What is the project about?
Super Mario is a thing of the past; now there's Super CityLAB! For the 2021 Summer Fest, CityLAB Berlin transformed its workspace in the historic Tempelhof airport building into a digital pixel world! Not only did this space enable spontaneous social interactions in a digital world, but it also turned the experience of exploring the workspace into a video game-like adventure.
Using hundreds of thousands of tiny pixels, the CityLAB team was able to create a 2D model of the Lab which visitors can explore, represented by a custom avatar. There were all sorts of surprises hidden through the various rooms, giving users an incentive to explore every inch. Players could interact with objects, listen to specific sounds, virtually explore the exhibition, and engage in spontaneous video chats in the hallways (just like in real life).
How does it work?
The system is based on the WebRTC standard, which enables real-time communication via browser-to-browser connections while minimizing potential server load. Workadventure's software was successfully used at the first virtual Chaos Communication Congress in December 2020. Participants can see their own position in the virual world as well as those of others; if multiple users meet, a video chat for up to four people automatically opens up. Larger meetings use an external Jitsi server that’s integrated into the world. Since the project is open source, it’s constantly being worked on and improved.
What are the next steps?
After receiving so much positive feedback at our summer party, we decided to open the Pixelwelt more regularly for virtual events in the future, like guided tours, virtual visits to our exhibition or smaller events like our Community Meetup. But before we start hosting such events, we have a few finishing touches we’d like to put on our digital CityLAB.
Do you have a hacker or makerspace that you would like to connect to CityLAB, or would you like to host a small event or meetup in our virtual CityLAB? Get in touch with us!
Illustration: CityLAB BerlinPixelwelt/CityLAB Berlin
Platz der Luftbrücke 4, 12101 Berlin