OZ Virtual Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Guide to the FAQ

Q: I cannot seem to connect to a server, is there anything I can do?

A: You can enter the IP number of the servers directly. Select the File menu and Network and try entering one of the following numbers into the multi-user server area of the Network Settings dialogue box:

Once you have entered one of these numbers, try connecting again (you may have to restart OZ Virtual).

Q: Why can't I see anybody else in the worlds?

A: The main problem which causes users to be blind to the rest of the world, is they are tying to run OZ Virtual behind a firewall. If you are using a machine in a corporate setting, you will almost certainly have a firewall. OZ Virtual needs to be able to send and receive position updates to the OZ Virtual server, and it cannot do this unless the firewall is properly configured.

You will need to contact your systems administrator, and ask them to configure the firewall to allow UDP packets through the firewall, through port 5580, or use a proxy server.

Q: How do I set up OZ Virtual to run behind a firewall?

A: You must do the following if your computer is behind a firewall:

For the network settings to take effect, you must restart OZ Virtual.

Q: How do I speed up loading and traveling through worlds?

A: There are several answers to this question.

Large models can be slow to load and slow to navigate through. Select smaller worlds if you find that these larger ones are just too slow to navigate.

One method of speeding up the loading is to turn off the Display While Loading option in the Display preference. This will prevent you from seeing the model as it loads, but will decrease the loading time dramatically.

To increase your navigation speed, avoid using the Double-faced Polygon option. Other options affecting speed are collision detection, gravity, smooth shading, size of main window, and sound.

The size of the window greatly affects rendering performance. You can therefore increase navigation speed in complex worlds by reducing the window.

Q: How do I visit other worlds besides OZONE?

A: You can visit either the OZ home worlds, or you can visit other peopleís worlds, which you can access through the Internet. To access the OZ home worlds, double-click on the link for that world, and wait for it to load. (The cursor will appear as a cross hair when it is over a link.)

Besides loading the OZ home worlds, you can make use of the mass of VRML worlds on the Net by using Open Location from the File menu. Here, you must enter the URL of the VRML file you want to load, and then click OK.

Q: I can't seem to walk straight or level, how can I get around this?

A: It may pay to slow down slightly, until you get used to the controls. You can also check that auto gravity under the Navigation menu is on, which will ensure that you keep your feet firmly on the ground.

Q: How can I see myself?

A: In order to see yourself in all your glory, select Out-of-Body mode, which will enable you to spin around your own avatar. To do this, right-click the mouse button on the Navigation globe/trackball, and as you hold it down, move the mouse until the viewpoint is as you want it.

Q: Everything is so dark, how can I see everything more clearly?

A: There are two controls that affect the visibility of the world scenes. First, you can click on the headlight, which is located at the left of the Navigation globe/trackball; and second, you can increase the light intensity, which you will find under the Display menu.

Q: I'm lost in a world, how can I return to the start without reloading the world?

A: If you lose your way, or get jammed in somewhere, you can always use the Entry View control to return to your original position at the startup of the world.

Q: How can I return to the same world without having to memorize long URLs?

A: Whenever a world is loaded, the URL of that world is added to a file and is listed in the Open Location dialogue under the File menu. In addition, there are four buttons which control the sequence of worlds/files: Previous Scene, Next Scene, Stop Loading, and Reload.

Q: How can I stop others from bothering me with their chat windows?

A: If you have the Auto Answer Chat option on, then whenever another user requests a chat, it will automatically be displayed as a chat window on your screen. If you turn this option off, then it will simply present a dialogue box, asking you whether you want to respond.

In addition to this, you can specifically ignore a person, thus preventing any indication of their request, and you can carry on in peace.

Q: How do I move backwards?

A: OZ Virtual uses the left-hand mouse button to accelerate forward, and the right-hand button to decelerate, and move backwards.

Q: How can I turn around without walking forward?

A: Either click on the Navigation globe/trackball with the right mouse button and turn the world around you or use the right and left arrow keys to turn.

Q: What are links and how can I use them?

A: Links are objects in a VRML file which contain a URL to another file, typically another VRML file, or a sound. To go to a link, you must double-click on it with the left mouse button. When you do this, OZ Virtual will appear to do nothing for a few seconds, as the URL is being confirmed, and then the load will begin.

Q: How do I form a group chat?

A: In the chat manager window, right-click on the window area, and then select the New Group option from the menu. When you do this, you will have automatically joined the new group you created, but in order to have a conversation, others will also need to join by right-clicking the mouse on the group name, and selecting Join Group from the menu.

Q: How do I return to a world I have just come from without having to use the URL?

A: Use the Previous Scene/Next Scene buttons to navigate through the sequence of worlds you have used.

Q: Sometimes I get stuck at the entry view, why is this?

A: Because OZ Virtual is a multi-user system, and because when you enter a world, you always enter at the same point, sometimes users can get stuck together, particularly if several stay still near the entrance, which results in them all trying to co-habit the same space.

Q: When I open a world over the Net, the system hangs for awhile, and appears to do nothing; what is it doing?

A: It is confirming the existence of the URL you specified, and to do this, it has to open a connection with the server on which the file is located. This is the delay.

Q: How do I perform the basic Windows application functions, like maximize, minimize, etc.?

A: These functions are supported in OZ Virtual, although the window design is slightly different from the conventional windows style. There are four buttons on the title baróone on the left, and three on the right. The one on the left is a Black Window button; it makes OZ Virtual the only visible window, and blacks out the rest of the screen. The other three control minimize/maximize and close respectively.

Q: What is the console window for?

A: The console window is effectively a chat window with the server, which can give you information about worlds and users. Type "help," to see a list of commands.

Q: I keep getting the message, Only runs in 16-bit color mode, even though I have set the video display to 16 color mode?

A: The two modes, 16-bit color, and 16 color, are totally separate modes. You must check that you have selected High Color or 16-bit color mode.

Q: I keep getting embedded in the floors and walls, which makes it very difficult to navigate; how can I solve this problem?

A: You have to turn collision detection on. This option can be found under the Navigation menu, and will mean that objects take on a solid quality that prevents your avatar from walking through them.

Q: Which file formats can OZ Virtual read?

A: OZ Virtual reads VRML 1.0 files, but is also designed to work with the extended OZ home worlds, which are in VRML 1.0 form, but with some extensions.

Q: How can I pick a VRML 2.0 object?

A: Use Shift-Left mouse button to pick in VRML 2.0 worlds.

Q: Which nodes in VRML is OZ Virtual supporting?

A: OZ Virtual supports the frequently used nodes of VRML 1.0. These include:

Unsupported Nodes include: AsciiText, IndexedLineSet, PointSet, FontStyle

Extensions to the VRML 1.0 specification include:

OZ Virtual is currently being developed to support VRML 2.0

Q: How does OZ do its avatar facial expressions?

The most expressive interface is the human face, where the smallest movement can say more than many words. In the avatar editor it is possible to create and adjust facial components in a myriad of ways. The face is composed of polygons that are interpolated (morphed) between positions. This way, smooth expressions can be achieved using a very small amount of bandwidth in a fun and personal way.

Q: How does OZ make its avatars move in such a realistic way?

A: The OZ MotionLib is a key feature in making the avatars look natural and alive. In order to make a great library, it is essential to implement motion vocabulary and to analyze its basic ingredients. By using motion capture technology to record motions and interpolation between them, extreme realism is achieved. Extensive research on motions covers a century from the days of Edward Muybridge to the recent research of the Media Lab and advanced pattern behavior analysis.

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.