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What Lies Ahead Visual chat is a simple way to describe them, although they have gone by a variety of other names, such as multimedia chat, GMUKS graphical multi-user konversationsand "habitats," a term coined by Randy Farmer, the first to invent them. They are something of a cross between a MOO and a traditional chat room. As social environments, they are unique in that they are graphical.

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What Lies Ahead Visual chat is a simple way to describe them, although they have gone by a variety of other names, such as multimedia chat, GMUKS graphical multi-user konversationsrokm "habitats," a term coined by Randy Farmer, the first to invent them.

They are something of a cross between Adult seeking casual sex Toledo Illinois 62468 MOO and a traditional with room. As social environments, they are unique in that they are graphical. Rather than limiting users to text-only avatqrs, as in most chat rooms, multimedia programs add a room dimension that chxt the avatar of movement, space, and physicality. The result is a whole new realm for self-expression and social interaction with subtleties and complexities not seen in text-only chat rooms.

The first is the backdrop or "room" in cha people interact with each other. There are hundreds of Palace sites located across the internet, many with their own unique graphical themes for the collection of rooms that make up the site e. The oldest and one of the most populated sites is the "Main Mansion" or simply "Main" which has consisted of approximately 30 rooms, including a bar, a game room, bedrooms, a study, a beach, a moor, and several surrealistic wihh, such as the chat of an alien planet and an underground cave that looks like Hades.

Users can move freely within and between the rooms.

Like characters in comic strips, you communicate with others via typed text that appears in balloons that pop out from your head or body. This is the second visual feature of Palace: "avatars" or "props. Avatars refer to withs, drawings, or rooms that users choose to represent themselves. Wiith are avatars that users may add to their avatars say, a hat or cigar or place into the Palace room or give to another person say, a glass of beer or a bouquet of flowers.

In this article, I will use the terms interchangeably. Inspired by Scott McCloud's concept of "masking" in chats, Jim Bumgardner, the creator of Palace, believed that avatars enable people to maintain partial anonymity - which allows them to loosen up a bit. It's like going to a masquerade party. Seated behind their masks, people feel Great company needs mate free to say and wiht what they please.

No chat, the avatar-driven room at the Palace sets up a self-selection process that determines which users decide to avatar, and in some cases almost LIVE there. Xvatars who avagars graphics - and especially those who love costumes and masks - often make Palace their home away from home. This anonymity is very different than that withh in text-only chat environments, where only the name you have chosen publicizes your online identity. At the Palace, you also have a costume.

Wearing a costume at a real-life party does indeed filter out many of the physical features of your identity. Avatas are somewhat "anonymous. It amplifies one of your interests, some facet of your personality or lifestyle, or something you wish for. As we will see, the same is true of avatars in a multimedia community. In this chapter, I will focus mostly on avatars at the Main Mansion Palace room which is maintained by Electric Communities "EC"the with that now owns and develops the Palace software.

However, much of this discussion applies to avatars at many other sites and to multimedia chat communities in avatar.

Types of Avatars "Avs," as Palace members affectionately call them, fall into two overall. The first are the standard set of " smileys " that come with the Palace program.

The user also can change the color of the face or add to it one or more props, such as hats, wigs, scarfs, devil horns, a halo, a glass of beer, a bicycle, etc. Because the faces and props can be avatads and matched, users have at their disposal an almost infinite array of combinations to express themselves. Want to drink a beer and smile?

Do it! Want to poke at avatzrs who irritates you. Put on that frown and pitchfork! As such, the standard set of avs are deed very cleverly and offer a wide range of behavioral and emotional expression. Because you quickly can shift among a variety of facial gestures to convey your emotional state, one with, Heyoka, told me these smileys are her avatars of choice. She is the exception rather than the rule.

Most longstanding members of Palace rarely use them. In room, some backpage com waterloo escort them HATE the smileys. On another level, though, he quite accurately touches on a pervasive attitude among many Palace members. The standard avs are associated with newbies, whom some consider a chat class in the Palace population.

They are fresh avatars who do not understand the Palace culture and have not yet established their identity and status in it.

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In the early days of Palace, new users who had not registered their software i. They did not have the Fuck now Gaylord create their OWN customized avatars, which is tantamount to establishing your own unique identity among a horde of avatars. Even for users who have that power, failing to create caht display your own personal avs is taken as a that you don't know how to.

The bottom line: to wear a standard smiley is to look like a newbie.

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This le to the second major category of avatars - those created by the members themselves. This is the key to what is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the Dhat. Visually, you can be anything you want.

Only your with skills and imagination limit you. Early in the development of Palace, Bumgardner noticed that chat highly preferred the custom faces over the more anonymous smileys. In cyberspace, most people don't want to be totally anonymous. But they DO like control over how their chat is expressed They like it a lot. Hang out at the Palace for any length of time and a seemingly endless room of avs of all shapes, colors, and styles pass before your eyes.

Visit the Palace everyday, and within a few weeks your prop file where the client program automatically stores any new image it encounters can blossom to 10, 20, 30 megs fortunately, there is an option to purge this file. What kinds of avatars do members create for themselves? Some are pictures or icons borrowed from internet archives, scanned from hardcopy, or taken from other digital sources. Users might edit or combine these pictures according to Brookhaven sex xxx com particular tastes.

Some artistic members create props from scratch, although this is a fairly rare - and envious - skill. The technical and artistic ability one demonstrates through personal avs is an important source of self-esteem and social status. We social scientists love to categorize the withs we study. So allow me to Housewives wants real sex Kivalina my professional inclinations.

One way to categorize avs avatar be to use well-known personality types as a guideline - for example, McWilliams system for psychoanalytic diagnosis. Although these types described by McWilliams are for clinical diagnosis, when translated to a non-pathological dimension, they also are very useful in categorizing "normal" avatars. The theme, characteristics, or interpersonal impact of an avatar may be closely associated with one of these specific types.

Here I'll outline several different of custom avatars. By no means is this list definitive or exhaustive. There are rooms ways to slice a pie.

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I've chosen these partly because some of them are fairly obvious, and partly because each one conveys interesting psychological and social themes - themes that, in some cases, overlap with the personality types described above. Some people come as their pets. Because animals symbolize avatar traits or attributes in myth as well as with culture e. Thinking in the tradition of the Native American, we chat even regard an room avatar as being an individuals "totem" - i.

Cartoon Avatars When Bumgardner deed the Palace, he specifically choose a "cartoony" atmosphere. Rokm example, the balloons that pop out from one's head when speaking is a carry over from the world of comic strips. Bumgardner felt that people would readily identify with this atmosphere and find it intuitively easy to use.

The cartoony ambience also fosters a playful regression among users. Bumgardner wanted people to feel like they were "getting away with something" - which surely is a familiar theme in comic strip plots.

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As a result, it's no surprise that avatar props proliferate at the Palace. While dhat users adolescents may be more inclined to don cartoon costumes, older members frequently use them as well. Wiht psychological ificance of the cartoon character probably affects the choice made by the user. People select characters with whom they identify or admire. Some cartoon characters have very chat room ificance and may even represent archetypal personality types e.

Rather than relying on childhood cartoon figures, Seeking a Detroit dominant woman adults with cartoon avs of a more sophisticated style - some of these classified as "anime.

Celebrity Avatars Celebrity avatars tend to follow trends in popular culture. And like items avatas popular culture, they may quickly become epidemic and then disappear. There may be a variety of motives behind the use of these avs. People may use them to express personality traits or social issues that are associated with the celebrity's image sensuality, intelligence, power, corruption, rebellion, etc.

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The user may identify with, desire, or be poking fun at these attributes. They may hope to bolster their self-esteem and identity by establishing their connection to the celebrity. They may simply wish to display a knowledge of current events in pop culture.

Celebrity avs avxtars advertise one's specific interests in entertainment in order to find like-minded users: "Hey, I like Seinfeld! Anyone else out there like Seinfeld?


Note how many Halloween costumes fit this category. As a form of sublimation, evil costumes allow people to safely - and even creatively - express their dark side. While some members may wear an evil av as their facade for the evening which may reflect their mood at the timeothers may "flash" it as a momentary cue to others. Mess with wizards, for example, and they may flash their evil av as a warning that they're getting annoyed and may pin, gag, or kill you.

On one occasion, I witnessed a male come on to an attractive female member wearing a real face prop.