Playing Virtual CSI is quite easy. Frist you have to create an investigator, a character that you will play in the game. Once you did that, you can start right away and participate in one of the cases that are not yet solved. You simply add your actions as comments to the crime scene post (if you are at the crime scene... other locations are discussed below).
Solving a case is not a competition! Just like in the CSI television series, characters work together to clear the mystery and bring the bad guys into prison. You will have to interact with the other characters that are working on the same case.
Okay, let's get to some details regarding the flow and set-up of the game.
Every case starts with a crime scene. Since some people have problems with violence and/or blood, every case has a rating that shows you, what to expect beneath the initial "police line" cut.
Cases with this rating show no signs of violence at all, like simple burglaries and such (as if anything would be simple)...
Cases with this rating might have some, though not many, blood traces...
Besides of some blood, there might be a certain degree of nudity involved...
Cases with this rating might include heavy wounds, much blood and actual crime scene photos...
This rating stands for extreme violence, multiple cut-off body parts, serial killings and everything into that direction. NC-17 cases will be really rare, there schouldn't be too much exclusion of the major gaming public in Virtual CSI...
You can judge by the case rating, if it might suit you or not. When you enter a crime scene, i.e. click on the cut, you will be presented with a short report on what and/or who can be found. A crime scene photo might be given, but this is not the rule, sometimes there will be only text.
You then start investigating, collecting the evidence, making notes, asking witnesses. All evidence can then be taken to one of the laboratories for further investigation...
DNA Laboratory, Toxicologic Laboratory, Fingerprint Laboratory
In here you can analyze any form of biological trace, be it blood, skin, saliva, sweat or other bits and liquids of the body (DNA lab), detect poisons and other substances that don't belong into a body (Toxicology), search collected fingerprints in AFIS or analyze bullets and other items...
The interaction inside the labs differs a little bit from that at the crime scene. You can of course enter the lab as a group and discuss the evidence. The results of you examinations will come from the MOD of the case.
Be sure to take your evidence to the correct lab. Blood traces would go to the DNA lab, while fingerprints will obviously be examined in the Fingerprints Lab. Bullets, weapons and other item will also have to be taken there.
In here you can gather further information on dead bodies, e.g. homicide vitims. How did they die, when and sometimes even where.
Once you have a suspect, you can come here and interrogate him or her. You can present them with the evidence in order to get a confession. You can ask them until they say something wrong. It is here that the perpetrator will be arrested.
Mystery solved - case closed
After the case is successfully closed, your investigator may improve his or her skills by writing a short essay about the methods used in the case. It can also be about the investigator's area of expertise. For further information on developing your character, see Character Development.
Place, time, posting order - the roleplaying procedure
An ivestigator can only be at one place at a time. This means that you are not allowed to switch cases, just because your current case is boring or a more interesting crime scene has been opened. Once you are at a case, you have to stick to it until it is solved.
Time doesn't matter in Virtual CSI. If it is summer or winter, day or night, depends on the crime scene. The descriptions that can be found there are all you need. As a side effect, your character does not get older and can save a lot of money with all the birthday parties he/she does not have to give.
When posting your questions and examinations into the labs or the pathology or when interrogating witnesses or suspects, be sure to always put the number and title of your current case into the headline of your comment. Usually there should be only one thread per case in each location. So, if you started to examine a blood sample of case "XYZ" in the DNA lab and later get a saliva sample of a suspect and return to the lab to compare those two samples, you use the same thread that you used earlier for the blood sample.