BRL-CAD Release 7.18.4

BRL-CAD release 7.18.4 is now available. This release includes numerous bug fixes and feature enhancements to MGED, geometry converters, image processing tools and more. Also included with this release is the initial (yet phenomenally impressive) integration of our high-performance Triangle Intersection Engine (TIE) with BRL-CAD's LIBRT raytrace library. There is a new geometry importer for Shapefile data and the revolve primitive receives support for transformation matrix editing.

After many months of ongoing development, this release includes the preliminary integration of TIE with BRL-CAD's LIBRT raytrace library. TIE uses specialized acceleration techniques for faster raytracing of triangle mesh models. TIE was experimentally developed over several years as part of BRL-CAD's Advanced Distributed Ray Tracer (ADRT) tool suite. As this is the initial integration, TIE is available but presently disabled by default. The engine optimization is configurably integrated with LIBRT mesh (BoT) raytracing and optionally enabled via settings available in RT and MGED. Inital testing of "real-world" models shows average improvements around 20-60% while individual meshes with high (1M+) face counts are rendering more than 2000% faster than before.

Also included in this release is the development of a new "shp-g" geometry importer for Shapefile data. Shapefiles are a common file format for storing geospatial vector data commonly used by geographic information systems (GIS) software. Shapefiles may be imported as 2D sketch geometry that can be extruded to a 3D representation.

Special thanks to Dongxu Li, Bob Parker, Richard Weiss, Erik Greenwald, Cliff Yapp, and Sean Morrison for their contributions to this release of BRL-CAD. Since release 7.18.2, the following backwards-compatible changes were made:

* fixed units conversion bug with mged 'title' command
* fixed memory management crash in the dem-g importer
* fixed edcolors so it retains and accepts colors again
* support for applying matrix edits to revolve primitives
* fixed mged 'red' command bug on Windows
* support matrices over halfspaces within combinations
* fixed archer and rtwizard startup failure bug on Mac
* fixed bug starting up the Combination Editor in mged
* mged 'mater' command interactive prompting restored
* added pix2fb and fb2pix screenshot commands to archer
* fixed bug running nirt on a Windows command terminal
* improved wireframe updating when editing within mged
* added -T bot_mintie BoT optimization options to nirt
* fixed Windows display manager bug when drawing strings
* mged command-click zoom binding for one button mice
* removed 'txyz-pl' utility tool in favor of 'xyz-pl'
* new shp-g importer for Esri Shapefile geometry files
* new 'rt_bot_mintie' option for triggering TIE BoTs
* integrated optimized TIE BoT raytracing with LIBRT

Please visit the Sourceforge project website to download the latest version: http://sf.net/projects/brlcad

See the BRL-CAD website at http://brlcad.org for more information.

Posted by Sean Morrison 2011-04-12