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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: (

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 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 .

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.