Private Area Tiles

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.

A gif of an avatar named Riley walking into a private area. Riley walks across the wood floor and steps onto the green carpet. He moves onto the white couch. Across from him, an avatar named Joy faces him. A preview of Joy's video shows at the top center of the screen when Riley enters the private area. In the video, Joy waves.A gif of Riley entering a private area (the green carpet). When Riley enters the area, they can see and hear Joy, who is already in the area.

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. 

A view of a room with a large table and 18 chairs around it. Tile Effects is selected and outlined in red in the Top Nav Menu, and the Private Area tile effect is outlined in red in the right panel.From the Mapmaker, select Tile Effects in the Top Nav Menu. Select Private Area in the right panel. Ensure the Stamp tool is active in the Left Nav Menu. All Private Area tiles are translucent pink with letters or numbers in them.  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."

Part of the conference table is covered in pink tiles with the number 1 in them. A Red outline is drawn around the table and connected to a red outline around the Area ID field in the Tile Effects panel.Enter a unique Area ID, then select the Stamp tool in the Left Nav Menu. Click on each of the tiles you wish to make into a private area.

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. 

A view of the new private area in the Space. The conference table chairs all have pink circles outlined in white under them.Because we selected Color Tiles in the Mapmaker, the private area tiles have white and pink circles as extra visual indicators that the area is private.

When you are finished adding or editing your private area, select Save in the Top Nav Menu.

Private Area: Best Practices

Do's: 

  • 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. 

Don'ts:

  • 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.

Tips

  • 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.