See Copyright and Usage Notice

Installing Passport

Passport requires a pretty loaded PC, and you must have at least an intermediate level of understanding of how to download and install plug-ins for your Web browser. Passport is not for the Net-timid.

You must have Netscape Navigator 3.0 or Internet Explorer 3.01 or higher installed before you can install Passport. Passport runs as a series of plug-ins and Java applications inside either of these Web browsers. In addition, you must install a VRML plug-in for either of these Web browsers (Live3D, Intervistaís WorldView or Cosmo Player for Netscape 3.x or Internet Explorer 3.01 are recommended). You can download a VRML 3D plug-in along with your Web browser (both Netscape and Microsoft offer these as options).

What do I need to use Passport?

To run Passport and visit all of Black Sunís worlds, you need a Pentium-based PC running Windows 95 or NT, and a direct connection to the Internet. You canít use Passport through on-line services such as America Online, CompuServe, or Prodigy unless they support direct Internet access through the 32-bit Winsock. (Short for Windows Sockets, Winsock is a standard interface for Microsoft Windows applications and the Internet.) For example, you can use Passport through the Microsoft Network or CompuServe 3.0, as they do provide this service. If you can run Netscape 3.0 or Internet Explorer 3.01, you can install and use Passport.

The best option is to be directly connected to the Internet by dial-up PPP connection with at least a 14.4 kbps connection (28.8 kbps is recommended). If you are at work, or a place where you have a PC on the Internet full-time (such as a university or college), you can also use Passport. Connecting from work might require you to check on your firewall restrictions. (See, ìFirewalls and Proxies.î in Appendix D for more information.)

Getting started and a few disclaimers

Passport is easy to install if you have Netscape Navigator 3.0 or Internet Explorer 3.01 (or higher) already set up. Another plus is that Passport is free to use (you have to accept the terms of your free license during installation). You are not charged for the time you spend chatting and exploring in Passport, but you could be charged for the hours you are online from your Internet service provider (ISP). Check with your ISP on monthly free hours and rates. If you are paying toll charges on your telephone line to dial into your Internet service provider, you could be billed for the hours your line is used for the Internet. Check with your phone company and try to get a flat rate for this line.

More about the companion CD software

Passport is constantly evolving, and may have changed since this chapter was written. I placed the very latest version of Passport on your book CD, and it may be somewhat different from what is described here. These differences will be minor however, and this chapter will still be a great guide to Passport. If you see new features or changes, and you want more of an explanation, you should check for information under the Help menu in Passport.

Similarly, if you download an upgrade from the Internet, or a whole new version of Passport, it may look somewhat different from what I describe here. To download an upgrade, or a completely new version of Passport from the Internet, follow the instructions under, ìInstalling or Upgrading Passport from the Internet,î later in this chapter.

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Keep up-to-date on your favorite worlds; visit your Avatars! book Web site often

As a special service for readers of Avatars! I have a special home page on the World Wide Web devoted to keeping you up-to-date on your favorite worlds. Find news about software updates, social events held within these virtual worlds, and brand new worlds you might want to try at Bookmark it!

If you have questions or problems

If you have questions or problems installing or running Passport, consult the ìBlack Sun Passport FAQ,î later in this chapter. If this does not help you, check the Black Sun home page at, and its special Passport support page at, for help with common problems. To contact the Black Sun Passport team directly with your suggestions, bug reports, or comments, fill out the feedback form at Sending e-mail to is also a good way to get help.

Black Sun and I appreciate your feedback on Avatars! but we donít have the resources to provide technical support. We would be happy to hear about your experiences with Passport. Contact us through the Avatars! book Web site at

Macintosh, UNIX, and OS/2 versions

At this writing, there are no versions of the Passport client program for the Macintosh, UNIX, or OS/2. Check the Black Sun and Avatars! book Web pages for updates on new versions which might support these platforms. At the time this chapter was written, Black Sun told me that a Macintosh version was in the works. You also may be able to run Passport using a Windows 95 emulation system on non-Windows machines. Note that if you are considering hosting a Black Sun community server, this software runs on various UNIX systems and Windows NT.

Do you have a previous version of Passport, CyberHub, or CyberGate installed?

If you have previously installed Passport, or the older CyberHub or CyberGate software, I recommend that you first remove it. To do this, go to the Windows 95 control panel and double-click on Add/Remove Programs. Scroll down to the listing for CyberHub or CyberGate, highlight it, and click on the Add/Remove button to delete it from the system. You can also delete these programs by removing the Black Sun folder. Note that CyberHub (and Passport) are stored in the Plug-ins folder under your Netscape or Internet Explorer folders, so you will have to look there to delete these resources. Passport also creates a folder called java\classes\blacksun which must also be deleted.

Installing Passport from your Avatars! CD

If you have a CD-ROM drive on your PC, you can install Passport directly from the book CD. If you donít have a CD-ROM drive, skip to the section, ìInstalling or upgrading Passport from the Internet.î In Chapter 20, I provide a step-by-step example of how to install from the CD-ROM. I suggest you refer to this chapter, and follow the same steps for Passport. Once the installation program on your CD-ROM has started, you can return the section, ìRunning the Installation,î later in this chapter.

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Note that on other parts of the CD, Web pages are links to sites for Black Sun Passport and other virtual worlds, including the home page for Avatars! at If you are online while you have the CD open, you can click on these links and explore the universe of virtual worlds on the Internet.

Installing or upgrading Passport from the Internet

If you want the very latest version of Passport, or were informed that you had to upgrade the version found on your Avatars! CD, then you must download files from the Internet. If you havenít done this before, donít panic; it is easier than you might think! Just follow these steps:

  1. Connect to the Internet (dial up with your modem and make sure your Internet connection is active).
  2. Start your Web browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.
  3. In the top of the browser window, you will see a long area where you can enter text. Click in this area, delete the text inside, type, and press Enter.
  4. After a few moments, the home page for Black Sun should appear. If nothing comes up for a long time, check to see that you are online.
  5. If the Black Sun page is not available for some reason, try entering the location for the Avatars! home page, which is This page may contain more up-to-date links for Black Sun and Passport.
  6. Once you are at the Black Sun home page, follow the instructions for downloading or upgrading Passport. At one point, you will click on a link and be prompted for a place to save a file. In response to the dialogue box, click Save to Disk (Netscape), or Save As (Internet Explorer), and save the file to a folder on your hard disk (or save it on your desktop). You should choose a folder where you will remember to find the new file, and note the name of the file. You can use the folder that your Web browser gives you, or move back up and select another. I put all downloaded files in a folder I call C:\download.
  7. Wait patiently. You can do other work off-line, but be careful not to interfere with the connection. Try not to do more on-line work (such as Web surfing) on the Internet while the download is progressing, and if you are using your regular telephone line for your modem, donít try to make a telephone call.
  8. The Passport download is just over 1MB in size. After the download is finished (about 20 minutes for a 28.8 kbps connection, and about 40 minutes for a 14.4 kbps connection), open the folder into which the file was downloaded and double-click on it to start the installation. Go to the section, ìRunning the Installation.î

Running the Installation

Whether you are running the installation from the CD-ROM, or from the file you downloaded from the Internet, use this section to guide you through the installation. Note that if you downloaded Passport from the Internet, the installation process may have changed. If this has happened, refer to instructions on the Black Sun Web site.

  1. Step one is that you must have Netscape 3.0 (or higher) or Internet Explorer 3.01 (or higher) installed before you can install Passport. In addition, you must install a VRML plug-in for either of these Web browsers (Live3D for Netscape or Cosmo Player for Internet Explorer are recommended). You can download a VRML 3D plug-in along with your Web browser (both Netscape and Microsoft offer these as options).
  2. You must close the Web browser before you can install Passport. You can use Alt+Tab, or click on the task bar to switch to your Web browser, and close it before continuing.
  3. After you have downloaded the software, close the Web browser and go to the folder (or desktop) location where you saved the file. Black Sun Passport is packaged as an compressed file which is a self contained installer. Double-click on that file (it should be named pp??????.exe, where ?????? are version numbers), which will launch an extractor application to decompress the file. If you are installing from the CD-ROM, you need only click on the installer to start Passport. The extractor will extract files and then start the Passport Installer program.
  4. The installer setup program will run and prompt you at each step. Accept the license agreement terms, if you agree, and accept the folder into which Passport will be installed (or enter your own path). The default folder is C:\blacksun\passport. You should make a note of the path to the folder where Passport is installed.
  5. Next, you will be prompted for the folder into which Passport plug-ins for Netscape or Internet Explorer will be installed. Check to see that the path given is for the desired version of your Web browser, and then continue.
  6. The installer will prompt you for a program folder name in which to store the references to Passport; accept this.
  7. The installation should be successful if you have enough disk space (you need about 5MB free).
  8. When the installation is complete, you will be prompted to place a shortcut to Passport on your desktop; do this.
  9. At the very end of the installation, you will be given the option to read the release notes (a good idea) and to start Passport. If you are eager, you can start Passport right away (remember, you must be online). I always come back a little later and start it from the new shortcut on my desktop, or from the Start menu entry.

Clean up after installation

If you copied the Passport installation program file onto your desktop, into a folder, or downloaded it from the Internet, you can delete it after the installation is complete. It should have a name like pp??????.exe (where ?????? are version numbers). On the other hand, I keep the original installer around just in case I have to reinstall it. Of course, you also have the CD with the original installers, so you do not need to take up valuable hard disk space with them.

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Finding the installed software

The installation program should have created a shortcut to the new Passport virtual world software on your desktop, and also a program folder entry in your Start menu. If you cannot find the new software, you can open My Computer and the C: drive to search for a folder named BlackSun in which you should find the Passport application.

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© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.