shape by successive clicks on the chart. Complete cloud contour by a right click. Specify cloud height and whether it is raining or not in the dialog. The cloud will move with the speed and direction of wind specified in "Weather" menu.
    Setting object properties
    Some object properties can be changed after objects have been created. You should place mouse cursor over an object or over the text with its name and click the right mouse button. Select "Properties" from the menu appeared. The property dialog type depends on the current state of the exercise. If the exercise is stopped, it looks like a set of property sheets representing ship parameters.
    Moving objects Positions of objects can be changed, both before exercise started and even during exercise running. To implement this, click the left mouse button over an object and drag it to a new place. Sometimes scale of the map is so small that object contours are also very small and it is hard to spot an object with the mouse. In this case, you can first find the object, use the mouse wheel or [-] keyboard key to zoom the map out and then drag the object to a desired place. Copying objects Object copies can be easily created. With an exercise stopped, right-click over an object to copy, select "Copy" from the menu, move mouse cursor to a new position and right-click over this place. Deleting object Any object can be deleted the same way : click the right mouse button over an object and select "Delete" from the menu appeared. Sometimes scale of the map is so small that object contours are also very small and it is hard to place mouse cursor over it. In this case, you can first find the object and then click the right mouse button to delete it. How to undo changes After modifications, object states can be restored by "Edit/Undo". How to find objects Any object on the map can be found through "Objects/Find object". Select an object and double click over it or click "Find". The object will be placed at the centre of the window and the view zoomed in. Zoom is made that you could easily mark the object to set its properties. You can set object properties or delete an object right from this dialogue box using corresponding buttons. Saving exercise Select "File/Save exercise". Loading exercise To load a previously saved exercise, select "File/Open exercise". In the dialogue box displayed, you should select an exercise. Also, the list of recently used exercises is in the last lines of the "File" menu. Just select one. Equipping active ships
    The next operation after setting an exercise is to
  • Equip active ships with simulators
  • Specify which simulator will run on which computer (if network is used)
  • This is accomplished by using the "Equipment" menu item. Select an active ship in the tree view (click on its name), select an equipment type from the upper combo box, specify on wihich computer it will run (lower combo box) and click "Add" button. Every equipment contains a set of its properties, such as rotation speed or beam width, which can be specified by clicking the "Properties" button. Use the "Delete" button to remove an equipment from a ship.
    Exercise control Before an exercise is started, you should have at least one own (controlled) ship in it. When exercise is running, ships and targets show their speed and heading and the Exercise manager program window shows the exercise time in the upper right corner. Running exercise can be paused, resumed and stopped. During exercise, you can forcibly move objects (click the left mouse button and drag) or change their properties (click the right mouse button over an object). Starting exercise
    "Exercise/Run" is used to start exercise. The window shows exercise time at the upper right corner, ships and targets show current values of their speed and heading.
    Controlling ships during exercise
    Active ships can be (and should be) controlled by steering controls. Equip active ships with steering controls to implement this. Targets are controllable by clicking right mouse button over a target (exactly like setting its properties before exercise). You will get steering controls attached to this target.
    Stopping exercise "Exercise/Stop" is used to stop exercise. On stop, ships do not return to their initial positions, use "Reset" to do this. Resetting exercise to its initial state Under initial state we shall mean parameters of objects before exercise was run (opposite to those changed during exercise). Use "Exercise/Reset" to return exercise to its initial state, e.g. to move ships to their initial positions.