Cluster Simulation Introduction

What a Cluster is top#

A Cluster is a single unit of simulation. By default there is always local machine available as a cluster.

When a user launches the simulator, there is a command-line option available to select between simulation master and client. When Simulator is started as master (default mode) user can access Web UI and perform simulation tasks. When Simulator is started as a client (using command-line argument) simulator is not rendering anything, but expects connection from a master.

For a simulation to start, master and client should share the same maps, vehicles and simulation configuration.

Simulation master is responsible to provide all required configuration and client is responsible to download all asset bundles required to start the simulation. Simulation master and other clients are waiting for all nodes to download and cache required asset bundles.

Master is responsible for assigning sensors to each client for simulation (including itself). After sensors are assigned each client starts the simulation while synchronizing the position of vehicles.

See Cluster Simulation Quickstart for details on running a Cluster Simulation.

Why use a Cluster top#

Clusters allow for better performance when generating data from multiple sensors. Unity does not have multiple-GPU support so multiple instances of the simulator are required.

This also allows for large-scale simulations with multiple vehicles on the same map.

Simulation Synchronization top#

For the proper functioning of the sensors distributed to the clients, it is required to synchronize the whole simulation environment. Simulator starts a simulation on the master and sends clients configuration required to set up the same map and objects on the map. When the simulation changes on master it sends updates messages to every client. Simulator by default synchronizes every Rigidbody in ego vehicles, NPCs, pedestrians and controllable objects instantiated by Simulator Managers.

Components Synchronization top#

Every component that has to be synchronized between cluster machines requires messages sender on the master and messages receiver on the clients. Taking a vehicle with rigidbody as an example, Simulator adds DistributedObject component to the vehicle GameObject to synchronize enable and disable calls and DistributedRigidbody components which send required data to mock the state of Rigidbody on clients.

Default implementation required each DistributedObject to have a unique path in the hierarchy - objects on the same hierarchy level require unique GameObject names. For more advanced solutions refer to Distributed Objects.

Due to the performance impact, the Simulator by default does not synchronize Transform components. To add this functionality refer to Distributed Components.