GURPS/Snowcrash: The Metaverse

Most of the metaverse works like the real world, sort-of. Gravity and physics work "normally" in public areas. In private areas, the local owner can control these things, either wholesale or by making slight changes. However, in the metaverse, practiality can win out over physics. For example, Main Street is so crowded that different avatars can be in the same place at the same time. the computers running main street simply don't check for physical overlap. In The Black Sun, tables do not have leggs, nor do they need them.

In the metaverse, people are represented by avatars. Programs are usually represted by servents, but also by machines (often Rube Goldberg type contraptions). Data, money, and real world items are represented by hypercards, which look like business cards.

Most people do not want the Metaverse's metaphore of the real world to be broken. This is considered bad manners. This is why avatars can not appear just anywhere.

Running the Metaverse

I haven't quite figured out how to run tasks in the metaverse...

My best idea so far is here.

Here are a couple of ideas that others have posted on the web. I might use some ideas scavanged from these posts:

People, Places, Things, and Activities in the Metaverse...


People use the metaverse for much the same purposes people use (or want to use) the web today. Business is conducted in the metaverse, people play games on it, and interact with each other in it. It is used to distribute information, providing customer support, and on and on.


When a person enters the metaverse, a avatar is created. If the person owns metaverse real estate, the avatar will usually be created in that area. Otherwise, the avatar will be created in a public port; the one nearest their intended destination.

The Metaverse's transportation hub is a monorail which loops around the entire "world's" equator. This monorail has 256 express ports (or stations) spaced evenly, 256 kilometers appart. Between each of these ports are 256 normal ports, spaced 1 kilometer appart.

The most common transportation system is walking. An avatar can walk quite quickly, and does not get tired.

Personal vehicles do exist, and can be anything. In populated areas, they tend to be motorcycles. In less populated areas, anything goes. Victorian houses on tank treads are possible.

Real Estate

The metaverse is a sphere with a circumference of 65,536 (64k) kilometers. Most of that surface area is not used. Most of what is used is next to Main Street. .....

If a computer is cut off from the metaverse, people on that machine will only be able to see the metaverse real estate on that computer. Similarly, people in the metaverse will not be able to see that computer's real estate, unless a backup has been set up.

Below are some major or interesting pieces of the metaverse:

Main Street / Downtown

Main Street is 100 meters wide and has the mono rail going down the middle of it. In the area around port 0, called downtown, it is heavily built up, but that only lasts a few 100 kilometers in each direction.

The Black Sun

location and crowd ....

Outside the black sun is a huge black pyramid. Inside, everything is black. Little square tables (without leggs) a spread evenly thoughout the place in a grid. The Black Sun is unofficially divided into four quadrants: Hacker, Movie star, Rock star, and Nipponese. In the dead center is a round bar 16 meters in diameter.

Very few avatars can step across the threshold and inside.

daemons ....


Da5id has a regular table in the hacker quarter near the bar.

Hiro's Place

Ng Security Systems Offices

Tech and Implementation

Central to the metaverse is a collection of communications protocols. These protocols are maintained by the Associatation for Computing Machinery's Global Multimedia Protocol Group (ACM/GMPG).

Each object in the metaverse is created by a program in the "real world". Each piece of real estate is run by the owner's computer(s). The only central hardware resource is the communications network by which all of these computers communicate, and there are several network franchises for this purpose.

Areas of the metaverse run by more powerful computers can have more action, faster action, or more detailed action.

Running the Metaverse