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Getting Started with the CD-ROM Interface

To make your life easier, we have provided a point and click interface to the resources on the CD-ROM. This interface is built with documents in Adobe's Acrobat PDF format. To use the interface you must install Acrobat Reader 3.0 for Windows or the Macintosh.

If you don't want to use this interface, you can access the files on the CD-ROM directly. Skip to the section Directly Accessing the Files on the CD-ROM later in this chapter if you prefer this method.

Installing the Acrobat Reader

You will find the free Acrobat Reader installer program on the top level of your CD-ROM file structure. Simply put your CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive, close the door and double click on the CD-ROM icon on your desktop to open it. On the Macintosh it will appear as an icon on the desktop. In Windows 3.1, open the File Manager and you will be able to open the CD-ROM drive (sometimes listed as the D: or E: drive). On Windows 95 or NT, find the CD-ROM drive icon under My Computer, where it is sometimes called Audio CD.

When you have opened the CD-ROM drive, you should see several files. If you are using a Macintosh, you should find a program file called ?????. In Windows 3.1 it will be called ?????.exe and in Windows 95/NT ???????. Double click on it to start the installation process. Note that if you already have Acrobat Reader 3.0 installed, you don't need to do this step. The installation should proceed by asking you where you want to install the reader. It is a simple setup and should not take up much time or hard disk space.

A Quick Tour of the CD-ROM Interface

Figure :
Front screen of the CD-ROM interface
Click for print resolution version

Once you have installed the Acrobat 3.0 Reader, you should be able to open the book interface. Simply open up the CD-ROM and double click on the file named TheBook (in Windows 3.1 it might be called thebook.pdf). If you want to access the files directly without using the interface, you can open the folder called BookFiles and skip to the section Directly Accessing the Files on the CD-ROM. The Acrobat Reader should start and bring up the front screen, which should be similar to the preceding figure. Note that if the image does not come up filling your whole screen, you can select View and then the option Full Screen to switch to full screen mode.

Launching Web Sites and Local Web Pages from the CD-ROM Interface

As you can see, the interface is very similar to the format of the companion book Web site. A solar system of digital planets rings a central teleport. If you click on the central teleporter, it will take you to the companion book Web site itself. For this to work, Acrobat Reader has to know where your Web browser program is. When you click on the teleporter link, you will be prompted to find your Web browser software. It is often in the folder Program Files (on Windows 95). You also have to be on-line for this to work. Once this is all set up, you will be able to click on links throughout the CD-ROM interface and launch Web pages.

Accessing the Whole Book on the CD-ROM

In a similar way, your Web browser will launch to show Web pages stored right on your CD-ROM. We have provided the entire book as a series of linked Web pages. Just click on the avatar icon saying "This way to the book" and you will enter the BookWeb, which has the entire book in Web format, packed with images and more live links to the Internet. There are bonus resources like An Advanced Course at Avatar University as well as many images and text not included in the book. Note that there may be slight differences between the printed version of the book and its Web (HTML) version on the CD-ROM. Feel free to use this version of the book to teach your classes, do quick searches or follow live web links found in the print version.

The World Guides

Figure :
A World Guide Screen

The rest of the CD-ROM interface is pretty straightforward: click on a planet and you will be taken to a new interface screen, like the one shown in the preceding figure. This is a world guide and each guide contains:

  1. A description of the virtual world software that is available on the CD-ROM
  2. Links to the installers for the software for your operating system: MacOS, Windows 3.1 or Windows 95.
  3. Links to the home pages for the companies that provide the world.
  4. Links to the pages on the companion book Web site for this world.
  5. Links to the book chapter Web pages for this world which are stored locally on the CD-ROM
  6. A button to go back to the main screen.
  7. A button to quit out of the CD-ROM interface.

Installing a World from the CD-ROM

Some virtual world programs are not stored on the CD-ROM or there may not be a version for your computer's operating system. If this is the case, click on the Web link to the home page of the company that provides the world and download it directly from the Internet. If there is an installer available on the CD-ROM, click on its link to start it running and return to the book chapter section on running the installation to follow the steps there. You can then continue in that chapter to start using the virtual world. As each installer runs, you will be asked for a location to install the software to, select a folder on your hard disk (not on the CD-ROM).

If there is a problem running the installer or connecting with the virtual world (make sure you are online) you may have to download a brand new copy of the software. To do this, visit the home page of the company providing the world or the book companion Web site at

Finding the World and Avatar Creation Tools

Click on the Build Worlds, Design Avatars for the guide to installing Internet 3D Space Builder, AvatarMaker and 3DAssistant. All of these programs require Windows 95 or NT.

The Other Links

Virtual Worlds Links and News will take you to the News section on the companion book Web site. Selecting Digigardener's Get the Book will take you to the ordering page on the Web so that you can get additional copies of Avatars! Gaming Worlds takes you to a the Web page on the companion book Web site where links to gaming worlds can be found.

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.