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Building immersive flight simulations with ActorCore characters and motions

Alessandro Cucinotta – CEO at Simultech Sagl

Alessandro Cucinotta

My name is Alessandro Cucinotta. I am from Italy but based in Switzerland now. My career began in Turin at a service company at IBM Group. Since then, I’ve always been passionate about motorsport and aviation. Eventually, I started developing graphics and software for flight simulation as a hobby.

In 2004 I left IBM to embark on a professional adventure in the flight simulation sector, developing airports and airplanes in 3D. I collaborated with Microsoft on developing the 3D Virtual Cockpit of military Jet F18.

To easily populate our worlds we have been using Reallusion’s ActorCore characters and motions, along with iClone to make our airports more immersive with fantastic results.

Q: Hello Alessandro, and welcome to the Reallusion Magazine! Kindly tell us about your story at Simultech.

In 2016, I moved to Lugano, Switzerland. There I founded my first company, Simultech. At that time, I released my first video and simulation of the Memphis International Airport (KMEM). Not only did I simulate the airport apron, but I also imported several ground control avatars inside my other renders to give the audience a realistic walkthrough experience at the airport tower. Our company specializes in add-on production for the renowned Microsoft Flight Simulator. Simultech cooperates with FSDreamTeam since its foundation, and its popular packs include airport packs such as JFK or LAX or the last Kord V2 or even GSX level 2.

Today, we develops airports and software products for Flight Simulator 2020 with few collaborators. We are among the first ones to include human characters in the world of flight simulation, making the ground environments more alive and immersive.

Q: How long did it take for you to familiarize yourself with iClone, Character Creator, and ActorCore? Any suggestions for beginners?

I started using iClone and Character Creator about one year ago. I was looking for a product that could help me create characters optimized for a real-time in-flight simulation world. After some quick comparison, I discovered that Character Creator was the best tool for me. The possibility to vary morphology and characters’ accessories with tools for the reduction of polygons makes this software a-must for time optimization.

In my workflow, iClone represents the main actor. With it, we create animation cycles utilized in real-time in the simulator. The ease of creating animations and the possibility of exporting on my platform, allowed me to realize my ideas with efficiency and in a reasonable amount of time, without relying on expensive motion-capture tools.

Finally, ActorCore just gave developers like me the freedom to preview the final result on the cloud, and I can quickly save tons of time by purchasing the right motion content. Surely I suggest Reallusion’s suite to beginners: they will find everything they need to be immediately productive.

Q: What matters the most when selecting 3D content for simulation games? And what value did you find in Reallusion content and animation?

In the flight simulation industry, it is important to maintain high frame rates, and the ActorCore actors are created with this in mind. The characters are the right balance between performances and graphic loyalty, perfect for real-time applications. For my company, ActorCore represents an impressive time-saving solution for creating the characters.

“Luckily with the launch of Reallusion’s ActorCore line, we now have a library of actors developed specifically dedicated for real-time simulations that are incredibly realistic with optimized textures.”

Alessandro Cucinotta – CEO at Simultech Sagl

Q: We love the way you utilize ActorCore and Character Creator in your Flight Simulation add-ons. Would you tell us a bit about what will be expected in 2022?

The success of the Microsoft Flight Simulator has attracted many new content companies, raising the level of content. Our studio pointed a lot on the graphic representation of characters to make more credible and real the interaction between the pilot and the surroundings. With our latest Replacement Assistance Trucks add-on, we used a lot of characters intended to carry out normal ground operations, which took place at departure and arrival of the aircraft.

For the next couple of months, we are planning to develop boarding and deboarding of passengers. We plan to use ActorCore heavily, so we can simulate a deboarding of 500 passengers in real-time from a 747!

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