3dvia Studio Documentation


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About 3dvia Studio

3dvia Studio is a software originally developed by Virtools (later part of Dassault Systèmes group) used for the design and development of 3D interactive applications like video games, e-learning tutorials and virtual simulations.

A detailed description of 3dvia Studio is available on Dassault Systèmes’ 3dvia website.

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Project Assessment

In 2007, the new 3dvia Studio software was under development. The documentation was nonexistent and the software needed to be formalized all over before marketing and commercialization.

Few technical specifications on the product were available, but its software predecessor Virtools Dev (later named 3dvia Virtools) was mature enough to be used as a reference.

In addition to its user guide, 3dvia Studio also required reference documentation for its Building Blocks library and the Virtools-proprietary scripting language (VSL).

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Mission and Responsibilities

Virtools required a technical writer to create all the documentation for its new 3dvia Studio software. The documentation was to be compiled as an HTML online help package (CHM) and shipped with the software installation executable (as it was already the case for Virtools Dev documentation).

To create the 3dvia Studio documentation, I first formalized the software and identified usage and targeted audience, main concepts and functionalities, and graphical interface elements and ergonomics.

From there, I designed a documentation structure and developed visual and HTML content in order to cover topics like:

  • software presentation
  • getting started tutorials
  • graphical user interface
  • technical description
  • glossary and terminology
  • Building Blocks reference
  • VSL reference

I also created a user guide specific to Web application development and publication, and supervised the technical guides for Xbox 360 and PS3 application development.

During the software development period, I delivered the CHM every one or two weeks to reflect the latest available documentation. In the late 2008, when the software was finally released for beta testers, I aligned the documentation publishing cycle with the software release cycle (every 6 months approximately).

In 2009, a website specific to 3dvia Studio and its user community was created. I supervised the online migration of offline content to the 3dvia Studio website, and reviewed all available documentation material to account for online navigation and availability.

I also added new sections like sample projects and FAQ pages to this new online documentation.

The compiled online help package (CHM) delivered with the software installation executable was abandoned in 2010 due to technical maintenance difficulties, and the online documentation was kept up to date in real time.

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Used Processes and Tools
  • Microsoft Word for outline and structure
  • Dreamweaver for HTML authoring
  • SnagIt for screencaptures
  • Photoshop for image editing
  • Microsoft PowerPoint for graphs and charts
  • Microsoft Excel for reference tables
  • FAR Compiler and Microsoft HTML Help Workshop for HTML Online Help publication (CHM)
  • WordPress CMS for online content management and publication

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Deliverables and Samples

All 3dvia Studio documentation is available online at 3dvia.com. Note that current online content might have evolved since I left my position at Dassault Systèmes in June 2011.

Deliverable name Description Pages Audience Main role Sample
3dvia Studio User Documentation
3dvia Studio – User’s Guide Online technical, conceptual and user documentation on 3dvia Studio software. o(2000) printable out of HTML All users Author View on 3dvia.com
3dvia Studio Documentation.chm Offline technical, conceptual and user documentation on 3dvia Studio software (delivered with the software installation package). o(2000) printable out of HTML All users Author View 2010 sample in pdf
3dvia Studio – Web Publication.chm Web application development and publication. 17 printable out of HTML All users Author View 2010 sample in pdf
3dvia Studio – Xb360 Documentation.chm Microsoft’s Xbox 360 application development and publication. 4 Xbox 360 application developers Author upon revision View 2010 sample in pdf
3dvia Studio – PS3 Documentation.chm Sony’s PlayStation 3 application development and publication. 6 PS3 application developers Author upon revision View 2010 sample in pdf
3dvia Studio Reference Documentation
Building Blocks Library Virtools-proprietary visual programming reference documentation. o(500) printable out of HTML All users Author View on 3dvia.com
VSL Reference Sheet.pdf Virtools-proprietary scripting language quick reference documentation. 1 Programmers Editor View on 3dvia.com
SDK Documentation (technical articles section) Technical articles on the Virtools-proprietary scripting language and API reference documentation. o(100) printable out of HTML Programmers Editor Confidential
3dvia Studio Tutorials & Demos
3dvia Studio Tutorials.chm Step-by-step getting started tutorials on 3dvia Studio main features. 113 printable out of HTML Beginners Author View 2008 sample in pdf
3dvia Studio Tutorials Step-by-step video tutorials on 3dvia Studio main features. NA (video) Beginners Collaborator View on 3dvia.com
Example Projects Step-by-step project examples on advanced 3dvia Studio features. 37 printable out of HTML Intermediate user Collaborator View on 3dvia.com
Technical Articles Technical articles on 3dvia Studio’s engines and advanced tips and tricks. 136 printable out of HTML Advanced user Collaborator View on 3dvia.com

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