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Gather Culture
Maker Week: Pushing the Limits
Photograph of Philip Wang
Joy Bancroft

When’s the last time you got paid to take a week to explore your passions? For Gather staff, it was November 15-21, 2021, when we participated in our first Maker Week—a dedicated time for fostering creativity and collaboration across teams and skillsets. Our goal? To pause our daily routine, stretch our creative muscles, and push the limits of Gather.

At the end of Maker Week, each team created a booth in our Maker Week Map to share their project. The 16 projects that emerged showcase our staff's innovation and ingenuity, as well as illustrate a few of the many possibilities Gather offers. During our Maker Week Closing Ceremony, staff visited the booths and voted on People's Choice, Most Impactful, Most Innovative, and Best Artistic Direction.

The Maker Week Space in Gather, showing decorated booths for each team's project.

Read on to discover the Maker Week award winning projects, and catch blurbs on the other 12 projects. Stay tuned for a future post where we give the rundown on planning your own Maker Week in Gather!

And the winners are...

People's Choice: Assassins

This crowd favorite brought an Assassins roleplaying game to life in Gather, a game of intrigue and subterfuge where you are assigned a player to “assassinate” (by pressing “x”), and the last one standing wins!

A Gather office Space with the Assassins Game modal open. An avatar named Kevin is the target.

Most Innovative: Gather AI

This team's focus was on using machine learning to enhance the Gather experience. They wrote a program that successfully recognizes glasses and adds them to the avatar, as well as sends a cat emoji when a cat is on camera or sends a heart emoji if you make a heart shape with your hands.

A zoomed in view of the Gather moon pond Space, with a video preview showing someone holding a cat. The avatar on the Map has a cat emoji above their head.

Best Artistic Direction: Untitled 2 Player RPG

Interactive gameplay grounded by narrative storytelling is showcased in this two-player RPG built completely in the Gather platform. This first-of-its-kind demo game with striking custom art, NPC characters, and interactive puzzles illustrates the almost boundless potential of Gather as a live game engine.

Side by side images of the RPG Space, which feature purple ground and a mountainous sunset in the background. In the left image, an NPC is playing a harmonica outside a building, and Player A is approaching an NPC that's looking over a fence. On the right, Player B stands in front of a building, with colorful rugs, skulls, gourds, and other objects are heaped in front of the door.

Most Impactful: Subtitles

Improving accessibility is important to us at Gather, and one team began work on a native cross-browser captioning tool. The first iteration of the program focused on English, but it has potential to accommodate other languages, as well. As a bonus and another great win for accessibility, the project started work on using voice commands!

The Gather moon pond Space with two videos enlarged on the screen. In the video on the left, a smiling man wearing headphones has a caption at the bottom of his video. In the video on the right, the video stream is turned off, but a line of captions displays.

The Contenders

The following is a quick overview of the 12 other projects that emerged from Maker Week.

  • Lo-Fi Cafe: This team rolled out the smooth jams by creating original music and streaming the tunes in a cozy workspace.
  • Gather Swag: This team created a merch store Map (complete with a dressing room!) in Gather and designed about 20 Gather items in an online store, including t-shirts, hats, stickers, laptop sleeves, water bottles, and more. Check out available items now!
  • Gather < > Matrix: This team worked on using Matrix to bridge our chat so that users can send messages from any platform that appear in Gather chat (and vice versa)!
  • Gather < > Slack: This team designed a "/gather" shortcut that lets you pick a saved spawn location in your Space for a meeting and then generates a link to the meeting location that you can share in Slack.
  • Slack Channel Clean-Up: This team worked on streamlining our Gather Slack channels, from creating standard channel naming conventions to archiving out-of-date channels.
  • Garden Town: This team created an interactive garden plot where you can plant and water seeds, weed and tend the plants, and harvest and propagate the crops!
Side by side images of the swag store and garden town maker week projects. The left image shows a store in Gather with Riley standing in front of a merch table, with a prompt of X to browse stickers. The right is a poster featuring images from Garden Town, broken into Random Events and Depth and Rewards.
  • Token Gated Events: This team integrated crypto tokens as a way to gate access to Gather Spaces.
  • Map Preview: This team edited the check-your-hair screen (where you choose your A/V settings) and loading page to show a 50% opacity preview of the Space you’re about to enter.
  • Photo Mode: This team created a special mode that lets you take screenshots of your Gather Space, with the ability to remove elements of the UI from the shot (like the Bottom Bar or video previews), add stickers or frames, and download or share your image to social media.
  • Moderation Research: This team brainstormed community guidelines and ideas for moderation tools and features within Gather.
  • Environmental Effects: This team brought the outdoors online with awesome weather animation, letting you set the mood in your Space with rain, wind, lightning, or fog, with or without leaves, petals, or butterflies and sound effects!
  • Best Friend: This special Map replicated the friend’s apartment and expanded Gather’s storytelling capabilities by creating an interactive UI with tasks that triggered animations and scenes with the beloved pet.
Side by side images of the weather effects and the best friend maker week projects. On the left is a character named Matthew standing on a tiled floor, surrounded in a "fog of war" as illustrated by a dimly lit ring of candles around him. On the right is the Best Friend apartment, with a dialogue box reading "Aah! Good morning Bird!" and a black cat standing in front of a bedroom door.

While we don't have a date for if or when these projects will be implemented into Gather, we're excited about the many ways the teams pushed the boundaries of Gather and furthered our vision of the Metaverse. Things like Maker Week remind us how far Gather can be stretched, showing us the potential Gather has as a platform where creators will have nearly limitless ability to add value as we grow and expand.

Interested in joining us on our journey? Apply for a job at Gather today!