Wide-Screen and Effect Previews: SimsUshare Fire Simulator v. 2.8.6
Learn how to use the wide-screen view and preview effects in your fire simulation with this easy to follow tutorial.
Welcome, this is Jonathan Kaye from SimsUshare. This is the user webinar for September. We’re really excited because we have the next version of SimsUshare coming out October 1st and a little spoiler alert: it’s actually already out, so I’ll tell you about that a little later. But the official word will go out October 1st and at that time in the program you’ll see an update. It will say there’s a new version available. But the reality here is that it’s already available for download. I’ll show you how you do that because there’s a lot to be really interesting changes. I hope you’ll really enjoy. Our team Steve Ward, Danielle Spivak are not going to make it this session. We had a session at 8:30 this morning to go over the same stuff. This session is going to be recorded and it is being recorded, and that will be available on our webinar archives page off of SimsUshare either this evening or by tomorrow.
Well before I want to start talking about SimsUshare, I wanted to give you the 30,000 foot view. What really is the focus that is driving us on the SimsUshare team? We sort of see it as a three-part. There’s the technical: how are we going to add value to SimsUshare? So how are we going to add features, effects without adding complexity? We’re really, really sensitive about not making the program more complicated because we really need to keep it approachable by people who don’t have a lot of time to learn all the ins and outs of it, but also make it sophisticated enough and feature-rich enough so it’s useful in a wide variety of circumstances, whether that’s structural firefighting or Hazmat or industrial or EMS. We’ve also been working on active threat and Industrial safety, WMDs––all this kind of stuff beyond actually just structural firefighting.
But really in terms of content, that’s the second part. We have the technology, but the technology is only as good if you actually have content that you’re expressing with the technology. So we kind of boil it down to say you got a simulation program––SimsUshare––but do you have a simulation training program? What we mean by that is what’s your vision for using simulations in training? So having a tool is important, but we also want to help you program, your vision to make it easier for you to integrate simulations so that you really get the maximum effectiveness for what you’re paying.
And of course the third part is in terms of our support and service. We really want to figure out and want to listen to you, how do we help you maximize the value from SimsUshare? So things like the webinars, things like the phone calls. We’ve done surveys. We’re actually also going to release a couple new things I’ll suggest at the end about helping to really support and service your use of SimsUshare.
So, in a nutshell, SimsUshare version 2.8.6 is coming out October 1st, which is next week. And here’s a couple of things you are going to see, and I’m going to show you a live preview of it once we kind of just review the main enhancements. First off, you’ll see here preview graphics and effects. This is one of the most requested items. Right now where you have all fire smoke containers, you used to have just words, but now we’ve also put a little icon, little thumbnail of the actual effect in there. So that’s going to really help you understand what kind of effects you’re choosing to use in your simulations.
The second really big thing in SimsUshare is the widescreen format. And so up until this moment, SimsUshare has been at what we call the 4 by 3 aspect ratio. So it’s been, on things like iPads, it just has this what used to be the standard aspect ratio. And now with the new SimsUshare, you’ll notice when you actually open it up, it comes out much flatter and wider, and now you can actually integrate these 16 by 9 widescreen format. The key thing here is going to be that you’ll get full-screen playback without the black bars. Right now we’re editing so that’s why you have the black bars. But what you’ll see here is when you actually play your simulations on a widescreen, it’ll go edge-to-edge. So that’s really going to make it a bit more immersive. And you can obviously get rid of the menus there as well. You won’t get the black bars if you now incorporate widescreen, if you make your simulation widescreen. Now, what you’ll have to do to make it widescreen is make sure that you include the wide screen photo at the beginning. So when you create your simulation it uses the first picture that you choose to get the dimensions of the simulation. And so if you decide you start your simulation with a narrower photo, it’s good to use those narrower dimensions to set the size. So when you make a widescreen simulation, you want to make at least your first picture widescreen, and that way it’ll set the dimensions for the simulation. We’re going to see a live example in a moment.
Now, many people know as you’re creating more locations or slides, to get to the slides, you have to go to the location menu and you scroll down to get to the bottom. Now that is fine, it’s fine for when you have a couple locations. But it becomes more of a pain when you want to go to a new location quickly and edit that location. Let’s say you’ve got A, B, C, and D. If you only have A, B, C, and D, it’s easy enough to just scroll and click whichever one you want to edit. But now, if you had let’s say 8 slides or 10 slides or locations or 20 or 30, you can spend a lot of time just flipping between your locations. And now I’ll show you as we added a special feature––edit next location and edit previous location, and this is also accessible by a keystroke. And so what you do is you hit the keystroke and then it will edit the next slide or edit the previous one, and that’ll save a lot of time in having to navigate around your simulation.
Another important change we have, people have asked for, can I see timing all in one list? You know that when you make your timing, you actually add the timing to individual elements like the smoke comes in in 5 seconds or 6 seconds and disappears at 10 seconds or delays, or over 3 seconds. Now what will happen, we have a thing where you choose “show the location timeline,” and all your timing will show up like here. You see, this says “Timeline for Alpha” so it’s on a per-location basis, and what happens, it’ll show your timing relative to start a simulation. So at 2.9 seconds, you’ll see the arrow to the right says the “Grey Turbulent” comes in and over 4.2 seconds, so that means it appearing at 3 seconds and then fades in over another 4 seconds, so at seven seconds essentially, at 7.1 seconds, the effect is fully in. You’ll see that the right-facing arrow means that it’s fading in, the left-facing arrow means that it’s fading out. So here, basic fire fades in at 5 seconds and starts fading out at 25.3 seconds. This gives you an overall sense and looks at all your timing for that location to make sure that you’re all set. If you need to change your timing, you can then go back into the effect and change it.
Now also, another thing in terms of timing which has always been an issue is the fade-in and fade-out. We’re going to see how we’ve collapsed it so you don’t have to do as much clicking to get the fade-in and fade-out setting changes. I’m going to see now, do we have any comments, do we have any questions before? I’m going to look at the chat window. I’ll pause for just about 30 seconds. If anyone wants to type some kind of chat message, any questions before I go into the actual demonstration?… Hopefully the audio is still pretty good. I don’t see any questions at this point so I’m going to keep going. Now SimsUshare is kind of flatter and longer. I’m right now on a laptop with a wide screen like most computers nowadays. So the first step, what I’m going to do, I’m going to go here and hit “Play,” and then here’s one with the widescreen photo. You’ll see its edge to edge. If I now actually go full-screen with this, it still has that ornament, I can go down to the bottom here and save full screen and now you see there it’s edge to edge, I’m going to just hide the menu there so it goes completely. So that’s going to be really nice. And again, all the wide screen photos, that one is obviously not widescreen but they will go edge to edge. So you can certainly still use non widescreen photos, that’s fine they will work exactly the same, and all your simulations you made will work the same, but if you did have these special wider format photos, now you can actually go completely full screen on your monitors. So let me now go back over here and let’s go take a look at editing a simulation, so I’m going to go back over here and let’s start. I’m going to edit and let’s say we want to create I’ll show you, I’ll go back and I’ll say “New,” and I’m going to go here and I’m going to make that motel again. I’ll go here, I’ll choose my picture, let’s say I choose that Alpha picture, and now here I am editing. So the nice thing also about widescreen is it gives us a little more room if you have non widescreen pictures so it just gives us more space here to see. So let’s say I’m going to put in some smoke, I’ll go “All Smoke,” now notice over here we now have the little preview tokens, so “Angry Thin,” “Auto Ignition,” “Distant Turbulent,” all have little previews. So that’s going to be really nice to be able to help you see all the different smoke and fire before you actually have to place them or have to memorize them. So let me go and put some smoke in. I’m going to say Turbulent Smoke. I’m going to click, drag and then bring it so I can still do the same stuff over here. Let’s say I’m going to make this smoke appear though at 5 seconds coming in.
So I’m going to go here and I’m going to say Delay Timing. Now notice here if you’re really careful you would have known that before it said Fade-In When, Fade-In Duration. “When” is when it starts coming in, and “Duration” is how long it takes to fully come in. So for example, now we’ve collapsed them into a single area so fade-in settings, notice now it says Fade-In When and Fade-In Duration, so if I went and I’ll say Fade-In after 3 seconds, you’ll see here, they’re both together. So 3, 2, 1, and you’ll see in a moment there it popped in. That’s Fade-In When. But now when I’m here, I can go and also set in, I go delay timing, Fade-In settings, and now I can say Fade-In duration––this is how long after 3 seconds, how long should it take to come in. So I’m going to say this is going to come in over 5 seconds, I can always type here the number that I want. So means if it’s going to fully come in after 8 seconds. It’s going to start appearing at 3 seconds. So now when I hit okay, you’ll see here at 3, 2, 1 it starts slowing in. So the key thing here is at the fade-in now, you set it on a single panel instead of having to jump back and forth. That’s going to be a real time-saver.
And now similarly, when I want to fade something out, if I go and click on the item and I go here and I say Delay Timing, I used to have to click on Fade-Out and it would then have to return to this menu. Now we’ve made it so if you just click Fade-Out, now fade-out settings are available right here, which is the same Fade-Out When and Fade-Out Duration. So it’s much easier, you don’t have to come back into this menu to do that. So that makes it much easier to set your timing. Now let’s take a look at if I look at the location menu, you notice here “Manage locations,” I only have a single location. If I go and say, let’s say I’m going to go back here and look at this residential one there’s only a single location, but here I’ve got 5 or 6 locations. So if I want to switch to edit the different sides, I just click on whichever side I want––Bravo, Charlie. But now I’m going to be talking about keystroke, that shortcut to be able to edit the next location. Right now you’re not seeing it here. We only show it after 10 slides, 10 locations. We figure fewer than 10, it’s not such a big deal, but there’s also a keystroke shortcut and I’ll sort of reveal that in a moment. If I look at a simulation, let’s say like this high rise one which has 50 or 60 locations, maybe more, if I go here and now you’ll notice, when we get to be more locations, two things happen: first, it gives us a number. This what location number in the sequence, number 1, 2, 3, whatever. And now you’ll notice also now it’s actually added in Edit Next and Edit Previous with control right arrow or control left arrow. So if I click on Edit Next, now it’s editing number 2. And I can keep doing that if I want, but that also becomes kind of a pain. So on my keyboard I hit the CTRL key––and this is Mac and Windows––Mac also has the command key if you want to use Command- right arrow. I hit control and then right arrow and now as you see Editing #4, see up over there, Editing #5, #6. So control right arrow edits the next one. CTRL- left arrow goes back. That’s going to be a real time-saver in actually making your simulations because you’ll be able to see what the title is for the location and now you’ll easily be able to go and edit whichever one you want, go do your stuff, edit the next one. Also it’s much easier to flip through the locations and you can sort of get a visual sense of what they are….
So, there’s a lot of interesting things that are going to happen over there. And I can do the same thing in terms of preview. So if I go Control right arrow and I go back, it will then go back to the previous. It wraps around to the end. So if you noticed over there, this was my last slide and then this is my first slide. CTRL-right arrow is really a big thing. Another thing we’ve added is we’ve added shortcuts for copy and paste. There’s always been over here, this menu that says Copy Effect. You could do that and then paste effect. But now instead of hitting Copy Effect, I can click on this and now I can use instead of going to the menu and hitting Copy Effect, I can hit CTRL-C. And I get a message there Copy to Clipboard and when I’m done with that I hit done, and I can go and I can use the CTRL-V and you’ll see in a moment there is the CTRL-V, it does paste. So CTRL-C and CTRL-V is working to copy and paste. And of course you can copy and paste across different simulations as well. So I could go back over to, I don’t know, this Myrtle one. And if I hit CTRL-V for paste, there is the effect that comes in.
So, those are a number of things. The last thing that I want to show is the location timing. Let’s go over to something like the Welcome Sim. This has been in SimsUshare since the beginning. As you can see over here, I hit play. After like one or two seconds you get an explosion, and then it fades in. Now, you have to go into individual effects to be able to see what time they’re set at, which is kind of a pain when you have a lot of things coming in. So what we’ve done is we now have here for this location and for each location, you go to the menu and say “Show Location Timing.” And what it’ll show is here “Timeline for Initial Location.” So it’s not the whole scenario, it’s just the current location. You see here at 3.6 seconds the explosion happens. At 4 seconds, basic fire starts to come in over the next point seven seconds, and at 4 seconds also grey turbulent one comes over the next second. So we don’t have any fade-outs over here, these are all coming in. But notice beneath here if I click and drag, there’s another section timing begins each time one enters this location. If you remember, the times have be either at the start of the simulation or they can start when you enter the location. So this gives you a chronological ordering of the effects. It sorts them by earliest to later, and so that way you can see all your timing for the location just in one view and if you need to go and change like text or change the turbulent, you can go and find that and change it in the regular way.
Looks like chat has a question: are these available using mobile phone? They are but it’s not out yet. Those require approval. I think Android should be done by the end of this week. iPhone, iPad––that requires Apple’s approval so that has to be submitted. I expect that to be within the next week or two. Well, that brings us to the end of the sneak peek of SimsUshare, but the little secret is it is available now for Windows and Mac, and iOS Android should be available shortly. What you do is just download the free Sim viewer from simsushare.com and just install the newer version over what you have, and you’ll get all these new features and all your simulations are 100% backward compatible, so not to worry about losing anything there. Now, iOS and Android you don’t want to reinstall. They have an update mechanisms in the in the App Store and Google Play, so just follow that for updating when you get a notice that the updates are available. As I say, it should be between about a week and 2 weeks for iOS and Android should be within the next week.
A couple things, since you made it this far I want to show you some of the new stuff that’s coming out. First of all great continue behind the scenes improve CTC functionality. For people who are not aware, the CTC is our Command Training Center, which allows for remote control of computers to do multi company exercises or even if you’re in the same room, you don’t have to reach over someone, over their shoulder onto the laptop to control. You can control the screen remotely––it’s all done on the internet so you don’t have to worry about getting IT to approve. Then starting October 1st we’re coming out with a newsletter. You’ll be seeing that. We’ll be sending that all to current subscribers and mobile registrants. We’re doing our monthly webinars. For example, next month we’re going to be talking about coincidentally, creating your simulation training program. So this is going to be more about ideas for how to integrate simulations into your training. Then we have some more features and surprises in store January 1st to make your job of creating simulations easier both in terms of technical improvements and content.
Well, I appreciate your time here and thank you for your participation. I’m going to keep the chat window open here so I can see if anyone has any questions.