The Syncytium Maze

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The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Thu May 24, 2012 1:40 am

Hi all,

Well for those of you who love mazes, we have a treat for you this year!

Syncytium are building a giant wooden maze to challenge and entertain you. This video gives an idea of the scale and look of it.



Here's another video, showing one of our test builds of a section here in the UK:



We plan to have several interactive elements, walls to write on, things to find, and a furry wall to stroke if it's all getting too much.
It's not an easy maze by any means - I've been refining the design on this since last July! But there are emergency exits, which I'm thinking are a good idea. It shouldn't be too claustrophobic as there are 2nd-tier bridges to look out from and a large percentage of the walls are fencing and see-through. We also plan to have a minotaur...

Finally, it's also doubling as our wedding venue on the Friday afternoon!

If anyone's got any comments, suggestions, questions or is even interested in helping build it and joining our theme camp then let us know.

Cheese Simon
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Wed May 30, 2012 5:09 am

Hi,

Would be interested to see if anyone has some additional ideas on how we can make the walls more interactive. The cheaper/simpler the better! Here's our current ideas:

> We have a furry wall if you've had a Jeffrey
> Plan to have various "Question walls" with pens attached for participants to answer. e.g.
"What's your biggest secret?"
"What's your best advice for a new burner?"
"What's your favourite quote?"
Feel free to suggest others!
> Some walls will have signs. Only a small proportion will have useful information (e.g. "don't go this way"). Some will be deliberately
unhelpful/misleading in terms of direction. Some will have (hopefully!) amusing quotes, slogans, bumpersticker type things.
Feel free to suggest some or things you've seen that have made you smile!
> Some walls will have things to "find". As well as getting to the exit, a secondary objective is to find a set of symbols hidden throughout
the maze.
> Some walls we will unleash to artists to decorate as they please.

Thanks!
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Drawingablank » Wed May 30, 2012 6:44 am

I really like this concept.

In the build video it appears to be put together with drywall screws which in my experience don't have a particularly high shear strength. With all those flat surfaces you might want to calculate how much force a strong wind gust will exert on this structure to avoid catastrophic failure.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Wed May 30, 2012 6:58 am

Thanks Drawingablank.

I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to all the different screw types. We'll be using a combination of 1"-4" screws. The 4" ones are used to go right through the 2x3 into the next piece, as you probably saw in the video. I can't remember what the screw type was.
If you (or anyone) has got any specific recommendations for the longer screws (i.e. 2" -4") for dimensional lumber, then that's appreciated.
It needs to be factored in that they need to come out too, as we're not planning on burning this beast.

I take your concern about wind strength. What seems pretty clear from the test builds is that the more of the structure there is, the stronger it gets as everything is joined to everything else. Also, because the solid OSB walls are dispersed throughout and at various angles, I'm thinking this won't be too much of an issue. The fact that pretty much all the outer wall is snow fence should help with dispersing the force of the wind too. Basically the whole thing is one big unit with no real weak point. We'll probably make sure those outer walls have extra screws and brackets to make sure though.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Joshua! » Wed May 30, 2012 7:21 am

Drywall screws are typically black in color, and usually specified as being for drywall. I would suggest using gold wood screws or even green outdoor deck screws. I also noticed in your video that some of the areas where you screwed things together had split where you screwed them. That is a for-sure fail point, and you should pre drill the screw holes to prevent that from happening.

Best of luck with this! I'm excited to play with it!

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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Wed May 30, 2012 10:49 am

OK, well I checked and all the screws were "gold" even if the colour of them wasn't!

Again, I take the point on wood splitting, Joshua. I think that was mostly due to people trying to drive too near the thin end of those wedge joists. The screws we used have a special part at the end where effectively one side" is flat. That's supposed to mean you don't need pilot holes and in practise we had very few problems just going straight in.

We're doing a timed build next weekend so it's another chance to practise and see what works and what's quickest.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby masho » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:54 pm

This thing is huge (6700 sf +/-) Looks like fun. Should be interesting.

Minotaur - +1
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Bob » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:39 pm

How are you staking the frame to the ground?

Are you building a prototype w/ panels attached, on a site that gets strong winds?
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:31 am

Bob - wasn't planning on staking it to the ground. The whole concept was built around not needing to go into the playa and making it sturdy enough and heavy enough not to need that. The only parts that I was planning to go into the ground were the base of each of the ladders, to keep them sturdy. And that by just bending some rebar over the bottom rung, which we'll build so it actually sits on the floor. I dare say we'll take extra rebar out there which we could use to take the corners/edges into the ground, but I think that'll be over-engineering it.

The prototype's we've built have had pretty strong winds and rain (not by choice!), but not as strong as it gets on the playa. But even the small prototypes we've done have hardly budged from that, just due to where the joins/screws are and the fact that it's all effectively one piece. Also, considering that the whole thing will weigh a LOT and that it's all joined together, I imagine that the wind won't do much even to a panel that's perpendicular to it. The snow fence will take some of the strength of the wind out too by the time it hits the panels.

This will be the 3rd maze I've built out on the playa and it's by far the most rugged. We are building another prototype next weekend though and I intend for one of the tests to be that a couple of us just charge at the walls together. If we do more damage to ourselves than to the wall then I think they'll take the wind. I'm far more concerned at this stage about the impact of "enthusiastic" burners than the elements... ;)
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:34 am

Masho - yes, I'm looking forward to having a minotaur in there, especially at night...
But our lead minotaur is typically approaching this with a burner mentality. i.e. sometimes be charging around and scary, other times just being "moody" or in need of a hug.

I think it'll be a very satisfying maze to complete. It's going to be really easy to get out, just not to get to the actual goal exit. And we intend to make the journey fun as well as frustrating.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:40 am

carefactornil wrote:But our lead minotaur is typically approaching this with a burner mentality. i.e. sometimes be charging around and scary, other times just being "moody" or in need of a hug.



Spot on. I can identify with this.

:lol:


Can't wait to see this!
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby masho » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:15 am

carefactornil wrote:Masho - yes, I'm looking forward to having a minotaur in there, especially at night...
But our lead minotaur is typically approaching this with a burner mentality. i.e. sometimes be charging around and scary, other times just being "moody" or in need of a hug.

I think it'll be a very satisfying maze to complete. It's going to be really easy to get out, just not to get to the actual goal exit. And we intend to make the journey fun as well as frustrating.


night minotaur +2
scary minotaur that needs hugs? I'll have to experience that first hand :wink:
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:29 am

With something that size, its design will be visible from SPACE!!!!
Might you then add some design elements that can only be seen from satellite?
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:33 am

You mean a middle finger with the catchy slogan "ET, Go Home!"
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:42 am

That would work, if only ET could read sign language. :(

Are you burning the maze afterwards?
NB, trapping people inside before burning is NOT COOL and probably illegal, but it might be fun to somehow suggest that they need to clear out well before it burns.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Stephendragonfly » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:57 am

I like this idea. The only thing about this that worries me is that Mazes and Minotaurs have a well known tendency to attract Greek Heroes, particularly Theseus (accursed by Grad Students everywhere). Greek Heroes like to slaughter first and ask questions later (as well as ravishing beautiful maidens and comely lads (perhaps not unwelcome at BM)). So, my question is, will it be a Big Fat Greek Wedding or what??
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Rice » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:53 pm

So if there were wind gusts of 100 Miles per hour, you KNOW that it will not move?? I would stake the thing to the ground.

I have seen large dust devils take solid structures and destroy them.

Personally, I would not want to be responsible for hurting people or destroying their camps...
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:57 am

It'll wobble a little bit (as a whole) but I'm really struggling to see how attaching it to the ground will help. I'm loathe to go into the playa unnecessarily, because of the effort involved and the impact to the playa, something I was keen to avoid doing at all.

I've not calculated the overall weight yet, but I imagine it'll run into 1,000's of kilos, if not 10,000's. That's a lot heavier than me, a car or possibly even a large RV. And none of those things are going to be tethered to the ground to prevent strong winds playing havoc with them.

It's not totally inconceivable that a piece might break free (ripping out a lot of 4" screws and brackets in the process...) but I don't think tethering the bottom or outer wall of the structure to the ground will prevent that.

Still, we'll do some more destructive testing of the weakest spots at the weekend on the next build.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Rice » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:18 am

Sorry we seem to be obsessing of the the "pegging to the playa" thought process.

Plan for the worst (ie: be prepared to attach to the ground), hope for the best (weather like 2011).

I only want your project to be awesome and stress free for you.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:16 am

That's cool. I'll definitely be taking plenty of spare rebar with us - even if we don't use it for the maze or the camp, there's always someone who needs more!
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Rice » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:30 am

carefactornil wrote:That's cool. I'll definitely be taking plenty of spare rebar with us - even if we don't use it for the maze or the camp, there's always someone who needs more!


We seem critical and picky. But remember there is a lot of collective experience on eplaya. There are many ways of not doing stuff right on the playa and I suspect everyone who has commented has tried that wrong way at least once :) Therefore we are just trying to pass on that experience to you...

Safety Third!
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:31 am

carefactornil wrote:...but I imagine it'll run into 1,000's of kilos, if not 10,000's.

The correct term is "metric fuckton".
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby ivorypale » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:54 pm

It was great to run into you during the Temple burn.

I loved the maze! Challenging and clever, it was one of the best things I saw on the playa this year. Thank you!
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Oubliet » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:37 am

The maze was one of the highlights of this year's event for me!

Thank you for bringing it to BRC.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby Undecided » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:24 am

That sneaky door to get you past the first part lol. 45 minutes looking like an idiot. Easily one of my favorite things this year :) THANK YOU.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:47 am

theCryptofishist wrote:
carefactornil wrote:...but I imagine it'll run into 1,000's of kilos, if not 10,000's.

The correct term is "metric fuckton".


A metric fucktonne is slightly more than an imperial fuckton... hence the extra letters at the end.
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:16 am

I never saw the maze.. but spending some time with the creator of the maze as he wandered up to me while wearing the light suit on Monday night, deep playa, while both of us were mutually.. *cough*.. enlightened.. was one of my most favorite people interactions of the entire burn. Awesome, awesome guy. I quite enjoyed our stroll together..
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby RevDusty » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:37 am

Just another THANK YOU! for a really great installation/maze. It was awesome fun and so well done.

Thank you!
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby carefactornil » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:13 pm

Thanks for all the kind words. It was great to see it finally realised and see people enjoying their frustration.

Oh - and JS - that wasn't me (the creator) you met, but I'm assuming one of our crew (30+). Or just some random burner who claimed they built it!?
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Re: The Syncytium Maze

Postby JovReef » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:10 am

It was an awesome maze. I need that furry wall stroke by the time I found it.

My only issue with it though was one of the ladders was broken. Bottom two steps were gone, but a nice man hoisted me up haha.
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