Newbie start point?

Found my way here from the Gather Discord and still trying to get to grips with this site. I am currently co-supervising some Human-Computer Interaction students and some projects would benefit from getting access to the Gather back-end. I’m not sure whether you call it tools/extensions/add-ons.
Project 1 - icebreaker feature which allows you to click an avatar to get an ice-breaker pop-up a la Whova. See if that makes a difference in virtual social networking sessions.
Project 2 - emotion recognition. Not the project but to “display” it - was wondering whether we could have an add-on e.g. emojis or storm clouds above avatar. (I know Gather doesn’t hook into ML SER but this would be for Wizard of Ozzing it as a proof of concept.
Is it possible to get access to the Gather codebase? I saw mention of an API but I haven’t followed through yet. I come from a closed software ISV community so not sure what is possible here. I’m used to signing all sorts of developer agreements. Is joining github all that is needed?

Welcome, glad you could hop into both the discord and the forums. Both have been slightly less active over the summer as some new programs and organization at Gather disrupted some of the normal communication channels.

That said, I am a developer with one of the Gather Ambassador Companies, and I have been working with Gather since they launched their Websocket API. Hopefully I can help point you in a few solid directions.

First off, here is a (very rough) layout of how and where Gather puts its data, as well as where they expect us as developers to access it, specifically though the Websocket API and the REST API. I have included examples of the type of data you can find at the different layers, but it does not fully expand on all the data availible:

For your project ideas: Unfortunately, both ideas require access to data and events we do not have ready access to through the API, namely the video feed and mouse events. There could be room for a Chrome extension to try and add some of these features, but there is no good documentation for interacting with the DOM, and there is no avenue for Gather to warn of changes or updates that would break the extensions.

To your questions about codebase: probably not. Gather is a company, and their code is not open source.

Good news: The APIs are both excellent tools for offering an engaging way to introducing students to accessing and using APIs in general. Actually, being able to compare and contrast the benefits of Websocket vs REST would be a really cool lesson about the way data and information can be trafficked and processed online. Either way, the Discord and this forum should have a lot of resources for getting into it, although you may have to dig a little bit at first.

Best of luck!


Thanks for getting back to me and so helpfully. Apologies for not responding sooner. This week hit a new brand of crazy. Plus we had a bit of a distraction yesterday playing in VR spawning assets over avatar heads reflecting interests so people can identify more easily soulmates. My ultimate vision is like those old cheesy ads for dating websites or something so as you walk close to people you see all their metadata like starsign (for those who care), interests etc. VR first (we need to get further than walking around with cakes and butterfiles hovering over us). AR here we come.
Anyway, as soon as I get a chance I will take a look at the API and hopefullt start having fun here.