jadog

We think that our ATR has been copied

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Hi,

We are the developers of the ATR-72 500 published by McPhat/Aerosoft (pg 9, plane manual).

Last year MilViz announced in their facebook page that they were developing an ATR 72-600 (see Fig. 1). When we saw the first screenshots we recognized immediately our model (see Fig. 2). We couldn’t believe it, but after making a more in depth comparison we think there’s no doubt about the matches between the two models. Getting to match the camera position, angle and focal length, and superimposing both images we what you can see in Fig. 3.

We sent an email to MilViz asking them if they have used our model in any way, under permission or not, and they replied that “we can categorically assure you that we are not using any parts of the McPhat/Aerosoft ATR-72”.

Then we sent to them this document, asking how could they explain the coincidences between their model and ours. They didn’t reply. This post is meant to show the matches between our model and their model.

In the first pictures (Figs. 1, 2 and 3) you can see how their model (in blue) matches with our model (in red) in almost every part.

DqCjWME.png

HbKtr2W.png

h1QiDaz.png

The exact match in shape could be attributed to the fact that we are both modelling the same aircraft. But, at least in this case, this can’t be a valid explanation, because we modeled the ATR using only pictures as a reference for all the shapes (we only had the overall dimensions of the aircraft; we didn’t have other particular measurements at all or CAD drawings). As you can see, the shapes match exactly in the fuselage, nose, tail, belly, engines,...

Take for example the nose: both models have not only the same nose shape, but also the windows have the exact same shape and the positions of the antennae and the pitot tubes are also exactly the same (see Fig. 4). Or take the tail: again, the exact same shape and the exact same position for the antennae (see Fig. 5).

n6AiSbU.png

EQM2yqU.png

If we compare our model to other developer´s ATRs (by Razbam Sim and Flight one), the differences between those models and ours are obvious (see Fig. 6a and 6b).

7YjCEpQ.png

BLoimo3.png

On top of that, it’s almost impossible for two models to have the same errors. We’re not proud of this but, as it has been pointed out a couple of times by the users, the shape of the tail cone in our fuselage is curved (see Fig. 8), while in the real one is a clear straight line (see Fig. 7). Flight one got this one right (see Fig. 6b).

sPTlaJp.png

ltPAzBd.png

An extreme example would be the frames we did around the passenger's windows. In our model, this frame protrudes to the outside (see Fig. 9). But this frame doesn’t exist in the original aircraft! As a matter of fact, you won’t find those protruding window frames in any aircraft, of course, since they will increase drag! The reason we had to model those was because we didn’t have enough texture resolution to paint the frames. You won’t find that kind of window frames in any other model and this is a trick we aren’t proud of: it was a last time fix for us.

LHy4Xki.png

Another extreme example: if you compare the rear door in our model with a picture of the door in the real aircraft you will see that the space between the steps and the door itself is much shorter in our model (see Figs. 10 and 11). It’s surprising to see that MilViz has done the exact same mistake! Their door matches exactly with ours!

wZmhzQx.png

LAHx2H6.png

Compare any two 3D models of the same aircraft and they won’t match as MilViz model matches ours. Even if we modeled again the same aircraft, our second model wouldn’t match the first one.

Now, besides all of the matches we have found there are also some differences. Mainly the position of the wings, engines and main landing gears and other minor differences. Our guess is that MilViz have not just imported our model and include it as part of their model. This couldn’t be the case just because our model has been decimated (an automatic operation used to decrease vertex amount by collapsing nearby vertex based on an angle threshold) and so it doesn’t have a proper topology to work with. But they may have retopologized our model and made some changes on top of it. This technique consist in taking one model and build another upon the first one, snapping every vertex of the new model to the surface of the former one. It’s like tracing a drawing. (You can see an example here:

Now, this implies an unauthorized use of our model, so it’s almost the same as directly “using parts of our model” (something they deny). When creating a 3D drawing or model out of pictures and free info, most of the work consist on investigation, making mistakes, corrections, checking the model and start again, so by tracing our work they are avoiding this 80% of the work, if not more.

As we said, we asked privately and politely to MilViz if they have used our model in any way and they answered that they “can categorically assure you that we are not using any parts of the McPhat/Aerosoft ATR-72”. Then we sent them this document and asked them how they explain the coincidences between the two models and they didn’t reply. We have also sent this document to Aerosoft, since they are obviously also concerned, and they understand us and support us. Since MilViz have not given us an explanation, we have no choice but to make the case public, hoping that this way MilViz give us a valid explanation.

 

Best regards,

Alfredo Torrado & Juan Alcón.

Edited by charliearon
good job of embedding the pics but need to do the same for the video
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I really don't think that this is the best place to make this argument, these types of issues are best kept private.  This will almost certainly have legal ramifications and your actions are likely to massively escalate the situation.

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Yes, since this is a payware product, a more appropriate place to resolve this particular grievance is probably either in a law firm office, or a court room, and not in the court of public opinion, a flight sim Forum.    

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It is simply not the case that, as you put it: 'have no choice but to make the case public, hoping that this way MilViz give us a valid explanation', you actually have lots of choices, depending on how you feel about the situation. If you think you have a provable case and what has transpired has damaged either your reputation or your finances, then the best and most appropriate choice you can make is to seek legal advice on the matter and see whether it is worth pursuing the matter in that way. Any intellectual property specialist law firm will be happy to advise you, based upon the evidence you present them, whether you have a grievance worth pursuing.

Edited by Chock
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Gentlemen, so far this is all great advice to the OP.  It won't take much for this topic to head South, and if it does, it will be locked down.

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I will simply point out that the owner of Milviz attended the sim con in Vegas this past weekend, and is on vacation until later this month. That likely explains the lack of an immediate response.

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While I can see similarities, I can also see differences between the two models. I cannot tell, whether it's a copy or not. Since you're both modelling the same airframe, given the small and subtle differences, I personally think it's a little premature to directly accuse another - well respected, I might add - developer of plagiarism.

Also, as others have mentioned, I'm a little puzzled as to why you choose to raise your concern here. 

Edited by Anders Bermann
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It's probably also worth pointing out that intellectually, from an ownership standpoint, there is a pretty good chance that the shape of the ATR-72 ultimately belongs to Aerospatiale as far as any legal claims are concerned. An IP lawyer would know more on this though.

Edited by Chock
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31 minutes ago, n4gix said:

I will simply point out that the owner of Milviz attended the sim con in Vegas this past weekend, and is on vacation until later this month. That likely explains the lack of an immediate response.

Can confirm. They were there exhibiting.

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If this is how you go about resolving your differences with another, well respected developer, I certainly won't be buying any more of your products.   

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Wow, a lot of finger wagging at these folks for publicizing this dispute here, but not a lot of response to the substantial allegation itself — which looks well documented and quite compelling.

As a matter of strategy, I’m not sure this is such a terrible idea. Having been met with silence, they’re calling on MilViz to rebut this publicly. If they can rebut it...I wonder.

James

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This kind of name calling,innuendo etc. does not belong on a flightsim forum.  I am dismayed that you would stoop to such a low approach to your perceived problem.

Not at all ethical in my mind. 

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I’m on vacation but we will shortly show pictures of wire frames of our model. That should dispel any issues. 

I’d be curious to know how they think we got their model...

Mods, please don’t shut this one down quite yet.  

We do a lot of things but none of them dishonest in any way and I take this sort of accusation very seriously.  

As I told the person who mailed me (once) on this, we didn’t do any such thing and, we refused to send them our model so they could verify it.  I did offer them to come to our offices and see for themselves but they never got back to us.  

Pics on on the way.

All they will have to do is compare the pics with wires of theirs.  

If they’re not the same, I will expect a full and public apology and retraction. 

If they are, not only will I apologize, I will fire immediately the modeler who “claimed” to have made the model. 

Edited by Milviz
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Please note that though some shapes might be essentially the same, the wires and vertices will surely be in different locations.  That’s how you can tell. 

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48 minutes ago, Milviz said:

I’m on vacation

Please go to the pool bar, have a drink and don't be monitoring this thread,

Enjoy your vacation, you've posted your defence and shouldn't need to do anything more.

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I will suggest that if you want to keep this thread open then you respectfully comment else you may receive a warning and the thread will be locked.

Thank you for playing nice.

 

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Shocking way to approach a problem with another developer on a public forum, very bad error in judgement,milviz have always been professional and transparent i doubt very much they did this

Edited by suchw

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I’ve asked that Avsim reopen this thread so that the endgame can be fully played out.  (Thanks mods)

I would like to make clear that we only got one email from them and that asked for our thoughts on this   We gave them our thoughts as a categorical denial.

We have never done any topology copying as we prefer to do our own modeling as much as possible.  And, they didn’t mention that the cost of making a topology copy would, essentially, be the same as that of making a new one. Plus that usually introduces new errors.

Finally, when we do use other devs models, we ask and pay for that usage as is evidenced by our deal with Soul for their Beaver.  Fully paid. As this type of thing has happened to us, we are well aware of how this can make one feel.

A final image of what’s different on ours:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/7n8j0dbmpt5vhv3/016.png?dl=0

Colin

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If two modelers separately build a 3-D emulation of the same real-world object, it stands to reason that the end result will look essentially identical. It’s “proof” that both companies employ highly-skilled graphic artists, but not proof of plagiarism IMO.

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Once upon a time , an elementary school teacher asked her students to write a text about their pets. After reviewing the submitted texts she says to one of her students. 

 

"Hey Johnnie, your text about your dog is exactly the same as your sister's  text ! Do you have a good explanation for this ?"

And Johnnie said :

"Of course it is! It's about the same dog ! " 

 

 

Edited by PMSoares
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1 hour ago, Milviz said:

I’ve asked that Avsim reopen this thread so that the endgame can be fully played out.  (Thanks mods)

I would like to make clear that we only got one email from them and that asked for our thoughts on this   We gave them our thoughts as a categorical denial.

We have never done any topology copying as we prefer to do our own modeling as much as possible.  And, they didn’t mention that the cost of making a topology copy would, essentially, be the same as that of making a new one. Plus that usually introduces new errors.

Finally, when we do use other devs models, we ask and pay for that usage as is evidenced by our deal with Soul for their Beaver.  Fully paid. As this type of thing has happened to us, we are well aware of how this can make one feel.

A final image of what’s different on ours:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/7n8j0dbmpt5vhv3/016.png?dl=0

Colin

I'm not saying it is a copy but this is quite clearly edited model to what they are comparing to with the notch being smoothed out since judging by the shading.

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Uh... of course the models edited.  We’re in a constant battle to make sure it’s right and those images (which we never got) are from a long time ago   We were and are, still working on the shape of things.

As well, smoothing is not always smooth when seen without maps.  

Its suggested to look at the wire frames and, if they ever post theirs, the difference should be obvious   

Moving on. 

Edited by Milviz

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