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Behind the Simulator: Activities of a VSTEP Development Intern

Rotterdam, 31 May 2018 – Since its founding in 2002, VSTEP has grown into a solid corporation playing an important role on the world stage of the simulation industry. Constant innovation and cooperation between our talented teams make this possible. VSTEP’s workforce ranges from veteran employees to ambitious, forward-looking interns and everything in between. In this edition of Behind the Simulator, we give you a peek into  VSTEP’s product development through the eyes of Remco Sannen, a Development Intern.

As a fourth year Computer Engineering student, Remco must complete a thesis project in order to graduate. For this purpose, he has been working as a Development intern at VSTEP for the past 4 months. Remco’s thesis subject is about the integration of a thrust allocation system in a simulator. This subject has led him to learn a great deal about simulation, ship components, and of course computer engineering. His highly innovative work is contributing to the product development of both NAUTIS and RescueSim.

How did you come to be a Development intern at VSTEP?

“When I started my search for an internship, I knew that I wanted to do something related to gaming. There are these so-called ‘simulation caves’ at my school. They are dark rooms with screens all around the walls playing different types of simulators. I was fascinated by them. So when I came across VSTEP, which is entirely dedicated to simulation, I was quite interested. After experiencing the NAUTIS full mission bridge during the office tour I was completely sold.”

Can you tell a bit more about your project?

“I have been tasked with the development of a thrust allocation system for the simulated vessels. In practical terms, this involves bringing the steering and propulsion systems of the vessel together into one system. This system can be connected to a simple joystick for example, which can then be used to move and turn the ship in all directions. This could be utilized by NAUTIS users who are interested in training aspects of sailing that don’t require the use of full control panels. Another application could be for instructors who want to quickly maneuver a vessel while retaining realistic propulsion and steering dynamics. But most importantly it aims to support joystick steering as supplied on real vessels. In addition to being an easy-to-use function that keeps the realism of the vessel movements, it is also very cost-effective for our clients.”

What is your biggest take-away from this internship?

“First of all, this internship was not entirely what I expected. And I say that in a positive way. My task was a bit more difficult than I expected, but I was guided throughout the whole process. From day one, the people of VSTEP have been amazingly friendly and helpful. Everyone is always ready and willing to help. I learned a lot about the way ships work, which has shaped my interest in the maritime world. My biggest take-away from this internship is that fun and interesting things can be found in the most unexpected places. I’m looking forward to returning here as a full-time employee after I graduate.”

Steve Claes, Hydrodynamics Engineer and one of Remco’s supervisors, had something to add. “At VSTEP, we encourage our interns to bring their own ideas to the table. We believe that great things can be achieved with the insight of forward-thinking students. Remco is a good example of this. He made the assignment his own and added his own twists to it. As a result, we will soon have a top-of-the-line thrust allocation system. We are happy to continue working with Remco and we are excited to see how he will grow.”


VSTEP makes sure that you are prepared for real-life situations with our leading solutions for simulation and virtual training. Our state-of-the-art products allow you to train your skills for every scenario possible in a practical, cost effective and sustainable way. We are a Dutch based and ISO9001:2015 certified company. Stay up-to-date about the developments at VSTEP by subscribing to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin.

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