Brief Encounters Reviews

Virtus Walkthrough 1.1

Publication Details:
Publication:“PC Plus”, UK
Date:September 1993
Product Information:
Title:Virtus Walkthrough 1.1
Supplier:Gomark Limited
Fact Panel:
Minimum Requirements:Windows; 386 CPU; Hard Disk; 4Mb RAM; Mouse
Available on:3.5″ 720k
Options:Printer; Plotter
Virtus Walkthrough
Virtus Walkthrough 1.1 is ideal for modelling architectural designs. Screenshots can’t show the real-time walk-throughs in the shaded View window.

Brief Encounters: Virtus Walkthrough 1.1

Virtus Walkthrough 1.1 is a 3D Visualisation program which allows users to move around a design in real time. It’s intended as a tool for conceptual 3D design, and therefore emphasises creating simple models quickly and viewing the results easily. Walkthrough is not intended for detailed design or photo-realistic rendering – these tasks would be carried out on mainstream CAD programs once the initial idea has been established.

The user interface is very different from conventional CAD programs. On startup, two windows and a toolbar appear. The first window is used for drawing and editing. The basic drawing primitive is a polygon, which can be extruded in a variety of ways to form cubes, pyramids or domes. Once drawn, straight segments or vertexes can be dragged into new positions. Polygon height can be edited by adjusting a ‘height bar’ at the side of the window.

The second window contains a shaded view of the 3D model. Walkthrough’s main feature is the ability to ‘walk’ around and through models in real time. Direction and speed of movement are controlled by the distance of the mouse from a cross-hair in the window centre. Although this is slow with complex models, the effect is uncannily convincing, and favourite walks can be recorded for posterity. It’s not possible to animate sections of the model to show moving components.

Further windows can be opened for drawing flat features on an object’s face and for placing light-sources. In the Tumble Editor sections of the model can be ‘tumbled’ to show particular faces, and Slices can be taken off primitives to create more complex shapes. However, Boolean combinations of primitives and swept surfaces are not possible.

Walkthrough is well-provided with links to other programs. As well as DXF import and export for sharing CAD data, static views can be saved in BMP, EPS, TIFF and Illustrator formats. Links are also provided to Animator Pro to allow further refining of recorded walks.

Documentation is uniformly excellent. All text is clear and well-written, with liberal use of screen-shots and illustrations to emphasise particular points. As well as the usual Reference Manual, Tutorial, Quick Start and Reference-cards, the package contains a little fold-out cube with hints and diagrams to help users stay oriented in 3D space – a nice touch.

Virtus Walkthrough 1.1 is an extremely well-focussed product, concentrating on providing tools to create models quickly and view them easily, while avoiding the temptation to add sophisticated functions at the expense of ease of use. Users of established 3D CAD systems who need to investigate 3-dimensional designs quickly will find this product invaluable.

Tim Baty

PC Plus Verdict:


  • Well-designed User Interface
  • Good range of Drawing & Editing Tools


  • No Boolean Operations
  • Slows down dramatically with complex models
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