Virtools files
Part of:
  • ONL (firm) (archive creator)

Virtools files



Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • 3885 digital files (approximately 1.2 GB)
Scope and content:
Sub-series 3, Virtools files, 1995—2013, contains files generated and coordinated by Virtools, a 3D visualization software used to make the Muscle move, respond to users, and play sound. It includes Virtools files, HTML files, audiovisual files (MP3s, WAVs and MPEGs), JPEGs, and applications. There are also a small number of CAD files, including 3DS, Maya, and AutoCad formats.

The Virtools proprietary formats include composition files (.cmo), player files (.vmo), object files (.nmo) and scripts files (.nms). Virtools object files and scripts files may be combined and saved as composition files using Virtools Dev, CAD-like software that also coordinates sound and movement. (Virtools Dev is located in file AP167.S1.SS3.002, Virtools software and NSA Muscle composition and player files.) From Virtools Dev, a composition file can be exported to HTML or a player file. The HTML exports no longer work due to a missing JavaScript plugin. Player files and composition files can be played back in the Virtools player; the player also allows the user to interact with player files and behaves much like a video game interface. See file AP167.S1.SS3.008, NSA Muscle interface.

Of note, the Virtools player file containing the NSA Muscle interface used at the Architecture non standard exhibition at the Centre George Pompidou is located in this sub-series. See item muscle.bat in file AP167.S1.SS3.008, NSA Muscle interface. There are also a number of other Virtools player files that allow the user to alter and interact with a virtual representation of a structure, which demonstrate ONL’s experimentation with the intersection of architecture and video game design. See file AP 167.S1.SS3.001, Early Virtools experimentation and architecture games.
Reference number:


Physical characteristics and technical requirements:

This sub-series contains a number of born-digital files in CAD and 3D modeling formats. Due to the complex and often proprietary nature of CAD formats, proper rendering and use of these files may require highly specific software. CCA’s dedicated Study Room CAD workstation is loaded with a wide but incomplete range of such software. For further information about services and software available for interacting with obsolete or niche file formats, please contact Collection Reference (reference@cca.qc.ca) and ask to speak with the Digital Archivist. Some Virtools files may not work on all computers; as such, it is recommended that they are opened in a Windows XP virtual machine to assure optimal functionality. This is particularly true for applications and other executable files. Additionally, HTML files exported from Virtools use a JavaScript player hosted on player.virtools.com, a site that no longer exists. This impedes web functionality, though copies of the files for the player are likely elsewhere in this subseries. The Virtools User Guide, while not part of the records, can be made available upon request.

Material in this sub-series is roughly arranged by date.
Conditions governing access:
  • Digital material can only be accessed on-site. Please contact Reference at ref@cca.qc.ca for more information. Access by appointment only.

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