Frequently Asked Questions



PART II How To Use The Palace


PART III Etiquette and New User Info




What IS The Palace?

The Palace is a metaverse, an entertainment enabling technology which makes possible a multimedia, graphically shared environment. It can best be described as a 'multimedia chat architecture'. You can see, chat and interact with anyone else who is on the same 'Palace server'. You have complete control over your appearance (known as your "Face" or "avatar") -- it might be a picture of your face or Bugs Bunny's head. You can move through different "rooms" on that server and interact with games or other elements of the programmable environment.

The way it works is most similar to the World Wide Web: there are clients (The Palace software) and servers (the PServer). Both are TCP/IP compliant, just like Web browser clients and Web servers. When a Palace client jumps to a Palace server URL, the client presents a virtual environment in which other avatars who are also on that server are visible -- you can talk to them, interact with them, etc. -- as well as The Palace environment on that server.

Just like the Web, you can jump from server to server seamlessly, moving from one Palace environment to another by moving your Face through a "hyperdoor" which acts much like an HTML hyperlink. Thus, it is an open distributed architecture -- there is no centralized server or authority. Again, it is similar to the proven World Wide Web model of a fluid, open and atomic structure. Like Web Pages, Palace sites are fully configurable and modifiable. There are many servers -- just like the Web -- and The Palace server runs on Windows, Mac UNIX and NT machines. Each Palace site can have its own individual look and flavor. Authoring tools are included with the Pserver software -- making a Palace site is extraordinarily easy -- mostly point and click. A scripting language (called IPTSCRAE) allows you to build your own functionality into your Palace site -- much like Perl CGI scripting does for Web pages (or how Java allows functional expansion of Web pages). By using this built-in expandability, The Palace Creators have created a chess and checkers game which two or more people can play over the Net (you can see this for yourself in the Mansion Palace).

Like many MOOs and MUDs, the most important part of the experience is the ability of the server's visitors to modify the environment they find, so that there is a continual ebb and flow of new things and ideas; an ever-changing evolution of a site by its visitors. Not only can visitors upload new objects into the environment, but the Pserver operator may elect to give visitors privileges to re-author or augment the site while they visit! (The Pserver operator has full control over what is and what is not permissible). The strength of many MOOs and MUDs is the vibrant additions of the users: for example, there have been fully functional chess games, manned with 'bot opponents, left behind by visitors in text-based environments (such as LambdaMOO). The Palace architecture leaves this strength intact, while augmenting it with the ability to now include visuals and sounds.

The Palace is also seamless with the Web -- URL hyperlinks can be embedded in the virtual environment of The Palace, invoking Netscape with the proper URL when clicked on. Conversely, Palace URL's can be embedded in HTML documents. Because both are TCP/IP clients, movement between browser and Palace environments is fluid and immediate. We expect there will be a lot of crisscrossing between the two environments during actual Palace client use. Certain Palace items lend themselves better to an HTML treatment -- for example, the contents of a book on a night stand -- whereas the Web has things like "Webchats" which would be far better in a Palace environment. The two technologies compliment one another in many ways like this.

Does it Work on the internet?

Of course! That's the point! It is fully TCP/IP compliant.

Can I make My OWN Palace site?

YES! Just as web sites are highly personalized, your Palace site can be anything you want it to be! You have full control over the look of everything in your Palace site, and extremely easy authoring tools let you point and click through the steps required for authoring. There is a scripting language which makes your Palace site functionality extensible.

As an example of how easy authoring is: several server operators have created 20-room environments in under an hour (the most work goes into assembling or creating the artwork you want to use!)

What platforms does it run on?

There are both clients and servers for the Mac and Windows platforms, as well as a 32bit server for Windows 95 and NT; personal and commercial servers are available for several different versions of Unix (see Palace Products for more info).

Can I run my Palace server on a PC or Mac?

YES! Palace servers run very well on these platforms; the communications architecture has been tightly optimized such that exchanges between clients and servers are extremely small. All you need to run an effective server is a Mac or PC with a TCP/IP connection to the Internet. Both the Mac and Windows PServers are capable of supporting up to 40 simultaneous users comfortably.

The question "how many concurrent users will a Pserver support" is a difficult one to answer because the answer changes based on several factors. In general, the more connection bandwidth, memory and processing power your computer has, the better performance you're going to get out of your server. You should really have at least a 28.8 connection for anything over 15 concurrent users (on a Mac or Windows). The other half of the server performance equation comes down to what your guests are doing on it: for example, if several people are connected who do not have the background pictures for your site, then they will be simultaneously downloading (assuming they have dynamic picture downloading enabled on their Palace client software) and your server performance will degrade sharply for the duration of that download (speech balloons will come up slower, movement between rooms will be sluggish, etc.)

The Palace Team's design philosophy has been to empower people to be their own servers, sort of the 'masters of their own house'. To support this, we decided it was very important to be able to serve from a PC or Mac environment -- something you wouldn't normally expect. There are some limitations to this, as described above, but giving you the ability to serve up your own Palace site from your desktop over a SLIP or PPP connection, supporting 40 concurrent guests -- well, the creators decided the limitations were minor compared to that. (There is another issue: you usually aren't logged in to your SLIP or PPP provider all the time, so how do your guests know you are there when you do come up? How do they know when you go away? See the next section for a discussion on this topic).

Large numbers of concurrent users (anything over 40) will require some more processing power. The UNIX Pserver is now available to handle larger numbers of concurrent users. UNIX servers will handle the above problems markedly better, especially if they are using a high-bandwidth connection such as a T1 or T3 leased line. There is really nothing different about dynamic picture downloading and what your web browser does when it comes to a new page; however, because this is a shared environment, it may behoove you as a server operator to provide the pictures for FTP download. This will allow your guests to get the pictures "offline" and will provide them with a much speedier and satisfying Palace experience when they do connect in real time.

Do I have to keep my server running all the time?

You don't have to keep your Palace server up at all times. This is very different from Web servers, which as a rule are up 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

The Palace Real-time Directory allows others with Palace software to locate your Palace server. One of the strengths of The Palace server is that other people can find you even if you're up sporadically. This is because The Palace Real-time Directory (kind of a Palace "yellow pages" or a Palace "Yahoo") is dynamic: As soon as a Palace server comes up anywhere on the Internet, it sends a message to The Palace Real-time Directory which in turn automatically adds The Palace server to the Directory for the duration of that Palace server's time online. This allows servers to come up and go down dynamically.

How Does the Palace work with the web?

The Palace architecture is seamless with the Web; Web pages may link to Palace sites; likewise, Palace environments may contain Web elements. You can embed URLs in a Palace site, or Palace URLs in a website. The Palace website contains a Palace URL link to the Palace server (on the Palace page, check out the "Enter Here" icon link to see this in action).

For example, within a Palace environment, there may be a book on a table -- anyone who clicks on it is immediately launched into Netscape which displays the pages of the book. Conversely, Web pages may contain hyperlinks which are Palace hotspots, causing the user to be launched into Palace content on that server (or on another server on the Net).

Palace technology and World Wide Web technologies are complimentary.

Can I link my Palace sites to Other palace sites?

OF COURSE! You can create of Palace links just like the Web links of today. You can link Palace sites to Web sites, or Web sites to Palace sites, or Palace sites to Palace sites.

This kind of thing lets you create "hyperdoors" in your Palace site which your visitors can step through to go to a room on another Palace server elsewhere on the Internet. You can also expect that others will create hyperdoors to rooms in your Palace site.

How will people find my palace site?

The Palace Real-time Directory contains a full dynamic list of known Palace sites on the Internet. It serves the same function as Yahoo does for Web sites: you can find other people's palace sites and they can find yours. Sooner or later, people will start linking their Palace sites together on their own, or composing Palace site hotlists on Web pages.

How does the Palace compare to Worlds Chat or AlphaWorld?

The Palace and Worlds Inc./ AlphaWorld are both really different kinds of things.

This is a very frequent question. You'll find that the kind of social interaction you have in a Palace environment and in a Worlds or Alpha World environment is very different. This arises from the fact that the Worlds approach is 3D and The Palace approach is not. The only real way to understand this is to try both environments back to back.

The Palace approach provides a very customizable, quick, and speedy social environment. The emphasis is on, "What allows people to socialize in Netspace the best?". The Palace emphasis is on speed, high customization, and real-time shared experiences. Your Face or avatar is a graphic which can be absolutely anything. You can change it easily and quickly. You can change it several times in one Palace session -- and everyone else in there sees the change instantly (this lets you do many funny and interesting things on the fly). Because the environment consists of pictures, these too are highly customizable and download very quickly (about the speed of a web page download). This approach fundamentally allows the easy addition of new elements which are again very easy to use and experience, are fast, and expand on the theme of social interaction (like the Chess and Checkerboard, or the drawing tool which allows for a shared chalkboard). The Palace approach 'goes with the grain' of your inherently 2D display, exploiting it to create as rich a social experience as possible.

The other Palace emphasis is on distributed architecture. The Palace is distributed throughout the entire Net and is made 'in the image of the Web'. You run your own Palace server site. This also distributes the processing load throughout the entire Internet, giving The Palace a great scalability. You can expand the functionality using the scripting language Iptscrae provided with the server. It really is your own little world, because you control every aspect of it.

How Does the Palace compare to VRML, Java, or Shockwave?

Some other multimedia or virtual reality elements which have recently come on the scene as additions to web browsers are very powerful and share a resemblance to some of the outward appearances of The Palace. These technologies, however, are enhancements to Web browsers -- they do not support several key architectural requirements that a virtual shared space must have. For example: VRML allows you to move in a 3D environment ... by yourself (see below for a discussion of VRML+). There are no other people in there with you! Java and the Netscape / Director integration are essentially the same: complex multimedia can play back locally on your system, but there is no interaction with others on that same server. THERE IS NO REAL-TIME INTERACTION WITH OTHER PEOPLE! This is the key difference.

VRML+ is a proposed extension to VRML to allow it to support real-time interaction with other people. It is not yet publicly available. It is a 3D environment, like VRML, but with the addition of supporting the viewing of other avatars within the virtual space. It will probably not allow you great control over how you appear -- for example, highly customized avatars which support instantaneous viewing by others in the space will probably not be possible, etc. You will also be limited in what kinds of 3D space you specify for creating a new space, being constrained to the pre-fab shapes and patterns which VRML+ recognizes.

Why isn't The Palace 3-D Like AlphaWorld or Doom?

There are several reasons why The Palace is not 3-D. The primary reason is that The Palace is first and foremost meant to be the best online social space possible -- it is not meant to be an imitation of reality. 3-D works great in a game like DOOM but presents certain problems in a shared virtual social space: you can't always see people that are in a room with you; you have to 'walk' between spaces that are far away from one another, instead of just 'going there'. In short, projecting 3-D into the inherently 2-D universe of the computer monitor leads to some distortions and bad metaphors which are not best served by a 'faux 3-D' environment.

A 3-D environment would destroy the 'browseability' of moving easily from Palace server to Palace server across the distributed environment of the Internet. Each time you come to a new server, there is new information to be downloaded to your computer -- if the Palace were 3-D, the amount of that information would be staggering, taking several orders of magnitude longer to download for an experience that is not fundamentally richer.

There are other reasons why not: the communications between client and server would be richer and therefore more complex and slower, the creation of Palace sites would be much harder, and uploading objects and avatars would be much more difficult. Also, the "programmability" of interaction in such an environment would be greatly complicated. Our focus has been on enabling clear, rich interaction across the Internet.

The design philosophy is that for The Palace, 3-D misses the point of our shared environment, which is that upload is as important as download. Making The Palace in 3-D would limit user contributions, which we feel is the wrong answer. As The Palace grows and progresses, there may be ways to implement it later on that are not obvious now and which do not adversely impact user contributions.

What Is Iptscray?

IptScrae (pronounced "ipt-scray," just like the pig-latin word for "script") is a programming language that can be used to create special event-handlers which can be attached to doors, hotspots and props. In the right hands, iptScrae is a powerful feature that can be used to make The Palace a very interesting place. See The iptscrae appendix at the end of this faq for more about iptscrae.

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How do you see people's names?

On the Mac, hold down Cmd-Option, or select "Show Names" on the options menu. You can make names show permanently on the Mac via the Options menu.

On the PC, hold down Ctrl+Alt, or select "Show Names" in the preferences settings. You can make names show permanently on the PC via the Preferences.

How Do you see doorways and links?

On The PC, hold Ctrl+Shift. On the Mac, just press Ctrl.

What do the numbers (12/62) on the status bar mean?

The first number is the number of people in the room, the second number is the the number of people on the server (in all the rooms).

How Do I make a Thought Balloon?

You can make a thought balloon like so:

    :hmmmm... sounds interesting

How do I make other Interesting Balloons?

Try these other ones:

    !This One is Excited!

    ^Out To Lunch

    @Hi There

Why is my text in italics? And how come everyone is ignoring me?

If you click on someone's head, you enter into a private conversation with that person. Only you and that person see what you type, and it appears in italics. This is called "private chat" or "whispering". To cancel it, click on the status bar where it says "You are talking to so and so, click here to cancel".

Can I talk to people in other rooms?

YES! By selecting the Options menu on the top bar and selecting Find User. Click on the person's name and then begin to type the message. The message will only appear for that person. To end a message, click on that user's name above the text box to turn it off. To go to the location of that user, double click on the user's name in the Find User box.

How do I make sounds?

To make a sound, type a right parenthesis followed by the name of the sound, like so:



)applause He shoots! He scores!

What other sounds are there?

You can find out what sounds you have by looking in the sounds directory. Each sound is a separate file. The current list is: amen, applause, belch, boom, crunch, debut, fazein, guffaw, kiss, no, ow, pop, teehee, wet1, wind, yes

The most popular sound on the palace is probably )wind, which is a recording of the multi-talented Mark Jeffrey. The less popular )wet1 is the multi-talented Jim Bumgardner.

How do I add sounds?

Sounds are 22 khz, 8-bit mono WAV files. If you want others to hear them, they too must have the file(s)

How Do I make The Palace talk?

At the moment, only Mac users can hear The Palace talk. You'll need the Apple Speech Manager (PlainTalk 1.4.2) on your mac. Use the "Speak As" command on the Options menu to select a voice. PlainTalk can be obtained from www.info.apple.com.

How do I find the other people?

Use the "Find User" command on the options menu.

Can I see what rooms there are?

Sure, use the "Goto Room" command on the options menu.

I missed what someone said. Can I see it anyways?

Use the "Show Log" (Mac) or "Log Window" (PC) command on the options menu.

How do people change their appearance so quickly?

See the Macro Section in the PROPS appendix. (Appendix III)

How do I zap people, and do other cool things I've seen people do?

Zapping and other magic requires that you a) register your copy of the palace, and b) become a student of the ways of the palace. You will need to become familiar with the arcane art of iptscrae scripting in order to zap people. More on this in the iptscrae appendix.

How do I register?

Register by calling 1-800-palace-2 in the US, or 510-275-9786 for International Service. If phone is not convenient for you, you can now pay by fax or Check. For fax registration, print and fill out the Fax Form and fax to 510-275-1190. You must be paying with a credit card to register via fax. To register via a check or money order, print and fill out the Mail Form and mail it with a check or money order for $25 (US funds only!) to:

The Palace Inc.
P.O. Box 5444
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Make the check or money order payable to The Palace Inc. It will take about a week to receive your registration number when paying by check.

What format are the background pictures in?

The pictures are 512 x 384 GIFs that use a specific 236 color palette. You can get a copy of the palette by loading the picture PGATE.GIF into your favorite paint or image processing program (e.g. Photoshop). This palette is used to insure that Props always look the same on 256 color systems.

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PART III-New User Information & Etiquette Guide

Welcome to the Palace.

This document offers some information for first time visitors, to the Main Palace site, and other servers running at the ip address mansion.thePalace.com.

This document does not provide instructions on how to operate the software. You can find such information in the documents and FAQs at the palace website, see below.

The Website

The best place to go for information about The Palace is the palace website, which can be found at http://www.thePalace.com

This contains the following useful areas, among others:

The Main Palace Site

There a few different palace sites running on the machine mansion.thePalace.com. These sites are hosted by The Palace Inc.

Each site runs on a different port number. These sites are:

The Main Site ("The Palace")

The "Main Mansion" running at port 9998, 9999, and 10000 (hereafter called Main) currently has the largest user population of any palace site. All the other sites have far fewer users (and less lag as well, see below).

The Main Site (and the Member's Palace) is moderated, and has a small set of "House Rules" posted at the front gate. The house rules state that no "obscenity, harassment or general obnoxiousness" is permitted. Users who violate the house rules may be kicked off by the moderators of the site, who are called "wizards". More about wizards below.

Member's Palace

The member's palace is similar to the Main site, however only members (and not unregistered users, or "Guests") are allowed on this site.

Haunted Palace

The Haunted Palace is a themed palace which features a spookier atmosphere.


The main palace site is sometimes (especially in mid-afternoon to early evening hours in the united states) subject to sluggish response, usually referred to by palace members as "Lag". There are various factors that may contribute to lag, including:

  • The server software itself may be slowing due to the large number of users on the server. In these cases, everybody will be experiencing problems. You can find better performance on one of the other servers mentioned above.
  • A user or users may be flooding the server with excessive text and props. If you notice this, your best recourse is probably to leave the room.
  • The internet service provider in use by The Palace Group may be experiencing technical difficulties. In these cases the problems will tend to be more dramatic (for example, everyone on The Palace site gets kicked off simultaneously, or no one can sign on for a period of an hour). These kind of occurrences only happen once or twice a month, typically.
  • Your own server provider, or some other part of the Internet may be experiencing heavy traffic or technical problems. If you are experiencing lag, but few of the other people are, than your ISP is probably to blame. If this happens to you frequently, you may want to try to find a better internet service provider. People sometimes ask if getting a faster CPU or more memory will help - it won't. But getting faster and more reliable Internet access will.
  • You may have a slow modem. If you are using a modem slower than 28.8, we recommend that you upgrade to a faster one. A slow modem won't greatly effect normal palace activity, but will slow the time it takes to get from room to room and other activities that involve bulk data transfers.

Basic Palace Etiquette

In addition to the basic house rules, mentioned above, there are some basic rules of etiquette that we recommend you follow. Violating these rules of etiquette won't necessarily get you kicked off, but following them will help make yours and everyone else's palace experience far more pleasant.

  • In a public room, act as you would in public restaurant or bar (In a private room, feel free to act as you would at home).
  • The Palace is not a video game. Don't treat people as objects.
  • Remember that not everyone on the palace is the same age, or has the same opinions as you.
  • Don't wear an avatar (prop) that you would not be comfortable displaying on a t-shirt in real life.
  • Allow people their space. Don't get too close, and don't pester.

Dealing with Abuse

If a user is using language in a way that offends you personally, you can mute them. Do do this type `mute followed by the person's name. For example

`mute John Doe

This will make is so you can't hear what the person is saying. You can unmute using the following command.

`unmute John Doe

If you feel that someone is stalking or following you, and you do not wish to be followed, you can hide from the person by typing

`hidefrom John Doe

This doesn't make you invisible to the stalker, but it makes it so you don't appear in that person's user list. If you jump to a random room, that person will a harder time finding you, and won't be able to send you private messages from other rooms. `unhidefrom has the obvious effect.

With the Above Commands, you can Whisper the command to execute the command on them. For instance, to mute John Doe, you can whisper `mute to him.

You can prevent anyone from sending you private messages by typing

`private off

You can prevent anyone from sending you remote private messages (or esps) by typing

`esp off

If the above methods prove to be unsuitable, then we recommend paging the wizards, see below.


The moderators of the main site are called "wizards". The term wizard also refers to anyone who has permission to use the authoring and moderator features on any Palace server, but here we are referring specifically to the wizards on the main server.

Function of a wizard

The wizards' principal directive is to "help make the palace a better place". More specifically, the wizards are not solely a police force although they do have the power to kick abusers off the server. Most wizards can normally be found chatting it up with other users on the server, and are usually indistinguishable from the other members.

Paging a wizard

If you observe an abusive user who you feel needs to be dealt with by a wizard, you can notify the wizards of the problem by typing something like the following:

~page Help! John Doe is harassing me in the Red Room

It helps if you provide your location, and the name of the abusive user. The message will be sent to any wizards who are on the server. If there are wizards around, they will either respond to you personally, or come to the room to check out the report.

Identifying a wizard

If someone claims to be a wizard, and you suspect that they aren't, you can ask them to "prove" they are a wizard. Only wizards can change their name (as it appears on the screen next to their face, and in the user list) so that an asterisk appears as the first character, like so: *Mr.Wizard. This is The Palace equivalent of "showing their badge". If you attempt to do this yourself, you will find that the server software won't allow you do it - you can have an asterisk in your name anywhere except at the beginning. At the moment, this is the only reliable way for a wizard to "prove" to a member that they are a wizard. Most wizards choose not to show their badges most of the time, but they will gladly do so, if requested.

How do you become a wizard?

Wizards are quite frequently asked the question, "May I have the wizard password?". Because the majority of the people who ask this question are believed to be immature, it is recommended that you NOT use this approach to become a wizard. If you are perceived as "trying too hard" to become a wizard, you may be pegged as being on a "power trip" and this will sour your chances.

The recommended approach is to

  • spend a lot of time on the palace
  • be a visible and supportive member of the palace community
  • get to know at least two of the existing wizards

If all this happens, it is possible that you will "nominated" for a wizardship, at the time the next round of wizard inductions occurs, which happens every several weeks or so.

Even if you do all this and you are fully qualified, there is no guarantee that you will be nominated. Inductees may have to fulfill some other requirements, such as being from an under-represented time zone, or being bilingual.

House Rules

The Main Site (and the Member's Palace) is moderated, and has a small set of "House Rules" posted at the front gate. These house rules simply state that no "obscenity, harassment or general obnoxiousness" is permitted. This section will discuss what this means in more detail.

These House Rules also apply at all the other Palace sites mentioned in this document. You may be more likely to observe violations of the house rules at other sites, because there are often no wizards present.

The House Rules do not provide a "guarantee" that you will be protected from abusers of these rules. There may not be enough moderators present to identify and deal with abuse. Also, the wizards don't generally go on "patrol", instead, they usually respond to abuse when they observe it, or it is reported.

So what do the house rules mean?

  • No Obscenity. This means that you are restricted from using offensive language and offensive props. Offensive props are props which contain hardcore or softcore pornography, or other props which are not in the bounds of social good taste.Offensive language primarily means curse words and hate speech, especially when directed at other users. It is not a problem if you occasionally sprinkle your conversation with an appropriate curse word, however if it is directed in a hostile, lewd or offensive way at other users, you may be asked to stop. Failure to stop may result in your being "gagged", which makes it so you can't talk. Excessive obscenity may also result in your being "killed" meaning you get kicked off the server for a period of time. Offensive props are props which depict nudity, sexual acts, display foul language, or are offensive to most users.
  • No Harassment. This means you are restricted from harassing other users. The palace is a social place, not an anti-social place. Do not repeatedly ask other users for sexual favors. Do not repeatedly whisper (use private chat) with other users who do not wish to talk to you. Do not ask for others phone numbers if they do not wish for you to have it. Do not direct hate speech (such as ethnic or religious slurs) at other users. And most importantly, if someone asks you to leave them alone, leave them alone.
  • No General Obnoxiousness. This is a catch-all phrase which is meant to cover obvious abusive behavior which isn't covered by the first two phrases. Example of general obnoxiousness include
    • repeating the same phrase over and over again
    • repeatedly typing long streams of gibberish
    • sitting on top of other user's faces
    • prop stealing
    • impersonating other users
    • trying to steal other's registration codes
    • repeatedly trying to gain access to the wizard features of the server or
    • working to find ways to offend people without strictly violating the other house rules.


Any of the following may occur if you violate the house rules.

  • You may be gagged. This prevents you from speaking until you stay off the server for a period of two hours.
  • You may be prop-gagged. This prevents you from displaying props to others until you stay off the server for a period of two hours.
  • You may be pinned. This "glues" you to the corner of a room and prevents you from moving.
  • You may be kicked off. This prevents you from signing on for some predetermined period of time - anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. The usual "death penalty" is two hours. Repeat abusers will get more severe penalties, ranging from 2 days to a month. Extremely offensive users may be banned permanently.

For most first time offenses, you will first be asked to stop the abusive behavior before any action is taken. If you are a repeat offender, or you manage to be offensive enough or you are lagging the server, you will be killed without warning.

About Registration Codes:

Under NO circumstances should you give ANY member, Guest, Wizard, or God your registration code. No matter who they SAY they are, DO NOT give anybody your registration code!


The Palace is a virtual community, and should be treated like one. Thousands of Different personalities, morals, and backgrounds bring us all together. The best rule to live by at the palace is to treat everyone else how you would like to be treated. After all, everyone that logs on does seek some sort of entertainment.

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TM's Tips Chapter 1: Iptscrae By Turtle Man (Clay Johnson)


iptScrae is a Forth-like interpreted programming language. If you are not familiar with Forth-like syntax (as can be found in PostScript or on some Hewlett-Packard pocket calculators), you'll need to learn a little about Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), the syntax that is used in iptScrae.

RPN uses a postfix word ordering which is "backwards" from the usual prefix ordering that most of us are used to. For example, instead of the more usual "2 + 3", in RPN it would be "2 3 +".

In plain English, you can think of this as placing the verb (action) at the end of the sentence or after the direct object. Instead of saying "I walk to the store," you'd say "I store walk." Some spoken languages use this convention, so it's not something we just made up!

You'll find that once you get used to it, iptScrae is not significantly harder to use than most other scripting languages. Although iptScrae can be easy to write, it can be hard for others to read especially if they aren't familiar with the syntax. The lack of parentheses and semicolons can make it hard to tell where one command stops and another begins. You can avoid this problem by indenting your scripts neatly, adding parentheses (which are ignored by the interpreter, but can make scripts more readable) and by dropping in some comments. An iptScrae script is attached to an object»either you, a prop or a hotspot. Each script contains a collection of Event Handlers. An Event Handler is executed in response to a specific event.

Here we'll use the words "user" and "you" interchangeably. In both cases, we are referring to the user whose machine is running the script. Palace Events (which can trigger iptScrae scripts)


This event is triggered when a user clicks on a hotspot. If the hotspot is marked as "DONTMOVEHERE" the user's face will not move to that location; otherwise it will.


This event is triggered in response to the SETALARM command in a script. It can be used to schedule a periodic event, such as an animation, or to provide a delayed response.


This event is triggered in response to an incoming chat message. It is generally preferable to use the OUTCHAT method instead, because CHAT events will be triggered for everybody in the room (and possibly cause an avalanche of server events), whereas OUTCHAT will only be triggered for one person. This script can be used to modify the text of the incoming chat message via use of the CHATSTR variable.


This event is triggered in response to an outgoing chat message (when a user types something and hits return). This script can be used to modify the text of the outgoing chat message via use of the CHATSTR variable. An example of OUTCHAT is the text message handler in The Moor.


This event is triggered when a door is locked. The event is sent to the door. It can be used to add additional behaviors to a door.


This event is triggered when a door is unlocked. The event is sent to the door. It can be used to add additional behaviors to a door.


This event is sent to all hotspots in a room when a user enters the room. It can be used, among other things to start off an animation (via SETALARM), or to initialize some user-defined functions.


This event is sent to all hotspots in a room when a user leaves the room.


This event is sent to each user as they sign on.

ON MACROn (n thru 9)

This event is generated when a User hits the appropriate Macro key. It can also be generated from within a script by using the MACRO command.

Using Iptscrae

The most common way to use iptScrae on The Palace is to edit the file called cyborg.ipt in your Palace directory/folder. This file can be viewed and edited with any kind of simple text editor, like Notepad for windows. Within this file you find different 'handlers'. The most common handlers in the cyborg files are ON INCHAT ON OUTCHAT and ON SIGNON. A handler defines how the script is handled. For instance the 'clean' script is in the OUTCHAT handler. When *you* say 'clean' you clear all the loose props and erase all the paint in the room. If 'clean' was in the INCHAT handler, whenever ANYONE said clean, you would clear the loose props and erase all the paint in the room. You can easily add new scripts to your cyborg file. The following script lets you 'say' anything. It comes in handy when avoiding those room scripts like harry's cafe, or the moor(even though you can shut that off now).


;In iptscrae it is always considered to be good practice to write a brief introduction and information about the ;script like this (with the semi-colons)

{ "$1" GREPSUB chatter hatter SAY

;you can also comment in the middle of the script



  • This is an OUTCHAT script, meaning it was intended for your outchat handler. To insert it into your cyborg.ipt file, follow the following steps:
  • Copy this script to the clipboard by selecting from where it says "THIS IS THE START OF THE SAY SCRIPT" to where it says "THIS IS THE END OF THE SAY SCRIPT" with the mouse, and selecting Copy from the edit menu at the top of your screen.
  • Open the file cyborg.ipt in your palace directory or folder
  • Find in the cyborg.ipt file the point where it says "ON OUTCHAT"
  • shortly after ON OUTCHAT there should be a character that looks like this: { position your cursor after that character and press enter.
  • select 'Paste' from the edit menu at the top of your screen
  • save the file (cyborg.ipt)
  • if you had the palace running at the same time as you did this editing to your cyborg.ipt file, you'll need to select 'reload script' from the palace file menu, or restart the palace.
  • Type s blah blah to execute the script

That's all there is to it! Just copy and paste!

Is editing my cyborg.ipt file the only way to use iptScrae?

Nope! you can access iptscrae commands just as easily as you make special speech balloons like the ! and : balloons. This time you are typing a / .

Try typing these:

/"hello" SAY

/paintclear clearlooseprops


/"http://www.mindspring.com/~cjoh/" NETGOTO

What the heck is a 'Bot'?

A bot is a user that runs completely on iptscrae. In other words it has no human output, rather its responses to other users' input is generated with iptscrae. Note that by simply running a bot set of scripts you cannon separate yourself from the bot, so if you want to 'Make' a bot, and be on the palace at the same time, somehow you have to manage to get more than 1 registration number. Currently the most famous 'bot' is Ratbot who frequently appears to host the Wheel of Cheese game on the Main Palace server. In bot design a few general etiquette suggestions are made below.

Iptscrae Etiquette

Here's a few tips on how to use iptscrae without having people yell and scream at you:

  • Scripts involving painting, rapidly changing props, or moving around the room constantly cause lag, and should not be used when more than 6 or 7 people are in the room
  • Scripts using sounds, changing props rapidly or heavy painting can be very distracting to folks having a conversation. Don't just go into a room and 'zap' somebody.
  • Most importantly, if somebody asks you to refrain from using these laggy/irritating scripts, then be considerate and Don't

Botiquette(bot etiquette)

For making and implementing bots, a few additional suggestions:

  • To keep your bot from being killed for flooding, make sure your bots scripts are not too 'lag intensive'
  • Bots should identify themselves as a bot. This can either be done by wearing a prop that says 'bot' on it, or having the word 'bot' in the username.
  • Bots should be passive. They should speak only when spoken to. They should not clean the room unless asked.
  • Bots should not encourage offensive users.


How to handle A Crash by Clay Johnson (Turtle Man)

Yes, The Palace client does crash every so often. The best way to 'stay alive' in the world of The Palace is to always keep a backup of your prop file, macro file, and if you like to play with scripts, keep a backup of your cyborg.ipt as well.

Files to backup:

palace.prp --your palace prop file

palace.ini --where your macros and preferences are stored

palace.mac --where MORE macros are stored

cyborg.ipt --your iptscrae file

These files can easily be compressed into a single zip file or hqx file for archiving purposes. Sometimes when trying to run the palace, a box will display saying "can't open props file -1" Don't fret if you see this box! Simply replace your palace.prp with the one you have backed up!

If for some chance you crash in the middle of the palace, or "keep crashing" take these backups and replace your normal files. YES, if you make some syntax errors in iptscrae, you DO run the risk of crashing.

If AFTER replacing palace.prp, palace.ini, palace.mac, and cyborg.ipt with fresh ones, or ones you had backed up, report your bug. Send e-mail to techsupport@thepalace.com with the following information:

  • Your Platform (Mac or Win or Win95)
  • How Much Memory
  • CPU and Clock Speed(i.e. 486/66)
  • What version number of The Palace?
  • What stack are you running (trumpet winsock, windows95 Dial up adapter, MacPPP)
  • What you were doing at the time it crashed.
  • When you crash, if you get a dialog box with numbers in the format of XXXXXX:XXXXXX, copy those and e-mail them in as well.


Prop Tips By Skeezil (Eric Rasmussen)

How do I change my smiley face and its color?

There are 15 different smiley faces to choose from. To change yours, press 0-9 on the Numeric Keypad (usually on the far right on your keyboard) To change your color, press + or - on the Numeric Keypad (must register to change colors).

How do I import pictures into the palace client as props?

There are two answers to this. For PC, you need to copy the image you want to the clipboard (select the image, then press ctrl+c) then, open you prop satchel, and if it is 44x44 pixels or smaller, press shift+insert. If it is larger than 44x44, you need to press ctrl+shift+insert. For Mac, copy the picture to the clipboard and open your prop satchel, select new prop, and paste the image in (for larger than 44x44 props, press shift as you paste it in.)

How do I record macros?

This is by far the most frequently asked question, and also the easiest to answer. Put on the props you would like to be in the macro, then, on PC, select Macros...Record Macros..the number of the macro you would like to record. For mac, select Macros...Record Macros..the number of the Macro you would like to record.

OK, I've recorded the macros, now how do I use them?

On PC, click macros....click on the macro you want to wear, or press ctrl+the # of the macro you want to wear. For Mac, click on the macro you want to wear, or press cmd+the # of the macro you want to wear.

What are animated props and how do I use them?

Animated props are a relatively new and exciting feature of the Palace. To record animated props, make the props in frames of the animation you want to make. Then, check the flag Animated or Bounce (Palindrome on Mac), depending on what type of animation you would like. Animated animates the frames of the props in the order you put them on, then does that cycle over again. (1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4) Bounce (Palindrome) does it in reverse order after the original cycle(1,2,3,4,3,2,1,2,3,...).

How do I fill an area with the select tool and/or color?

Press Alt and click the area you want to fill on PC, and on Mac, press Command and click the area.

How do I flip a prop Horizontally or Vertically?

To flip a prop horizontally, go into edit mode and press shift+ctrl+h on PC, and select the option from the prop menu on the Mac. To flip a prop vertically, press shift+ctrl+v on PC, and select the option from the prop menu on the Mac.

What is purging?

How and why should I do it? Your prop file (palace.prp) stores all the props you have seen since you last purged. It does this so you won't have to re-download the prop every time you see a user wear it. To purge, open your prop satchel and click Purge. A dialog box will open up asking you "Number of days old" This means that if you specify 2 (the default) it will get rid of all the props you haven't seen in the past two days. Note that purging WILL NOT erase any of the props in your satchel. You should purge about once every week, and it can drastically diminish the size of your prop file.

The Short Server Tutorial By GRIM (Gary Franklyn)

Tips and Suggestions for your new Palace:

  • 1. Creating backdrops for your rooms.
  • 2. Creating doorways.
  • 3. Entering scripts.

1. To create a backdrop for your Palace rooms, the chosen images must be in a GIF format and be the size of 512 x 384 pixels. The palate must then be edited. This is usually achieved by loading a standard palace gif and then saving that palate (Paintshop, etc...). In a graphic program, load the backdrop image and then load the previously saved palate. (Check graphics program manual). Now save image into your Palace/Picture folder.

NOTE: Backdrop .GIFs coming from any server OTHER than the Main Palace site may not be public domain and should NOT be used without permission of the Server's Operator.

While in your own Palace, you can insert the new backdrop by being in your Wizard mode, which brings up a Wizard menu. From that menu click on Room Info and type in the file name of your backdrop image. You amy also change the name of the room at this prompt by typing in the desired name.

2. To create a doorway in a room, you go into Wizard mode, which brings up a Wizard menu. From that menu you choose Authoring Mode and then click on New Door. In the center of the room you will see an outline appear. Click in the center of the outline to activate it. Click on a corner and drag it to the desired position, doing the same for each corner until the doorway is positioned where you want it. To designate where the door leads to, click on Door Info in the Wizard menu and then scroll to a desired destination. When finished, click on Authoring mode to end.

3. To enter a script, you go into Wizard mode which brings up a Wizard menu. Click on Authoring mode and then click on any available door. Then in Door Info select Script, which is where you enter your script or to see what other people have entered as a script.

*Note: The file for script for Pserver is Pserver.dat, which can be edited in a good text editor. Warning: do this only while offline and using a backup of the file. Also, make frequent backups of your Pserver.dat file

APPENDIX V- Palace-Related Maillists, Webpages, and Discussion Groups

There are multiple ways to discuss, and learn about The Palace. As well, multiple webpages can give you tips, tricks, secrets, and plug in scripts.


The Palace currently operates Mailing lists for the following:


This is the mailing list for users of The Palace. To Subscribe, send e-mail to majordomo@thepalace.com and in the body, put subscribe palace-usergroup


This list is for discussions and examples relating to The Palace's scripting language, iptScrae. To Subscribe, send e-mail to majordomo@thepalace.com and in the body, put subscribe palace-iptscrae


This list is for discussion of operating The Palace Server, PServer. To Subscribe, send e-mail to majordomo@thepalace.com and in the body, put subscribe palace-pserver


Various Palace Discussion Groups can be found at:


These Discussion Groups are:


The Magus Pagus

The Palace Newsletter

Chris Miner's Tutorial

Katilyn's Palace Additions

BamaBelle's InfoCenter

BabyKinz's Palace Page

Adam's Palace Pro Shop

Dr. Xenu's House o Props and Bots

EricD's Iptscrae Center

Skeezil's Page O Scripts



This FAQ was compiled by The Palace Usergroup's FAQ committee. Committee Members are:

Turtle Man--Clay Johnson(chairperson, editor in chief)

GRIM--Gary Franklyn(Lead PC Faqinator)

ME!!!!--Gérard Jaran (Lead Mac Faqinator)

Skeezil--Eric Rasmussen (Prop Appendix)

Dr. Xenu--Kevin Bjorke (Botiquette Assistance)

Future Contributions or comments should be sent to palacfaq@mindspring.com.

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