web-based collaborative 3D environment
Being forced to stay apart has been challenging in many areas that rely on groups of people gathering in physical spaces.»palantír«, our collaboration with Studio von Monkiewitsch, proposes a solution to this problem in opening up a virtual 3D space that allows for multi-user real-time interactions.The application relies on web technology to facilitate a wide range of interactions.
IN COLLABORATION WITHStudio von Monkiewitsch
one room, three dimensions
Users are represented as spatial cursors orbiting a spherical 3D scene.This creates a sense of everybody's whereabouts in real time.
User roles allow for a guided experience suited for a presentation or class context.
The interface is kept minimal so as to not obscure the scene itself.Smart context menus, dialogs and tooltips present users with adequate options for interaction.
Users can form groups.Each group has a guide and all members share the guide's point of view while seeing their guide's webcam.Group members communicate through voice chat.
Users may withdraw from the interaction by entering the »ether«.In the ether there's no chatter and soothing music allows for some calm.
A variety of channels allow for chat, voice and video communication.When trying to get someone's attention there's also the friendly »poke« as well as @mentions.
»palantír« allows hosts to label objects in space and share their cursor's position with members of their group to point out details.
Moderators have the ability to load 3D scenes on the fly, transporting users into various situations. Scenes can incorporate multiple, highly detailed objects featuring animations that can be played back synchronously for all users.
On the backend side there is a Node.js based system with the Peer.js library acting as a connection broker to facilitate P2P WebRTC connections between clients. Another Node.js server running the socket.io library handles all WebSockets events to sync spatial and cursor positions as well as messaging and all other user-facing logic.