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Journeys in the Palace: Getting Lost in the Labyrinth
The Palace is a big place! Palace members have put up over 1,000
Palace sites full of interesting rooms. For a small fee, you can
also host a Palace site for a limited number of users. Visit The
Palace Inc.ís home page for details at: (http://www.thepalace.com).
Move that avatarís body!
Moving an avatar around is very simple: just click on the area
in which you want your avatar to be moved. Be careful of Hotspots,
or you may also fall into another room. You may also use the arrow
keys to make small vertical and horizontal avatar moves (note
that if the input box is currently active, the arrow keys won't
work this way; press Tab to toggle focus back to the view screen).
Jumping to a specific room
Another convenient way to move is to use the Goto Room command
(Command G for Mac users, or Ctrl+G for Windows users). This opens
the rooms window, which lists all the rooms (by name) under the
Palace site that you are currently visiting. Note that you will
only be able to go to rooms that are public and unlocked.
Joining a specific user
If you are looking for a particular user, you can use the Find
Somebody or Find User command (Command F for Mac users, Ctrl+F
for Windows users) to find them. This opens your window, and lists
all the users currently visiting a particular Palace site. Double-clicking
on the user's name will take you to the room where he or she is
located, or was located at the moment the command was issued.
As you'll see, people can move pretty quickly around The Palace!
Typing Command F (Ctrl+F on the PC) refreshes the display.
Hotspots and doors
By far, the easiest way to travel between Palace rooms and whole
Palace sites is to click on the hotspots, which are like
magic doorways built into Palace rooms. Hotspots are also sometimes
called doors. Some hotspots are obvious, as the image of
a slightly open door suggests that you could click there and go
through. Whole directories of links, like the one shown in the
following figure, let you visit many Palace sites by simply clicking.
An easy way to find hotspots is to move your mouse over the Palace
room. The mouse cursor will change to a pointing hand wherever
there is a hotspot. Clicking on the hotspot will send you into
a new room or Palace site. Note that using the arrow keys to move
onto a hotspot does not activate the hotspot .
Figure 6.10: pa2b.jpg
A Palace site links room.
So many sites, so little time
Of the over 1,000 servers in the chat cosmos of the Palace, the
vast majority are personal sites. A few companies have put up
beautifully adorned sites with elaborate themes. Cybertown (visit
it at http://www.cybertown.com)
created a spectacular spacey Palace site and some of its rooms
appear in the following figures.
Figure 6.11: pa5d.jpg
Cybertown Palaceís Space Bar.
Figure 6.12: pa5g.jpg
The Planetary Lizard Lounge.
Donít fall into the hotspot manhole!
Because you click to move your avatar and click to select a hotspot,
you can be innocently moving your avatar and accidentally click
into another room. This confusion is one of the less desirable
elements of the interface. It would have been better to let people
move their avatars with a click and drag operation and open hotspot
links with double clicks. This is how most other interfaces would
do it. Well, there is always room for improvement. If you feel
bad about accidentally falling into hotspot manholes in the middle
of conversations, donít; you arenít the only one