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MetaVR Extends Virtual NTC

MetaVR™ has developed an enhanced version of the industry standard virtual National Training Center (NTC) terrain for use on PC-based visual systems. The terrain database is used for maneuver training and, with the addition of the Tiefort City Mobile Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) buildings, to train infantry for urban operations.

Scenario on the Bicycle Lake area of MetaVR's NTC database, rendered in Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) at 60 Hz. The scene features rotor wash effect, site-specific building models, and character and vehicle models from MetaVR's 3D content libraries.
Bicycle Lake area of MetaVR's NTC virtual database, rendered in Virtual Reality Scene Generator at 60 Hz.

The National Training Center (NTC) at Ft. Irwin, CA, is one of the most frequently modeled terrain databases for simulation. The facility is used heavily by the U.S. armed ground forces for live fire and manuever training; approximately 42,000 soldiers are trained at NTC each year. More recently, training includes combined arms operations in mock urban areas. Virtual-world representations of NTC are used in simulators that enable soldiers to train in the virtual NTC when they are not engaged in live training. After receiving training in the virtual NTC, soldiers go on rotation to train at the actual NTC facility.

An article describing MetaVR PC-based visuals and the company's NTC database in use at the Ft. Irwin Live and Simulation Integration system was featured in the December 2, 2002 issue of DefenseNews. The article describes the technology used at NTC in virtual training to replicate warfighting rehearsal; it includes a description of the role MetaVR Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) plays in the Digital Battlestaff Sustainment Trainer.

Another view of MetaVR's NTC database, rendered in Virtual Reality Scene Generator (VRSG) at 60 Hz. The buildings and runway of the Bicycle Lake area are visible in the background. Click the image to swap rendered and wireframe views.
Bicycle Lake area of MetaVR's 3D Ft. Irwin database, rendered in Virtual Reality Scene Generator.

MetaVR’s NTC database was constructed from .5 meter resolution natural color aerial imagery, and 25-meter elevation posts. Cultural features that match the imagery were manually and automatically added to the terrain with one of MetaVR's terrain-generation products.

The NTC photo-realistic terrain database is actively being used, and the visual and SAF terrain databases have demonstrated to be well correlated.

Images from a scenario running on the Bicycle Lake area of MetaVR's NTC database.
zoom zoom


Specifications for MetaVR's NTC terrain database, in flat-earth MDX format:

   Terrain database:
Database size
Size on disk
Imagery build time
Geometry build time
= 60 x 60 km
= 13 GB
= 8 hrs 38 mins
= 41 mins
N35 38'
W116 57' W116 18'
N35 6'
Terrain LoDs
Texture LoDs
Terrain post spacing
Source imagery

= 4
= 7
= 16 mpp
= 58 GB
Elevation coverage: 25 meter per post
Imagery coverage:
0.25 mpp color Bicycle Lake (3.5 x 3.5 km)
0.35 mpp color satellite Tiefort City (375 x 375 m)
0.5 mpp color aerial (60 x 60 km)
1 mpp color (30 x 30 km)
15.0 mpp color-fused satellite whole database (60 x 60 km)
  Cultural features:
  772 geotypical buildings
89 photospecific/photorealistic buildings (Tiefort City)
865 geotypical volumetric trees and bushes
11,075 road segments
110 fence segments
200 telephone poles and wires
133 cones and generators
115 barriers, portable toilets, surveillance cameras, and gas tanks (Tiefort City)

In addition, the database has hundreds of light points and runway lights.

Tiefort City urban training site

One area of detail on MetaVR’s NTC database is the virtual Tiefort City. This site is one of nine mock urban training villages at NTC. Located near the Tiefort Mountain in the Mojave Desert, the village is the largest urban training ground at NTC for preparing troops for combat in a desert setting.

MetaVR's virtual Tiefort City urban village at the National Training Center. The scene below features site-specific mobile MOUT models and vehicle models from MetaVR's 3D content libraries.
Virtual Tiefort City urban training area of MetaVR's NTC database, rendered in VRSG.

The Tiefort City site is made up of a large cluster of low-rise prefabricated plywood structures. These structures, which look like shipping containers with windows, are reconfigurable mobile MOUT training shelters and containers. Modular, transportable and stackable, they can be used for various types of building site configurations; for example the structures can be stacked and attached to create multi-story buildings. At the site soldiers undergo training scenarios such as setting up ambushes, house-to-house searches for insurgents, responding to snipers, and identifying car bombs and improvised explosive devices. Tiefort City provides a realistic urban training ground; it is the last stop for many U.S. soldiers before deployment to Iraq. MetaVR’s virtual-world representation of Tiefort City can be used in simulators so that soldiers can continue with training scenario activities when they are not engaged in live training.


MetaVR’s virtual Tiefort City MOUT site contains several high-resolution site-specific models. The mobile MOUT structure models were custom created for this virtual MOUT site; these models were based on perspectiveless digital photographs of actual mobile MOUT structures at Tiefort City built by Anteon. The models were created in a third party modeling program and converted to MetaVR’s model format. The virtual mobile MOUT structures have articulated doors that can be set in various states. The virtual site also has models of other cultural elements such as barriers, gas tanks, power generators, portable toilets, surveillance cameras; these models too were modeled from on-location photographs. All models are in MetaVR’s model format.

The comparison images below show a photograph of an actual mobile MOUT unit on the left and the MetaVR model on the right.




This MetaVR NTC terrain database is available upon request free of charge to MetaVR customers who are on active software maintenance and are US Government agencies or contractors (for official use only). The terrain database requires VRSG version 5.7 or higher.

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