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Voyage on the Argo: Joining the Dreamscape Community
The Dreamscape is just one of many virtual worlds available through
WorldsAway software. With WorldsAway, you can explore many different
virtual worlds. The Dreamscape is the original, and is still the
largest of these worlds. Once you have WorldsAway running, you
can visit other worlds in the WorldsAway universe. Find out about
the latest worlds on the WorldsAway Web site at http://www.worldsaway.com.
This chapter will focus on the Dreamscape, but you will find that
after graduating from the Dreamscape, other worlds will be a snap.
The folks from Fujitsu have done a wonderful job designing the
Dreamscape, and thousands of Dreamscape citizens have made it
a place worth visiting. You will start your adventure by taking
a voyage on the good ship Argo.
Starting WorldsAway and entering the Dreamscape: All aboard!
Before starting up WorldsAway for CompuServe, you must make sure
you are connected with CompuServe Information Manager. If you
happen to be using the Internet version of WorldsAway, you must
establish your connection to the Internet. Once you are connected,
double-click on the WorldsAway program icon to start up the WorldsAway
application. The Internet version may require you to start your
web browser before connecting. Instructions on starting the Internet
version will be given at the end of the installation process.
Figure 8.7: wa00a.jpg
CompuServe dialer, Information Manager, and WorldsAway icons on a Win95 desktop.
On the Macintosh, you should be able to find the WorldsAway program
icon in its own folder. If you are using Windows 95 or Windows
NT 4, you can find WorldsAway on your desktop, or under the Start
menu (arrow) Programs (arrow)
WorldsAway. In Windows 3.1, find WorldsAway in its own
program group or look for the fjwa.exe file in the \fjwa directory.
The WorldsAway for the Internet may be found in the \wa20 folder.
Figure 8.8: wa0e.jpg
WorldsAway updates itself.
When you start up WorldsAway, you may see a dialogue box like
the one shown in the preceding figure. Donít panic, WorldsAway
is just updating itself (usually adding new artwork or program
code). If for some reason this update stops in the middle (your
connection may have been lost), just reconnect to CompuServe or
the Internet and restart WorldsAway, and the rest of the update
will come in.
Immigrating to Kymer: your voyage on the good ship Argo
To get to the Dreamscape, you first must travel on a virtual sailing
ship, the Argo. The Argo is your gentle passage to the
Dreamscape. Instead of just a parachute landing into this world,
you are given time to learn about how to move around, communicate,
and do things. Your patient guide on the Argo is Hermes, a teacher
parrot from the land of Morpheus. The Argo is taking you to the
mysterious island of Kymer, described as, ìthe ancient
island of reverie.î On that island is a city called Phantasus,
where you will find many other dreamers like yourself.
Figure 8.9: wa1a.jpg
Arriving on the deck of the Argo.
As you can see in this shot of the Argoís deck, that is
me, or rather my avatar, standing there and looking rather
like a plain-Jane. In WorldsAway, you start out with a simple
avatar like this one, and while on board the Argo (and later in
Kymer), you can choose a different body and head. Wait, that bird,
thatís the famous Hermes! What is he saying to me? I can
see his words in cartoon bubbles floating up above us both. He
is saying a whole lot of things between wing flaps. But is Hermes
a personówell, I mean, does Hermes represent
a real person? Nope, Hermes is one of those strange critters
you often find in virtual space called a bot, short for
robot. Hermes is built just to respond to your questions, rattle
off advice, and ask for a cracker or two!
Figure 8.10: wa1b.jpg
Hermes the bot. Awwwk!
Wait, Hermes just told me about a special gift behind the door
to the left. Are we on a game show here? Well, if it is a free
gift, then the price is right, so how do I go through that door?
Hermes is right there telling me to just click on the door. As
you can see in the following figure, clicking on anything in WorldsAway
brings up a little pop-up menu..handy! You will get used to this
Figure 8.11: wa1c.jpg
Oooh, the secret door; but how do I go in? Just click and find out.
Wow, the menu choices look pretty straightforward. I pick Pass
Through, and my avatar walks right on through the door (after
it opens of course, I would hate to get a black eye for everyone
to see in Kymer!). And inside?
Figure 8.12: wa1m.jpg
Creeek, the door opens!
Well, I went through, and I found my gift! But I donít
want to spoil it for you by telling you everything! Youíve
got to do it for yourself. All I can tell you is, donít
pass up that gift. Boy, did I find it to be valuable later on!
By the way, if you have a sound card and speakers on your computer,
you will hear all kinds of great sound effects, like the sounds
of the ship as it plies toward Kymer, and squawks from Mr. Hermes.
Before I go inside anyplace, I can ask about it and get a bit
of information read to me by the world itself?.
This is kind of like talking to yourself, except that the universe
talks back. This is the dawn of the New Age, is it not? Donít
worry about exploring various places in the Dreamscape, you canít
be killed, and wonít be trapped against your will.
Figure 8.13: wa4j.jpg
Click anywhere outside an object, get a pop-up menu, and go!
Well, I was getting anxious to start wandering around the Argo,
so I clicked my mouse on the deck, and got a pop-up menu like
the one in the preceding figure. Choosing this caused my avatar
to walk off to the right. The scene dimmed for a moment, and then
voilà, I was in a new part of the ship!
Figure 8.14: wa1e.jpg
I can choose a new body on the Argo promenade deck.
The world is talking to me, and telling me that I have to choose
my body, head, and name here on the promenade deck. What looks
like a twenty-first century Thai telephone booth turns out to
be the body changing chamber! I click on it and get the choices
of male/female, and then athletic/stocky and some other body type
(well, overweight then!).
Figure 8.15: wa1g.jpg
Gee, I like me, so I think I will stay thin.
Well, even though I am actually a man, I kind of like the idea
of trying virtual life as the other
gender. The avatar WorldsAway gives you in the Dreamscape is the
medium-build female. I also like the athletic body shape I was
given by the world (I am lanky and definitely not athletic in
the real world), so Iíll just stick with the way I started.
Buy that body! Signs near the body booth tell me that bodies on
the island of Kymer cost 1,000 tokens, so I am glad I could choose
mine now. Gee, tokensóit seems that there is an economy
in the Dreamscape!
Well darling, letís get you a new wardrobe!
Figure 8.16: wa1h.jpg
An ATM and head changer vendo are located on the promenade deck.
Rolling right along the promenade deck, I see two other interesting
machines. One turns out to be an ATM (short for Automated Token
Machine). Clicking on this allows you to withdraw money from the
private bank account you were given when you first came into WorldsAway.
As you will see later, you can earn more tokens for the time you
stay in the Dreamscape, through good old-fashioned wheeling and
dealing. I rush past the ATM to the head vending machine. Vending
machines, sometimes called vendos, offer you things to buy, and
are scattered all over Kymer. I really want a new head. No more
plain-Jane for me!
Figure 8.17: wa1i.jpg
Click on the vendo, and roll through the items inside.
Figure 8.18: wa1n.jpg
Bought that head is it worth two in the bush?
Figure 8.19: wa1o.jpg
Put that head on!
Clicking on the vendo lets me view each item inside, as shown
in the preceding figure. In two clicks, I found the head for me!
Buy that, I said, and was left standing, head in hand! This seemed
like a ridiculous situation, so I clicked on me to see if there
and found a lot, including one to wear what
I was holding. Bingo, I am getting ahead in this world! There
are a lot of options you can access by clicking on yourself. You
can turn your avatarís body, gesture (I just love jumping!),
put things you have into your pocket, check on your status (including
the tokens you have), and become a ghost (lurk in the background,
a useful skill I developed for parties in real life).
Figure 8.20: wa1p.jpg
I pick my avatarís name on the promenade deck of the Argo.
Figure 8.21: wa1q.jpg
Thatís me Digi!
Rolling along to the right, I come across the name registry where
I can pick my avatarís name. As always, I am DigiGardener,
a kind of ìJanet Appleseed,î
putting down roots in virtual space.
Figure 8.22: wa2a.jpg
Docking at the Port of Phantasus on Kymer; permission to go ashore, Captain!
Hermes again! We are pulling into the Port of Phantasus on the
isle of Kymer, and this is the last chance to make changes to
your identity before entering the city. If you really donít
like what you see, or think you missed a step, you can close WorldsAway
and restart it. You then will land back on the deck the Argo,
and can go through the previous steps again. Once you leave the
Promenade and enter Kymer it becomes very costly to change your
identity and takes 60 days for an old identity to ëexpireí.
Take a deep breath
Take a deep breath just before you go in.
You will be entering a living, breathing community of people.
Just because it is called a virtual community, that makes no difference.
You will be talking and sharing experiences with real people from
many cultures all over the world. I suggest that you take
a glance at the, ìWorldsAway Guidelines for Community Oriented
Behavior,î found in the FAQ at the end of this chapter.
The main thing to remember in any virtual world is the good-old
golden rule: treat others as you would like them to treat you
in return. Follow that one, and you canít go wrong.
Whoops, what if I canít get in!
If you find at any point that you cannot get into WorldsAway or
the Dreamscape, there may be a technical problem, such as a lost
network connection, or the world may be too full. I suggest that
you try again a little later.