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Advanced OZ

Avatar motions (gestures)

Figure: 13.19 Oz4zg.jpg
The OZ Avatar Motions (gestures) palette.

If you are in out-of-body mode, it is fun to watch you avatar boogie along with gestures. Gestures are called motions in OZ, and doing them allows you to put on quite a performance for other users in OZ worlds. Selecting Motions from the Communication menu will bring up the Motions palette (shown in the preceding figure). Motions are custom designed for each avatar, and not all the same motions may be available for every avatar. You can make your avatar move by picking from this palette or by pressing the keyboard function keys listed in Table 13.3. The avatar editor (also available under the Communication menu) also allows you to preview motions.

Avatar gestures and their keyboard keys
F1Walk (go back to normal motion)
F3Wave("Greetings earthling!")
F4Silly jive
F5Cossack dance
F8Funky step*

Table 13.3

*Note: Funky step and Punch do not work for all avatar types.

The avatar editor

One of the most powerful (and coolest) features of OZ Virtual is the avatar editor. Found under the Communication menu (or by pressing Ctrl+A), the editor allows you to select your avatar, its pieces, change its color and scaling, and preview its motions (gestures). The following figure shows how to select Bzingo, the little green man avatar. You can navigate by holding down your left mouse button in the window on the left where Bzingo is displayed to get a closer look at him.

Figure: 13.20 Oz4x.jpg
I select the little green man named Bzingo in the OZ avatar editor.

I used the color property page in OZ to change the colors on my avatar (as shown in the following figure). I then stretched him out a bit on the scaling property page in the editor.

Figure: 13.21 Oz4z.jpg
Changing Bzingoís colors in the OZ avatar editor.


Making a new avatar

You can create more avatars by pushing the New button in the Avatars mode of the editor. Select an avatar type from the drop-down menu and name it. The new avatar will be a copy of an existing form that you can now shape and color differently. To delete an avatar, right-click on it and select Delete from the pop-up menu.

Avatar editor specifics

Avatar pieces

Some avatars allow you to select different pieces for the avatar's bodyódifferent heads for example. The pieces property page in the avatar editor displays all available pieces and allows you to select the desired piece from a list. A detailed view of the piece appears in the window on the right, and you can zoom, rotate and move the light the same way as in the left window.

The buttons at the bottom of the pieces property page allow you to select a particular part of the avatar. For humanoid avatars, for example, there are Torso, Head and Feet buttons. If you select the Torso button, for example, you can choose from the variety of different torsos in the piece list.

Avatar colors

In the color property page you can change the color of an avatar or one of its pieces by clicking and dragging the small spheres in the color selector in the right window, or by pushing the Color Dialog button, to select a color directly.

Avatar scaling

After selecting a viewpoint with the Front, Side, Rear, or Top radio buttons, you can then enlarge and shrink a piece by clicking the horizontal and vertical plus (+) and minus (-) buttons. You can reset the scaling by pressing the middle button. You can also change the size by clicking and dragging the mouse over the right window. Use scaling to make avatars that are skinny or fat.

Avatar motions

This page doesn't actually change anything; it's just used to preview the avatar's (or their piecesí) motions. You can select a motion from the list and watch it play. Start and stop it with the Start button, and change the speed of the motion with the slider.

Figure: 13.22 oz5g.jpg
OZís Mascot avatar: avatars donít look this good…yet!

Building your own world in OZ

OZ Virtual will read any VRML 1.0 and 2.0 files on the Web and make it a multi-user world. You can then call up your friends, and have them meet you in your own homeworld!. In the version of OZ Virtual described in this book, you cannot import your own avatars into OZ virtual. OZ has plans to provide content developers with tools that allow for custom avatar creation and insertion into OZ Virtual. Check OZ Interactiveís home page at for details on importing your own VRML homeworlds into OZ.

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.