The University of Auckland has been experimenting with the adaptation of computer game engines for architectural education during a series of projects undertaken in specialized summer design studios 99 - 02. This paper reports on the early stages of software development of a collaborative virtual environment utilizing the “Torquei game engine. The current software version (Beta 1.27) will be demonstrated and the studio outcomes discussed. The rationale for further application development is outlined with a focus on communication tools to enable experimentation with international virtual design studios.