Question: How are simulations programmed in EVOs?
Answer:   That depends on the EVO at hand. Generally, the focus in EVOs is on concept/model visualization, not on exact scientific simulation. The aim is to produce visualizations that are credible from a scientific perspective. To this end simulation routines may be used as well as surrogate functions. The most straightforward and efficient methods for reaching the visualization targets will be chosen.

Question: Do you use scientific data for EVOs?
Answer:    Partly, yes. For example, EVOs can be used as visualization frontends for data originating in scientific simulation models. Scientific data can also be used for parameterizing EVO models. However, for many EVOs it is sufficient to work with simulated data and relationships. See also the previous answer.

Question: Is it possible to export data from EVOs?
Answer:    Generally yes. For example, we have developed an EVO that models and visualizes ANOVA designs for plant growth in pot experiments. ‘Biomass data’ obtained from the virtual plants can be exported as *.CSV files and used for further analysis in Excel or R. However, there is data (like object data) that are obtained more easily and directly from the visualized environment than other data (like spatially explicit surface material data).

Question: Who can provide new or specifically adapted EVOs?
Answer:    We intend to provide a service at D-USYS that includes EVO maintenance and development. In addition, our EVO courses and existing EVO components (templates) also allow others to develop their own specific EVOs.

Question: Isn’t the development of EVOs very time-consuming?
Answer:    The initial investment for building the generic development framework has been quite substantial. Now the efforts needed depend on the topic at hand and the type of the EVO needed. If your next EVO topic enters a functional realm in environmental sciences you haven’t worked on so far, there is further investment to be done for developing the necessary functional architecture in Blender before entering development of the EVO itself. Once this is achieved such a functional architecture can rapidly be adapted for other EVOs in the same realm. Generally, the most sought-after Modeling EVOs can be developed quite efficiently, within a couple of days or a few weeks. Simple EVOs or 3D illustrations could virtually be available the next day.