Nick's CityEngine Activity

Pre-Class Setup

  • Download NickCityEngineVR.exe and run the installer. You may see Windows SmartScreen warnings, choose to run anyway. Choose to extract the files to an easily accessible location, such as the desktop (you can delete the folder after the activity is over).

    • Download Size: 264 MB. Installed Size: 1.09 GB.

    • You should have a folder named "NickCEVR" once you are complete with this step.

  • Download openvpn.exe and run the installer. You may see Windows SmartScreen warnings, choose to run anyway. Install OpenVPN with the default settings. After the first installation completes, a second post-install configuration setup should open - also install this with the default settings.

    • Download Size: 3.5 MB. Installed Size: 7.35 MB.

    • You should have an app called "OpenVPN GUI" installed in the Start menu once you are complete with this step.

In-Class Activity

Part 1: Single-User Portion

Step 1) Launch the VR app and put on your headset!

  • Ensure your VR headset is connected to your machine and launch SteamVR.

  • Open the EXE for the VR app in the NickCEVR folder.

Step 2) Analyze the city model and take a screenshot!

  • You should spawn in an office room with a table in front of you. The table has the city model on top that you will be interacting with in this activity.

  • Use the controls listed below to move around and interact with the table. While moving around, try to describe to a classmate siding next to you which buildings you are looking at or what part of the city you are at. Try to both find the same area without taking off your headsets.

  • Deliverable Step: Take a screenshot from the large reservoir at the center of Central Park facing south (towards the rest of Central Park). Then take a screenshot from any of the buildings bordering Central Park. Post both screenshots to the class board.


  • To move/teleport around the room, hold down the trigger on either controller, point at where you would like to teleport to, and then release the trigger to confirm the teleport. Notice that you can rotate your controller while holding trigger to affect the direction you will be facing after the teleport.

  • You can raise/lower the height of the table by grabbing the edge of the table, holding down the trigger with the controller, and moving that controller up or down. You can use this same trigger control to rotate the table by spinning/dragging the edges, or to resize the table by pulling the table edge towards you or pushing it away from you.

  • You can zoom into or zoom out of a portion of the city model by pointing one of your controllers at a particular spot on the table, then using the joystick to push in or out. You can adjust the perspective of what you are looking at on the table using these joystick controls.

Part 2: Multi-User Portion

Step 1) Connect to the VPN!

  • Open the OpenVPN GUI app. Right-click the tray icon and select "Connect". (If there are multiple options to connect to, choose "PFSENSE-UDP4-1195-tempuser-config")

  • When prompted to enter a username and password, enter the credentials below and select "OK".

    • Username: tempuser

    • Password: !*3FRWi8

  • You should receive a notification that you are now connected, and the tray icon should turn green.

  • WARNING: After setting up the VPN, make sure you disconnect from the VPN once you are done working on the activity. You should see the VPN status in the icon in the bottom right system tray. Right-click the OpenVPN icon to connect/disconnect from the VPN. The account credentials will automatically expire on Friday, so the VPN configuration will no longer be usable after then.

    • I recommend you uninstall OpenVPN after completing this activity to avoid any issues with the VPN in the future!

Step 2) Relaunch the VR app and join the server session!

  • WAIT: Wait for Nick to say the server is ready before advancing any further!

  • Make sure there are no existing instances of the app open (close them if this is the case). You can use the ESC key or Alt+F4.

  • Open the EXE for the VR app in the NickCEVR folder.

  • Once in VR, press the "J" key on your keyboard to join the session. The client should automatically join a server on the same LAN.

  • You should be able to see all the other users in the environment with their headsets and controllers, as well as the shared state of the table!

Step 3) Collaborate on analyzing the city model and take a screenshot!

  • Analyze the districts surrounding Central Park as a group. Use the same controls as described in the single-user portion.

  • Take turns controlling the table or try all controlling the table at once. Consider how many people can reasonably interact/control at once without the table becoming too chaotic.

  • Consider the usefulness of the interactions with being able to visualize each other in the environment. Do people get in your way or is it useful to be able to see what someone is pointing at?

  • Deliverable Step: Find a person sitting beside you in the shared environment and take a screenshot of both of you pointing at the same building on the table. Submit the screenshot to the class board.

Feedback Form

  • Deliverable Step: After completing the activity steps, please fill out the quick feedback form on Google Forms!