Building in Active Worlds


Getting Started with Building....

The "guts" of building with Active Worlds Browser takes place in the Object Properties dialog box. To display any object's properties, simply right-click on the object. The Object Properties dialog box appears, and you can view the object's Description, Object filename and Action in the various fields, plus the owner's Citizen ID and the date that object was last modified. If you own that object (you were the first one to put it on a vacant piece of land), you are allowed to make changes in the appearances or actions, and you're also allowed to move it to other pieces of vacant land or your own property.

Building new objects with Active Worlds Browser is a three-step process. First you'll need to find some existing object to copy, or "clone" -- that's the only way you can create a new object. This will be your starter object. Then, using the mouse, keyboard, button bar or the Object menu in the Object Properties dialog box, you move the object to the desired location on your property. If you want to turn the object into an entirely different object, you can change its Object field in the Object Properties dialog box . Finally, you can also change the object's Description and Action -- just click on the desired text box and type in your changes.

You can only build on areas of a world that don't already contain other people's objects. This means that the first thing you'll need to do is scout out an unused area and "stake your claim". Try to find an area that is big enough to build what you want, and that is not part of another person's property.

The only thing that is necessary to claim a piece of land as your own is to place some of your own objects on it. As a citizen, any object you build will be stamped with your citizen number; you will be the only one allowed to move, change or delete that object. Property built by tourists, on the other hand, can be deleted by anyone.

As mentioned above, the first thing you want to do is cover your new land with many large, flat pieces (such as walks or floors). You can always remove them later when you are ready to build in that exact spot.

Keep your building neat! Nothing ruins the look of a world more than lots of shabby, sloppy building. Make sure that the edjes of adjacent objects meet cleanly; overlapped objects and randomly placed objects look bad. Overlapping many objects in one place can also cause flashing or "z-fighting" and ruin the effect of your building.

Selecting a Starter Object

Find an object that's near to where you want to start building. This can be anything: someone else's object, a piece of the street, it really doesn't matter. You will soon have a chance to change a copy of this object into something else. Right-click on the object once to select it. Then press the INSERT key or Duplicate button to make a copy of the object. The new copy will appear behind the original. The yellow rectangle that indicates a selected object is now around your copy. You're ready to move your starter object to your new homestead.

Moving an Object

You can use the mouse, keyboard, or toolbar to move objects that you've selected. You can also use the Object menu.

The arrow keys move the selected object forwards, backwards and sideways.

The plus key on the numeric keypad raises your object above the ground.

The minus key on the numeric keypad drops your object back down. Be careful! It's possible to sink an object below the ground where you can't see it.

The PgUp key or the Turn Right button rotates your object counter clockwise about 15 degrees. The PgDn key or the Turn Left button rotates it clockwise. 15 degrees means you'll have to hit these keys twelve times to make an object spin halfway around.

Holding down the SHIFT key allows you to make smaller adjustments whenever you're moving an object. Also, beginning with Active Worlds 3.0, holding down both the SHIFT and the CTRL key simultaneously allows extremely precise adjustments when moving an object.

Also beginning with Active Worlds 3.0 you can use the mouse to move objects. To move an object with the mouse, simply right-click on the object once with the mouse in order to select it, then right-click on the object again and hold while moving the mouse. The object will move around in the horizontal plane. To move the object up and down using the mouse, hold the CTRL key down while dragging. As with the arrow keys, if you hold down SHIFT while dragging, the object will move at smaller increments, allowing more precise placement.

Note that in order to drag an object with the mouse, it must first be selected. This is to avoid accidentally moving objects while selecting them.

If you have a mouse with a mousewheel, you can also rotate the selected object(s) in place by turning the wheel. In addition, clicking the mousewheel while an object or objects are selected duplicates those objects (the same as pressing the Insert key).

Once you have moved the object to where you want it, simply left-click the mouse or close the Object Properties dialog box to deselect ('drop') the object in place. If you want to keep moving the object, just select it again by right-clicking on it. If you want to delete an object, use the DELETE key or button while the object is selected.

Tip: It's a good idea to first drop a copy of your starter object at its final destination, and then select it again before you change the object type. Otherwise your starter object might disappear if you accidentally mistype the new name!

*abbreviated from the ActiveWorlds Web Site.*