Important: this article is based on Mindesk Suite 2020.3, future versions might introduces minor changes to the processes here described.
Network Multiuser VR
Mindesk helps your team collaborate on the same CAD project through multiuser VR sessions. You can use this platform for collaborative design, reviews or just for brainstorming new ideas.
In a Network session the Admin user can share with up to 4 Users its current CAD session and work with them, simultaneously. During a Network session, the live link with CAD is still active, meaning that every participant is able to work directly on the native CAD assets.
In particular, Navigation, Selection, Modelling, Review and Surface CAD features are available to all participants in the session and directly affect the CAD database stored on the Admin's workstation.
The most important thing when setting up a Network session is that all users need to be connected to the same LAN (Local Area Network), whether it is through a wired router or a wireless connection. However, a wired Gigabit connection is advisable.
NOTE: since the Admin user is the only one required to run the CAD software, all CAD data will remain on his/her workstation. Other users will be able to interact or edit the CAD data for the duration of the Network session; however, they will no longer be able to access the CAD data once the session is over. Native CAD data is never transmitted to other users and never stored on physical workstations other than the Admin's PC.
Session setup on Rhinoceros 6
From the Rhino top bar menu select Mindesk > LAN Settings you should be prompted the following window:
By checking the "Connect" box you can enable up to 4 users in a Network session (if you need to connect more users, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org). By default, at least the Local viewer and Remote viewer 1 need to be connected in order to start a multi user session.
In order to connect more users, Mindesk needs just two fundamental things:
- a Name, which will be displayed on top of each participant's avatar in VR
- an IP Address, which uniquely identifies each participant's workstation connected to a Local Area Network, the expected format is xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx where xxx is a number between 0 and 255
Although the Admin user does not to need to insert his/her own IP address, the IP address of other participants is required. In order to obtain a participant's IP address, from the participant's PC (Windows 10 OS) click on the network icon on the lower right side of the Task Bar:
then, click "Properties" next to the current LAN wired / wireless connection:
Scroll down, the IP address (IPv4 address) of that workstation is listed under the "Properties" section.
Now, you can collect and insert all participants' IP addresses in Mindesk > LAN Settings, assign a name to each participant and click "OK". Now the Network session is set up!
NOTE: Once saved, LAN Settings will be saved on your workstation for future sessions until you either edit them or uninstall Mindesk.
Launch the Network session
STEP 1: Each guest User (except the Admin) should execute the Mindesk Viewer, which can be found from Windows Start Menu > Mindesk > Mindesk Viewer
NOTE: Guest users do not need a CAD installed on their workstations. The only thing they need is the Mindesk Viewer, which can be obtained simply by registering and downloading Mindesk: even with no CAD, a user can install just the Viewer.
STEP 2: Once all guest Users have their Mindesk Viewer open, the Admin can launch the VR Network session from Rhinoceros by clicking Mindesk > Link VR, just like an individual offline session. The system will try to connect to the IP address provided in the LAN Settings and include them in your session. If everything is ok, the other participants should be able to see the same loading screen in their VR headsets and mirrors:
Once the VR session is loaded on each workstation, the multi user session can start. Participants are allowed to use most of Mindesk and Rhino features including: Navigation, Selection, Modelling, Review and Surface.
Terminate a Network Multi User session
The Admin can end the Network session from Rhinoceros by clicking Mindesk > Unlink VR
Current limitations and future implementations
- Only Admin can use the Grasshopper interface. In future implementations, a simplified version of Grasshopper input parameters will be offered to all participants.
- Except for the Grasshopper interface, all users share the same powers and interfaces. A permissions system will be implemented to allow role differentiation among participants (i.e. Admin, Editor, Viewer, etc.).
- Voice is not yet implemented and will be included in future releases. Assuming they're not already phisically close, users can communicate through other media in the background such as phone, Skype, Google Hangout, WhatsApp, etc...
- Admin need to manually insert the participants' IP addresses. Future implementations will automate this process through a scouting system that will find other Mindesk users in the Network.