Front-end developments for PHOENICS 3.2


  1. Major changes between versions 3.1 and 3.2
  2. Which modules to use for:
    1. VR and non-VR
    2. TALK=F and TALK=T
    3. BFC cases
    4. PLANT
  3. The roles of CPVNAM and SPPNAM
  4. POLIS changes

1. Major changes between versions 3.1 and 3.2

The most frequent criticisms of the Virtual-Reality Satellite of version 3.1 were:-

These criticisms have been largely met by the development of a Windows version which employs the Open-GL graphics library.

However, the use of Open-GL is incompatible with the use of DOS; yet there are very good reasons for maintaining a DOS version of PHOENICS, namely:-

In order to meet these requirements, PHOENICS 3.2 EARTH for PCs can be supplied with both Windows (95 or NT) and DOS versions. The former utilises the Digital Compiler; and the latter the Salford Compiler and Graphics functions.

However the Salford memory extender does not permit the DOS version of PHOENICS 3.2 to work with Windows-NT.

The present document describes the Windows/Open-GL version of PHOENICS 3.2.

This differs from the DOS version in that there exist two SATELLITE executables, namely SATEXE.EXE and PVREXE.EXE.

In respect of the other modules of PHOENICS, namely:

there exists only one of each; and they are activated at the command line by the long-established commands:

2. Which modules to use

2.1 Which modules to use for VR and non-VR

When the virtual-reality editor or the virtual reality results viewer is required, the command to issue is: RUNPVR.

This will however work only when the Q1 file has TALK=T in its top line; and it is unsuitable for cases in which body-fitted coordinates are to be used.

RUNPVR may also be used when the virtual-reality features are not required, simply in order that the "environmental" facilities (ie file- handling and program-execution) can be employed.

For non-VR and "non-environment" needs, RUNSAT is preferable, whether TALK=T or TALK=F appears in the top line of the Q1, and whether or not body-fitted coordinates are required.

2.2 Which modules to use for TALK=F and TALK=T

As implied above, only RUNSAT should be used for TALK=F cases; for, in these, the only function of the the SATELLITE module is to read and interpret the Q1 file, and to create the corresponding EARDAT and (if VR-type objects are contained in the Q1 file) FACETDAT files.

It is often desirable to create a Q1 in TALK=T mode, using the virtual-reality editor to create the geometry and to set the main attributes. Thereafter, the top line can be changed to TALK=F, and further changes to the Q1, perhaps for subsequent runs, can be made by means of a text

2.3 Which module to use for BFC cases

As implied above, only RUNSAT should be used for BFC=T cases, whether TALK=T or TALK=F. The reason is that, at present, there provision in the Virtual-Reality interface for creating BFC grids.

2.3 Which module to use for PLANT

If PLANT is to be used , the most straight-forward practice is to use RUNSAT. However, it is also possible, and sometimes convenient, to use RUNPVR and RUNSAT in succession, the former providing the geometry and the latter the special physics. It is also possible to run SATELLITE from within PVR.

3. The roles of CPVNAM and SPPNAM

CPVNAM is a PIL variable of character type, which has long been used to select one or other of the (old-style) data-input menus. Thus, it can take the values: GENERAL, HOTBOX, FLAIR or CVD.

With PHOENICS 3.2, this role is played only when SATEXE is run; and, if it is then given the value VDI, the version-3.1 virtual-reality interface and menu are activated (which CHAM does not especially recommend).

However, CPVNAM has no influence when it is PVREXE which is run; for whatever value is given to it, in the initial Q1 file, it will be changed to VDI.

SPPNAM is a PIL variable which was introduced with version 3.0, so as to indicate which (if any) special-purpose program is to be activated.

If CPVNAM is not equal to VDI, SPPNAM is given the same value by SATEXE, but has no influence.

If CPVNAM = VDI, however, SPPNAM has a significant influence on the settings which may be made by VR.

The most usual setting is: SPPNAM=CORE, which ensures that all the core features of PRVREXE are activated.

Other possible settings, which relate to special-purpose programmes developed under the MICA project, are: AQUA, ANFUS, COFFUS, EXPLOITS, FABULOUS, GASFUS, GLAMIS, INDOS, SAMSON, SCONES, WAMBLE

4. POLIS Changes

Another major change between Version 3.1 and 3.2 can  be seen in the on-line documentation system, POLIS. In Version 3.1, and all previous versions, POLIS was a stand-alone program which read data files in a proprietary CHAM format.

All the POLIS documents have now been changed to HTML format, and POLIS itself replaced by any convenient Internet browser. This has meant that CHAM can now concentrate on the content of the documents, without having to worry about how they are displayed or printed.