BRL-CAD Release 7.24.0, Archer Alpha

BRL-CAD Release 7.24.0, Archer Alpha

After nearly an entire year's worth of intense collaborative effort, the 7.24.0 major release of BRL-CAD is now available for download! This is the alpha release unveiling of Archer/MGED, a preliminary interface update to BRL-CAD's graphical geometry editor. Some highlights include an integrated graphical tree view, a single window framework, drag and drop geometry editing, information panels, shortcut buttons, improved polygonal mesh and 2D sketch editing, level of detail wireframes, NURBS shaded display support, and much more.

As alpha software, this new MGED prototype aims to provide functional feature parity with the antecedent MGED interface while introducing changes. Prior to upcoming beta testing where the emphasis is predominantly on stability and usability, this alpha status solicits feedback from the community on capability and features.

This release also includes various improvements to BRL-CAD's ray tracing infrastructure including CPU thread affinity locking for faster performance, more consistent grazing hit behavior, expanded volume and surface area calculations, numerous bug fixes, and more robust NURBS evaluation. Following BRL-CAD's interface deprecation policy (see CHANGES file), the Jove text editor is no longer being bundled. Various converters including the STEP, Patch, and 3DM importers received robustness improvements.

Since the previous 7.22.0 release, the following user-visible changes have occurred:


  • -b option to set tpkg network packet size
  • arbn surface area and volume to analyze command
  • epa surface area and volume to analyze command
  • eto surface area and volume to analyze command
  • gqa -q quiet option to suppress 'was not hit'
  • hyp centroid and volume output to 'analyze'
  • level-of-detail wireframe support to mged/archer
  • manual page for bot_sync, bot_flip, bot_split
  • manual page for existing mged reid command
  • manual page for running rtarea within mged
  • plate mode BoT support to 'bot_merge' command
  • support for editing 2D sketch objects in archer
  • support for wireframe drawing of 'hyp' labels
  • initial NURBS shaded display and tessellation support
  • new mouse-input unpushed matrix edit option in archer
  • level-of-detail mged configuration dialog, under Tools


  • 3dm-g output and invalid geometry support
  • BoT mesh editing interface in archer
  • Linux platform application and file icons
  • Linux ray tracing via cpu thread affinity
  • Linux support for multiple hardware displays
  • Mac, BSD, & Windows ray tracing performance
  • documentation consistency and authorship info
  • gqa performance on parallel SMP hardware
  • help option consistency across numerous tools
  • large file support for the patch-g importer
  • ray tracing behavior for grazing rays
  • robustness of the step-g geometry importer
  • support for NURBS with big uv-domain changes
  • 'idents' command no longer reports negative booleans
  • modified gqa to report all missed regions
  • openNURBS updated to version 5.0 (2012-10-24)
  • output from g-var no longer prints 'fwrite' messages
  • g_diff gives non-zero return code if .g files differ
  • quell pix-png gAMA chunk warning defaulting to unset


  • File->New deprecation error in archer
  • TIE perpendicular face mesh evaluation failure
  • TIE raytracing bugs shotlining plate-mode BoTs
  • asc2g and mged empty revolve object crashes
  • bounding box size calculation for pipe geometry
  • bug during pipe editing with working units set
  • corrupted tessellation pipe export bug
  • crash in step-g tool importing AP214 entities
  • crash revolving empty sketch objects
  • crash when parsing invalid shader parameters
  • crash when running screengrab in archer
  • gqa to not report overlap regions as zero hits
  • graphics window z-clipping bug in mged
  • infinite loop raytracing subtracted lights
  • memory leak in bot_condense
  • memory leak when working with pipe primitives
  • mged 'dbupgrade' -permissions error on windows
  • mged interactive object translation keypoint bug
  • mged lesson 15 toy truck 'inside' ordering bug
  • nirt high object count failure on Windows
  • patch-g -f input file permissions failure
  • random number SMP bug affecting rt and adrt
  • search command bombing on v4 database file
  • typographical errors in numerous tools and docs
  • uninstallable Linux RPM package on Fedora 18


  • jove (see jove.emacs for compatibility bindings)

Thank you to all that have contributed towards this release including Aaron Keesing, Akshay Kashyap, Andrei Popescu, Daniel Ro├čberg, Tom Browder, Carl Moore, Cliff Yapp, Jordi Sayol, Chris Dueck, Keith Bowman, Nick Reed, Bob Parker, Richard Weiss, and Sean Morrison. Special thanks to GSoC student Kesha Shah for her efforts helping prepare release notes as well.

This is a backwards-compatible release with binaries provided for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Please visit our website to download the latest version: