12:48 PM

Step 05: Learning the software - a quick tour with exploded interface shots

The metaverse viewer is no different than any other computer application: You have to know your way around it before you can get any sort of mileage out of it. And the better you know it, the more you will enjoy your sojourn in virtual 3D. I personally think that one of the reasons for the rather large fallout rate of virtual worlds is that their novice users seldom bother to learn the software. And lack of knowledge, in my estimation, certainly accounts for all those dreadful screenshots that one sees of an environment where everything looks like as if it was cut out with a blunt pair of scissors, populated with badly dressed avatars, sporting dreadful hair and skin, all perched on their clumsy prim chairs - sitting like as if they have bad cases of indigestion - and all facing away from the camera at all times!

The funny thing however is that learning the interface actually doesn't take that long since it is all logically designed and fairly self-explanatory. So, please do take the couple of hours needed: Log in, and then using the screenshots below check out where everything is. I have opened up all of the menus and palettes and then created composite screenshots as to how all these things look, with explanations regarding their usage below them. So, actually a good idea may be to print these images and have them next to your computer so that it is all right in front of you.

Basically the metaverse viewer has two menus, a top one and a bottom one, which are narrowly lined up along the interface. While the top one is more of a standard type of menu, like you would expect to see in most computer applications, the bottom one works with pop-ups which let you do all sorts of stuff. From the top menu you will mostly check/uncheck various commands which are generalized and will work at all times, whereas the bottom one will let you do things intuitively through its floating palettes.

Needless to say, this is only a highly condensed overview and things (especially some of the stuff the happens through the bottom menu) will be covered in more detail in following tutorials. However - please remember: No tutorial will teach you stuff unless you get curious and really sniff around and start investigating on your own account. And as I said above, the metaverse viewer is actually very intuitive. So, please please do!

Worst thing that can happen? You crash... And then you simply relog and no harm done! And also, please have fun! At least for me, that is precisely where creativity starts - and nowhere more so than in a builder's world :-D

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