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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 following figures.

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 the escalator.

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 Worlds Chat.

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.

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997, All rights reserved.