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Introduction to E3D
What this chapter covers
For communicating a concept, a 3D representation of the spatial location of objects and their movement over time can be an extremely powerful and effective tool. The ExtendSim Suite package includes a next generation 3D animation capability that is fully integrated with the ExtendSim simulation environment.
Simulation is concerned with building a logical model of the behavior or performance of a sys- tem. 3D animation, on the other hand, involves a model of a physical space. In ExtendSim you can build a logical model that is separate from the physical model. When 3D animation is desired, ExtendSim translates the logical model into a 3D representation.
This ability to separate the logical simulation model from the 3D environment is an important ExtendSim advantage because:
• Alogicalmodelcannotbedirectlybuiltin3Dspace.Ifthephysicalandlogicalaspectswere not separated, every aspect of your system would have to be created as a physical representa- tion of the real system. That would be both counter-intuitive and tedious.
• Youmaynotneed3Dforyourpurposes,socreatinga3Danimationforeverymodelwould be a waste of time.
• Youcanignorehowthemodelwillappearin3Duntilthelogicalmodelisfinished.This increases productivity since you can concentrate on model behavior and results without being concerned about layout.
• In ExtendSim, 3D animation is available if and when you need it.
The ExtendSim 3D (“E3D”) environment is designed to be used both for model presentation and for model comprehension and debugging. The E3D window provides a fully three-dimen- sional representation of the world of the model. The objects modeled in the E3D window maintain information about their positions in three dimensions as well as their other physical and behavioral properties. The E3D window is tightly integrated with the rest of the Extend- Sim simulation engine and is open source, so you can control every motion of every object and every aspect of what is happening in the 3D world.
☞ E3D animation is only available in ExtendSim Suite. What this chapter covers
This chapter discusses:
• Blocks and objects for 3D animation
• Overviewof3DanimationinExtendSim • PrerequisitesfortheE3Dmodule
Blocks and objects for 3D animation
There are two common ways to create 3D animation in ExtendSim: change dialog settings and/ or add specialized 3D blocks to a discrete event model, or build custom blocks that use the 3D functions to perform animations. The first approach does not require any programming; the second method uses ModL functions to create custom animations that are outside of the dis- crete event arena and, if you want, don’t even require a simulation to be run.
Item library blocks
The Item library blocks are 3D-enabled. This means that these blocks and the items that pass through them can quickly segue from the 2D to the 3D world. Most of the Item library blocks have two tabs with customizable settings that affect 3D animation:

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