After I playtested the 2015 Burning Man puzzle hunt puzzles, I eagerly looked forward to seeing photos of what the real installations looked like in place. Egnor posted photos, design notes, construction notes, and everything.
I was glad I brought water; the climbing was serious.
If you're intrigued then: set aside two to three hours, head to downtown Berkeley near the BART station, and text START to 1 510 2000 449.
Barthe's Death of the Author: just because you wrote something, that's not so great. Some audience needs to experience it, and they're doing a lot of the hard work. Instead of lionizing the writer as The Author, we should just call that bozo the scriptor. The collaboration between scriptor and audience is the true author. Or something like that.
If you're designing experiences instead of, say, recording a podcast, you want to think about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Like, if you're recording a podcast, you're not really thinking about whether your audience is safe and comfortable: if they're not safe or comfortable, they probably pressed the pause button on your podcast anyhow. But if you're routing a puzzlehunt and you haven't thought about where the snack places and restrooms are, your players won't be able to concentrate on those puzzles you worked so hard on. Instead, they'll be hangry and nerving themselves up to risk peeing in alleys. OK, she didn't use the puzzlehunt example, instead talking about Sleep No More, but my thoughts drifted where my thoughts were gonna drift.
People who studied the Happenings a la Kesey turned into folks who studied "Relational Aesthetics" turned into folks studing experiences as art. I wouldn't have thought to google Relational Aesthetics in a million years because it sounds like nothing at all, but now I'm thinking I should hunt down some books.
Allen Cohn was there. We talked about metapuzzles: the tendency to make them complex, because you're trying to tie up all the elements of your hunt. But you want the last puzzle of the hunt to be smooth, not a hard slog. Puzzlehunts are emotional experiences; and much of folks will remember is how they felt in the last few minutes. So make those fun, not sloggy.
Non sequitur: I went to Canada, but I'm back now. I should come up with a trip report…eventually?
220.127.116.11 - - [06/Aug/2015:12:55:28 -0400] "GET /departures/TX/0/dallas_zoo_elephant_fountains.jpg HTTP/1.1" 206 276031 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) GSA/6.0.51363 Mobile/12F70 Safari/600.1.4"
It kinda looks as if someone, having visited my page with the photo of the elephant fountain at the Dallas Zoo, is getting the photo shown thereupon. Oddly, this photo doesn't have the page as a "referer" [sic], nor do I see a request for the page back in the logs.
The response code is 206; there are a few of these requests in a row. That means that this phone didn't ask for the whole photo at once. Instead, it asked for parts of the data.
The IP address is associated with the Jordan Telecom Group, as in the nation of Jordan. Maybe the bandwidth situation to Jordan isn't so great? Maybe their phone network has to do a lot of caching (which might explain why there wasn't a log of a page load) and has to fetch a not-that-big photo one piece at a time? Maybe.
Another possible reason there's no log of loading the page associated with that photo: Maybe this is someone using Google Image Search and going directly to the image that way—though it's still strange that Google didn't show up as the "referer"; which makes me still lean towards the theory of a Jordan phone co proxy, but not one that's cached my page. Google's webmaster tools hasn't caught up to yesterday yet, but "Google image search" is a nice theory.
"Aug 30-Sep 7 Puzzle Hunt at Burning Man Black Rock City, NV–Puzzle Hunt Calendar
If you go, you'll know it when you see it."
No, I'm not going to Burning Man. But if you are, now you can rest assured that there will be something to do when you get there.