Where the journey starts – 1994

Program start-up screen. Click image to view larger version!

The first multimedia program I created – started making in January 1994 and delivered to the customer in May 1994. This is the start screen. Everything is in 3D and clickable. Every operating component of the machine was animated, photographed and with actual video from an operational installation. All documentation included as CAD drawings. Spoken instructions. Pushing the limits on Windows operating system and the processing power available back then. Special video card had to be used to crunch the videos.
– 120 photographs
– 100 3D-pictures
– 20 min of live video
– 12 min of 3D animations
– 45 min of spoken instructions
– 80 safety drawings
– Valmet safety instructions
– Automation circuit descriptions
– 720 ACAD drawings ( mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electric and DamaticXD )
– Interactive training sequences
– Operator test
– 400 music pieces

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Zooming into the machine – level 2 items Click image to view larger version!

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Component view (rendered image) + animation view. Component view icons were shown as needed – here available are (from left): hydraulic drawing, video, audio file and mechanical drawing.

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Viewing photographs. Click image to view larger version!

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Hydraulic drawing view. Click image to view larger version!

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Video view. Click image to view larger version!

 The interactive training sequence view.

The interactive training sequence view. Click image to view larger version!

The program contained training sections such as web threading and turn-up sequence. Each section was divided into three stages: preparatory measures, actual situation and post-operation measures.

The training screen shown above has three sub-windows: Trainer, Control Panel, and Process.

The trainer is an animated character named Matti S., a well-known Valmet employee. He narrated all the training sections.

The control panel on the screen matched the operator control panel delivered with the machine. All buttons are active and are used in the training sequences. There are also selector switches that are enlarged when the cursor is on top of them, so the operator can easily use them as required.

The process window shows the image or live video/animation required in each situation.

Pressing each control panel button will bring up a corresponding video showing the machine action associated with the button or switch.

The training proceeds stepwise and the user actively participates in the performance of the program. The program gives a visual hint of which control panel button should be operated.

There were multiple choice tests for operators, maintenance, and management. Once the user has selected/guessed his answer, “Matti” responds, and the wrong answers are deleted. Clarifying text (motivations) were also be added to the answers. Each answer may be accompanied by any image, animation or video needed for clarification. At the end of the question sequence, a “top ten” list was shown.

Full animation sequence of machine operation cycle – used in training sequences

Detail animation – operation cycle – used in training sequences

The people.

The people. Click image to view larger version!

The computing power available back then was not great and the video’s required a dedicated card. During this project we for the first time ever also played with a CD burner – what an expensive piece of hardware we tested and producing a usable CD was very tricky to say the least. (Never purchased that equipment, but testing was done XD – and that was enough for our needs back then. )

Operating system was Windows 3.11 and most powerful  processors were of 486DX2 variety. We did rent one of the first Pentium (whopping 66MHz) based PC’s to help crunch the animation videos at 24 frames/sec. Around 12 minutes -> about 18000 individual renderings – and lot’s of re-rendering for some errors in the quality, setting errors etc. etc. We used around 40 or so office PC’s in the network for the animation efforts. Had to babysit several weekends at work just to make sure things worked out properly. In some of the weaker 386 based processing units rendering one picture took more than 12 hours…

The delivery was not just CD’s but had to carry a whole desktop computer to the mill site. Installed a sturdy handle on top of the unit… Luckily corporate travel across the pond was allowed in business class back then and it was easily accepted as carry-on. My first portable in a sense XD.

The training of personnel was a huge success – one interesting point was that the computer was equipped with a mouse. The automation system at the mill used track balls and as personal computers were not that common, several of the trainees were not familiar with how to use a mouse – > remedy was just to go out to a computer hardware store and bye a track ball… There’s always an unexpected surprise – something that no-one never anticipates – in development projects. This one surely caught me off guard.

Naturally we had some fun whilst doing this:

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One thought on “Where the journey starts – 1994

  1. Pingback: Back to the Future – Nordefco ADL seminar in Gol, Norway | Duuninaarmuja

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