Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Guide to VZones

Setting up an account

You can join VZones with a free trial first. To do so go to the VZones homepage, watch the introduction movie, and skip it by choosing “Trial” at the bottom. You need to provide your credit card data but you won’t be billed. After registration, you need to download and run the trial setup.

If in the 7-days trial period you decide to continue using the service, you need to convert your free account into a paid account. I have been told you will keep your avatar when you do this conversion.

Choosing a world

VZones offers four different worlds. NewHorizone is the one you will automatically enter during trial mode. NewHorizone shows everyday life, with city streets, shopping malls, and places to have a drink or gamble.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to Dreamscape (a mix between a dream-like fantasy land, and everyday life – I’ve been told this is the place with the most members), or Second Kingdom (a medieval fantasy world).

Finally, there’s an adult version of VZones called Sedu City. Sedu City contains everything from romantic chat to explicit nudity to sex (in its different cartoonish varieties).

Choosing your avatar

An avatar, or “avi”, is your online persona in the virtual realms. In trial mode, you will need to choose between a default muscular male or female body, and you can’t change your head either. While in the first room you can switch between the two bodies for free and also register your name (avoid special characters like “@” or “£” as they may cause problems later on).

As soon as you enter the world through its main entrance, however, you can give yourself a fresh individual appearance.

Try to start with the body if you want to switch; you can choose an “average” (thinner) version, put on a little weight, or keep your muscular shape. To get to the body shop it’s best you ask someone for help in finding the way. You then step into the body machine and pay 300 tokens for a new body.

Next is the head. After you located a head shop, and chose one from the machine (just click on the head machine and hit “View next item” to go through the different versions), you need to remove your own head, buy the new one, and click on yourself to wear it.

To spray your skin, hair and clothes with different colors, you need to buy spray cans. There are special cans for the skin, your clothes, and the hair and head. After you emptied a can, you can sell it to the recycle trash can (the “pawn”). After you did, your hands contain coins you need to put in your pocket before continuing to pick up new things.

You can also pay Real World money to get new bodies, heads or other items from the AvatarWares catalog. If you feel creative, submit your own graphics to this catalog: I heard this will earn you revenues of 15% for everything sold.

Navigating through VZones

At any time you can see which directions you can walk by checking the bottom left buttons. Click on any of them to move to the next screen. If you turn to a ghost by clicking on the ghost icon on that same navigation bar, you can move around faster. (When you turn into a ghost, you will see a small cloud with an eye on top of the screen.)

Also, some places contain teleporters. Click on them to be taken to a completely different place immediately. Elevators can do the same for you. Note that some places can only be entered if their owner is home.

Unfortunately (though some rooms contain maps) there is no way in this world to “bookmark” a place.

In VZones, you can use your mouse to navigate around, but you may prefer keyboard shortcuts:

Making money

Making money in VZones is easy: don’t just do something, stand there! This is called “parking”, and for 5 hours of play time spent, you earn 500 tokens (a “token” is the official VZones inworld currency). This also explains why there are so many seemingly dead avatars around: they are making money, and their owner’s not actively playing at the moment.

To actually cash in your earned money you need to locate an ATM. Click on it to withdraw money. If you can’t find any money machines, ask someone around for help.

Spending money

There are various shops to buy items, or change your appearance. You can gamble if you want (games mostly run on an announced schedule and aren’t played any time of the day). You can also just give your tokens as a gift to someone. (I was happy enough to receive 1000 tokens in my first hours from an eternally helpful member named “Lovergirl”.)


VZones runs in a fairly small window if you have set your computer to a large resolution. However, maximizing the window is easy and zooms all graphics to any size.

Communication modes

There are three different ways to talk in VZones:

Time Zones

Sometimes, events in VZones run on a specific schedule. VZT means “VZones Time” and equals Pacific Time Zone.

Who’s who?

In VZones, an avatar may or may not resemble the “real” person behind it (just as in the Real World – often referred to as RW or meatspace in virtual words – people can put up a facade). A young-looking lady might be 60-something in the Real World.

Some people visit their virtual community everyday, and make real friends (or even find a partner for life). Though you can play around with different styles and personas, I suggest you don’t cheat or lie just because you think this world isn’t “real”: it’s as real or unreal as its members make it to be.

To check how many people are online in this world at the moment, click on yourself, then on “Status”, and then on “Where is everyone”.

Home sweet home

In VZones, you can rent your own place to live in. This is called a “turf”. You can decorate your own home with a variety of items, too.

VZones Webmaster Affiliate

If you are a web site owner, you can also sign-up for the VZones affiliate program. It’s easy, and your special link to VZones will get you a commission of 20% (paid in increments of $100).

Getting further help

There’s a “Help” entry in the menu, and you can select “Page acolyte” (though this didn’t work for me). You can also ESP “Caretaker Sky” or another guide in this world. Caretakers are specially selected VZones members who are willing to help greenhorns.

When someone offers your help and guides you around it is very useful to automatically follow this person. To do so, click on the person and choose “Follow” from the menu.

Job Titles

This Job Title Generator may be inspiring you to a future career, or just look good on your resume.

Google AdSense URL Channels

Google adds URL Channels to their array of AdSense features. Previously, you could create custom channels by adding a specific number into your AdSense tag. URL Channels on the other hand track your page performances without modification of your ad code. You can enter a domain name to track all pages, or a specific URL to track just a portion of a site.

The Return of Google Groups 2

Finally, Google Groups 2 went live for good and replaced the old version (you will now always be directed to – Google didn’t hear of Tim Berners-Lee, who said cool URIs don’t change). The entry in the official Google Blog is back as well.

For an even less cluttered interface than your regular Google, try [Via Zorgloob.]


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!