Artifex Ltd. is a limited liability company registered in 1990, founded by several owners of one of the largest Hungarian private computer vendor house. To establish and retain a clean Engineering House profile, in 1992 the owners founded Experior Ltd. with the aim to handle prime contracting and sales tasks. Because Artifex Ltd. products are usually turnkey simulation systems and most of the software engineering is done by themselves, Experior Ltd. contracts the closely connected subcontractors to do the hardware related developments and plays the integrating role among them.
The full-time engineering staff is 14 employees; all of them are graduates in electrical or mechanical engineering, program designer mathematics or physics. The average age is under 30 years. Artifex Ltd. has experienced software engineers programming primarily in C, C++ and assembly language. Moreover, when it is needed, the firm is working with 3-10 contracted software authors as well.
Artifex Ltd. has been developing programs under different environments such as DOS, Windows, TIGA, Novell NetWare and several versions of UNIX (Irix, OSF/1, Ultrix), but they are familiar with other micro- and minicomputer environments and programming languages as well.
The company's activities can be grouped into two major fields:
Short description of the Artifex's products:
The company's first product was an instrument family to check zeroing that runs on PC (DIANA). Using these affordable products the trainees can develop co-ordinating skills necessary for aiming, get the fundamental training of gun-layers and reach marksmanship in fighting down targets. From the first version of these simulators they deployed more than sixty installations in several garrisons and now they are about to release the third, enhanced version of the DIANA system.
So far for Artifex Ltd. the biggest challenge was the development of their MARS Battle Management Simulation System. This multi-mode program makes possible the training of commanders and their subordinates up to battalion level, to assess their expertise and to experiment with new tactical principles through a variety of simulated tactical situations drawn on digitised maps. MARS also runs on PC configurations under MS-Windows using a digitising tablet and a 20" high resolution secondary monitor driven by a TMS 34020 processor based graphics accelerator board. Eight-seat workplaces are connected into a system via a Novell network. The first version was installed in four main garrisons in various regions of Hungary and the second, improved version was released in the 2nd quarter of the last year. The third version, released in the 4th quarter of '94, includes a Silicon Graphics workstation supporting the system with 3D terrain visualisation. They are working in co-operation with the General Staff and the Military Academy towards extending this program to higher level units. As far as they know - and, according to NATO officers to whom they showed the MARS - this program is outstanding even comparison to NATO systems.
From the 2nd quarter of '94 onwards they are working on the operational level version of the MARS system - code-named VEGA - being developed under the GOTHIC Application Development Environment of Laser-Scan Ltd. (Cambridge, UK).
Artifex Ltd. has developed the HERCULES Armoured Vehicle Driving Simulator Family that can give trainees the fundamental training of track type vehicle drivers. Drivers can practise under different visibility conditions such as in summer, in winter, at dusk and at night; terrain conditions are also selectable. HERCULES has a driver cabin similar to the original of a particular armoured vehicle type, has a three-degree freedom-of-motion with realistic engine sound. The easily modifiable computer generated terrain is computed and displayed by a standard desktop UNIX workstation at a speed of 12-14 frames/sec. The HERCULES family features a modular structure: creation of a new type simulator is possible by changing only the cabin and the related simulation program module but retaining all the hardware elements including the motion mechanism, the control panel, the instruction functions and part of the software. So far simulators for three types of tanks had already been developed.
One of their latest products is the ZEUS Artillery Fire Control Simulator that is useful for training and practising artillery officers and reconnaissance soldiers. Officers can practise the activities of commanders, carry out exercises of the artillery battalion and battery, destroy simulated stationary and moving targets and range fixing points. Soldiers can practise the co-operation with the battery commanders, can measure the location of the targets and clouds of explosions, as well as point out observation posts. The realistic three-dimensional perspective projected landscape has been created from a real terrain database mentioned above. Using adjustable meteorological parameters, different kinds of projectiles, ergonomically identical compass and range finder instrument models and sound effects with appropriate delay the simulation is very realistic.
Recently they have extended their activities to other fields of simulation; namely, they are working on porting their systems to other hardware platforms.
The future plan is to reinforce their leading position in the simulation market field in Hungary, stay on the top for a long time and break into the world market.
Dominant institutional and scientific relations in the field of GIS
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