Virtual Balticon 55 Platforms
Balticon 55 program, activities, and interaction with attendees will take place using several on-line platforms. We will add details about accessing the platforms as they are determined. All platforms are free to use. Most of the platforms can be used in a web browser. Some platforms require you to create an account or download an app. (Click the Up and Down carats to expand and collapse the platform descriptions.)Zoom
Virtual Balticon 55 will be hosting panels, presentations, author readings, and other events within Zoom webinars and meetings. Each event will be its own session, with 4 to 5 concurrent events scheduled during most of the weekend. Attendees will be able to watch and listen to program participants and ask questions via Zoom’s built-in text Q&A feature.
Zoom is free to use. It is can be accessed in a web browser or you may download the free app. A Zoom account is not required to be able to view a session in Zoom.
Most Zoom events will have automatic closed-captioning. See the controls near the bottom of your Zoom window to enable the captions.
Use the interactive Program Guide to find the events you are interested in. The times are given for the Eastern Daylight Time zone (UTC-4). The week before the convention starts, the Zoom sign-up links will be added to the event descriptions. Click the link and you will get an email containing the Zoom session link for that particular event.
A Discord server, ‘BSFS & Balticon’, will allow Balticon attendees to interact via text chat and voice chat. Discord is the place to go for Dealers Room, Fan Tables, after panel discussions, technical help, and general socializing. Each meeting Zoom meeting room has an associated channel with the same name that can be used for continued discussions after the panel. Video watch parties, scavenger hunt, and similar events may also be organized over Discord channels.
- What is Discord?
Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app that’s used by tens of millions of people aged 13+ to talk and hang out with their communities and friends.
- How much does Discord cost?
Discord is completely free to use.
- Can I use Discord on my phone?
Absolutely! Apps are available on Google Play and the Apple Store. If you prefer to use a desktop or laptop computer, there is a desktop app, or you can use it from a web browser.
- How do I get started using Discord?
Once you have a Discord account, use this link to join the Balticon 55 Discord server: https://discord.com/invite/balticon-55. Read the information in #01-start-here, then click the green check box to affirm your acceptance of the Code of Conduct. Then go on to the next channel to continue setup.
Balticon 55 is hosting a social space inside Second Life for convention attendees. The convention space, Balticon Station, will be a virtual con suite where you can meet and hang out with other fans. We also plan to sponsor Second Life convention activities and events, including the Art Show, and to provide links to sci-fi and fantasy themed locations throughout Second Life.
- What is Second Life anyway?
Second Life is a free 3D virtual world where avatars can create, connect, and chat with others from around the world using voice and text. In this virtual world, all content is created by the users.
- How much does it cost to play Second Life?
You can create an account and play Second Life completely for free. While there are lots of items for sale paid for by game currency (Linden dollars), there are also tons of freebies to be found, so it is possible to play Second Life without spending any real life money.
- What devices can I play Second Life on?
You can play Second Life on a Mac or PC. To the best of our knowledge, there are no reliable apps or players available for most mobile devices. The demands that full 3D rendering impose on both the computer hardware and network bandwidth make playing it on anything less than a computer with a dedicated graphics card extremely difficult. For more in-depth information about system requirements: https://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/
- What is Balticon doing on Second Life?
Balticon Station is a region in Second Life with a futuristic setting and lots of different places to explore. It is open to visitors 24 hours a day. Race giant slugs, wander through the Elven lands, teleport into our Orbital Transfer Station, take a parachute ride, or just hang out at the Space Bar and dance with your friends.
- Let me at it! How do I get started with Second Life?
Go to https://secondlife.com/ to create an account and download the program. You will not be required to provide any personal information and, in fact, the vast majority of Second Life residents prefer to remain completely anonymous.
The link to Balticon Station is http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Balticon%20Station/205/128/21.
The Balticon 55 Gather space is designed to mimic our usual convention hotel with rooms for Dealers, Art Show, Con Suite, Fan Tables, Artist Alley, and more.
- What is Gather?
Gather is a video-calling space that lets multiple people hold separate conversations in parallel, walking in and out of those conversations just as easily as they would in real life. In other words, you have a character on screen that can get close enough to another character to open up a video chat between you and another person.
- Do I have to pay to use Gather?
Nope. Creating a Gather account is completely free.
- What devices can I use with Gather?
Currently there are very few reliable apps available to run Gather on mobile devices. Gather only supports the Chrome and Firefox web browsers and works best on laptop or desktop computer equipped with a microphone and webcam in order to participate in video chat. Audio and video are not required to use Gather, but they definitely help provide the full experience. See Gather Getting Started for system requirement and an introduction.
Click the link to enter the Balticon GatherTown space (password: BookClub).
Balticon panels and presentations will be available to view on the Balticon YouTube channel 24 hours later. The recordings will contain automatically generated captions. You can also view videos from Balticon 54.
YouTube can be used in a web browser or you may download the YouTube app for your device.