Hi there! We meet again in a new article! How was your day? Did you explore new things enough recently? I hope all the best for you all! In this new article, I will share to you one of recent my discoveries. As you can see on the title above, this article will be explaining about Zep, the Gather Town alternative. Actually I already knew this platform from April, but I was not giving much attention at that time.
In early November, I tried to do a re-check to all my previous e-mail and found an email from one of Zep team. Long story short, I tried to exploring that platform one more time. I found many feature on this platform and I decide to say that this platform can be a Gather Town alternative, but cheaper. So if you want to read more about the summary of this platform, please scroll and enjoy this article!
What is Zep?
Actually Zep is a virtual space platform like Gather Town. For me personally, the basic feature is exactly like Gather Town. As far as I know, it was published after Gather. So Gather came earlier. For instead of coming from United States, it comes from South Korea. South Korea have a big demand for a virtual space like this. I also had many Gather client come from South Korea.
So far from my exploration (CMIIW), this platform still not as big as Gather Town yet. When I see from the discord community, Gather have more members than Zep. I think this is because of Zep still use Korean language for it’s community, while Gather use English. I don’t know exactly whether the Zep management just want this platform exclusively only for Korean or worldwide. But thanks the main interface for the platform still use English for the main language, so I still could do my research.
How can Zep be a Gather Town Alternative?
First time seeing the interface, I remember of my MMORPG game when I was kid. Especially from the chat-box in the middle bottom side. I can’t say the interface is simpler than Gather, because it’s different and can’t be compared. But so far I didn’t found any difficulties to understand about all the menu, hotkeys, and the interface. Different from Gather, on the Zep templated space, they have more style option than the pixel art one. While Gather is most suitable for pixel art style.
The Zep resolution is smoother than Gather in my opinion. I know Gather is actually build for pixel art so they have more pixelated resolution. As you can see on the image above, even I use pixel art style, it didn’t looks like a pixel art at a glance. Also for the avatars, it’s more cartoon like rather than pixel art like. It’s cuter though. But it’s bigger than Gather avatar so I need a little different approach to design the space. Overall, I could say, confidently, Zep is a Gather Town alternative. You can found many Gather Town features on Zep. But Zep have many features that Gather don’t have, what is it?
Cool Features in Zep that Gather Don’t Have
When Gather came earlier and Zep came later, of course the developer could make Gather as reference and give more added values on their platform. But correct me if I’m wrong about this, I don’t find any reference of when Zep exactly published locally, it might be before Gather, it might be later. But we don’t need to debate this, my point is Zep have most features on Gather, and more cool features.
When you see this article title, you will see I say it’s cheaper than Gather. Actually it’s not just cheaper, it’s totally free. Yes! Totally free to use, no maximum participant! At first I can’t believe it, but looking deep into their archive, it’s proved that this platform is totally free for now. The developer said that they don’t know whether this platform will be a paid platform, but right now they made it free to use. I don’t know why, but it’s a big big key point that Zep have than Gather Town. When it’s free, we can save our budget when we do our event in Zep. I don’t know about the stability of the space yet when it’s used for around hundreds participants, I’ll update this article when I already made a big event using Zep in the future.
In Zep, we have a sidebar to add many things there for the non-host participants. We can add a cover image, note, and important link. On the left side we can see a video panel (it can be edited by the host for where the video panel at), and chat-box in the middle bottom. The chat-box can be move to the left side by clicking the zoom icon on the chat-box beside the close icon. The bottom panel is quite similar with Gather, but we see one different thing which is Add Media.
The way its interactive object is quite different with Gather. They have object and something called media. For the For media, we can add directly from main interface on the bottom panel that I mention before without going to Map Builder interface. So every participant can easily add media to share to other participant. As you can see on the image above, I can add a YouTube link and a screen will be appeared over the small media icon. It will be applied to all participant and we can watch that screen together.
When someone add a media, a new screen will be appeared. Sometimes it can be cool, sometimes it means chaos haha. But we have an option to disable guest for embedding files to the space. We can embed YouTube link, Image, File, Whiteboard, Portal, and Screenshot. The bad things is I don’t know yet how to minimize the media screen! When I click the close icon, the media icon is disappear. Maybe its actually supposed to be deleted after previewed, that’s why no minimize option for the media.
More than just media, we can add a background music to the space! This is super cool! For Gather Town, in my previous email about Placing Music on Gather, it need to use a advance knowledge about API or we do it using third party. But in Zep, we can directly place it into our space without using any coding skill at all. The background music/ambient sound can be applied on entire room, or we can simply use it on Tile effects. This is the cool feature indeed!
And the last one, another cool feature, is animation! YES! WE CAN ADD ANIMATION! It’s incredible because we can add an animation sprite (.png) to our object. So we can do something like a campfire effect, broken lamp effect, or anything that flashed on your head! This is why Zep is Gather Town alternative, but cheaper and have more cool feature.
I know might be you asking that do Zep have a go-kart like Gather? The answer is no. Yes, its disappointing, but every platform have their own great feature. Zep doesn’t have an extension feature like Gather yet, but I think its compensated. I already made a demo space on Zep for you to check and explore, you can access the space through the button below.
So that’s all my report for exploring the basic feature of Zep. It’s a cool platform and without hesitation I could say that Zep is a Gather Town alternative with more values so far. However, they still have some part that still using Korean language like the one the Mini Games, and their community comes in Korean as well. Also all the payment still using Won and doesn’t support an international payment yet. But that’s not a big obstacle for me for exploring Zep more. Who knows in the next occasion, I could be a Zep Official Partner? Nobody knows! xD
I think I need to close my article here. If you have any question for me, feel free to leave a comment and I will be happy to help. For sure I will make more article about Zep in the future as well. If you want to give appreciation, you can go to my Ko-fi site to give me some coffee. It will be appreciate so much for this site development. I might be just a little buck for you, but can be a lot for me. See you next time in the next article! Sampai jumpa lagi!