In these Covid days, our local go club is closed, so we started meeting online.
Our first choice was Zoom. While it was good for talking and for lectures, we had some problems while playing.
We use OGS and it’s nice, but it’s confusing to speak with your opponent while others are doing the same on other games. We need separate chats but with the possibility for others to join and leave whenever they want.
So we landed on Gather town.
It’s a nice platform for web meetings, with a cute UI that looks like a vintage videogame, and it allows for custom maps and many ways to arrange separate chats.
Last week we had two meetings, one for checking the platform and another one for our weekly meeting. It was very nice and I think we’ll stick with that for a while.
At the moment we have a preset study room and another room that I made from scratch using a custom background.
Here are some pics.
Each carpet is a private space: other people in the room can’t hear you while you’re there, unless they move to that place so I made a bigger one in each room for group meetings and a few smaller ones for playing games and quiet chats.
Why didn’t you use Discord?
Seems much easier than joining a 2D RPG though
where did you put the bar?
I mean it looks cool and I support the idea :D… I just don’t get the point of this over the many options like discord, skype, and the likes. I see you mentioned you had problems using zoom. I can’t imagine that this web app made said problems go away exactly? I mean if you mean that there were problems with the zoom app like it was cutting out or something then I retract my statement. But, then I would just default to like skype, or discord. I am sure there are also many other chat apps without the RPG aspect.
BUT I admit it looks cool. I remember back in the day I don’t know if it still exist but there is a game that is sort of like an RPG except its more like a life simulator and in it is a go club that you can visit and play against other live players. I don’t know if it still exist and I never got to play it either.
Why not build a Go club in Second Life?
I believe that is where the club is actually.
Get a WoW sub and run the go club out of one of the inns
I used Discord just once and it looked like a normal online (audio) meeting: everybody in the same room, everybody hears what everybody else says. Maybe it’s just my ignorance.
Same with Skype: you can do 1on1 calls or meetings but it isn’t so natural to leave, join and create new chats.
Same with Zoom: one room, that’s it.
When you have three games in progress (six players randomly talking to each other) and some spectators (making comments about a game) you easily get disoriented, since you don’t know if somebody is talking to you or to someone else.
You could hear a scream “OMG, that move!” and you don’t know if it’s your game. In any case you may be distracted by it.
In real like it all happens in the same room, but you can easily understand which is talking to which. Then you may decide to follow or think to your own business.
What I like about Gather Town is that it behaves just like IRL: we gather all in the same room, but then it’s easy to take a step to the side to talk with just one person. Then, if somebody is interested, can join that conversation by simply approaching. It’s easy and intuitive and all participants of our first experiment were delighted by that.
Let’s say that we have a game with two players and two spectators. If the spectators want to make some comments which could spoiler something about the game, they can just move one step out of the carpet (the private spot) and say what they want without disturbing or spoiling the game. Then they can join again when they’re finished.
Everything is so easy and natural.
The only thing I miss from real life is the board: we use OGS, so everybody must reach the game page from his account. It’s quite natural for players, but other people looking for the game need a link to it.
Luckily in Gather Town you can drop an object with an embedded link. We didn’t use it yet, but it should be quite easy to drop something on the carpet with a link to the game page, so that everybody passing by can easily take a look at it.
Discord is your own private server very easy to set up many different chat or voice channels so you can have a main lobby and also unique channels for each board. Discord is very diverse with lots of features and is the industry leader for groups and communities wanting text and voice chat.
If everyone is happy with the current setup that’s what is most important but I would encourage you to give Discord another go some day. Possibly find an existing community you are interested in to see how they’ve set it up.
Also probably wouldn’t be to difficult to configure a bot to do some of the heavy lifting for posting links. “ThisClubMember started a game against ThisClubMember/(orUknownChallenger) - link”
Or use that server (with a 3D environment) built by one of the famous western strong players…
Great idea @Lys ! actually had explored multiple variants of this as well (http://framevr.io/), but I like the 2d aspect of gather.town.
To me, I think the conceptualization of space is nice. While I use discord a lot, there is something to being able to explore a club with a feeling of movement. Let me know how it goes!
I think you’re right and others miss the point slightly of the functionality of gather town. (it’s not really an RPG/game afaik.)
I’ve heard of Physics conferences online these days where people have used gather town for poster presentations for example. Much easier to move around and start conversations like IRL without having to worry about which channels to join etc or possibly make a new channel to start a side conversation.
I think once its lightweight enough to use it sounds good.
Now you could of course make multiple voice channels in Discord. Maybe designate x channels for games and another few for just other discussion separate or unrelated to the games. It’s relatively easy to drop in and out of voice channels too.
Actually crossposting here
Gather town seems to support something like this if you and the opponent were together, it shows a video loop on the main page of people drawing on a whiteboard
Our club uses a combination of an OGS group and Discord. On our Discord server we have a number of voice channels set up as game rooms so two people playing a game can go into one of the them and not be distracted by others. We can also invite people not in the group on to the server as guests. Seems to work well. The only visuals we need are our Go boards. Observers can watch a game and discuss it in a different room in a Discord without spoiling it for the players. A few people can gather in one room while someone reviews a game orally in there. Follow my username to the club to get an email address for further details/invitation if you like.
This looks great. I’ve done something similar for friends, but I am having trouble with the embedded link to OGS. I can sign in, but the logon is not recognized when I try to start a game. We just open another Chrome tab for OGS, but the embedded option would allow use to see each other while playing. Have you had luck with this?
We did the same.
For reviews, the one who was doing the review (our strongest player) was sharing his own screen.
I didn’t practice with the embedding options
Thanks for the quick reply. If it is embedded in an object, everything seems to work except the Play option - and a Not Logged In error is displayed. This could be a security thing - it is just frustrating. However, I will continue to use Gather and the Zen Go Garden that we have for our games - it helps to break the lockdown blues. Stay healthy! - Darren
Your zen garden looks gorgeous, by the way.