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Have Avatar, Will Travel: Touring
the Space Station
Worlds Chat is not quite as
big as the station in Deep Space Nine, or the movie 2001,
A Space Odyssey, but you can get seriously lost here. You
may have to ask around a few times, but chances are you will find
another avatar who will be happy to help you get around. In Worlds
Chat, you cannot do much more than chat or explore, so giving
or receiving a guided tour is one of the biggest activities here.
I was lucky this time; the first person I ran into, Guest 420
who I nicknamed Blue Bear, and turned out to be a student from
South Carolina, was happy to show me around. I hadnít been
in Worlds Chat for months, and there was much more there.
Blue Bear took me out of the
hub through the sliding door (just crash your avatar against doors
and they usually open) and down the hall, as you can see in the
Figure 5.30: wc2a.gif
We follow our tour guide out of the hub.
Figure 5.31: wc2b.gif
We wander the hallways around the hub.
I could hear the throbbing
sounds of the space station machinery running (make sure your
sound and music are on by clicking on the Options menu). By looking
out of the window in the hallways, you can see the pods of the
space station stretching out into the deep, starry void. Other
cybernauts are careening down the hallways around the hub. Blue
Bear then raced me to the door of the nearest escalator, which
opened and sucked him in (see the following figure).
Figure 5.32: wc2c.gif
Going through the sliding door into an escalator can be scary!
I paused for a moment and
then raced through, joining a Goldilocks avatar on the way up
Figure 5.33: wc2d.gif
Whew! Sailing up the escalator with Goldilocks.
Arriving in the pod, I found
Blue Bear and others engaged in conversation.
Figure 5.34: wc2l.gif
Arriving in a pod.
I noticed a shimmering doorway
and asked Blue Bear, ìwhatís that?î He and
I both tried to enter, but were bounced back and given the message,
Access to this area requires an upgrade to Worlds Chat 1.0 Gold,
and given the Web site of Worlds Inc. to order it. ìDrat!î
I said, but thought that it was very good marketing. Worlds Chat
and the other virtual worlds are often supplied free to users,
so the companies who put the work into creating and running them
have to entice us to buy their gold versions to make a living.
Please see the section, ìGoing Gold, the Good Life as a
Registered User,î later in the chapter.
Figure 5.35: wc2e.gif
We try to get through a shimmering doorway.
Gullibleís Travels Continued
Thanking Blue Bear, I set
off to explore on my own. Going back down the escalator from the
pod, I discovered another doorway in the hallways around the hub.
Figure 5.36: wc2g.gif
I find an elevator, and approach to go in.
This turned out to be an elevator
called ìWater Lift.î I got in and pushed what seemed
to be the down button.
Figure 5.37: wc2h.gif
I click on the floor selector to go down.
Sure enough, I went down and
emerged into tunnels in the engineering deck below the hub.
Figure 5.38: wc2i.gif
Exploring the tunnels in the engineering deck under the hub.
I explored these mysterious
areas for awhile and struck up some conversations. This area reminded
me of a ship in the Alien movies, and I was constantly
watching out for horrible space monsters or eggs. Someone suggested
that I try the observation deck above the hub, and showed me how
to click directly on the map and teleport there (see following
figure). I could not find the elevator anyway, so this was my
only way out.
Figure 5.39: wc4j.gif
Click on the map to teleport up to the observation deck.
After wandering around awhile,
I found the observation dome, and what a sight! I knew that I
would want to return to this area, so I created a Placemark to
it (see the following figure). A placemark is like a bookmark
in Web browsers; if you click on it, you will be taken back to
exactly the same spot in a virtual world. Note that Placemarks
are only available to registered users of the gold version of
Figure 5.40: wc3e.gif
Wow, I love the observation deck; add a placemark to it.
The observation deck had a
strange featureóa force field which would not let me pass.
Figure 5.41: wc3d.gif
I hit a force field.
Another odd thing was that
other avatars were floating off in deep space near the observation
deck, so I asked how they could spacewalk in this way, and I
was told that they simply jumped off the station.
Figure 5.42: wc3f.gif
How did these people spacewalk?
I came upon a couple of avatars
attempting to do just that. I got in line and tried my best to
run at the railings, but just could not do it. Perhaps you will
have better luck! It is good that there are some tricks on board
that require some skill to master, as this adds to the appeal
of Worlds Chat. There may be other tricks yet to be discovered.
Figure 5.43: wc3h.gif
Avatars attempt to jump off the station and spacewalk.