Hack2 – Workshop: How to Gather Town

Lecturer: Stefan Riegl
Fields: Architecture

I would like to give a hands-on workshop on how to create a custom space in Gather Town. Afterwards you should have a good grasp of how the parts of a Gather Town space work and you should have built a custom space for yourself.

The workshop will start on Tuesday, 18:30 CEST in the lecture hall of the VIK space.

Please note: This will be an IK-internal event. If you have questions in that regard (or if you cannot make it), feel free to get in contact with me and we can discuss details.

What is it all about

Some people have asked me questions like:

— How difficult is it to create a map or space in Gather Town?
— How long does it take to create a map like [cool map]?
— Can I integrate [cool content] in Gather Town?
— and so on

The workshop is my long-winded answer, such that you can answer those questions yourself afterwards. Based on your own experience. Because you built something. With hands. Your hands. It will be great.

What to expect

The workshop will probably have the following structure:

Part I: The basics
1) How a space works, the Map Maker, how to break things, good practises
2) Creating a map, method 1: Gather Town’s Map Maker
Part II: Advanced methods
3) Creating a map, method 2: external tools, esp. Tiled Map Editor
4) Automating recurring tasks
Part III: Do it yourself
a) Hands-on: Build your own space!
b) Questions and (hopefully) answers

Part II, which requires a bit more technical understanding, builds on Part I, which should be easy to follow along just like that. I intend to make it such that people can sit back and relax _or_ get their hands dirty, but are not forced to do both at the same time. Part III should really be about you creating universes and me shutting up and only talk when being asked questions. (Let’s see how that goes.)

Each Part is supposed to be as short as possible and between parts there will be short breaks. Not sure how to estimate times, but I’ll try to fit Part I and II into 25min each, give or take. Very specific needs and more complicated questions might be postponed and addressed in Part III.

Here’s the cool thing

Come for whatever Part matches your interest and drop out into working on your own space, when you’ve got enough of the talking.

Not interested in tech mumbo jumbo? Just listen in on Part I. You already worked with the Map Maker? Join for Part II. You wonder whether a certain idea could be realised for your specific classroom teaching needs? Shoot your questions at me in Part III.

For those interested I’m happy to build a “space hub” and connect it with all the spaces created on that evening. That’s cool because it invites people to explore and discover, without requesting links or sending emails. Showcasing work on the VIK’s Bunter Abend is an option, but details are to be discussed at the workshop.

Who’s talking

I’m not getting paid by Gather Town for advertisement (dang) and there might be smarter ways than how I do it to achieve the same results. Gather Town certainly is not the ultimate answer. However, I see great potential in this incarnation of virtual environments. I want to share the lessons I learned in the past months to empower people, if possible, such that you can use widely available, modern technology to improve e.g. social well-being or education, especially in the times we have. The stuff you need to get into a space is not rocket science, but imagination. (And your hands.)

I leave it to the reader to judge whether I’m qualified to talk about Gather Town space building. In my defence: I was not insignificantly involved in creating the space for the Virtual IK.

If you have any questions left, please le me know. A response will be be shorter than this email, most probably.