Grand Opening of an Art Exhibition in the Metaverse with non-technical people as guests
In this how-to guide I show you the steps to successfully host your
first event in the Metaverse. For me, it was difficult to find a guide or tutorial at all. There is not much
information on Facebook and a Google search for "Metaverse event How To" nearly always results in consulting
agencies offering their service.
The Metaverse is independent of any product or company but since there is a huge hype about Meta/Facebook who is promoting it, I thought this would be first place to start. It took quite a long time for me to find out, that Meta has got a product called "Horizon Worlds". Unfortunately it is not available yet, and it will only run on a Oculus/Meta Quest VR headset.
I think most people have just no idea about the Metaverse at all , because of missing beginners information and that it is too difficult to try out. I do not want to bring an explanation about the Metaverse here, but with the real example of an art event it is much more fun to discover and learn about it. And you can give it a try.
So how to host an event, if even Meta does not offer anything here? In this guide I recommend one good solution. We bring all important things on the table, have an example, and also talk about what went wrong and what could be improved. First of all, what do we need to host a Metaverse event? And as it turns out, it is pretty much the same as with a normal event:
So it is like organizing a real world event with similar requirements (just without the food and drinks) and it is very helpful if you have already experience in organizing an event or party in real life. So this is not like a presentation or a video call via Zoom or MS Teams. It takes several days in preparation.
Reason: I had a good reason because AI (Artificial Intelligence) art is
quite new and so it fits perfect in Virtual Space. But to be honest any other reason might be OK. I already
made parties in real life just for fun with some funny topics. This is similar here.
Which guests? I made only a private invitation. So it was more exclusive and the people knew it. It also led to many more guests. It seems counterintuitive but throwing a random link on the Internet about your super-duper event is not as interesting as an exclusive private invitation. So for me, I invited about 45 friends and 20 came from different ages and none of them had been on such an event before.
Location: make sure your event is accessible in the web browser, smartphone, tablet and VR. Expect that most guests are not using VR! In my case: none used a VR headset! I used Spatial, what was the best tool for this task. I have no connection with that company and there might be other good multi-platform solutions out there. It is intuitive and easy to use for a beginner. Also, no Facebook account or any other account is needed to join the spaces/event on desktop. For mobile or Oculus devices the Spatial App is needed with a Spatial account. It also shows full body avatars (from Ready Player Me) and not half cut ones like in Facebooks version. That is very important in my opinion.
Invitation: this can be a (free) (online) ticket. I used just a link on a page with a counter to the start time.
What to put on that page:
Landing page with invitation for event
Welcome guests: provide help after the people arrive in your virtual
room. I put a screenshot about how to activate microphone. Also write a welcome text about what the
exhibition/event is about. This is very important.
Test everything before: voice, music, changing avatar. And test it on all devices. Also test the link to the event. In my case there was a blocker bug and that link didn't work on mobile. Luckily the Spatial team fixed it within a few days.
Avatar choice: use a nice dress or suit for your avatar - you are the host. Also choose an avatar which looks more or less similar to yourself.
Music: play some background music. In Spatial this is difficult. I could only upload around 30 MB of an empty video with music. Put the video at the ceiling, make it very large to access volume to set it very low and then zoom it small. Set music to repeat.
Rooms: in my exhibition I have a main room with the entrance and art. I also added a lounge room for hanging around with slightly louder music and also some art. The rooms are separated in so-called "Spaces" in Spatial. Portals connect the exhibition room and the lounge. Explain the guests how to use it - best would be a colleague who helps the guest and explains the portal. Here is a whole map:
Map of the exhibition using two Spaces
Decoration: I added an animated character, a dog (made with Blender) flying around the building (this was a super difficult task). This is fun but not needed. I also put some static items like a champagne bottle, some wine glasses and a ghetto blaster near the music location.
Animated flying dog: external 3D models can be integrated
Communication: only use audio in falloff mode so people can talk in groups. This is a huge difference to an online video call. People can go around and communicate to each other in small groups.
Images: never use PNG as file format. Only use JPG in Spatial: it loads faster. There is also a problem that images are sometimes not loading. Reloading helps here. Also try to optimize 3D WebGL content.Reminder: send/post reminder a few hours before the event.
Presentation: I gave a live presentation how AI art is created via screen sharing (integrated feature in Spatial) for small groups.
Feedback: ask leaving guests about their opinion of your event. In my case I got amazing feedback and some shared their experience in Social Media.
Date & Time: for this kind of event I recommend to host it during the week. Most people are busy on the weekend. For a company event work time would be best. For private events like I had 8 pm is pretty fine.
What went not that great, lessons learned. Some things I never expected went different.
What is missing in Spatial and could be improved (list of small things)
What are the problems with the Meta/Facebook solution (list of huge problems)
Hosting a Metaverse event is pretty easy, unless you have many custom 3D objects like sculptures or 3D versions of products to be integrated. Most effort for preparing and running the event is similar to a real life event. The target group can be anybody with internet access of any age without the need of deeper tech knowledge. Also, there is no Facebook account or any other account needed using the browser on a PC. Comparing the well thought and well running Spatial solution with FB own "Horizon Worlds" it is clear, that the FB one will be DOA (dead on arrival), if they do not change their whole strategy.
Click here to go directly to my exhibition. There are probably no other guests now. If you want to try out communication, you should have a colleague joining you.
I am Nicolay Mausz, founder and CEO of flying dog software. We develop products like our Workflow or Social Network for large Enterprises. We are considering to integrate a solution like Spatial in our Enterprise Social Network product.