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 where you connect with everyone's a/v in the same area as you without being seen or heard by people outside the area.
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.
When you enter a private area, 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. Your name in the [[Participants List]] will appear under the name of the area you have entered.
Add a Private Area
In the Mapmaker, select Tile Effects in the Top Nav Menu. In the Tile Effects panel, select Private Area. All Private Area tiles are highlighted in pink. If it is not already active, select Stamp in the Left Nav Menu.
Each private area must have a unique and descriptive Area Name. When you enter a Private Area in your Space, you will see the name of the area displayed in the Participants Panel, along with who is in it.
Each private area also has an optional Max Occupancy prompt. Adding a maximum occupancy in this field will mark the private area as ‘bookable’ for calendar meetings. Functionally, this means that if someone wants to book a meeting using the Gather Meetings calendar extension, your private area is eligible to be selected to host the meeting.
To exclude private areas from being bookable for meetings, leave the ‘maximum occupancy’ field blank. If you wish to send a link to a meeting attendee so they meet you in the right place in the Gather space, use a spawn location link instead.
To place Private Area tiles on your map, make sure the Stamp tool is selected in the Left Nav Menu. Once you've entered an Area Name, click the tiles you wish to become private. In this example, we are making the lunch table private. We're using an Area Name of "Lunch Table."
When you are finished adding or editing your private area, select Save in the Top Nav Menu.
Desks are simply private areas that allow office Members to claim and customize their space. These desk areas are already created in our office templates, but if you want to add more desks or need to make changes, it's important to know how to configured desks correctly. To make a private area a desk that people can claim, select the private area and toggle on the option "Enable claiming / personalization".
If you see large or overlapping desks, this likely means you have overlapping or disconnected private area tiles. Please review the video below for detailed instructions on how to resolve this problem.
Using Private Areas
When you enter a private area, your participants sidebar will change to reflect the area you are in. Next to the name of the area, you will see several options.
Note: You must be an Admin or a Member in the Space to lock and rename areas. Guests will not have the permissions to use the lock and rename features.
Locking a Private Area
If you are having a private meeting, locking the private area will prevent other users from walking into the private area and disturbing you. To lock a private area, click the lock icon. When new users try to enter the private area, you will see a prompt on your screen to either admit or deny them access. For more information, check out Video Views.
Linking to Private Areas
To generate a link to the area you’re in, click the linked rings icon. This performs essentially the same function as a named spawn tile.
Renaming Private Areas
If you are a builder in the space, next to the linked rings icon, there is a pencil icon that will allow you to rename the meeting area you’re in currently. These changes will also reflect on the Mapmaker.
Private Areas: Best Practices
- ✔ Make them small. Generally we recommend making private areas only big enough to accommodate about 10 people. If you have more than 20 people in your private area, you may experience performance issues.
- ✔ 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, 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 Name 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.