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Rendering on Distributed Machines

How to run scenery-based applications on a distributed setup, such as a CAVE or PowerWall.
Rendering with distributed setups is still experimental, so this document is very likely to change in the future.
CAVE at the Center for Systems Biology Dresden, running scenery's DemoReelExample and showing a _Drosophila melanogaster_ developmental dataset. Photo courtesy of Katrin Boes, MPI-CBG, dataset courtesy of Loïc Royer, MPI-CBG/CZ BioHub.


For all machines of the setup:
For the control node:
  • a remote desktop solution, such as VNC might help with debugging the setup

Basic Setup

Install the above requirements on the machines, and make sure that processes can be remotely launched with psexec, see e.g. this link for details on psexec setup.
In order to run distributed applications, all machines need to access to two network shares, which do not necessarily need to reside on the same machine:
  1. 1.
    a share containing the scenery application directory, including all JARs built, a suggested structure for this is: # contains the scripts from the cluster-scripts repository path/to/base # contains the scenery git repository and JARs path/to/base/scenery
  2. 2.
    a share containing the data to be loaded.
The scripts from the cluster-scripts repository need to be adjusted for your local setup, in particular the username and password for the rendering node accounts need to be changed, as well as their names, and the name of the network share used. Go through the scripts carefully, they contain comments in places that need to be changed and are very short.
Next, the pom.xml file from the scenery repository needs to be imported into IntelliJ on the control node. Open IntelliJ, select the file via File > Open, and follow the instructions.

Screen configuration

In order for scenery to know about your screen configuration, a screen configuration YAML file is required, such file looks like this:
name: CAVE example configuration
description: Multi-screen configuration, demoing a 4-sided CAVE environment
screenWidth: 2560
screenHeight: 1600
type: Property
value: front
lowerLeft: -1.92, 0.00, 1.92
lowerRight: 1.92, 0.00, 1.92
upperLeft: -1.92, 2.40, 1.92
type: Property
value: left
lowerLeft: -1.92, 0.00, -1.92
lowerRight: -1.92, 0.00, 1.92
upperLeft: -1.92, 2.40, -1.92
type: Property
value: right
lowerLeft: 1.92, 0.00, 1.92
lowerRight: 1.92, 0.00, -1.92
upperLeft: 1.92, 2.40, 1.92
type: Property
value: floor
lowerLeft: -1.92, 0.00, -0.48
lowerRight: 1.92, 0.00, -0.48
upperLeft: -1.92, 0.00, 1.92
We assume that all projectors have the same resolution. When launching on each of the nodes, the appropriate screen is determined using the match block. Here, Property means the appropriate screen is determined using the JVM system property scenery.ScreenName. This property gets set by the run-cluster.bat and run-test.bat scripts. An arbitrary numbers of screens is possible, but the YAML file and run-cluster.bat script need to be adjusted accordingly.

Running DemoReelExample

In IntelliJ, find DemoReelExample. This example can be found in the project in the src/test/tests/graphics/scenery/examples/cluster directory. In the example, make sure that the IP given for TrackedStereoGlasses matches that of your tracking system, and the YAML file given matches the name of your screen configuration. Then, click the Runbutton to run this locally and verify all data is found.
Afterwards, go to Run > Edit Configurations... to adjust the parameters of this test for it in order to run on all nodes. The VM options of DemoReelExample should look like the following:
Run configurations window for DemoReelExample
In the Before launch part of the window, two additional steps need to be added:
Before launch configuration for DemoReelExample.
  1. 1.
    The Maven goal package needs to be run in order to build all JAR files and make them available to the other nodes.
  2. 2.
    The run-cluster.bat script needs to be run to launch scenery instances on the projection nodes. The External Tool setup for that script should look like the following image:
After this is complete, DemoReelExample can be run again and should now launch on all the nodes.


In DemoReelExample, you can use the WASD keys of the keyboard to move around. You can also keep an Xbox or PS4 gamepad connected to the control node to use for movement. Further keybindings are:
Shift 1
Go to the Bile scene
Shift 2
Go to the C. elegans scene
Shift 3
Go to the Drosophila scene
I, K
Rotate scene up/down
Rotate scene left/right
In order to quit the demo on all nodes, use the killall-java.bat script.


Should you experience any issues, please feel free to contact us on the Gitter channel, or file an issue on Github.