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ErikH2000
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So I got back from Burning Man a week ago, and have been haunted by the sad fact that this event lasts just one week of a year, and then I have to spend the other fifty-one weeks living the standard life. The life where conversations with strangers are seldom worthwhile, and the unspoken advice is to mind your own business and get back to work.

I'm not going to explain to you what was so great about Burning Man. I'm not even going to explain the basics of what it is. Go Google around, and you'll figure that out. However, we will run a simulation of some of the social aspects of this event.

This won't really be a proper contest. Sure, somebody will win and get a prize, and other people will get some rank points--just like we usually do. But the rules that define how one wins will not be posted. Let's just call this our Official Experience (not Contest) for September. We've already had quite a few competitive challenges spring up unofficially this month. And of course, the Snakes! ...to the Death contest has run deep into the next month. So I feel the hardcore contestgoers taste for competition has been met. Let's swing back in the other direction, and try something less structured and more playful.

Picture, in your mind, the dusty expanse of a dried-out lakebed. It would be empty and lifeless, except that you and a bunch of other people drove in with vehicles packed full of tents, geodesic domes, bubble machines, lasers, solar panels, and Gatorade. There will be nothing here before you come. There will be nothing here after you leave.

What Are You Bringing With You?

Before Virtual Burning Man starts, you have to submit a list of items what you will bring to it. I am going to give you a complete waiver on anything survival-related. Let's just say you automatically brought everything needed to sustain a certain level of comfort and civilization amidst the ruthless heat and duststorms, i.e. sunscreen, toilet paper, fruit rollups, and 7 pairs of clean underwear. What you need at Virtual Burning Man, is some kind of gimmick to bring people to your campsite. You could be a fortune-teller, for example, but to do it in style, you might want to add "a glass sphere, 8 inches in diameter" to your initial inventory, and perhaps more mundanely, "a table, a tablecloth, two chairs".

* You can bring a maximum of 30 items.
* Again, don't worry about the boring basics of survival and comfort. Bring items that will be used to present an attraction or spectacle.
* You can bring containers or sets, i.e. "a pirate chest" or "a set of diningware", but later descriptions after Virtual Burning Man starts that are based on the inventory shouldn't depend on further invention of individual items, i.e. "a rusty anchor from the pirate chest" or "an Elvis Presley collector's plate, signed by the man himself".
* Your complete list of items to bring should be posted as a reply in the Campsite Topic no later than:

Local Time:09-25-2006 at 01:00 AM

* Everyone's lists of items (including yours) posted in the Campsite Topic will be visible to all. In other words, to those familiar with our forum terminology, this isn't a submission topic.
* You can't change your list after Virtual Burning Man starts with the exception of trades and gifting, the process of which is described below.
* All items must be something which could exist in the real world and are realistically transportable to a desert lakebed. I.e. "My cloak of invisibility" <- No. "My camoflauge cloak" <- Yes. "Two humpback whales" <- No. "Two humpback whales. One 100,000 gallon, saltwater tank" <- Yes. (Okay, you could bring the two humpback whales without the tank full of water, but then you might as well say "Two humpback whale carcasses".)
* You can bring any quantity of one item, i.e. "10,000 bananas", and that counts as just one item towards your 30-item inventory limit.
* You are allowed an automatic supply of tools and devices needed to manipulate your items, (i.e. hammers, cranes, bulldozers) which don't need to be specified in your inventory. However, none of these tools or devices should be present in the descriptions you make of your campsite later, i.e. "My campsite is surrounded by a concentric ring of nailguns mounted such that they all point at a chair in the center." If you intend the tools to be part of the finished product, then they must be specified in your inventory.
* It is also suggested that you not take the automatic supply of tools to its logical extreme by bringing huge quantities of raw materials, i.e. iron, wood, silicon, etc. to construct whatever item you wish. I'm not going to make any rules here, because of the problems drawing an exact line. I just point out that the game will be more fun if you don't play it in "god mode".
* Your post in the Campsite Topic may be edited at any time to include the name of your campsite and a 100-words-or-less advertisement for it. These may be changed as frequently as you like. I'll describe what these are for below.

What's Your Gimmick?

At the real Burning Man, it seemed like everybody had a gimmick--some kind of reason to visit their campsite. Like one campsite would give you a footbath. Another campsite had a four-story tall "skyscraper" constructed of poles, plywood, and translucent sheets. You could watch people playing "Dance Dance Immolation", a version of DDR where flames are shot at the contestants. I had a gimmick, too. If you came to my campsite, I'd draw your Tarot Portrait for you--your face on the tarot card which best suited your personality. People created interesting campsites for various reasons, but never for money. The game was to get somebody's attention.

And so it is with Virtual Burning Man. At your campsite, you will construct an attraction from the materials prespecified in your inventory. You can have this attraction be anything that could realistically be made using those items you have. How do you build your campsite? It's easy; you just will it to be so! Later you will describe your virtual campsite to visitors. If your depiction is unrealistic or doesn't seem possible based on your inventory, you might receive some constructive criticism from visitors.

It is only possible to describe your campsite and things happening there when someone is visiting you.

Likewise, it is only possible to learn about another person's campsite and events going on there if you are visiting his campsite.

How Do You Visit Other Campsites?

At Virtual Burning Man, you get to be exactly two places at one time. One of your virtual selves is out exploring other people's campsites, and the other virtual self is back at your own campsite playing host to anyone who might visit.

After Virtual Burning Man has started, you can specify the location of your explorer any time you want by posting in the Explorer Topic. Your post looks like this...

"I'm at Eytan's House of Snake Harmony now."

Just give the name of the campsite that you are exploring. If the owner hasn't specified a campsite name you could also just say something like "I'm at eytanz's campsite." Posting this message places your explorer self immediately at that campsite, until you make another post announcing that you have moved to a different campsite.

Once you are at someone's campsite, interesting private communication between yourself and campsite host will hopefully commence. Note that the host can only tell you what is happening at his campsite while you are in it. You might also arrive at someone's campsite when the real-life person is away from the DROD forum. In this case, you might wait around for a while, get bored, and then change your location again to someplace else. On the other hand, if you are about to go offline yourself and suspect the host will be around later, it might be a good idea to let him send you a message while you are away in real life. Your explorer self remains at a campsite, leaving the private channel of communication open, even if the real you walks away from the computer. And if your explorer self is not at a certain campsite, you should not talk about the campsite with that host. Change your location to his campsite first.

Also, don't forget that you can see who is currently logged onto the forum by just checking the bottom of this page. Useful, right? If you see that eytanz is online, then it might be a good time to head over and check out this Snake Harmony business--whatever that is.

How Do People Visit You?

You can see how it would work the same for other people as it does for you. If you are Jeff_Ray, and Maurog posts "I'm going to Jeff Ray's Magic Funtime Camp now" in the Explorer Topic, then Maurog is at your campsite. This means you can start talking to Maurog privately about your campsite. You do this by making use of the PM or EMail features of the forum. Other methods of private communication are allowed, i.e. IRC, MSN, but for Virtual Burning Man, default expectations are that you would use PM or EMail and then perhaps negotiate any future private conversation if wanted.

What do you say? Here's an example:

"Maurog! Welcome to Jeff Ray's Magic Funtime Camp. Here you see three full-size schoolbusses arranged in a tripod with their front ends suspended about 30 feet in the air. A platform has been constructed at the apex. On the platform are pirate flags and telescopes and a life-sized plastic unicorn. It seems there is no way to reach the top, but Jeff is waving at you to come up."

To which Maurog might reply in an e-mail, "Sure, I'll come up. But how do I get up there?"

To which Jeff replies, "Jeff lowers a rope ladder down to the ground. And throws confetti and water balloons down at Maurog in an encouraging way."

...and it could go on for a bit in a fairly goalless way. Jeff might have arranged a game or presentation of some sort. Maurog might inquire into how the busses are kept up in the air. Jeff might provide a convincing explanation. After Maurog decides he's seen enough of the Funtime Camp, he can politely dismiss himself. Then he goes back to the Explorer Topic and announces what the next campsite is that he will travel to.

Suppose two or more people visit the camp at the same time. The host has the option to handle each visit in separately or in one combined experience. So if Tim arrives at Funtime Camp while Maurog is there, Jeff could just give the exact same introduction he gave Maurog if he wanted. Or he might instead say "Maurog and Jeff are up on the platform pointing machine guns at Tim with happy grins on their faces."

Oh, by the way, nobody can die or otherwise be removed from the game unless they themselves want to be.

Remember! Only talk about specific details of camps in private conversation between the host and visitor while the visitor is at that camp. Surprising visitors when they arrive is a large part of what will make this fun, and too much communication erodes that. If you want to post something publicly that doesn't give away details, then that's fine.

Your Camp Name and Advertisement

You can't tell people about your camp until they get there, with one small exception: You can give your camp a name and an advertisement. The camp name can be whatever you want, up to ten words in length. Your advertisement can be up a hundred words in length and should be designed to bring people to your camp. Here's an example:

Techant's Mindbash Unlimited
Come to the Mindbash Unlimited to see what the natural and unnatural limitations of your mental powers amount to. Are there thoughts which you should not think? Synaptic knots will be unfastened.

I don't know what that is exactly, but I'd go and see it, wouldn't you? Hmm. Maybe I wouldn't.

Both your camp name and advertisement go in the Campsite Topic along with your list of items to bring with you to Virtual Burning Man. You can change your camp name and advertisement whenever and as often as you wish.

Acquiring Other Items

If you can convince someone to give you one of the items he brought with him to Virtual Burning Man, then it is yours. Likewise you can give somebody any of your items. Trading would be the obvious way to acquire new items, but it's fine to just give somebody an item. The owner of the item should post an announcement of the gift in the Explorer Topic. Then the item should be removed and added by giver and recipient in their respective inventory posts found in the Campsite Topic.

You can only receive an item from another player while one of you is at the other's campsite.

Remember that no new item can be created once Virtual Burning Man starts. You can construct items out of preexisting items, but nothing new can materialize, i.e. if you say "I blindfold you so you can't see what I'm doing," then there should be some item in your inventory to use for the blindfold. You can't just make it up out of thin air.

Unpredictable Events

I have at least one event planned that will shake up the whole experience for everyone. It actually mirrors something that happened at the real Burning Man. I think you will enjoy it!

When Does the Contest --I Mean "Experience"... End?

It will end...

Local Time:10-15-2006 at 01:00 AM

-Erik

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[Last edited by ErikH2000 at 10-02-2006 01:54 AM]
09-16-2006 at 02:14 AM
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coppro
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Do we get a prize?
09-16-2006 at 02:19 AM
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silver
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When you say "no item can be created," I am going to presume that if I bring the components of an item, I can still create the item on the spot? (faux example: if I take a fridge full of vodka, kahluha, and milk, and 10,000 cups, I can make White Russians all day)


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09-16-2006 at 02:30 AM
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Drgamer
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To Coppro: Read the third paragraph
09-16-2006 at 02:34 AM
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NiroZ
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quote:
coppro wrote:
Do we get a prize?

Or to be precise, do we get an item on the prize pile for winning? and how are we supposed to win?

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09-16-2006 at 02:38 AM
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silver
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More of a laws-of-virtual-bilocation-physics question:
suppose my camp offers a pony ride, and I bring one pony.
if I have 2 people PMing me that they are visiting, am I obliged to PM the second person "you get to wait in line" while PMing the first person a description of their ride?

---

A clarification question about private messages:
Are we obliged to accept forum PMs during the contest, or can we use regular email for the private visits? should we not have a disclaimer in our campsite description/ad specifying the method of private comm? (for example, someone may not wish to visit email-only campsites for fear of divulging their own email address)




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[Last edited by silver at 09-16-2006 02:48 AM]
09-16-2006 at 02:42 AM
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Ezlo
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I'll have to start thinking of an attraction! This sounds like something fun!
09-16-2006 at 04:12 AM
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Chaco
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Wow, that is a good idea. I love it.

I'm guessing the idea is to get as many people as possible to visit and enjoy your campsite. And, of course, have fun. :)

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09-17-2006 at 12:33 AM
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Drgamer
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Do the items have to actually exist?
IE: Can we have Spaceships?
09-17-2006 at 01:23 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
NiroZ wrote:
quote:
coppro wrote:
Do we get a prize?

Or to be precise, do we get an item on the prize pile for winning? and how are we supposed to win?

Yes, someone who wins will get an item from the Prize Pile.

Rules for winning won't be given, and in fact your personal goal might not be to win at all. That is part of the "experience".

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:03 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
silver wrote:
When you say "no item can be created," I am going to presume that if I bring the components of an item, I can still create the item on the spot?

Yes, you can put items together to form other items. And then perhaps take them apart to make different items, if it would be physically possible in the real world. What I meant is that you can't create a new item out of thin air if you hadn't the foresight to bring it with you. I.e. if you brought vodka, kahlua, coffee, and 10,000 cups, but no milk, then you are stuck with black russians. To create the white russian requires that milk was specified in the inventory earlier. You could also say that you were bringing 10,000 cups of premixed white russians, and that would count as one item.

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:09 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
silver wrote:
More of a laws-of-virtual-bilocation-physics question:
suppose my camp offers a pony ride, and I bring one pony.
if I have 2 people PMing me that they are visiting, am I obliged to PM the second person "you get to wait in line" while PMing the first person a description of their ride?

Good question. We will allow either method. You can choose for yourself which works better.

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:10 AM
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If you visit another exhibit that gives stuff away to its visitors, can you use that stuff in your own exhibit?

For example, imagine that I have a House of Snake Harmony, and that Tahnan has an exotic burger stand. If I give out pet anacondas to anyone that visits, can Tahnan offer a (limited edition) Anaconda Burger to his visitors afterwards?

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09-17-2006 at 04:13 AM
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NiroZ
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When is this campsite topic coming?

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09-17-2006 at 04:17 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Drgamer wrote:
Do the items have to actually exist?

Yes!
quote:
IE: Can we have Spaceships?

Spaceships do exist. But make sure you bring all the supporting apparati if you realistically intend to do something with it at Virtual Burning Man. People may be unconvinced by your campsite otherwise.

A better example might be unicorns. As far was we know, real unicorns do not exist and never have, even though they are mentioned several times in the King James Version of the Bible. So you can't bring a unicorn to Virtual Burning Man.

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:21 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
eytanz wrote:
If you visit another exhibit that gives stuff away to its visitors, can you use that stuff in your own exhibit?

For example, imagine that I have a House of Snake Harmony, and that Tahnan has an exotic burger stand. If I give out pet anacondas to anyone that visits, can Tahnan offer a (limited edition) Anaconda Burger to his visitors afterwards?

Yes, he can. And that would definitely be very cool. Also, there is no problem with any kind of initial communication and coordination with other people to bring items which may be traded, borrowed, or given.

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:22 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
NiroZ wrote:
When is this campsite topic coming?

Okay, I just put it up.

http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=11998

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:31 AM
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Ah, is it ok if I was to create a camp that offered something that interacted with the forums? (ie, avatars, sigs etc) or is this supposed to be all virtual?

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09-17-2006 at 04:36 AM
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When I said actually exist in spaceships, would they have to be the ones that are around now?
And would it be possible to recreate Drod? (Albietly not as well as a game would.)

Hmmm...
09-17-2006 at 12:11 PM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
NiroZ wrote:
Ah, is it ok if I was to create a camp that offered something that interacted with the forums? (ie, avatars, sigs etc) or is this supposed to be all virtual?

You need some kind of bridge between the realistic Virtual Burning Man world and the more abstract world of the DROD forums.

Bring a laptop with you and some empty CDs. For power to keep the laptop charged up you could bring a solar panel, a gas-powered generator, or a bunch of batteries. Electronic media could be burned to the CDs and given to visitors.

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:27 PM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Drgamer wrote:
When I said actually exist in spaceships, would they have to be the ones that are around now?

Yes.
quote:
And would it be possible to recreate Drod? (Albietly not as well as a game would.)

You could run DROD on a computer you brought with you. (See the post above about bringing a laptop.) You could also bring materials to recreate a different version of DROD, i.e. give a player a sword and a yellow sweatshirt for him to be Beethro, and bring a bunch of robots that are programmed to move like roaches. Whatever you do, it should be something that is possible in real life.

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 04:30 PM
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Can I bring along a large amount of something as just one item and then split it up into several items when using it? E.g. could I bring 1000 bananas with me and give one to every visitor while also using some of them to create delicious desserts and even use some of the peels for a bit of slapstick comedy? If so, wouldn't it encourage people to bring along huge stacks of every item that they want?
09-17-2006 at 05:35 PM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Mikko wrote:
Can I bring along a large amount of something as just one item and then split it up into several items when using it? E.g. could I bring 1000 bananas with me and give one to every visitor while also using some of them to create delicious desserts and even use some of the peels for a bit of slapstick comedy? If so, wouldn't it encourage people to bring along huge stacks of every item that they want?

Yes, that all works. Just don't specify a vague heterogenous collection, i.e. "a 1000 items commonly found in a hardware store" and then later use it to materialize a hammer, saw, nails, soldering iron, doorframe...

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 07:59 PM
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I've updated the rules at the top of this topic. Here is a list of all the changes I made except for some little grammar and spelling nitpicks.

What Are You Bringing With You?

* You can bring any quantity of one item, i.e. "10,000 bananas", and that counts as just one item towards your 30-item inventory limit.

* You are allowed an automatic supply of tools and devices needed to manipulate your items, (i.e. hammers, cranes, bulldozers) which don't need to be specified in your inventory. However, none of these tools or devices should be present in the descriptions you make of your campsite later, i.e. "My campsite is surrounded by a concentric ring of nailguns mounted such that they all point at a chair in the center." If you intend the tools to be part of the finished product, then they must be specified in your inventory.

* It is also suggested that you not take the automatic supply of tools to its logical extreme by bringing huge quantities of raw materials, i.e. iron, wood, silicon, etc. to construct whatever item you wish. I'm not going to make any rules here, because of the problems drawing an exact line. I just point out that the game will be more fun if you don't play it in "god mode".

How Do People Visit You?

Suppose two or more people visit the camp at the same time. The host has the option to handle each visit in separately or in one combined experience. So if Tim arrives at Funtime Camp while Maurog is there, Jeff could just give the exact same introduction he gave Maurog if he wanted. Or he might instead say "Maurog and Jeff are up on the platform pointing machine guns at Tim with happy grins on their faces."

Oh, by the way, nobody can die or otherwise be removed from the game unless they themselves want to be.

Remember! Only talk about specific details of camps in private conversation between the host and visitor while the visitor is at that camp. Surprising visitors when they arrive is a large part of what will make this fun, and too much communication erodes that. If you want to post something publicly that doesn't give away details, then that's fine.

Acquiring Other Items

You can only receive an item from another player while one of you is at the other's campsite.

Remember that no new item can be created once Virtual Burning Man starts. You can construct items out of preexisting items, but nothing new can materialize, i.e. if you say "I blindfold you so you can't see what I'm doing," then there should be some item in your inventory to use for the blindfold. You can't just make it up out of thin air.

Unpredictable Events

I have at least one event planned that will shake up the whole experience for everyone. It actually mirrors something that happened at the real Burning Man. I think you will enjoy it!

When Does the Contest --I Mean "Experience"... End?

Probably the second week of October. I'm playing a few things by ear.

-Erik

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09-17-2006 at 08:37 PM
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Ezlo
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I'm liking the sound of Elfstone's campsite! It's going to be first on my list! :D
09-18-2006 at 01:58 AM
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techant
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I like this idea but I think I will go a different direction from mind games.

What I wanted to know about was waste products. If say someone makes trash do we have to have trash cans or are they supplied?

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09-18-2006 at 02:18 AM
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Rabscuttle
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
Oh, by the way, nobody can die or otherwise be removed from the game unless they themselves want to be.



Virtual Burning Man ...to the Death?
09-18-2006 at 02:58 AM
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techant
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I have items that need to plug into an electric outlet do I have to use up my items to have all the wiring, outlets, switches ect or can I just say electrical wiring supplies?


Also I want to give a gift basket where I list the items - this is not just a way to get more items because they are limited to the visitors use. Can I do that?

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09-18-2006 at 03:42 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
techant wrote:
I like this idea but I think I will go a different direction from mind games.

Heh heh. That was just a suggestion. ;)
quote:
What I wanted to know about was waste products. If say someone makes trash do we have to have trash cans or are they supplied?

An interesting feature of the real Burning Man event is that there are no public trash cans. Aside from bodily wastes left in supplied porta-potties, everything a person brings with him must be taken back out. It's a pretty severe rule, if you think about it. Myself and my friends barely managed to repack our truck with the less compact garbage bags we'd amassed from a week of camping.

But I digress. For Virtual Burning Man, let's just say you have everything you need automatically to collect and remove trash without specifying it in your inventory. As with tools, the same rule applies that if you use the waste collection items in your descriptions, (i.e. "A robot made from metal trash cans greets you!") then you must specify the items in your inventory list.

-Erik

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09-18-2006 at 05:36 AM
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techant wrote:
I have items that need to plug into an electric outlet do I have to use up my items to have all the wiring, outlets, switches ect or can I just say electrical wiring supplies?

Yes, you can just say electrical wiring supplies. Other people might be more interested in elaborating on how things work electrically and be more specific, but if that is not your thing, just don't worry about it.
quote:
Also I want to give a gift basket where I list the items - this is not just a way to get more items because they are limited to the visitors use. Can I do that?

Say what each gift basket contains in your inventory list and it is okay. I just don't want people to create magic boxes that seem to contain whatever they might need for any situation that comes up.

-Erik

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09-18-2006 at 05:40 AM
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