Virtual Environment
Collaborative IDE

   a Collaborative Virtual Environment   
Format Rules
Virtual Departments
Mailing List
What's in a Name?

CVE is an open-source, multiplatform system for building low-cost collaborative virtual environments. Its primary support and development is taking place at the University of Idaho Department of Computer Science. CVE started life at New Mexico State University with support from NSF grant 0402572.

What's New?

Project To Do List

  • Virtual Departments

    We want to enable you to build virtual editions of your academic or organizational units. The CVE distributions so far include the NMSU CS department within Science Hall and the University of Idaho CS Department in the Janssen Engineering Building.

    The Facilities Office at most colleges and universities have CAD data files with more accurate representations of buildings. These help a Lot if you can get them, however, they are often not public for security reasons. CVE enables you to do a virtual CS department with less, starting from floor plans. Often you do not need to model the entire building. For example, at NMSU we are mainly interested in the 1st Floor, while at Idaho we needed portions of every storey in the building.

    Before modeling an entire building, you may want to model just a single room to get the hang of it. CVE's first room was NMSU's Programming Languages, Environments, and Automated Software Engineering Lab, located in Science Hall Room 167, a 12'x20' room (ceiling approximately 9' high) with a whiteboard, 4-5 workstations, and a printer. This demo went through many revisions before expanding to a department-wide demo.

  • Mailing List: The cve-group mailing list is a primary source for questions, answers, and discussion about CVE. To subscribe or unsubscribe send a message to with your request.

  • Platform Requirements: CVE requires a reasonably fast OpenGL implementation in order to run well. Don't expect great performance on machines with integrated graphics or software OpenGL implementations. You may need to install drivers to get hardware acceleration for good OpenGL performance. Some operating systems seem to have crippled OpenGL deliberately, such as Windows Vista. We have tried hard to make CVE run as well as possible on available hardware, such as customizing it for a CS summer camp on a room full of integrated graphics laptops at NMSU.

    Running on Vista or Windows 7? You may need to disable desktop composition.

  • CVE SVN Source Distribution

    CVE is free to everyone, under the GPL. Help yourself to the public distributions, which are not claimed to be finished or polished. To download and run CVE, follow these instructions:

    We welcome source code corrections, bug reports, and offers of collaboration.

    What's in a Name?

    CVE has gone through a few names, it was once "nsh", standing for "New Science Hall", or perhaps "new shell", since the collaborative virtual environment we are building will eventually constitute an entire working environment. Then it was Unicron, playing on the name of its underlying implementation language (Unicon). For awhile we wanted to call it VIEW. But ultimately these other names either are other folks' properties or don't fit us perfectly. CVE is a generic term for collaborative virtual environment and we do not claim it for ourselves, but it was available on source forge and is a good fit, so we took it.