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Copyright 2008 Jeff Craighead
The Search and Rescue Game Environment (SARGE) is a
game based intelligent tutoring system for search
and rescue and other law enforcement robot
operators. SARGE can also be used as a relatively
high fidelity simulator, my lab has been using it
for over a year as I've built it and it's worked
out quite well.
The SARGE project aims to provide a multi-platform
(Mac/Win for now) training environment that is EASY
TO USE. The project was created out of frustration
with the other robot simulators out there.
They are either complicated to use and develop for
or don't provide the best physics simulation,
usually both. I (the SARGE dev team) originally
planned to use USARSim as the base for our work
with using games for training robot operators,
however the commercial release of the Unreal3
engine was delayed by nearly a year, delaying a
vital upgrade to USARSim. Since USARSim uses
the Unreal2 engine, that meant we would be stuck
using the old Karma physics engine instead of one
of the more advanced engines like Havok or PhysX.
We really didn't want that. Additionally,
building new vehicles and sensors (basically
general development) for USARSim is a pain in the
butt, though less so than other simulators out
In any case I decided it would be best to find a
new engine that used either Havok, PhysX, or ODE -
the three "best" physics engines available at the
moment. After about a month of looking around at
Ogre, Torque, Blender, etc. and talking with some
other people doing serious games research we
decided on Unity3D from Unity Technologies.
This is not a free engine (though neither is
Unreal) but it is relatively affordable ($250
standard, $1400 Pro [$750 for academic users]).
The Unity development environment is Mac only at
the moment, but can export builds to Windows*.
Programming is done in C# (Unity has the Mono
because it is not quite the same JS
implementation you would find in a browser, and has
some Unity specific features), or Boo. C/C++ can
also be used if you have the Pro version and a need
to access some custom hardware.
If you use SARGE for academic or commercial
purposes, please cite the project as well as any of
my related publications (see www.jeffcraighead.com).