See Copyright and Usage Notice
Fine-tuning Your World
There many options to fine-tune VP, allowing you
to configure your community server, general settings, and the
places where VP gets all its resources. It is possible to host
your own Virtual Places community but this is beyond the scope
of this book. I suggest you visit the virtual places home page
to find out more.
Configuring Virtual Places community servers
Figure 10.28 Vp7a.jpg
The Virtual Places Community Server dialogue.
A community server provides its community with co-presence
capabilities for the entire World Wide Web. For example, using
such a server on AOL, AOL members can meet on any Web page in
the world, chat, and go on guided tours of the Web together. People
may belong to multiple communities, depending on their interests.
You can configure a community server for each community of which
you are a member.
How the community server works
If Virtual Places can attach to an appropriate Web
browser, the following steps occur:
As the preceding figure shows, you can use the Community
Server dialogue to select from a set of servers or modify their
settings. Community server management is beyond the scope of this
book. Please see the VP home page about this topic and about hosting
your own VP community.
Setting Virtual Places preferences
Figure 10.29 Vp9u.jpg
The Preferences dialogue showing the General settings
The Preferences dialogue box (found under the Tools
menu) contains startup and general settings for Virtual Places.
There are two parts to this dialogue box: General and Directories.
The settings are described here.
Enter room automatically when I launch Virtual Places
or navigate: When selected (default), this enters your presence
into the room automatically as you navigate from room to room.
If deselected, your presence will be as an observer; when you
navigate to a new room, and you must explicitly enter each room
to participate. Note that if you are a passenger on a tour, you
will enter the room even if this option is not selected. This
prevents you from getting left behind on a tour.
Display IMs when they first appear in the Chat Pane:
When selected, Instant Messages, once answered by the recipient,
are displayed in the Chat Pane, rather than in a stand-alone window.
Load Virtual Places graphics automatically: When
selected (default), the avatars of people in the room are automatically
loaded. If deselected, the avatars are not loaded from the Virtual
Places server, and you must select Retrieve Picture from the shortcut
menu on someone else's presence.
Play gesture sounds: This determines whether you
want to hear accompanying sounds for gestures. Sound is not available
for default gestures.
Enable sending and accepting of files: This allows
you to send and accept avatars, gestures, and other files.
Duration of balloon text: This determines how long
the display of chat text is displayed in the Web browser window.
The options are: short, medium, and long, where short is four
seconds, medium is six seconds, and long is eight seconds.
Show me nnn observers in the People List: This determines
the number of observers displayed in the People Pane, where nnn
is the number of observers. The maximum number of observers allowed
Ignore all IMs: Select this to ignore all Instant
Messages and send the response message defined in the Response
Response Message: A message sent in response to an
IM received when Virtual Places is set to ignore all IMs. The
default message is: Not accepting IM at this time.
Default Community Server: The name of your default
community server (for example, vps1.arena1.aol.com). When you
open Virtual Places, it automatically connects to this community
Default Place: The initial URL displayed by the Web
browser when Virtual Places is launched, and when selecting Home
from the Go menu.
Directories preferences determine where Virtual Places
gets it resources.
Stock Avatar Gallery: The directory containing the
Virtual Places supplied graphics for your avatar. The graphics
in this directory are displayed in the avatar gallery when you
select stock when changing your avatar picture. The default is
Personal Avatar Gallery: The directory containing
graphics for your avatar which you have added. The graphics in
this directory are displayed in the Avatar Gallery when you select
personal when changing your avatar picture. The default is C:\vplaces\exts\gallery.
Tour Vehicle Gallery: The directory containing the
graphics for your tour. The graphics in this directory are displayed
in the Tour Garage when you change a tour graphic. The default
is C:\vplaces\exts\tours. Feel free to add GIFs of your own to
Gesture Gallery: The directory containing your animated
Community File Pathname: This is your Virtual Places
community list file name. This file contains the information you
enter when you configure your community servers in the Community
Servers dialog box.
License File Pathname: This is your Virtual Places
license file name. There should be no need for you to change the
location of your license file.
Favorite Places List File: This is your Virtual Places
list file name. This file contains a list of your favorite Virtual
Places as defined in the Places Directory dialogue box.
Hot Sites in VP Land
Figure 10.30 vp3f.jpg
Boy, these tourguides can sure take you to strange Web pages!
Because VP can use the whole World Wide Web as its
chat space, there are many, many places you can go with VP. The
following are some of the hottest spots in the VP Web cosmos.
Official VP Pages
Virtual Places Home Page at http://www.vplaces.com/vpnet/index.html.
VP Events page at http://www.vplaces.com/vpnet/schedule.html.
VPchat.com homepage at http://www.vpchat.com.
Ubique Home Page: the company that created Virtual
Places at http://www.ubique.co.il.
Talk! at Excite, a VP Powered chat site at http://talk.excite.com/.
The Amazing VP Everything Page at http://members.aol.com/avfactory/amazing.htm.
VP apartments and towns
Webtown@VP where you can get your own Web page apartment
for VP can be found at http://www.cyberclay.com/webtown/.
Webtown News is at http://freeweb.nethead.co.uk/Devalin/Webtown/news.htm.
CyberSurfer Studios offering the VP apartments in
Webtown at Restaurant City & Web Towers at http://www.restaurantcity.com/.
Avatar galleries and builders
VP maintains a listing of galleries at http://www.vplaces.com/vpnet/support/support2.html.
Anime Avatars is a great collection at http://www.cris.com/~lophy/avatars.htm.
Toriís Virtual Places Hut has quite an avatar
selection at http://members.aol.com/vphostjen/index.htm.
Heinekenís Homebrewed Avatars is another great gallery at http://www.execpc.com/~heiniken/avatars.html.
Spaceport VP transporter includes avatars at http://www.csnsys.com/lundberg/trans.htm.
At nFX, Virtual Places users can use the nFX Cartoon-O-Maticô
to create a personalized avatar at http://www.nfx.com/vp/vp_welcome.html.
The following Web sites are beautiful backdrops just
set up for a special event in VP.
Tru Realities VP Wedding Chapel is at http://trureality.com/vp-chap.htm.
Moonlit scene for romantic avatars is at http://trureality.com/vp-mnlt.htm.
Stuís Tent City has a great links page and
plenty of VP chat room backdrops at http://members.aol.com/stustc/index.htm.
Anjel and Inkees Front Porch is a great scene and
can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9364/A-I.HTM.
100-Acre Chat Room is a great setting at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/3973/100acre.html.
díAngelouís Opera house is at http://www.cyberclay.com/webtown/opera/opera.htm.
Auto Garage, the latest in automotive technology
can be found at http://www.pwrtc.com/~hawk/autochat/autochat.html.
Wiz Raven's Realm at: http://www.alb.de/home/silo/
General VP pages with avatars, gestures, tours, and more
The Virtual Hangout and VPlace
is a fantastic source of information and resources about VP; locate
it at http://members.tripod.com/~santressv/index.html.
A note from Santress V (Joanne Ascunsion), creator
The Virtual Hangout was first started in 1995 as an idea inspired by some very kewl VeePsters. It started out as a need for a place to hang outówell, an alternative place to the dreaded start page for VP anyway. The AV gallery idea was inspired by Shari who wore the wonderful Gen13 Sarah Rainmaker avatar.
(Thank you, Shari, it was you who started it all!)
I dedicate this page to all my wonderful VP friends whom I met
over the years, especially the old VP crew. I remember the time
when there was just a handful of us (yes! you can count ëem).
May all your dreams come true, wherever you are.
Predawnia Gallery is a super VP resource at http://www.predawnia.com/gallery/index.html.
Spellsingerís Place is at http://best-com.com/target.htm,
and is a great help facility for VP and links to just about
everything concerning VP, and avatar galleries.
Stormsingers Virtual Place also has avatars, gestures,
tours, and awards and can be found at http://members.gnn.com/stormsingr/index.htm.
Links pages to other VP sites
Stuís VP Links (in Webtown) is pretty complete,
and it is at http://members.aol.com/stustc/vplinks/vplinks.htm.
Digiís Diary: For you Adults, Virtual Theaters for our
Figure 10.31 Vp9j.jpg
Front row seats in the Auditorium.
Just like in your America Online chat rooms, Virtual
Places is bringing the concept of a chat auditorium to you. When
I was writing this chapter, this feature was just about to be
launched. I stumbled into an empty auditorium with a few avatars
sitting around in the plush seats of the front row saying, ìso
what are we going to see?î I being the extrovert that I
sometimes am, jumped onto the stage to play Johnny Carson (boy,
am I showing my age) in a kind of avatar Tonight Show. A few jokers
jumped onto the stage with me, the cool baby (see the following
figure) and we improvised. Hey, isnít that what virtual
theater is all about, anyway? Vaudeville probably started with
a few jokers playing around in an empty music hall.
Put on a show, play around, go wild, express yourself,
fall over a few times, do a little shtick, get tragic, let it
all hang out! Dr. Seuss, author of childrenís books, described
adults as ìobsolete children.î Maybe we adults (or
overly serious kids
I know, I was one) can loosen up a bit
in these virtual worlds. If we canít play, we canít
be creative or enjoy life. Avatar living may be one of the only
places you can really escape to play.
I picture thousands of white collar employees in
their cubicles sneaking into their favorite virtual world when
the boss isnít around. Maybe one day youíll meet
Dilbert in a virtual world. Dilbert as an avatar, what a concept!
Dilbert is a popular comic strip from the U.S. who seems to embody
late 1990s corporate life. In fact, the content of Dilbert strips
and all of the characters (the consultant Dogbert, Ratbert, the
bumbling boss, the evil human resources manager Catbert) are a
kind of theater of the absurd for the modern office worker. Thousands
of e-mails pour into Scott Adamsí mailbox (Dilbertís
creator) from white collar workers everywhere. Scott then fishes
out the best humor and story ideas and puts them into strips.
In a sense, Dilbert is a true avatar virtual world. The comic
strip lives of Dilbert and all the other characters are driven
through e-mail by the real lives of thousands of office workers.
So, go back to that cubicle armed with the knowledge
that life itself is a theater of the absurd. The next time you
jack in to a virtual world, this is a great way to approach it.
After all, most of the citizens of these worlds are kids who know
how to be absurd, and who keep saying ìget a life.î
A course in crazy
Forgot how to get crazy? Pick up a copy of Scoop
Niskerís Crazy Wisdom, and learn the wisdom of the
fool. (Nisker, Wes ìScoop,î
Crazy Wisdom (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1990).
). Yes, Scoop is Wesí nickname!
Nisker can answer your question: ìhow do I behave in avatar cyberspace?î with some pretty crazy wisdom. It is, after all, a crazy place, somewhere between a dream and a hallucination. Good advice from Nisker might be to not take yourself so seriously during your digital and personal brief allotment time on this planet.