The Palace User Software Guide for Windows
This section describes the general structure of the Palace User Interface:
The Palace has the following main window:
The Palace client interface
A large rectangular area known as the View Screen dominates the Palace interface. This is where all graphic action takes place. As you move from room to room within a Palace site, the View Screen is filled with a picture representing the background of that room. All avatars and props in the room appear superimposed on this background.
NOTE: Room Graphics and Download Time. Most Palace sites use at least one or two pieces of original art. When you enter the corresponding rooms, these pictures will be automatically downloaded into the Pictures folders located inside your Palaceroot\Media\PalaceName folders.
If you already possess the graphics for the room you are entering (i.e., if you've been there before) this transition is completely transparent and takes almost no time at all. If you enter a room you've never seen before, however, you'll have to wait for the room's background image to download; a process which generally takes 15 to 60 seconds on a 28.8k baud modem. While the image is downloading, the room's background will be black and a progress bar will appear in the bottom part of the View Screen, indicating the status of the download. Props and avatars, being smaller in file size, will usually become visible before the room's background pops into place.
|Connect To A Palace
This button is used to enter a Palace site. Clicking here will cause
a dialog box to appear asking for the address you wish to connect to. The last eight
Palace addresses you have visited will appear as choices in the drop-down listbox. If
the destination Palace Server is running on the same computer, you can connect directly
by pressing the Shift key while you click on this button. See Connecting to Palace Sites for more information.
Depending on your Dialup Networking settings, Windows may display
the Connection Operator; press the Escape key or click Cancel to abort the dialup and connect directly to your own Palace.
This button moves you back to the previously-visited room. If
you have just entered a new Palace site, this button may be used to return to
the previous Palace site as well (via the standard entrance -- not the room you
were last in). The hotkey combination for this command is Control-B.
This button returns you to the room you were in prior to doing a
Go Back. Like the Go Back button, it may be used to jump to another Palace site. The
hotkey combination for this command is Control-O.
This button causes your speech to be displayed in a
normal "talking" balloon.
This button causes your speech to be displayed in a spiky
balloon, useful for "shouting".
This button causes your speech to be displayed in a
rectangular "sign" balloon, which remains on the screen until
you say something else.
This button causes your speech to be displayed in a
cloud-like "thought" balloon.
This button opens and closes your Log Window, allowing you to read chat that has disappeared
from the View Screen. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-L. Note that
you can save the contents of your Log Window by selecting Log to File from the File Menu.
This button toggles your Sound List window open and closed. The Sounds window lists
all sounds in your Palaceroot\Media\Sounds folder, as
well as those in Palaceroot\Media\PalaceName\Sounds. This
means that different sounds may be available on different Palace sites. You can play a
sound by double-clicking on it or by selecting it and then clicking Play. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-Y. See Playing sounds for more information.
This button opens and closes your Choose an Avatar window, where you can change your expression
and face color. This window may be kept open while moving around in the Palace, so you can
change your appearance almost instantly. See Changing expression and color for more information.
This button opens and closes the room drawing tools, which is
a floating window containing a number of special tools for drawing directly on the
screen. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-D. See The room drawing tools for more information.
This button toggles all door outlines in the current room between
visible and invisible states. You can do the same thing temporarily by simultaneously
holding down the Control and Shift keys.
This button toggles all nametags in
the current room between visible and invisible (a nametag is a small label
attached to a person's avatar, indicating their user name). You can do the same
thing temporarily by simultaneously holding down the Alt and Control keys.
The Input Box
The long, thin box beneath the View Screen is known as the Input Box. This is where you type in anything you want to say (Palace members can enter Iptscrae commands from this box as well). To activate the Input Box, simply click anywhere in it; the box lights up and a cursor-bar appears, awaiting your input. You can toggle the program's focus back and forth between the Input Box and the View Screen by pressing the Tab key.
The area just between the Input Box and the View Screen is known as the Status Bar. The Status Bar typically displays the following information:
Under certain conditions the Status Bar will display error messages (when the connection is refused, for instance, or when the server goes down). The Status Bar may also be scripted (by the "operators" of a site) to display specific messages, greetings, marquees, and other text.
To the right of the Input Box are two icons: a suitcase and a trash can. These icons are used to activate features that operate independently of the windows.
This section describes the functions of all menu commands in the Palace interface.
The File Menu contains commands for entering and leaving the Palace. In addition it contains file-oriented commands, such as logging your conversations and saving your avatars.
Connect to a Palace
Use this option to bring up the Palace connect window, which you can use to sign on to a Palace site.
This command disconnects you from the current Palace site without exiting the program.
This command opens the Avatar window, allowing you to save your current avatar (or wear a different one).
Open Log File | Close Log File
This command toggles your log file open and closed. A log file records all chat text and commands received to a file on your hard disk. Note that this is not the same thing as your Log Window, which disappears as soon as you exit the Palace software.
Compress Prop File
As you travel from Palace to Palace, your prop file (palace.prp) acts as a "cache," storing copies of new props encountered along the way and speeding the display process for already-seen props. This causes the file to grow as you proceed. The Palace software automatically compresses the prop file once every two weeks, but if you're a serious Palace-hopper you may want to do this more often.
This command brings up a dialog box that allows you to set a password for using your Palace software. Do not forget this password -- once you've set it, you will be asked to supply it every time you launch the Palace software.
This command reloads your cyborg.ipt file -- the only Palace datafile you can edit while online. You can edit your cyborg.ipt file at any time with any ASCII word processor (running in another window), save it and return to The Palace software, but your changes will not become effective until you select Reload Script.
Enter Registration Code
This command allows you to enter in your unique membership key, giving you access to the members-only features of the Palace software. Note that membership is free. You obtain your registration code online at the Palace website (www.thepalace.com).
This command disconnects you from the current Palace site and exits the Palace software.
The Edit Menu contains the standard Windows-based editing commands, as well as the important Preferences window.
This command allows you to cut text from the Input Box. It can also be used for graphic functions, such as when working in the prop editor. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-X.
This command allows you to copy text from the Input Box or the Log Window. It can also be used for graphic functions, such as when working in the prop editor. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-C.
This command allows you to paste text into the Input Box. It can also be used for graphic functions, such as when working in the Prop Editor. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-V.
Paste Multiple Props
This command allows you to paste oversized graphics into the Prop window, where they are divided into individual props. The maximum size graphic that can be handled is 132 by 132 pixels.
This command clears the current contents of the Log Window. The Log File (if you are keeping one) is not affected.
Edit Profile Page
This launches your web browser and takes you to your Profile settings page. Here, you can update the settings on your user profile. See Profile pages for more information.
This brings up a dialog box allowing you to set the following options:
The Preferences window
The Preferences window has the following fields.
- User Name
This is the name that others will see attached to your avatar.
- Autoshow Names
Toggles the display of user names in the View Screen. You can make these names appear temporarily by holding down the Alt and Control keys. You can also toggle this option by clicking on the Show Names button in the Toolbox.
- Download Graphics
Instructs the Palace to request images for new rooms you enter. If this option is unchecked, new rooms will appear black in your View Screen.
- Show Tooltips
Determines whether or not Tooltips are displayed when the mouse pauses over a button in the Toolbox.
- Tinted Balloons
When checked, this option causes all cartoon balloons to appear filled with color (by default they are white).
- Allow Animation
This option allows you to view "animated props" (multiple-frame sequences of props which create the illusion of motion or action). If not checked, only the first frame of any animated prop sequence will be seen.
- Show Guests in User List
This option determines whether the User List will display the names of all users (both guests and members), or the names of members only.
- Change Font
Clicking on this button displays a standard Windows "font dialog box", allowing you to set the font (including typeface, size and style) used to display all Palace-based text (including all cartoon balloons, user names and hotspot names).
- Balloon Delay
Modifies the base length of time that cartoon balloons will be displayed. Three durations are available (Slow, Medium and Fast). Note that the duration of any message is based upon the length of the message itself, modified locally by this setting.
- Palace Starts With
All Palace addresses have two parts: a URL (domain name or numeric IP) and a port number. The two input boxes in this area allow you to enter this information so that you can connect to the specified Palace site. This area also includes some shortcuts to help make connecting even easier. The dropdown list on the left recalls the names of the last eight Palace sites you've visited; these can be selecting simply by clicking on them and then clicking Ok. You can also set a "Home Palace" which will be entered automatically whenever you launch the Palace software (just like a "Home Page" in your web browser). To do this, check the Home Palace field and type in the address and port number desired.
NOTE: Note that the port number (to the right of the server address proper) is set by the operators of the site in question: it is almost always "9998." If you cannot get into a known Palace site, contact the operators and make sure you're pointed at the correct port number.
The Options Menu contains various commands for controlling the behavior of the software, as well as several means of transportation throughout Palace sites.
This command, like the Show Names button in the Toolbox, toggles the display of user names in the View Screen. To make user names appear temporarily, hold down the Alt and Control keys.
This command toggles all sound on and off. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-S.
Play A Sound
This command opens your Sounds window. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-Y. You can also display or hide the Sound window by clicking on the Sound Window button in the Toolbox.
This command toggles between a maximized display and a windowed display.
This command moves you back to the previous room visited. You can do the same thing by clicking on the Go Back button in the Toolbox. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-B.
This command functions identically to the Go Forward button in the Toolbox, returning you to the room you were in prior to doing a "Go Back," The hotkey combination for this command is Control-O.
Select this option to open/close the User List window. The User List displays a list of all people logged into the current Palace site, and the names of the rooms they are in.
User List (Operator Mode) Clicking on a user's name in this window causes you to enter ESP Mode with that person: you may now speak to them just as though you were whispering, no matter where you both are in the Palace.
Clicking on the User column sorts the list alphabetically by user name. Clicking on the Location column sorts the list by room name.
To instantly teleport yourself to another avatar's location, double-click on its name, or select its name and then click Goto. Exception: rooms marked "Private" cannot be entered (except by operators and owners).
Note that the operator mode adds an additional Kill button.
The hotkey combination for this command is Control-F.
GoTo Site Page...
This launches your web browser and takes you to the site page of the Palace you are currently visiting.
Select this option to open/close the Room List window. The Room List displays a list of all rooms in the current Palace site, and the number of users in each room (regardless of their membership status).
Room List When opened, this list displays all non-hidden rooms in their "natural" order (that is, the order in which they appear in the server's Pserver.dat file). Operators and owners will see all rooms, hidden or otherwise.
Clicking on the Room column sorts the list alphabetically by room name. Clicking on the Users column sorts the list by number of users. To return the Room List to its initial order, close it and open it again.
To instantly teleport yourself to another room, double-click on its name. Exception: rooms marked "Private" cannot be entered (except by operators and owners).
The hotkey combination for this command is Control-G.
This command opens and closes the Toolbox. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-T. For more information, see earlier in this guide.
This command toggles the display of tooltips when holding the mouse over a button in the Toolbox.
This command opens and closes the room drawing tools window. You can do the same thing by clicking on the Draw window button in the Toolbox. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-D. See the following section on the Room drawing tools for more information.
This command toggles your Log Window open and closed. You can do the same thing by clicking on the Log Window button in the Toolbox.
This command brings up your Prop window. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-P. You can do the same thing by clicking on the suitcase icon at the bottom right of your window.
This command opens a dialog box asking for the operator (or owner) password. Operators and owners have special powers and capabilities beyond those of registered members; there are different operators and owners (and passwords!) at each Palace site. If the password is entered correctly, the Operator menu is added to your menu bar. The hotkey combination for this command is Control-W.
Use the options in the Bookmarks Menu to travel quickly and easily from Palace to Palace.
Add Palace to Bookmark
This command adds the current Palace address to the list in your Bookmarks window. Whenever a new bookmark is added, the Palace name appears beneath the separator bar at the bottom of this menu, enabling you to travel there with a click of the mouse.
This option displays the Bookmarks window. The Bookmarks window lets you select a Palace site to travel to without requiring you to disconnect or remember the URL. To travel to any Palace on the list, simply double-click on its name, or select the Palace desired and click Goto. To remove a Palace site from the list, select it and click Delete. To close the Bookmarks window, click either Close or on the small box in the upper left corner of the window.
This option brings up the Palace Channels Guide web page, which lets you access the latest and most exciting Palaces.
This command automatically launches your web browser and takes you to the Palace Site Directory on the Palace website.
List of Palaces
The Bookmarks menu lists Palaces owned by Communities.com, and all of your recently-visited and bookmarked Palaces. Select one of these to go to that Palace.
Select this option to bring up the Choose an Avatar window. See Changing expression and color for more information.
Select this option to bring up the Avatars window. See Saving and wearing your new avatar for more information.
Change Avatar Name...
Select this option to change your avatar name.
This menu appears when you enter operator or owner mode (select Operator Mode from the Options menu, then enter the operator or owner password). The Operator Menu provides access to a set of advanced functions beyond the needs and rights of typical Palace members. Operators and owners are the "managers" and "proprietors" of the various sites in the Palace network. Anyone with a Palace Server or Palace Personal Server (and an IP address) can open a Palace site and become its owner, and then give the site's operator password out to trusted individuals. Therefore, each Palace site has at least one owner, and most possess operators as well.
NOTE: The Operator Menu appears on your menu bar only if you are currently an operator or owner on the Palace site in question. To access this menu, select Operator Mode from the Options menu, and then enter the operator/owner password in the resulting dialog window.
The commands in this menu provide operators (or owners) with various "superpowers" in the form of special commands and authorial control over their Palace sites. Since proper utilization of these commands requires an in-depth understanding of the Server software, this topic is not treated here. For information on operator commands and the operator menu, see The Palace Operator's Guide.
The Plugins Menu includes an entry for each of your Palace Plugins -- small programs that enhance the functionality of the Palace software.
To appear in this menu, your Plugins must be installed in the
\Palace root folder\Plugins folder. This is where they are installed by default. However, if you wish, you can place them in \Plugins\Startup; this will cause them to launch automatically when you start the Palace software, instead of waiting for you to select them from the Plugins Menu.
The Help Menu consists of a number of links that, when clicked, will take you to the appropriate page at The Palace website. The topics covered include:
About the Palace
The following hotkey combinations are available to users:
The room drawing tools
The Palace client provides room drawing tools, where you can paint and draw in the room you are currently visiting. Both the room and the Palace site must have Painting privileges set on for you to do this. To access the drawing tools, click the Palette icon on your Toolbox, or select Draw from the Options menu.
The room drawing tools Everybody in the room sees whatever is painted. However, operators and owners can turn painting off in particular rooms, or on a site-wide basis. Some Palace operators consider painting to be a "nuisance" activity, and prefer to turn it off completely.
The prop editor
The prop editor lets you create and edit images for props and avatars. Like the room drawing tools, it has a set of drawing tools and a color palette. To access the prop editor, open your prop window (click the suitcase icon at the bottom right of your screen), and click New. Or, select an existing prop on your prop window, and click Edit.
The following picture shows the prop editor tools:
(Click this thumbnail to display the full size image.)
Some of these tools have special functions, or respond differently when certain key combinations are pressed. The following table describes the prop editor's tools.
|The Pencil Tool
|Use this tool for drawing or editing details. To
constrain the pencil to a straight line, hold down the Shift key while drawing. To
turn the pencil into a paint bucket, hold down the Alt key. To turn the pencil into
an eyedropper for picking up colors, hold down the Control key.
|The Eraser Tool
|Use this tool to create transparent areas. Note that
erased portions are transparent; they allow whatever is behind them to show
through. To "pour transparency" into solid-colored areas of your
prop, hold down the Alt key.
|The Selector Tool
|Use this tool to move or delete sections. Click
and hold down the mouse button down at one corner of the desired area, drag to the
opposite corner (with the mouse button still depressed), and release. The selected
area may now be moved around, or removed with the Delete key.
|The Line Sizer Tool
|Use this tool to change the pencil and eraser
size. The diagonal line in the center of this button indicates the current size
of the pencil and eraser. To increase the line size, click in the upper-right
corner of the button. To decrease it, click in the lower-left.
|Select the color you want activate; that is, the
one the pencil will draw with.
|Enter a name for the prop if desired. You can
then use this name in scripts. For Palace members the prop's name may be especially
important, since there are Iptscrae commands that can be used to manipulate props
as long as their names are known.
In addition, the prop editor has the following fields: