Suburbs Model
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[NOTE: This was written in January 1999.]

Proposed Economic Model to Regulate and Stimulate Growth of the Suburbs

At the last Cybertown World Builders Guild meeting (2-Jan-99) we discussed a model for construction and population of "The Suburbs" at Cybertown. "The Suburbs" is the working name for the planned expansion of the city by the citizens themselves. Although we did not have a majority of the Guild in attendance, we came up with a number of good ideas for a workable model. Please note that these are suggestions and guidelines and that they are subject to change as our ideas develop.

We (The Guild) want to expand the available worlds/places/habitations at Cybertown, but at the same time we wish to maintain the high standards set by the existing work (style, textures, size, usability, etc.). We understand that there is a need for quality control of the expansion areas. We also do not want to be flooded with every little-box-world model someone might develop. We also understand that there are guidelines for "appropriateness" and good taste that should be adhered to. We realize that Cybertown is a showcase and a prototype which requires a high degree of "showmanship" to ensure it's survival.

We understand that the complexity of vrml will probably somewhat limit the number of worlds submitted. We anticipate that the initial submissions will be from VRML veterans and supplemented with a handful from novices. We recognize that there is a monetary system already in place in Cybertown and we wish to use the expansion into the suburbs as a vehicle to further stimulate (or even justify) the "economy". That is to say that the precedent for a housing fee has already been set, so charging a fee for new/different housing is not a change from the status quo. 

At the same time we (The Guild) realize that the best real world financial model for supporting the City is through having major sponsors that believe in VR such as Compaq, Miller Brewing Co., Oracle, Coca-Cola etc. We understand that competing for those same dollars are places like T-World, Virtual Paris, Terra-net etc. This gives us an additional incentive to maintain a high standard of work.

In order to meet these needs we have proposed the following model for the expansion into the suburbs.

  1. Guild membership is not a requirement to publish a world at Cybertown. Approval of the world by the Guild membership is a requirement (positive review by 2 out of 3 Guild members).
  2. There will be a fee (virtual; not real money) to have a model/world evaluated for acceptance. This fee is to be paid in Cybertown Credits (a virtual fee; that is not real money). This fee will be low enough to not scare away anyone that has valid work, and yet high enough so the Guild is not inundated with every little box'-world-something (* see original chatlog text) someone might make. It is suggested that initially this fee be equal to the price of a new house (I think that is $40.00 (in Cybertown Credits). We feel that a part of this fee should be paid to the Guild members for evaluating the project.
  3. If the world is accepted for publishing by the Guild, then the creator of the world will be entitled to "rent" (again virtual money) by anyone who decides to use it. We think that this will encourage competition among the world builders to make their worlds more compelling, or dazzling, than their peers. The portion of the fee that goes to the creator of the world should be less than the price of a house. If a house costs $40.00, then the creator's share would be $10.00 (Cybertown Credits) per user.
  4. In order for a world to be evaluated, it must exist on the Internet and a valid URL must be submitted to the Guild. When three Guild members evaluate the world (and any other VRML examples in the submitter's portfolio) and find it to be functional and esthetically acceptable, then it will be approved by the Guild for release to Cybertown management for final approval and deployment.
  5. If a world grows "stale", or is not accessed for a period of three months (as determined by the server log files), then it should be re-evaluated and/or scheduled for archive or deletion.
  6. We understand that the worlds created and submitted in this fashion are in fact the intellectual property (and liability) of the creator and that ownership is not transferred to Blaxxun Interactive nor Cybertown through this proposal.
  7. It would be desirable to have a "Creators Nickname" field attached to the available models. Citizens may have a preference for a particular builder's style or format. This meets the need of the citizens for personal preference, and the needs of the World Builders for bragging rights.
  8. Guild members reserve the right to create exclusive, or custom worlds for limited distribution at an undisclosed price (highest bidder; Cybertown credits).

There are additional issues such as who is on the Guild, and what constitutes active Guild membership, that need further definition (provide a portfolio for review, attend at least one meeting a month, submit something VRML once every three months?). We need to establish a mechanism to effectively distribute the worlds for evaluation and a mechanism to tally the yea/nay votes for approval. I anticipate more active Guild members when they find out the amount of exposure that their work can receive via Cybertown.


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