People swapped in-person conferences and handshakes for remote learning and internet gatherings during the global pandemic. It would be an understatement to say that Zoom has established itself as the leader for virtual educational and corporate encounters, but it is also a virtual reminder of how the internet falls short in forging the in-person ties that people need.
Gather Town not only shines in this area, but it also improves on the mechanics of Zoom by recreating the sensation of real-world interaction and generating a sense of normalcy inside the confines of the virtual reality that the world is now forced to confront.
For those of you who are new to the site. Gather.town is a videoconferencing platform that works on the basis of location. This implies you have an avatar with which you can traverse an online environment. When you’re close enough to another avatar’s avatar, videoconferencing appears, and you can begin communicating.
Videoconferencing vanishes as you go away. In terms of social interaction, this means that as you walk around the map, you may run into people you know or don’t know, stop for a quick chat before moving on to the next presentation, ask the keynote speaker a few questions after their presentation, or simply hang out in a group and enjoy an evening drink.
Gather Town’s rooms are the first thing to look at. Users can choose from a wide range of rooms to match the ambience of practically any human interaction location, much like in 8-bit pixelized video games. Are you attempting to instruct? Gather Town features a classroom dedicated to this purpose.
Trying to arrange a virtual meeting with family members? Gather Town is the place to go for that. Trying to run a company? Gather Town has a place where you can do that. Users can come and go as they choose, personalizing events and the environment’s look and feel with password-protected virtual rooms.
It has a low-fi aesthetic. 8-bit pixel graphics is used to create the avatars and online environments (see picture below). You have the option of selecting from a variety of pre-configured maps, creating your own map (mapmaker), or commissioning new maps. Gather.town is free for up to 25 individuals at a time; for bigger groups of up to 2000 people, premium packages of 2 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours, and one month are available.
Users can effortlessly move in and out of interactions with other individuals in their rooms after choosing an avatar. The rooms will be set up and will feature projects chosen by the host. These advertisements may include televisions, whiteboards, and papers, all of which include sharable material that can be shared on other data-sharing sites like Google Docs or YouTube. The real-time sharing of knowledge, together with the virtual chat rooms, produces an universe that functions exactly as it would in real life.
Gather Town is a game that mimics reality by following the mechanics of real-life interactions. It’s as simple as walking away from a person’s avatar to leave and join meetings. Gather Town’s interactive mechanisms highlight the game’s distinct settings, which form a strong foundation for its success.
Gather Town can be used in a variety of social situations. People can integrate real work features such as YouTube videos, word documents for discussing progress, and whiteboards for interactive learning after choosing from an extensive array of avatars.
As users of Gather Town will quickly discover, wandering the world allows for interactions similar to those seen in the real world. Gather Town stands out from the competition because it not only creates a world that people can build on, but it also creates a world that people can share in any social circumstance.
While some of us used Gather religiously for a week and appreciated the virtual contact it provided, not everyone could be found online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as they would in a real office. Gather has another disadvantage as a workplace collaboration tool: it forces the user to assume an always-online persona. You may leave Gather open while going to the restroom or dealing with a client, but if you don’t say so, your coworkers may assume you’re at your computer and come over for a chat, only to find themselves talking to themselves.
In real life, they’d be able to tell if you’re at your desk or available for a conversation. Allowing your colleagues to ping you elsewhere first if they’d like to chat before going over to Gather can be a good way to avoid unpleasant encounters.
It can’t completely replace existing office collaboration technologies like Teams, Lark, or Slack because it lacks essential features like document sharing, search, and comprehensive chat, to mention a few. However, at a time when video calls must compensate for our lack of office interaction, Gather is a much-welcomed (and more enjoyable) addition to our available options.
Check out my related post: Do you inspire collaboration in the organization?