The OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) is a MMOSG (massively multiplayer online simulation game) created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow of Gregarious Simulation Systems. While starting as an online gaming platform, the OASIS gradually evolved into a globally networked virtual reality world that most of humanity now uses on a daily basis.
It co-evolutionized the entirety of gaming and made up for all of GSS' 10-or-so years of lost revenue they spent creating it. The unprecedented success of the OASIS made Halliday one of the wealthiest people in the world.
After Halliday's death the OASIS continued to evolve and grow in popularity, protected from takeover attempts and legal challenges by the ironclad terms of Halliday's will and the army of lawyers he had tasked with administering his estate.
While obtaining and booting up the game costs only 25 cents (one quarter) to use and operate (an homage to the video games of the 1980s which only required one quarter to run per game), in-game vending, travel between worlds and zones, and almost everything else costs additional in-game fares.
Worlds and Zones
The universe of the OASIS is split into 27 sectors each 10 light hours across, arranged like a Rubik's cube. The sectors have zones that can be any shape and size, and each has different rules/flags. Zones could allow or prevent magic, technology, PvP (Player vs. Player), teleporting, communications, and more. For instance, Ludus, the schooling planet, is a no-PvP zone. The worlds within OASIS can also have different settings. It is described that Ludus is always day, Neonoir is always night, and Archaide's sky never changes with a volcano always on the horizon. Planets can be player built, owned, and colonized, or created by the developers.
Experience and leveling
Within OASIS, there are NPCs (non-player characters) which a player can interact with. Some will drop experience and items when killed. There are also quests, which a player (or group of players) can take on to get a prize, usually experience, credits and sometimes items. On rare occasions, players can receive unique and powerful artifacts from killing the final boss of a quest.
Sidequests and minigames
Each basic OASIS system kit includes a pair of haptic gloves (to track the player's movements), a VR Visor (to enable the player to see, hear and speak within the OASIS) and an OASIS console (a flat black rectangle about the size of a paperback book that runs the program).
The game had a standard immersion rig given to all new OASIS users, which consisted of a pair of virtual reality goggles and a pair of haptic gloves, but high-tech and hacker rigs were constantly being created and upgraded. The most state-of-the-art immersion rig, found in Ogden Morrow's personal home, included a full-body immersion suit inside a "hamster-ball" interior that the user could walk around in to simulate real walking/running, and a form-fitting haptic chair, gloves pair, and visor that gave the user every sensation that their character would feel. The immersion rig at Wade Watts's apartment also featured a "smell tower" which replicated to smells within the OASIS.
- The phrase "Ready Player One" appears during the log-in sequence of the game. Programmed by James Halliday himself, the phrase was included as an homage to the simulation's ancestors; the coin-operated video games of the 1980s.
- Replacing the internet, the OASIS is now the world's largest public library, providing free access to every book ever written, every song ever recorded and every movie, television show, video game, and piece of artwork ever created. The collected knowledge, art, and amusements of all human civilization can be accessed from within the simulated reality.
- The religious that can not travel, people are able to attend online mega-churches, sing hymns, listen to sermons and take virtual tours of the Holy Land, all without physically leaving their home.
- Steven Spielberg described that he wanted the musical score for when Wade first dives into the OASIS in the movie to be "religioso". To achieve this Spielberg and film composer Alan Silvestri draw inspiration from the film's second clue and looked into what "Easter Egg" was in Latin ("Ovum patris tui"). Liking the concept the musical score was accompanied by a choir reciting the film's second clue in Latin with the chorus being "Father's egg, Easter egg, find me, come find me."