Graphical Assets

This section provides guidelines for artists to create these resources in a way that will make them easy to use in Vortex® Studio.

Though Vortex® Studio doesn't necessarily need graphics when used for engineering testing and development purposes, 3D models and other graphic assets will be required for visualization for most applications.

Simulated Objects

The following 3D models are included in a simulated scene, as shown in the image below:

  • Soil, buildings: terrain
  • Excavator, truck: mechanism
  • Concrete pipes, steel beams (gray bars near pipes): cultural objects
  • Traffic cones: props


Terrains are a 3D model type that is used to represent the ground and environment that will be used in the simulation (e.g., the scene, in Vortex® Studio terms). It is the world in which the other 3D model assets will reside.

While the terrain object includes only one Graphics Gallery, it's possible to use multiple galleries to create special effects (the spongy forest floor of the Forwarder demo scene is a good example).

See Terrain Creation for more.


Mechanisms are 3D models that are used to represent real life mechanical entities or devices.

These models can be vehicles, devices or objects that perform tasks, and are a visual reproduction of their real-world counterparts. They are often at the center of a simulation scenario.

See Mechanism Creation for more.

Cultural Objects

Cultural objects are another common type of 3D model. They are used to represent immobile objects that have a dynamic simulation (e.g., they are static mechanisms in Vortex® Studio terms) – basically, things that can be collided with, but are too massive to move (or their response is not essential to the simulation).

Cultural objects can include bridges, buildings, sign posts or fences, among other things, though larger objects are usually built into the terrain model itself.


Props are the last type of 3D models used in Vortex® Studio. They are non-static objects that have dynamic simulation (e.g., they are mechanisms in Vortex® Studio terms).

They are used to represent any object that can be moved or otherwise interacted with, such as boxes, loads, logs, etc.

Note Depending on the scenario being simulated, items can be built either as cultural objects or props, though they will likely share the same basic 3D model. The difference is often in whether the mechanism is set to "static" or "dynamic," and the overall level of detail of the simulation.For example, a non-destructible lamp post will be built as a cultural object, while a version that can be crashed into and taken down will be a prop.

Procedural Objects

Procedural objects are specialized graphic assets that do not have an associated 3D model because they are generated procedurally in the course of the simulation.

They still require graphic materials and textures in order to be visualized.


Particle materials are used to determine the visual appearance of particle effects, such as dust, rain or smoke.

Most of the time, they are semi-opaque or translucent (e.g., their blending mode is set to one of Masked, Modulate, Additive or Dither).

By using a script to modify the offset, tiling and orientation parameters of the textures, it's often possible to create animation effects within a particle cloud or spray.

See Soil Dust Extension for more.


Soil materials are used to determine the visual appearance of soil and soil particles in the Earthwork Systems.

They often need to match the materials used for the terrain 3D model.

See Earthwork Systems for more.


Cable materials are used to determine the visual appearance of cables (including cable-like items such as tethers or hydraulic lines), catenaries, and pipelines.

Most of the time, they are opaque, but it's possible to use Masked blending (to create chain-like cables, for example, or barbed wire).

See Cable Systems for more.


The following topics are covered in this section: