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Virtual Planning

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Laying Out Your Palace Your palace starts off as an empty canvas (well... maybe not so empty if you begin with one of the templates). Ultimately it can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Anyone can put in rooms and link them together. To make your palace stand out, you need to structure it well. Think about:

  • target audience (age groups/specific fan groups etc)
  • general aims (informative/educational/entertainment etc)
  • theme (single/multiple/none)
  • content

The first question most people ask when visiting your palace will be, "What's it all about?" or "What is the theme?". You may decide to dedicate yourself to one theme or subject; or not at all.

Single theme
A single theme provides consistency throughout your whole palace. It targets specific groups on palace and (depending on the subject you choose) can provide you with a loyal visitor attendance. Naming your palace after your subject matter makes you easier to find. However, a single theme may become too restrictive as your palace grows in size.

What I did on My Holidays...

At my own palace, The Library of Dreams,(outdated link Palace no longer exists) I chose the general theme of fantasy, then kept my options open by focusing on different fantasy stories (books, legends, myths etc), By dividing my palace into two distinctive sections - a chatting area and an exploration area, I was given the freedom to use a wide range of backdrops and still remain within subject.

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Rooms with a View

Not every room needs to have a clever script. A palace consisting solely of backgrounds is little more than a sideshow while a palace with elaborate animations and scripts in every room commits the sin: Thou shalt not OVERKILL. As always, a combination of simplicity and special effects make an interesting palace.

Here is a list of rooms you might want to include in your palace:

The Gate will be the most used room in your palace as it is the first room people see when they enter your palace. Choose your gate picture wisely - it is the first impression people get of your palace. Avoid cluttering up your gate with buttons and labels - direct people to inner navigation rooms instead. If you wish to animate your gate, make sure that the animation slices are small in terms of file size, otherwise some visitors may crash while attempting to load the gate.

Some palaces place a neat navigation bar at the gate which provides weblink information, announcements and links to navigation rooms.

Simple chat areas consist of, at the very least, a backdrop and one or more doors. Add privacy to some conversation areas by including locks. Add music to some rooms for atmosphere (see Music & Sound for more information)

Navigation rooms direct people to places of interest and bring structure to your palace. You may use a simple list, a virtual map or thumbnails. Using the Label function in palace (done by creating new doors) kills two birds with one stone and is easy to update. But I have had problems with labels (i.e.: doors getting corrupted) due to inherent bugs in the palace program. Too many labels in one room is also unsightly.

Snazzy Special Effects

Navigation rooms can be enhanced with the use of 'mouse-overs'. The term mouse-over refers to a picture that changes when the mouse cursor is placed over it. It is an impressive alternative to static buttons and labels. The mouse-over script is available at the Script Barn.

Tour Rooms give first time visitors a sneak peek to your palace. These can be linked rooms that are already a part of your palace, or special rooms created for a special occasion for e.g.: Halloween Tour, Christmas Tour etc.

Tour rooms can be linked simply with a symbol or label in one corner of the room or they can be automated with more complicated scripts. Visit Ori's Palace Instructions for an example of an automated tour script.

Optional Extras...

Information Rooms are similar to Navigation Rooms. Extremely handy for displaying weblink information, staff (wizard) details and for 1st time visitors to find out more about your palace in general.

Visit the Digital Exposure for an example of an Information Room.

Links Rooms are absolutely essential in this time of palace decline. With the future of palace being uncertain, and new users getting scarcer, you need strong links with other palaces to survive. If you link to people, people will link to you. Getting listed in a directory is important but not very effective at boosting attendance. Direct linking brings more noticable results (especially if you manage to score a link with a high population palace) as does becoming a member of a palacering.

Avatar Rooms can be a boon or a bane to your palace. Avatars attract visitors to your palace thereby boosting attendance to your palace. The downside is that people that come purely for avshopping tend to be interested in just the avs. So the increased attendance doesn't always mean a rise in the number of chatters.

To run a successful avatar collection, you need a good avatar team. I say 'team' because the work generated by a decent sized collection will be too much for just one individual. (After all, palace is all about having fun, not just work)

Aim for quality not quantity. A large collection of poor edits is a waste of time, space and effort.

Prop room backdrops should have simple layouts with clear navigation. Avoid garish backgrounds which obliterate avatars. Most commonly used designs incorporate a light coloured panel and a simple navigation panel over a scenic backdrop.

Index Choosing your wizards

Original text written by Tristan. Please respect the work of others and do not reproduce in part or whole, the material in my website to pass off as your own work. Link to me instead!



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