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NOTE: this chapter was written in 1997 and some items may be out of date (technical and user interface descriptions). We encourage you to visit the Digital Space Traveler Home Page at the following address to get the latest version of Traveler and the latest documentation on how to use Traveler:

Lets Travel!

You may be all raring to join the hottest conversation circles but you just can't… move! Navigation in Traveler is easy; itís all in the finger action. The following table lists the keyboard keys you can press to move and where they take you. There is no joystick support yet (a good feature to add) but keyboard keys are actually a pretty good way to get around (as millions of Doom users can tell you). Note that the key combinations such as Ctrl+Left Arrow indicate that you have to hold down the first key (in this case, Ctrl) and then press the second key.

Up ArrowMove forward
Down ArrowPull back
Right ArrowTurn to the right
Left ArrowTurn to the left
Ctrl+Up ArrowRise up
Ctrl+Down ArrowSink down
Ctrl+Left ArrowSlide to the left
Ctrl+Right ArrowSlide to the right
'*' on your keypadPuts you upright again (use this if you really don't know which way is up)

Table 9.2

Want to be really dramatic? You can use the following keys to tilt your head up or down.
Tab+Up ArrowTilts your head down (a little bit confusing)
Tab+Down ArrowTilts your head up (also confusing but you'll get used to it)

Table 9.3

Note that you cannot roll all the way around like a stunt airplane doing the loops.

Going places…fast!

If you are tired of the leisurely pace you are moving in Traveler, just hold down the Shift key together with any of the above key combinations and you will move much faster.

Whoops! I bumped into something (or someone)

In Traveler worlds, you can travel right on through most things. You cannot go below the floor of a world. You also cannot pass through another avatar. This is an interesting feature as many other virtual worlds allow you to whisk through other people, like ghosts in the night. When you bump into someone in Traveler, you will hear a distinct bump sound. Not only will you hear your bump but you will budge their avatar, moving it a short distance. This helps you to know when you are being bumped. Bodily contact is an important part of our culture as higher primates (speaking for myself, of course). By letting avatars have body contact Traveler's creators have given us another thread to weave into a richer social experience inside virtual space. As with any social situation, there are those who abuse others (see the section, ìHeadbangers in Trouble in Traveler Cityî in this chapter).

Going places…far!

Traveler can take you to many different places. Utopia is just a waystation, the first stop on tour of a constellation of worlds. The main way you can get to these places is through portals. In the beginning of this chapter, the section, ìConnecting to other Traveler Worldsî described how to enter Traveler worlds through your Web browser. There are other ways to do this directly inside Traveler.

The wondrous portals

Figure 9.15: on9.gif
Right-click to find the options for a portal.

This red pyramid, vaguely reminiscent of theTardis in the science fiction TV series Dr. Who, is actually a portal, Traveler's way of getting you somewhere far… fast! Coming upon a portal in a world, just right-click on it to see your options.

You can activate a portal just by passing into it. Be careful that you don't collide with one by accident; there is no easy way of stopping a portal from taking you away!

A pull-down of portals

Figure 9.16: on38.gif
Click on the portals pull-down menu to move to many destinations.

An even more convenient (if less dramatic) way of going through a portal is to select from the list of portals on the Portals pull-down menu. As the figure above shows, there is a selection of links and portals. Links will take you to a Web site (i.e. start your Web browser and make it view a Web page) whereas portals will land you into a new virtual world. Some portals take you to an entirely different world and others take you into a space within the current world. When traveling through a portal, you will see the same space tunnel graphic you saw when you first entered Utopia through Traveler. Lets take a tour of some new worlds!

Worlds within worlds

We will go on a tour of interesting worlds within the Digital Space universe. The addresses of each world is given in the section Hot Worlds at the end of this chapter.

Figure 9.17: on6e.gif
Tech Support area within the Utopia world.

For our first stop, we will visit the Tech Support space within the Utopia world. Here you will almost always find technicians from Digital Space as well as expert users to help with your technical questions.

Figure 9.18: on16.gif
Cool Destinations portal cluster.

Next, letís go to the Grand Central Station of Traveler, known as the Cool Destinations area. In Cool Destinations you can fly through portals into whole new worlds in the Traveler cosmos, such as MTV's Tikkiland. There are also people congregated in Cool Destinations. Often you can get advice about great destinations or events happening in other worlds just by asking people in this area.

Itís all made out of tikki takki…

Figure 9.19: on17.gif
MTV Tikkiland: media meets cyberspace!

Is it kitsch or will it be seen as high original art when unearthed by digital archeologists in the next millennium? Either way, MTV's Tikkiland will go down in history as one of the first places where the new cyberculture meets traditional pop broadcast media.

Once in Tikkiland, practice using your fast navigation (hold the shift key down) and moving up and down (with Ctrl+Up Arrow and Ctrl+Down Arrow) and sail around Tikki Island. Staying at just one level is boring; learn to fly! Be forewarned that you could also end up underneath a world (as you can see in the following figure), which is an adventure in itself!

Figure 9.20: on30.gif
Flying around Tikkiland: from underneath it still looks strange.

What goes on here? There is music (this is MTV), there are music celebs (schedule posted on MTV's Web site), and there is much to talk about, bodacious! I haven't seen Ren or Stimpy or Beavis or Butthead yet, although there seem to be an awful lot of avatars named Beavis here! Of course, there is the beach, the swaying palms, the sun, the Tikki (what is Tikki anyway?) and of course, the pool. The pool is a great place to congregate and (what else?) talk! I would love to practice my backstroke but, hey, I am just a head!

Figure 9.21: on18.gif
Avatar lounge lizards hang out at the pool in Tikkiland.

There are many more worlds to explore and people to meet. Be sure to check out the Hot Worlds section at the end of this chapter and visit the Digital Space Web site at http://www.Digital for news of new worlds and special happenings inside the Traveler universe.

Where is Everybody?

Figure 9.22: on32.gif
Fly like a bird over Utopia!

The simplest way to see where people are in Utopia is to fly high up over the area and look for all the talking heads. Be careful when you land in a group of people, they can get pretty upset if you clobber them on their heads!

Figure 9.23: on33.gif
Map display shows people and portals.

Under the menu View there is an option Map which brings up a map of the whole area, showing people (as tiny heads) and portals (as diamonds). You can click on people or portals with your right mouse button and take many actions such as going near them. The map is a very handy tool in Traveler.

Figure 9.24: on19.gif
A listing of people in the whole Tikkiland world.

Under the People menu, there is a choice called Where is everyone in . Selecting this will list everyone in the world you are now in. The preceding figure shows a listing of everyone in Tikkiland. When you have this list, you can do a number of things: click on the different areas of Tikkiland to see who is in which area. You can also find out information about people, and send them email without having to enter the area where they currently are.

Figure 9.25: on20.gif
People in one place in Tikkiland.

This figure shows a listing of people in a particular place in Tikkiland.

Hello…Earth to avatar!

When someone has minimized Traveler (put it onto the task bar) or is busy in another application, you will notice that their avatarís eyes close. This is a very sensible and useful feature. Remember, if someone is not responding to you, do not become irritated or shoutó they may be having a problem with their connection, or you may be having a problem with your connection!

Fine Tuning Your World

Customizing or changing your avatar

Figure 9.26: on40.gif
Find avatar customizing under the Edit menu.

You can find the avatar customization options under the Edit menu. The most common thing people want to do is to customize or change their avatars. Note that if you entered Traveler for the first time, you probably did not set up your avatar's name. You may have to quite Traveler and restart it, selecting Create New on the very first dialogue. You can then enter a name for your avatar. Once you have a name, you will be allowed to modify your avatar.

Figure 9.27: on22.gif
Choose the Leola tiger avatar.

The dialogue box in the preceding figure displays the array of avatar models to choose from. Note that we have chosen Leola and given her a smile. We also could have given her a fierce tiger scowl! You can also color different parts of your avatar by selecting Appearance. This selection will open a palette of colors. Dragging a color over top of an area in your avatar will color that area. A famous avatar in Digital Space is an all-white tiger (except for the eyes and mouth) used by Sunset Dawn.

Figure 9.28: on23.gif
Customize your avatar's voice.

Once you have chosen your look, you should choose your voice. Traveler offers you the limited ability to disguise your voice. The preceding figure shows how you can change the pitch of your voice. This is like those interviews on TV crime shows where they electronically disguise a person's voice. You can make yourself sound male or female (although the disguising might be obvious).

Figure 9.28.2: on6l.gif
Setting up your Avatar Profile

Another useful option under avatar customization is the ability to set up a profile. As the preceding figure shows, you can give your real name (if you choose to), your nickname (which you also would have been asked for when you started Traveler for the first time), your e-mail address, Web page address (if any), and a brief description of yourself. In the example above, we are showing the profile of a Utopia citizen from Dallas, Texas, who chose not to give an email address, web page or comments.

Many Traveler citizens forget to fill out their personal information, but it can be very useful in starting conversations. I always fill out this information, my theory being that if I had anything to hide, I would not be talking inside virtual worlds for anyone in the real world to hear!

Other options

Traveler has several other useful options found under the View + Options menu, including Volume, Microphone, Cache and Connection.

Figure 9.29: on41.gif
Picking the Options dialogue.

Figure 9.30: on27.gif
Volume Options dialogue.

Figure 9.31: on28.gif
Microphone Options dialogue.

Figure 9.32: on25.gif
Cache Options dialogue.

Figure 9.33: on26.gif
Connections Options dialogue.

Saving favorite and starting places

Figure 9.34: on42.gif
Use Favorites to save your favorite places.

If you had a particularly good time in a Traveler room, you can save it as a favorite by selecting Favorites + Add to Favorites. You can then open the favorite area later with Favorites + Open Favorites, or stow your favorite room right on your desktop by selecting File + Create Shortcut. When connecting to Traveler in the future, your favorites are also shown. Favorite is one of my favorite features!

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.