In Gather Town, you are represented by a computer-game-style character that you can move around using the arrow keys or WASD keys. You are connected in a video call to other people whose characters are standing near yours. This means you are able to join and leave conversations, mingle with other participants, and track down speakers to ask them about their talks, just like you would at an in-person conference.
We will be using Gather Town for the final hour each day to host the open discussion sessions.
When you first join Gather Town, you will be taken to the Gather Town tutorial island. Once you completed the tutorial, you found yourself in the Scientific Computing in Rust 2023 welcome room.
The door at the top of the room leads to the lobby.
There are three additional rooms that can be accessed through this lobby.
The door to the right leads to the discussion room. In this room, there are many tables set up for participants to meet up. The tables are labelled with speakers' names and talk titles, so that you can meet up to ask questions to the speaker and discuss the talk.
The door to the left leads to the chillout room. In this room, there are many places where you can hang out with other participants and chat.
The door to the top leads to the garden. This is a space that you can hang out in when you want some quieter time away from the busy room we are holding discussions in.
In addition to these rooms, there is also a hidden room somewhere in the space. We hope you enjoy exploring the space!
There are a few features of Gather Town that are worth knowing about.
In various places throughout the Scientific Computing in Rust 2023 Gather Town space, there are 'private spaces' that surround tables. If you enter one of these spaces you were able to see and hear everyone in that private space and no-one outside the space. Entering one of these spaces is a little bit like sitting down at the table to join the conversation. To leave a private space, you can simply get up and walk away.
If you want to find someone specific in the space (eg someone who gave a talk that you want to chat to), you can click on their name in the sidebar, then click "Locate on map". A line would then appear showing you how to get to that person.
Your video and audio can be muted and unmuted by clicking on the icons in your video preview box at the bottom right of the screen. If you have issues with video or audio, you can refresh the Gather Town page to reset the settings.
If you got trapped or wanted to move past people (eg in the chillout room, there are a couple of narrow corridors), you can press "G" to temporarily become a ghost. If you are a ghost, you will disappear from the video chat and will be able to walk through people.
You can press "Z" to make your character dance and show a heart above your head. This could be used as a visual replacement of applause. The heart disappears once you move your character.
You can press "X" to interact with some objects in the space. The most useful interactive objects in the Scientific Computing in Rust 2023 space are probably the collaborative whiteboards in the discussion room.