Search

Camp Yampire Moves to Topia!

Updated: Apr 15

Table of Contents (Click to navigate)


We are so excited to announce that Topia.io will be an integral part of camp weekends in 2021! Anyone who attended one of our camp weekends in 2020 saw a map at our opening ceremony & morning announcements that looked like this:

"Treat Camp Yampire like a festival" was our catch phrase, and we collectively imagined zoom breakout rooms as your Guest Camp Counselor's tents on our virtual campground. "Explore," we encouraged, and we learned as we went, which ended up working really well in 2020! Campers could come and go as they pleased, for the most part. But...there was still a fair amount of "video chat" hurdles to jump over that subtly reminded you people weren't around in person - waiting to be moved to a breakout room, for one. Feeling possible apprehension about leaving or joining a new activity if someone was speaking in the main space was another. Not being able to go into a room and chat with your pals if you wanted a moment to yourselves was a third. So, to keep moving onwards and upwards together, we're moving to Topia, where we hope we can find a whimsical fix for the issues above..

In an almost game-ified way, you can walk your avatar around a space we created just for our campers. We leaned into the black and white "sketchbook" style to keep an aesthetic of creation on the forefront of our camp weekends, while also allowing the pops of color to be your guide around the campgrounds! Our neon-lit marquees that mark our "Learn," "Move," "Play," "Create," "Relax," & "Listen" spaces are there to show you the way, and the video and audio will be spatial as you walk around (so we highly recommend headphones).


This means, if you are in the "Learn" space listing to lo-fi hip hop and doing some studying, you won't be able to hear a beginner's pottery class being held in the "Create" space, nor the dance party going on in "Move." All of our activities are on the same shared space so you can walk around, easily accessing everything without having to ask - almost everything is clickable and has a vibe attached to it, too. Your video and audio can be toggled off and on, as with Zoom, & screen sharing and audio broadcasting are on Topia, as well. One of the things we are most excited about for Topia is the movement that comes with it - with an avatar, you get a physical aspect that people are right next to you (kind of like when you put faux plants next to real ones, you brain treats them as all real), but the avatar isn't the star of the show, you and your video/audio are! You can make your avatar do simple things like dance, sit down, and throw up a heart emoji to show a very tangible love to those around you. When we're playing a game, you can walk over to your team's side. When we do a scavenger hunt, you can run around the map together to see the various challenges. When we do interactive theatre, you can explore and see a show, choose-your-own-adventure style. When we are doing a glow dance party, we can all physically dance our avatars on the floor while we also dance together on video. That brings us one step closer to feeling a deeper connection with one another, that so many of us came to Camp Yampire for.



Topia Tech Specs:


We highly recommend joining from a computer

(P.C. or Mac are both excellent!):

Tablets will work as well, as long as they have Chrome browser enabled. If you join from a computer, you will have a smoother experience on Topia.



Make sure you have Google Chrome browser enabled on your computer: Topia uses WebGL, which works best on Chrome, so please make sure you download Chrome for the smoothest Topia experience! You can also use Safari browser on iphone or ipad, it seems to work almost as well. To download Google Chrome browser, click here.


Make sure you join with the email you signed up with on Eventbrite This is because we will have a "camper guest list," and if your email is not on it, you won't be able to log on. This is a safety measure to keep our campgrounds troll-free, and we appreciate your understanding as we work to keep this space safe for our campers.

Make sure you register for our camp weekends before they begin! Once the day begins, Yam and Pie will periodically check tickets on Eventbrite and add emails to the guest list on a rolling basis. That being said, how urgently your email gets added to the guest list (so you can log on) depends on how busy they are at the time. So, please register before camp begins to avoid a delay in your access to Camp Yampire.



Topia Basics:


How to join our virtual campground:

1. Type Topia.io/camp-yampire into your web browser

(Chrome is highly recommended)

2. Type your name in the box

(feel free to use your camp nickname, as well!)

3. Type the password in the box (for your safety, this changes often)

4. Agree to Topia’s terms and click join


Tips to make the Topia run smoothly:

  • Use a computer with video, audio, and an updated web browser (preferably Chrome)

  • Phones will work but computers work best

  • Disable ad blockers

  • Close out of other tabs/windows/apps (including the main Topia tab)

  • If you hear feedback, try using headphones

  • If you have video or sound issues, try exiting Topia, checking your security software and extensions to make sure they’re not blocking images, and clearing your cache before re-entering Topia

  • On PC or Mac, Chrome browser is recommended.

  • On iPad or iPhone, Safari browser seems to work best.

Zooming in and Out:

Just as with past camp weekends, campers will receive an information packet with a map, so they can have a bird's eye view at all times. But if you'd like to get a better view of things while actually moving around on the campgrounds, here's how:

  • Apple: Command +/-

  • PC: Control +/-

Moving around our virtual campground:

  • On Desktop:

  • Your cursor will turn into two black shoe prints once you enter the campground.

Hover your cursor over the area you want to walk to and click. Your avatar will walk to that spot. You can also use the keyboard arrow keys to move around.

  • On touch screen, tap where you’d like to go and your avatar will walk to that spot.







Interacting with the environment:

  • Hold your cursor over an illustration (or asset). If it changes to a gloved hand 👈🏾 icon, it means that asset is clickable. Click it and a pop up window will give you more information. Some assets will also happen automatically when you are close to them.

How to join an event with Yam & Pie:

  • On the left side of your screen are your event controls. click the calendar icon 📅 to access the schedule of events that are occurring that day. You can use it as a reference, or if you click an event, you will walk to it automatically. Also, there will be an interactive map, a "what's on" slideshow to see what's going on at any given moment, and of course, Yam or Pie will be there to assist at the information tents.

How to join an event with a GCC:

  • It's the same as when you join an event with Yam & Pie! On the left side of your screen are your event controls. click the calendar icon 📅 to access the schedule of events that are occurring that day. You can use it as a reference, or if you click an event, you will walk to it automatically.

How to voice chat with someone on Topia:

  • Make sure you are not muted, and walk close to a fellow camper! When you can hear them, they will be able to hear you. We recommend muting when joining a GCC session (unless they want you to be unmuted) so they can have the floor.

  • When the mic is blue, we can hear you. When the mic is red, your audio's dead.

How to mute someone on Topia:

  • Hey, it happens. If you need a little quiet and would not like to hear someone even if you are very close to them, you can click on their video screen and select the 🔇 mute icon, and their audio will turn to red for the session. Other campers will not know you have done this. Make sure to un-mute them if you want to chat with them again!

How to turn your video off and on:

  • Just click the camera icon to toggle your video on and off. It's important to note, that when a camper turns their own video off, it will prevent them from seeing the video feed of anyone else until you turn it back on. You'll still be able to hear the audio of everything going on, though!

  • An effective way to still be able to see everyone's video, if you don't feel like sharing your own, is to use a camera cover, or even a piece of painters tape over your camera lens, so you can still have your camera on and see Yam, Pie, & your fellow campers.

How to video chat on Topia:

  • Make sure your video is on, and walk close to a fellow camper! When you can see them (it's spatial video so it gets more clear the closer you get to them), they will be able to see you. We recommend turning video off when we have our camper siesta time, to avoid any distractions while taking a rest.

Sending a message to another camper:

  • Click the envelope ✉️ icon on the corner of the video chat window to send someone a private message. These messages will stay throughout your sessions at Camp Yampire. If someone sends you a message, the envelope in the controls section on the left side of your screen will turn red.

Replying to a message from a fellow camper:

  • If someone sends you a message, the envelope ✉️ in the controls section on the left side of your screen will turn red.

Sharing your screen on Topia:

  • To share your screen, click the gear ⚙️ icon on the control panel. Here, you can change your video and audio inputs, as well as share your screen by clicking the blue "Share Your Screen" button. Please note, only admins will be able to share or broadcast their screens in high definition, so if you have extensive video needs, please let Yam or Pie know, so they can help you set up a Zoom portal for campers to pop over to. At this time, campers are not able to share their screens if joining from a phone.

Camp Yampire Portals:

  • A portal takes you into another Topia (which has its own unique URL - you can even create your own campsite and invite fellow campers to it). Inside Topia's Camp Yampire, we have a few portals you can connect to via whimsical doors. You can also click the portal tab under the globe icon 🌐 to easily switch between these portals.

  • How-To-Topia – this is a space for absolute beginners. Learn the ropes of Topia.

  • The Film Cafe – reconnect on Zoom (they have much better video quality) to view films together!




📲Using Topia on Mobile:📲


If you wish to join from a phone, you can, but it will be a little trickier to do so, and you will not have access to some Topia features. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you have Google Chrome web browser installed on your phone.

  • Safari also works, if joining from an iphone or ipad.

When you first log into our virtual camp, you will get a message that says this device is not supported. Don't panic! Just click the settings button in the chrome browser (three vertical white dots) and check the box that says, Enable Desktop Site


  • Once you have connected your mic and camera, you'll enter Camp Yampire on Topia.

  • *We highly recommend exiting the default, "fullscreen mode" so you can see your browser search bar above the page. This not only helps to zoom you out a bit, so you don't accidently hit random buttons on the page while exploring, and it also also allows you to find your "mute" button for your mic and "hide video" button for your camera, which does not show up when you first enter. If joining from an iphone, all other users are muted by default.

  • Drag from the top of the screen which will bring up the "back" button on your browser. Tap it once, and you'll see you have zoomed out quite a bit! If you want to go back to a zoomed-in state/fullscreen, simply reload the page.

Once you're out of zoom mode, you can mute your mic and turn of yor video by clicking on the logos of your video screen on the page. It will be small and a little harder to see if you're on mobile.


  • When the mic is blue, we can hear you. When the mic is red, your audio's dead.

  • You can now also "turn off" your video when joining from mobile. It's important to note, that when a camper turns their own video off, it will prevent them from seeing the video feed of anyone else until you turn it back on. You'll still be able to hear the audio of everything going on, though!

  • An effective way to still be able to see everyone's video if you don't feel like sharing your own is to use a camera cover, or even a piece of painters tape over your camera lens, so you can still have your camera on and see Yam, Pie, & your fellow campers.

  • You won't be able to share your screen when joining on mobile.


In summary, by joining on mobile you CAN

- Enter Camp Yampire via desktop mode

- Enter a Portal to other campsites

- Click everything in the world and follow those links

- Mute/un-mute yourself (once you zoom out)

- Turn off/on video (once you zoom out)

- Join an event with a GCC

- Search the help database in the bottom right corner

- Message a pal (but the buttons are very close together)


But, you CAN'T

- Mute your audio upon first arriving to camp

you will need to mute manually.

- Share your screen

- Message a pal as easily

the buttons are a bit wonky

- Turn off your video without turning off everyone's video too

remember a cover or painter's tape!




Topia FAQ:

(if you can't find your answers here, you can

also check out the Topia Resources page!)



Why did Camp Yampire move to Topia?

  • We're always changing, learning and growing as a community endeavor. We hope Topia will help bridge the gap even more between virtual and in-person events. We also hope to encourage those campers who are "over zoom" to try Topia with us.

Will Camp Yampire still take place on Zoom?

  • For now, yes. We will have a hybrid aspect to our camp weekends, where the first night will include Zoom to teach campers the ropes of the new virtual space. Some one-off events will take place entirely on Zoom, some on Topia. We will also have our movies and media we watch together be streamed through Zoom via Topia portals, due to the fact that Zoom has excellent HD streaming, and Topia is somewhat lacking.

Will we still have Guest Camp Counselors teaching/leading/performing things?

  • Of course! This is the same Camp Yampire you got to know in 2020, with some very cool changes. Our Guest Camp Counselors will have a space set up just for them during camp weekends. You will be able to access it via the calendar logo.

Will Yam & Pie still be on Topia all day & night, like they were on Zoom?

  • Absolutely! Only, we will be able to walk around with you and engage in our virtual campground far more than we ever could on Zoom. We're super excited about that!

Why is the Topia world in black and white?

  • The creator of Topia said that they liked the idea of shifting the focus away from the environment to the video chat, which really resonates with us. Also, we like the idea of clearly seeing those color pops in a sea of hand drawn black and white elements. As we grow in Topia, we may choose to do away with the black and white theme for something entirely new, but for now, we are really enjoying it.

How will I know what's going on at Camp Yampire?

  • On the left side of your screen are your event controls. click the calendar icon 📅 to access the schedule of events that are occurring that day. You can use it as a reference, or if you click an event, you will walk to it automatically. Also, there will be an interactive map, a "what's on" slideshow to see what's going on at any given moment, and of course, Yam or Pie will be there to assist at the information tents.

Can I still hear from Yam & Pie from anywhere on the campgrounds?

  • You absolutely can! As your admins and hosts of this virtual space, we have the ability to broadcast our audio and/or video, spatially, or across the entire grounds. If we have an emergency (or a schedule change) we will make sure to announce it to you!

How are you keeping us safe during camp weekends?

  • Your safety is our priority, campers. We require all tickets for our Camp Yampire weekends to be reserved for free through Eventbrite, which also requires creating an account. We change our Topia password for every event and in between, and only those who have reserved an Eventbrite ticket will have access to these passwords. Furthermore, we will have a "guest list," so if you email is not on the list during an event, you will not be able to join the Topia until it is added. Finally, there is a built in "ban" aspect to any trolls who manage to get through all these points of deterrence, which will ban that email address from joining our Topia again.

What happens if we get a troll or inappropriate camper on Topia?

  • We're prepared for it. We will be training our GCCs to serve as moderators on Topia. This means, if they see something, they have the ability to instantly ban a camper for inappropriate/trolling conduct. Please make sure to report any issues you may have to the nearest GCC, and Pie or Yam as well, so they can make sure to add the email of the offender to the "ban list." Thank you for helping us keep out Topia space safe!

Why can't someone see me or hear me?

  • You may be muted on their end. You have the ability to mute fellow campers who are beside you, and they, you. This is not personal, perhaps the camper just needs a moment of quiet right now. If you need to connect with them but they aren't responding to your audio chat, it might work to send them a message using the envelope ✉️ icon. Alternatively, it may be that you aren't close enough to them to be seen or heard. Make sure you're close enough and that your video & audio are on.

I feel awkward interrupting other camper's conversations - how do I step into one?

  • It can feel uncomfortable when you walk up and people are already in conversation, but inside our virtual campground, we’d like to model that the correct etiquette is to welcome any new appearances that come into your video or audio space. We encourage you to simply lead by example and say “hello, welcome!” to any campers that aren't just passing through – even if there are other people talking when the person arrives!

How can I find my friends on the Camp Yampire campground?

  • As with any festival, you’ll need to walk around to find them!

  • When your avatar gets close to another avatar, you will see that user’s video chat window pop-up. If you walk away, their video chat window will disappear. If you want to have a conversation with someone (or multiple people) your avatars will need to stay close together.

  • Small colored arrows will appear on the edges of your screen pointing to where people are on the map. Place your cursor (black shoe prints) near the arrows and click. Your avatar will walk toward them and you’ll find people to connect with.

How do I change my name, add pronouns, etc?

  • If you need to change your name, you can simply close the page and reopen it. You will be asked to create a name each time you sign in and enter our virtual space. However, you still need to make sure you're joining with the same email to ensure you're on the list. We like this aspect of safety because if a troll decides to pop on and change their name, we can ban their email from re-joining, no matter their name.

Do I have to have a computer to participate on Topia?

  • No, you can access our virtual campground with a cell phone, but your experience will likely be better with a computer.

What if I don't have sound hooked up on my device?

  • You have to have a camera and sound in order to enter a Topia URL, just like you would if you were joining us for a Zoom video chat. But, you should be able to mute yourself and turn off your video, too.

I can't hear anyone! What do I do?

  • Topia is best experienced on a desktop computer using Google Chrome. If you are on an iPhone using Safari, all campers in Topia will be muted by default and must be unmuted as you meet them. If you have additional questions please call the topia hotline to speak directly to a representative on-call at (213) 397-2272.

What's the "Create Your World" button?

  • It is as it sounds - a space to create your own free world for fellow campers to visit! Topia has a drag and drop creator interface that is highly customizable, so feel free to check it out and let Yam & Pie know if you have made a campsite, so they can visit!

Do I have to be 18+ to enter Camp Yampire on Topia?

  • Topia wants all minors to be with someone 18+ if they are going to use their platform. Our virtual campground won't contain content which would require an 18+ restriction, but Topias not involved with Camp Yampire could contain adult material, so use caution if visiting another camper's campsite.

Help! My question is not on here?!

  • Sorry about that! Topia has an excellent customer service space. You can call the Topia hotline to speak directly to a representative on-call at (213) 397-2272, or click the blue box in the bottom right of the virtual campground to pull up a robo-chat FAQ.


It's a lot of info to sift through, but we hope having it all in one place for easy reference helps if/when you have any issues using Topia. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email if you have any further questions, campers! See you on Topia, Yam & Pie

94 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All