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Tours of Passport Worlds
Figure 11.19 ch2c.jpg
Float around the Octagon.
The Octagon is a floating pavilion, which is a gateway to many other worlds. I visited it in search of a guide to take me around the Black Sun universe.
Kerri takes me to PointWorld
Kerri, a medieval damsel avatar, turned out to be my guide for the day. As I was dressed as a dashing medieval bard, we were a great match!
Figure 11.20 ch3b.jpg
I Establish a good connection with Kerri.
Kerri is from Illinois, and is an old hand at the Black Sun landscape. I wanted to know where the most action was, and she said it was in PointWorld, the oldest and still the most frequented spot hosted by Black Sun.
Figure 11.21 ch3c.jpg
Kerri shows me the door to the old PointWorld.
Kerri helped me navigate down into the center of the Octagon, where there were doors to many worlds. Navigation in Passport is based on the VRML plug-in browsers, which were not originally built with virtual worlds in mind. Getting around can be awkward, and I found it very hard to follow Kerri. I even shot past her and outside of the Octagon once. I hope that the navigation will improve, and become as easy as it is in game worlds such as Doom or the original Worlds Chat.
We found a doorway to PointWorld (actually a brick wall), and by holding my mouse over it, I saw that I could enter PointWorld here. Clicking on this wall started to load PointWorld, and we soon found ourselves there.
Figure 11.22 ch3e.jpg
I'm here with Kerri in PointWorld.
PointWorld is a cool digital plain with a lot of objects that link to other worlds. I thanked Kerri, and she left me to tour around on my own. I invited her to join the friends list in my Home Chat line so that I could chat with her if I ever found her online again.
Emperor P'ter and his New Year's bash
The true power of Black Sun's approach is apparent when you see the large number of worlds built by users. This open approach even allows users to design their own avatars. One example is a 13-year-old called Emperor P'ter, who I met in his world on New Year's Eve of 1996. Since I was pretty much stuck writing this book (even on New Year's Eve!), I decided to see what was going on online. Emperor P'ter had been wandering in the heavily populated Entry Plaza recruiting people to come to his world for the stroke of midnight (in various time zones). Emperor P'ter had built his own world out of VRML 1.0, and had made his own avatar (which looked like a flaming king about to run you through). In the world, he had set a table with champagne and glasses and a clock that actually told real time. You can see it all in the following figure. He attracted a whole stream of guests, offering them champagne, and pointing them to the clock. As he was explaining, someone had come in disguised as a table ìhis av is a table thing.î If you want to be a spy in a virtual world, just come in looking like the furniture!
Figure 11.23 ch5g.jpg
Emperor P'ter holds court in his own castle.