See Copyright and Usage Notice
Entering the OZ Universe
Once you have finished downloading and installing
OZ Virtual, ActiveX, and DirectX (optional), you should be ready
to start up the OZ Virtual client software. First, make sure you
are connected to the Internet. If you can run your browser and
surf Web pages, you are surely connected. Double-click on the
shortcut on your desktop. If you cannot find an icon for OZ Virtual
on your desktop, search for it in the folder \program files\oz
interactive\oz virtual\program (it should be called ozvirtual.exe).
Figure: 13.4 Oz1h.jpg
Connecting to Multi-user server.
The OZ Virtual program will then start and
attempt to connect to an OZ server. You should see a message in
the lower right-hand corner of the OZ Virtual window, like the
one shown in the preceding figure. This could take some time (a
minute or two). OZ Virtual may come back and inform you that the
server is unavailable, in which case I recommend that you again
later. You may also receive a message that OZ Virtual needs an
update. OZ Virtual can update itself over the Internet. I recommend
that you opt to receive the update.
Figure: 13.5 Oz1d.jpg
Fly into the OZONE.
Figure: 13.6 Oz1i.jpg
Inside the OZONE.
If all goes well, OZ Virtual will connect
to the server and download the information for its VRML (Virtual
Reality Modeling Language) entry world. Before long, you should
begin to see scenes like the ones above, as you are taken on a
journey into the first of OZ's exciting worlds . You can
see our spacecraft approaching the OZONE space station and then
Docking at the Dark Star
Figure: 13.7 Oz1j.jpg
Me and my avatar are in the OZONE.
The preceding figure shows my avatar inside
the OZONE. I like the little green man (what better choice in
these alien worlds?). I am also walking around in an out-of-body
view. I'll talk more about selecting your own avatar and
entering the out-of-body view later in this chapter.
To give yourself a good lay of the land, I
recommend selecting OZ Destinations from the Destinations menu.
This will give you a Web page map of the OZONE areas. In the following
figures, you can see these maps shown inside the OZ Virtual client
software. If you have Internet Explorer 3.0 installed, then Web
pages will appear inside your OZ Virtual program window (as an
ActiveX control). If you use another Web browser, then OZ Virtual
will launch that browser to show these special Web-based maps.
Figure: 13.8 Oz1c.jpg
A Web-based map of the OZONE.
Figure: 13.9 Oz1e.jpg
An OZONE transporter.
You can click on these maps (on the text labels
which lead to areas on the maps), and you will go directly to
that part of the OZONE. I tried Soundroom, and my avatar traveled
to a room where I could hear high-quality music. OZ is known for
both quality of the sound and the body animation of its avatars.
In fact, two of the founders of OZ were nightclub owners and promoters
in Iceland when they conceived of the company. As a result, OZ
worlds have the feel of a club environment. OZ Interactive often
demonstrates its worlds at live events such as trade shows, where
a performer in a full body suit is ëwired up' to the
avatar in the virtual world. Every move the performer makes is
mirrored by the avatar. This is called motion capture,
and it gives avatars very lifelike moves. Many of the avatar movements
in OZ worlds were made by capturing the motion of a live performance
Sailing through OZ space
Now that we are on board the OZ space station,
let's learn how to move around. OZ has a variety of ways
to move, either by keyboard or mouse.
You can start by holding down your left mouse
button and moving the mouse. OZ worlds have a kind of motion physics
whereby the more you push forward the faster you go, up to a kind
of terminal velocity (maximum speed). You can hold down the right
mouse button to decelerate, or both buttons at once to stop. If
you move the mouse with the right button held down, you will slow
down and eventually move backwards. Holding down Shift while moving
with the mouse will rocket you along at twice the normal terminal
velocity. Dragging your mouse around to the right or left will
steer you around. Holding down Control or Alt will move your avatar
to either side in a sliding motion called translation. The physics
of OZ worlds also gives you friction, so you will eventually stop
moving if you stop using the mouse. The mouse movement options
are listed in the following table.
Mouse navigation controls
|Mouse button and keyboard combinations||Action|
|Drag right/left||Turn right/left (Yaw)|
|Drag forward/backward||Lean forward/backward (Pitch)|
|Ctrl+Drag right/left||Lean sideways (Roll)|
|Alt+Drag right/left||Translation left/right|
|Alt+Drag up/down||Translation up/down|
Keyboard navigation, often more convenient
to use than the mouse, is a mirror of the mouse navigation. The
Up arrow key accelerates you forward while the Down arrow key
slows you down and moves you backward. Holding down the up and
down arrow keys at the same time will stop you in your tracks
while pressing the arrow keys and Shift at the same time will
move you at twice the normal maximum or terminal velocity. If
you hold Alt and Control held down at the same time as the arrow
keys, this will give you various tilting, rolling, or translation
(sliding) motions. The keyboard movement options are listed in
the following table.
Keyboard navigation controls
|Shift+Up or Down arrows||Double terminal velocity|
|Ctrl+Up or Down arrows||Lean forward or backward (Pitch)|
|Ctrl+Right or Left arrows||Lean sideways (Roll)|
|Ctrl+Up or Down arrows||Tilt up or down|
|Ctrl+Right or Left arrows||Roll clockwise or counterclockwise|
|Alt+Right or Left arrows||Translation left or right|
|Alt+Up or Down arrows||Translation up or down|
Flying versus walking
The walking mode automatically takes effect
when you are affected by gravity. You can turn off gravity and
enter a flying mode. In the walking mode you are "stuck"
to the floor and therefore unable to move up or down.
Figure: 13.10 Oz4o.jpg
Use the navigation pop-up menu to turn gravity and collision detection on or off.
Turn off gravity by selecting the area marked
Navigation from the dashboard of controls at the bottom of the
OZ Virtual window. The pop-up menu (shown in the previous figure)
will appear, and you can turn automatic gravity on or off. To
fly off the ground, turn automatic gravity off and then hold down
Ctrl while pressing Up arrow. You will tilt up. You can then
fly up above the ground.
With automatic gravity on, you would automatically
snap back to the floor (as though you were wearing gravity boots)
after you reached a certain height. With no gravity, you would
just sail up and out of the room. If collision detection is on,
you will hit the ceiling (or wall or floor) and travel no further.
If it is off, you will pass through any surface and continue on
into the OZ cosmos. It is quite easy to get lost if you have collision
Driving through OZ with the dashboard
Figure: 13.11 Oz4m.jpg
The OZ Virtual dashboard.
The dashboard, shown in the preceding figure,
has other features to aid you in navigation. One of the most important
is found just below the Navigation pop-up menu. It is a set of
viewpoints, kind of like fixed camera positions in the world.
In the previous figure, entry view is listed. Clicking on this
control allows you to pop back to your starting place (called
the entry view). This is very handy if you get lost by turning
off collision detection and then flying out of the world!
Other parts of the dashboard allow you to
control how fast you can travel. By selecting the control just
below the viewpoints (entry view as shown in the preceding figure),
you can switch your travel speed from normal to slow or fast.
Also on the dashboard are four circular indicators. The large
central one is a kind of rolling marble called the trackball.
Clicking on the trackball with your left mouse button allows you
to roll the world around. Clicking on it with the right button
will put you outside of your avatar's body. The little
green light to the lower right of the trackball indicates when
you are ëout of body' or back in ëfirst person'
point of view. The figure earlier in this chapter showing my ëlittle
green man' was an example of an out-of-body view. I prefer
traveling in OZ out of body as it allows me to see my avatar's
gestures (see more on this later). Note that if you press the
letters Z or X while in out-of-body mode, you will move closer
in or farther out of your avatar. To return inside the body of
your avatar, just right-click on the trackball or select the small
green light on the lower right side of the trackball.
The little light to the upper left of the
trackball allows you to turn a headlight on or off. This headlight
feature is useful to brighten up dark areas you may enter. The
larger round indicator below the headlight control is a kind of
progress indicator. When it is rolling around, something is being
Elsewhere on the dashboard are areas where
messages are displayed (to the right of the trackball) as well
as pop-up menus for Audio, Display and Multi-user options. The
remaining dashboard options are described in a later section of
this chapter entitled, ìFine-tuning Your World.î