Inspiration

We wanted to make a virtual hangout space unlike other static apps where there is only one table everyone is at, but instead fluidly walking around a room to join in conversations and talk to other people both online and offline

What it does

The app as it was meant to be is a video chat app that is supposed to show audio and video based on user position. As it is currently, it is a video chat app that you join by visiting yourvirtual.space and leave by closing that tab. Functionality once on the site includes self-mute and the ability to individually mute others.

How we built it

We used the Vonage Tokbox API for Javascript and coded our backend in Java with the Spark framework

Challenges we ran into

In the beginning, we choose a tech stack we were unfamiliar with, so we were down 7 hours by the time we decided to switch it up. After switching to something more familiar, we had something started in a little over an hour. Connecting the backend and frontend using the Java objects to register position and movement was very difficult and took up a lot of our time, but we still were able to get a lot done. Position and movement are tracked (if text inputs that we commented out in the HTML are reactivated), but we weren't able to implement the features that would've been driven by that data, nor a UI to represent it.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to communicate solely through our app fairly soon in our development process (around the 8.5 hour mark) and were able to use our app while we developed it.

What we learned

When we're on a time crunch, choosing a mostly unfamiliar tech stack is not the way to go. Too much time is spent looking into how to do basic things that you can't get much anything meaningful done.

What's next for Virtual Space

We plan to polish up our Virtual Space by refining the position tracking to be done through arrow keys and a visual representation, developing a more user-friendly UI, smoother movement, and also fully implementing the audio/video changes with position. One of the use-cases we thought of was that of a bar/club where you participate not just in conversation but social activities as well (pool, watching a sports game, drinking, etc.). How we envisioned it being used in this case is that a facility owner could purchase our service, upload a floor plan for their users to interact on (including various digital versions of activities that may have been present at that location). The owner would also have the ability to link an Online Ordering site like DoorDash into a pane on the screen so their customers could order their food delivered while being virtually present.

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