At FoldFest Spring 2021 we will be experimenting with Gather.town, a new form of online interaction that may help emulate the more fluid communication that exists at many in-person origami events. Gather.town combines Zoom-like video conferencing with a virtual world in which users can walk around and interact with each other.
Gather.town is like a top-down 2D video game. Each user has an on-screen character they use to move around the screen. When two characters come close together, those two users will be able to talk to each other in a video conference. This proximity-based filtering allows hundreds of people to be in the same virtual meeting space, while still allowing small group interaction.
In addition to proximity-based filtering, Gather.town worlds also have private spaces: designated areas of the map where anyone within the private space can hear anyone else in the private space (even if they are far away) but not hear anyone outside the private space (even if they are nearby).
We’ve designed our Gather.town world to emulate the look and feel of a traditional OrigamiUSA Convention Hospitality Area: a big room with many tables for folders to congregate, chat, and fold together. Each table in the main room corresponds to a private space: any users sitting in chairs around the same table will be able to talk privately amongst themselves. You can walk from table to table in search of whatever topic or conversation that interests you most.
In addition to the main hospitality area, there are five “rooms” in the Gather.town world that correspond to Zoom rooms.
Two rooms (Track 1, Track 2) correspond to the two main tracks for the event. Pressing “x” while in one of these rooms takes you to the Zoom Webinar room corresponding to that FoldFest track.
Three rooms (East Room, North Room, West Room) correspond to open classrooms where registrants can host their own classes. Pressing “x” while in one of these rooms takes you to a Zoom meeting room that can support up to 100 users. These rooms are first-come first-serve and will not be scheduled or structured by OrigamiUSA. Please be respectful and creative!
During FoldFest Spring 2021, we will open our Gather.town map to all registrants. We hope that, during the breaks between sessions, event attendees may walk around this virtual world to find old friends and to meet new ones. Perhaps attendees will use this space to organize their own mini classes, show off their models, organize folding competitions, or just fold in the company of others. We are really curious how people might use this platform to augment their FoldFest experience!
We at OrigamiUSA are also pretty new to Gather.town, so we won’t be able to help users with most technical issues. While Gather.town does have many documents and videos on how to use their software, the easiest way to learn the software is to test out the platform for yourself (or with up to 25 of your friends) on the demo accessible from their homepage.
The FoldFest Gather.town map will open from April 9, 5:00pm EDT to April 11, 5:00pm EDT. The password to join will only work within this time. Gather.Town works best using the Chrome web browser on a laptop or desktop computer. It will not work on a mobile device.
We will email the FoldFest Spring 2021 Gather.town map link when we send the Zoom links for the event April 9, 1:00pm EDT. You can also log in to Gather.town at the following link:
- Gather.town is now closed.
We hope to see many of you there!