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W. Garth Smith

A headshot of Mr. W. Garth Smith.




  • BS, aerospace engineering, WVU, 1986

Garth came to WVU from Parkersburg West Virginia in 1981 with many challenges in his academic preparation for college. The engineering faculty were patient and provided many mentors as he gradually became more academically proficient. After graduating from WVU with honors, W. Garth Smith moved to Boston with hopes of landing his first engineering job. While at WVU, Garth had received a substantial engineering education that allowed him to pursue independent research that lead him to publish, as the sole author, a technical note, “Analytic Solutions for Tapered Column Buckling” in Computers & Structures Volume 28, Issue 5, 1988. As he pursed engineering positions, he initially experienced difficulty in getting interviews due to the number of engineers graduating from prestigious Massachusetts institutions. Although frustrated, Garth persevered with the grit, determination, and confidence garnered from growing up in West Virginia and attending WVU. He knew he was as competent an engineer as other college graduates in his field and felt strongly that his work ethic would eventually overcome this initial setback.

After holding a couple of positions in the Boston area, Garth eventually landed a position with the DoD consulting firm where he met Richard Rybacki. Garth and Richard worked on a project that involved connecting multiple offices to a simulation intranet using DIS protocols, which were relatively new at the time. They recognized the growing market for PC-based 3D gaming, and saw potential value in developing real-time texture-mapping visualization/simulation for Windows PCs for use in warfighter training. Garth and Rich cofounded MetaVR in 1997 and soon after issued the first release of their Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™). In the next three years, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army adopted VRSG for simulators used to train fixed-wing pilots and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators prior to deployment and for field use to maintain skill currency.

Since that initial VRSG release, MetaVR has grown to be a significant provider of 3D real-time PC-based visual systems that provide the fidelity of geospecific simulation with game quality graphics. MetaVR software products enable users to build high-fidelity geographically-specific virtual worlds with terrain generation tools, add dense culture and pattern-of-life scenarios, and render the result in VRSG.

VRSG uses advanced terrain and texture paging algorithms to render geospecific imagery over expansive round-earth 3D terrain. As a DIS-based application, VRSG is fully interoperable with other DIS-compliant applications through DIS or CIGI, on systems ranging from laptops to immersive domes. Delivered with VRSG are robust libraries of 3D models and high-resolution 3D terrain of the USA and many other areas of interest around the world. MetaVR’s software is used by all U.S. military services, including special operations, as well as many NATO partners. From military fixed- and rotary-wing training, unmanned systems and mission training, MetaVR’s software runs on simulators ranging from laptops in the field to immersive domes in simulation training centers. Taking advantage of the latest gaming technologies, Garth continues to manage day-to-day company operations as the demand for providing the most realistic 3D simulation possible for warfighter training grows.

Garth now serves on the Advisory Committee of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (ACMAE) at WVU. Most recently, Garth has offered a VRSG software license to any WVU student free of charge, and the MAE department is currently exploring in which simulators they will utilize his company’s high-fidelity 3-D visual systems.