FEMTC 2024 in Kansas City, MO and online | Sept 18-20.


2020 R&D Overview - Past, Present, & Future

In Brian Hardeman's talk at FEMTC 2020, he presents an overview of research and development at Thunderhead Engineering in the years since FEMTC 2018. You can view it below for a deep dive into Pathfinder movement behavior research. This presentation covers the bulk of many other topics we've focused on.


In PyroSim, many users simulate multiple versions of the same model with adjusted parameters. This can include different design fires, opened/closed windows or doors, and different mesh resolutions. This new Scenarios feature, introduced in PyroSim 2020.4, helps organize different model versions while also providing a batch script for easier simulation.

Keyboard Shortcuts

We now support a longstanding user request, customizable keyboard shortcuts, to improve productivity. A custom set of keyboard shortcuts can also be shared among multiple users.

Cloud FDS

Partnered with Cloud HPC, PyroSim can now send simulation jobs to their cloud computing service. As processor demanding as FDS simulations can be, cloud computing power can help teams with less resources get results faster. We have several ideas about how to expand cloud capabilities as Brian elaborates in the video.

Custom 3D Occupant Models

With proper FBX, DAE, or OBJ files, users can now import their own occupant avatars for use in Pathfinder and Results. This project was born out of an internal Innovation Week in which our development teams had bandwidth to try anything they were interested in. Users now have the ability to more accurately represent the demographics of their model.

Occupant Coloring

Pathfinder Results has long provided contour maps of the navigation mesh for detailed and clear informational display. In 2019, our developers provided an entirely new way to display real-time information through occupant coloring. This feature includes unique types of information to present.

Increased Graphics Realism

We have been adding several new advanced rendering features to Results for improved visuals. This includes ambient lit smoke, ambient occlusion, and motion blur which will all debut in Results 2020.5.


At the end of his presentation this year, Brian acknowledges the many contributions from our entire staff. While we enjoy providing an update from our expanding team, FEMTC is most exciting for its celebration and presentation of community achievements. Up next on the FEMTC site, we will be providing all 38 presentation videos for free viewing. Day 1 has already been uploaded, and we will announce when the rest are available.