Gather.town Tutorial for WiDS Tucson 2021
Welcome to WiDS Tucson 2021 on gather.town! The goal of gather.town is to “emulate” a real-life conference. This means you control an avatar that moves around a virtual world. You interact with people by going up to them and speaking with them, and you interact with posters by walking up to them and looking at them.
Before we start, be sure you use Chrome or Firefox (and make sure they’re updated to the latest version if you run into problems)! Gather.Town is in Beta on Safari, so you are likely to run into difficulties.
Enter gather.town by clicking on the link provided via email, and be sure to read the instructions on how to move around and interact.
- Either WASD or arrow keys allow you to move up, left, down, and right
- Press and hold the G key to ghost through people if you become stuck
- Put your name, and along with that name please label yourself if you are a [Presenter], [Panelist], or [Staff].
- For example, you are a presenter, in the “Name” text box, write: “Barbara Smith [Presenter]”
- Staff members names start with *. To locate them, type
*in the Search box at the top left of your screen[Fc1]
- You can change your look if you want!
Here is a map of the WiDS Tucson Gather.Town
The main portion of the screen is the virtual environment with your character in it. On the bottom right hand side of your screen you will see a webcam preview of yourself. as well as buttons that and off your mic and webcam video feed respectively. At the top of the screen you may see (and hear) the webcam feed of other people. This is the main mode of interaction in gather.town. If you get close to people, their video and audio will fade in and you will be able to video chat them like you would on Zoom. If you move away from them, then their webcam feed and audio will disappear, just like if you were to walk away from a conversation in real-life.
On the bottom of the screen you will see a row of buttons which do the following (in order from left to right):
- The leftmost button is your avatar, and if you click it you can customize your look.
- Next to the avatar, is your name and status, which allows you to change your name and your video and audio devices. If your webcam feed or mic isn’t picking up, check to make sure they are set to the correct device. Here, you can also put a status. In Figure 2, the status says “Helper”
- A map, which will pop up a mini-map and your location in it This is useful for very large maps but we will keep mostly to contained rooms.
- A computer monitor, and this will give you the option to share your screen, like skype or zoom.
- An emote button (the smiley face), which will cause a thought bubble to appear above your avatar, good for raising your hand or just expressing yourself!
Entering a Talk
When you have navigated to the correct room for the talk (Keynote, Room A, or Room B), You can click
x on your keyboard to launch Zoom. The gather.town zoom integration makes it so that
- Click on the zoom link and open the zoom application ins a separate window, Gather will auto-mute the user’s video and audio output.
- Enter presentation is hosted on Zoom directly
- They exit the zoom call, and head back to Gather to see this message. They click the green button to enter the Gather space exactly where they last left off.
Interacting with others
On the left hand side of your screen you will see a list of names of all of the people present in the room. If you don’t see this section, press the arrowhead on the left hand side of the screen. You can collapse this area by pressing the arrowhead next to the window, and expand it by pressing that arrow again. As shown in Figure 3, you are able to do multiple actions with other people. If you would like to text-chat a person, you can click on their name, and then enter text into the “Message .. . " field. This will start a chat history on the bottom right of your screen. Note that if you text-messaged someone, you will need to take your mouse and click in the virtual environment to be able to move again.
If you would like lo find a person in the virtual world , click “Locate” and an indicator will pop up that will guide you to them . In Figure 5 this can be seen as the yellow lines under the “Nic Riley” avatar leading to the “Amy Kaczur” avatar. To stop localing, click on the “stop localing” button in red, under the Participants section.
I need help!
If you’re having trouble in gathertown, you can message anyone with a * at the beginning of their name - there are WiDS staff. Otherwise, navigate to a help desk (as shown above) and we will assist you as soon as possible!