If I accomplished one thing during 2020, it was successfully test driving innumerable online meeting and collaboration platforms. I mean, what else was there to do, really? And throughout that time I kept thinking, “Trying to recreate the real world meeting or event dynamic online is only going to result in an uncomfortable and awkward Uncanny Valley situation.” The true winner of the new generation of virtual events, in my opinion, was going to have to come at the problem of gathering virtually in a new and creative way. And with that in mind, Skittish just might be on to something.
Designed and constructed by Portland’s Andy Baio, an in person event producer in his own right with XOXO, the world of Skittish appears somewhat reminiscent of Animal Crossing. But with some of its own unique takes on how people engage and interact in a virtual environment.
I started outlining a hybrid of these ideas: an online event venue for large-scale gatherings that used spatial audio, didn’t assume people were comfortable being on camera, with real-time customization of the space, and built in a 3D engine for a more immersive game-like feel.
More than anything, I wanted it to be optimized for fun: interesting to explore on its own, make new friends, and a vibrant place for creators and event organizers to bring together their communities in a new way.