In Gather, you can see and hear the people around you when you walk up to them. For more flexible conversation dynamics, you can create private areas so that those walking by do not hear your audio or see your video.
What are private areas?
Private areas are places in the map where participants can only see and hear each other. These are great for one-on-one conversations, staff meetings, poster sessions, sponsor booths, and more.
The gif that follows illustrates the experience of entering a private area. When you enter a private area (in this case, the green carpet), the map surrounding the private area goes darker. Once you're in the private area, you can see the video and hear the audio of the participant(s) already there.
Add a Private Area
To view or add a private area, select Build in the Left Nav Menu of your Space. Select Edit in Mapmaker. The Mapmaker opens.
Select Tile Effects in the Top Nav Menu of the Mapmaker. In the Tile Effects panel on the right, select Private Area. All private areas now display in bright translucent pink, with numbers visible.
Each private area must have a unique Area ID. Our standard practice is to number our areas, but you can name them anything you like.
Make sure the Stamp tool is selected in the Left Nav Menu. Once you've entered an Area ID, click the tiles you wish to become private. In this example, we are making the conference table private. We're using an Area ID of "1."
If you want an extra visual in your Space to indicate an area is private, select Color tiles under the Area ID field. The tiles that are private have colored circles on them.
When you are finished adding or editing your private area, select Save in the Top Nav Menu.
Private Area: Best Practices
- ✔ Make them small. Generally we recommend making private areas only big enough to accommodate about 10 people.
- ✔ Provide different sizes. Just like a party, people in a Gather Space will naturally break off in groups to chat. Some people will want to chat one on one, others in groups of 4 or 5, and some in larger groups (but, as above, generally more than 10 people can't have a great conversation at the same time).
- ✔ Use clear visual cues. Guests in Gather should always know when they're entering a private area. This is generally best demonstrated with rugs or furniture.
- ✔ Add them in large meeting areas. If you've got an all-hands room or an auditorium set-up, create private areas by grouping rows of chairs or furniture together. This will enable natural side conversations, just like you have in face-to-face meetings, and it will reduce the strain on everyone's machine because you'll only be connecting to the people in your private area, rather than everyone within a 5-tile radius of you.
- ✖ Make them difficult to see. For example, if you have a park Space, a private area could be around a picnic table or swing set, but a random section of grass wouldn't make much sense or be easy to identify. While you can use a different colored floor tiles, generally people understand more clear indicators like rugs or furniture.
- ✖ Place separate private areas side by side. Make sure there are paths, hallways, or corridors between private areas. (Imagine private areas as the pieces of stained glass and the paths are the lead between the panes.)
- ✖ Make them giant. When you're in a private area, you connect to the audio and video of everyone in that area. If you have a giant private area with a lot of people in it, your machine may struggle to connect to that many feeds.
For more info, see our How do Private Areas work? video tutorial. Please note that the Mapmaker interface is outdated in this video, but the functionality is the same.
- Private Tiles with the same Area ID do not have to be directly adjacent. This is great for building complex escape rooms, obstacles, or Easter eggs in Gather. (Note: Any time people are in a private area together, they are visually connected with their A/V feed.)
- When you enter a private area, the surrounding map features darken.
- Any characters outside your private area are semi-transparent when you're in the private area. In the same token, when you walk by a private area, the characters inside are semi-transparent.
- You can add color tile effects to a private area to indicate when the participant is standing in a private area.