How to do StarCAVE demos

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General Startup

Log in as user "demo".

Open terminal window and type command "cave_on". This starts up the projectors. Wait a bit for everything to start up.


Normally, the tracking system should just work. If it doesn't, use the commands

 trackd stop
 trackd start

to restart the tracking software. If that still doesn't help set the KVM switch to the tracker PC (device #2) and close and re-open the DTrack software. Then run the above trackd stop/start sequence one more time.


Open the editor by typing the command "gedit /home/covise/covise/config/starcave.xml"

In the editor, make sure all plugins that are under the list "not ready for demos" are off.

When turning a demo on, save the file, and go back to terminal. Type command "opencover".

To quit the demo, press escape. In the terminal, press the arrow up key to repeat last command, e.g., to restart the demo.

Visible Human

  • make sure 'Volume' plugin is 'on' in config file
  • open volume plugin submenu
  • open Files submenu
  • load a file, e.g., FCTSkull or Newton
  • adjust transfer function in TFE window

Structural Engineering and Visual Arts Building

  • 'cd data/falko'
  • 'opencover se_building.obj'
  • resize model to 1:1 scale


  • set 'StructView' plugin to 'on' in config file
  • check layer boxes in StructView submenu
  • resize data set to be closer to 1:1 scale (size of part is 80x60x20 foot)

Jacobs Medical Tower

  • Log in as 'demo'
  • vi covise/config/starcave.xml
  • Make sure that these plugins are enabled:
  <Sound_Medical value="on" />
  <InitViewport value="on" />
  • In COVER menu select Sound Medical -> Load Hospital Model

360 Degree Panorama Images

  • cd /home/covise/dan/StereoViewer
  • Depending on the application run:
    • 'RUN_stereoViewer_MarsPans' for the Mars panoramas (or RUN_MARS_PANS)
    • 'RUN_stereoViewer_AnsIm' for Dick Ainsworth's images (4th image takes 120 sec to load)
    • 'RUN_stereoViewer_StarCaveIMlocal' for Milwaukee Art Museum (only first image runs stable)
  • 'n' key cycles through panoramas
  • Joystick left/right on wand rotates the image


1. Make sure CaveCADBeta is loaded. Not sure if you're doing this in the NexCAVE or StarCAVE, but it should be in both places. When you start CalVR, click Enable CaveCAD and Enable Menu (might be different wording). Don't click enable shadows, as this is not 100% working and might crash the program.

2. Click the green sphere that has the box/cylinder/cone in it. This should open a drop down menu of sphere with more shapes.

3. Click one of these spheres once. You are now in shape-creating mode. Click on the floor, and drag to create a shape. Release, and your shape is created. It's best to practice this repeatedly to get a sense for it, as there's no UI indication yet of what mode you're in. Once you have made a shape, you are no longer in shape creating mode. One shape per click on the icon. To cancel a selection for any menu item, click on the sky.

4. To resize shapes as you're making them, you can use the joystick (either the yellow one on the StarCAVE flystick or the left (I think) joystick on the NexCAVE game controller). This will snap the shape to different units (1 in, 6 in, 1 ft, 5 ft, 20 ft, etc).

5. To apply colors and textures, click the colored/textured sphere in the main menu. This will open a new menu with lots of different spheres. Click one to select a color or texture, then click the shape that you've created that you want to apply it to.

6. To edit shapes once you've created them, click the shape. A miniature version of it should appear in front of you. There are different modes in this edit icon that allow you to translate (arrows), rotate (protracters), scale (boxes at corners), and duplicate (double arrows). You can cycle through the modes with the joystick. When you are done, click on the sky to deselect.

7. To change the panorama background, click the globe icon in the main menu. In the dropdown, click the icon that looks like grey picture frames. It should flash green. Then use the joystick to cycle through the pictures. Click down on a picture, drag it out of the frame, and release. Give it a minute to load, as the panorama pictures are very large.

8. To put down a preloaded 3D model (at this point they're all trees), click the icon with the trees in it in the main menu. Click a tree. Then fly around to position it, and click to place it. Which reminds me, you'll want to use the alternate flying button when you fly around in CaveCAD, so you don't accidentally click on things all the time. It'll be the first from the right on the flystick, and button 2 (I think, test this out) on the game controller in the NexCAVE.


  • In CalVR config file, enable the following plugins: OSGEarth, HPWREN
  • In CalVR config file, enable depthpartition
  • run CalVR
  • Enable Planet Nav Mode in OSGEarth plugin
  • Select Fly mode
  • In OSGEarth submenu, Layer menu: enable Firescar or San Diego 2009

Particle Dreams

Sound Server

If you don't hear sound:

Check the text window on the StarCAVE head node's main console. If it says "ERROR connecting to audio server", the sound server is not running. The remedy is to double click on the icon on the demo user's desktop.

Run Demo

Restart “RUN_DREAMS”, or if it is running, kill and restart RUN_DREAMS. To kill RUN_DREAMS press escape while the graphics window is selected. You can select the graphics window by clicking the mouse in that window.

Buttons and Interaction

Reflector and injector: on trigger.
Home: Center-left button navigates to origin of coordinate system.
Navigate: hold down center right button and move wand in direction of travel.
Move to next scene: hold down leftmost button and press rightmost button. This is designed to prevent accidental moves between scenes. It is always active, but must be used to move from the first scene. After that the scene changes automatically until last scene (water and sky). The buttons must be used again to move from the last scene to the first scene.

Joystick: moves the sun around in water and sky scene, after the sunrise.

When Leaving

  • press escape and close the editor
  • in the terminal, type "cave_off"
  • log off the computer and turn off the monitor


  • Make sure that all projectors are off completely when you leave.
  • Be smart about where you place the joystick, so that it cannot slide off the table. It is quite fragile.


  • If the head node is very laggy it may be because the machine learning software is very busy. To totally shutdown K8S on the SunCAVE, enter this on suncave-headnode:
tentakel "systemctl stop kubelet"
tentakel "systemctl stop docker"
systemctl stop kubelet
systemctl stop docker

Screen Shots

Besides taking photos, screen shots of individual StarCAVE screens can be taken like this:

  1. Turn off head tracking and stereo
  2. Fit scene into one screen
  3. Log into node on which image is shown, e.g., ssh starcave-2-1
  4. Take screen shot: import -window root screenshot.jpg
  5. The file will be in the user's home directory