Logged-in players have access to a range of on-stage tools, not visible to the audience, which enable the real-time manipulation of preloaded media and live elements on the stage.
Holding and Moving an Avatar
The avatars assigned to a stage appear as small icons in the Wardrobe. To hold a particular avatar, click on its icon in the Wardrobe (use the arrows to scroll up and down the Wardrobe). The icon will disappear from your Wardrobe and appear in your Mirror, the square area to the left of the Wardrobe. This shows you which avatar you are currently holding. A greyed-out icon in your Wardrobe means that another player is holding that avatar.
Once you have an avatar in your Mirror, click on the stage area and your full-size avatar will appear there. Click in another place, and it will move there.
The Player tools are the set of buttons below the mirror, and the green arrows in the mirror. These arrows allow you to move your avatar in front of and behind other avatars on the stage.
This button controls the avatar movement – fast causing the avatar to jump to where you click, and slow causing it to glide there. The button shows the action that the avatar will change to when next clicked – for example if your avatar is gliding, the button will show fast. Click on it to change to fast, and the button will become orange and say “slow”.
When your avatar is gliding (in slow mode), click on stop to stop it at any point in its trajectory.
This button will hide or show your avatar’s name on the stage – this is particularly useful when working with invisible avatars. When you first hold an avatar, the default state is for the name to be showing, so click on “name” before you place the avatar on the stage if you don’t want the name to show.
This button changes the function from acting to drawing, displaying the drawing tools palette instead of the avatar tools. See the chapter Drawing for more information about drawing.
The drop button will remove your avatar from the stage, and put it back in the Wardrobe so that you are no longer holding it. If you want to leave your avatar on the stage while you operate another avatar, simply select the new avatar from the Wardrobe without clicking drop.
Use clear to remove all unheld avatars and props from the stage.
This button displays the audio tools palette. See the chapter Audio for more information about using audio.
Below the control buttons, a counter keeps a live tally of the number of players (P) and audience (A) present on stage at any time. Typing /details will list the usernames of the players and the number of audience in the chat window.
Operating Multi-frame or Animated Avatars
Avatars that have been created as .swf animations, or uploaded as multiframe avatars, allow you to change the avatar while it is on stage.
Created as .swf files, these avatars will animate in the Workshop, Wardrobe and Mirror. When placed on stage, animated sequences will appear as a still image in the first frame of the animation. Type /a 0 to start the looped animation, and to display a different still frame type /a 1 (the default), /a 2, /a 3 etc.
Flash Movieclips will animate on loop without typed-in commands. You need to create these as movies in Flash – see the chapter Creating Graphics for UpStage for more information (but note that this does not attempt to be a comprehensive Flash tutorial - you will need to have some prior knowledge of Flash).
These work in a similar way to the animated avatars, but are created by uploading a series of still images (in .png or .jpg format) rather than using Flash.
Changing Your Avatar’s Name
To change the name of the avatar you are holding, type /nick newname in the text input field at the bottom of the chat window. You will see the name underneath your mirror change, and when the avatar is on stage the new name will appear below it (unless you have used the “name” button to turn off the name). The new name will also appear in the text chat window before the text your avatar speaks.
When using invisible avatars, you can make words float around the stage by showing the name, and using /nick to change the visible word on screen. Only up to 9 characters will be visible on stage; if you have a longer name it will all be visible in the text chat.
Holding and Placing Props
The props assigned to the stage appear as small icons in the Props Gallery at the centre bottom of the screen.
When you roll your cursor over the icons, a name label appears, allowing you to distinguish between similar or very small props. If more than 8 props are assigned to a stage, arrows will appear at either end of the bar to allow you to scroll through the props, which are displayed alphabetically.
You must be holding an avatar and be on stage to hold a prop. Click on the prop icon in the Gallery, and it will appear at the top left of your avatar. Click again on the prop icon in the Gallery, and it will remove the prop from your avatar. If another player clicks on the same prop that you are holding, it will be transferred to their avatar.
Props that have been created as .swf animations, or uploaded as multiframe props, do NOT allow you to change the frame of the prop while it is on stage (as is the case with avatars and backdrops). When placed on the stage, a prop which has been uploaded as an animated sequence will appear only as a looped animation; a prop uploaded as a single frame (as .swf, .jpg or .png) will appear only as a still image.
The backdrops assigned to a particular stage appear as small icons in the Backdrops Gallery, at the bottom left of your screen.
Roll your cursor over the icons to display the name label so that you can accurately choose the backdrop you want. If more than 8 backdrops are assigned to a stage, arrows will appear at either end of the bar to allow you to scroll through the backdrops, which are displayed alphabetically.
Click once on the icon to place the backdrop onto the stage; click the icon a second time to remove it.
Multiframe backdrops can be used in the same way as normal backdrops; to change the backdrop's frame, type /b 1, /b 2 etc in the text input field. Type /b 0 to make the backdrop animate through its frames.
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