Sunday, May 9, 2021
ReviewsEducation/TrainingEnterpriseHeadset VR AppsVR Apps

A Hands-On Review of ENGAGE

ENGAGE is a great tool for educators, executives, students, and casual learners.

 

ENGAGE is a platform for collaboration, virtual events, as well as remote learning in VR. It can be used within organizations for entire curricula, but people can also jump into open sessions, including live and recorded classes. These sessions take place in a variety of immersive environments, and can include thousands of 3D assets from an on-platform content library, or assets uploaded by the user.

ARPost is taking an inside look at ENGAGE, and bringing you along for the ride.

What Is ENGAGE?

Creating an ENGAGE account is easy and once you’ve done so you can sign in using one account on multiple devices, making it easier to build, test, and experience locations and sessions. You can’t access content in a browser, but signing in with your browser is the easiest way to peruse and create events.

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Browser interface

The platform has both free and premium accounts for individuals and organizations. The premium account for individuals unlocks more locations, while the premium account for organizations unlocks more user space per session and other features.

Hardware Compatibility and Controls

ENGAGE is best experienced in a VR headset, though the application is downloadable for mobile devices and PCs as well. (Sorry Mac users, as of this writing, the platform is not yet supported on your desktop.)

Even if you have a VR headset, you should consider checking out the platform on a desktop as well, particularly as an instructor. The 2D version will never rival the VR version in terms of immersion, but some elements – particularly bringing in assets – are easier on the desktop version.

In a VR headset, the navigation depends on the capabilities of the headset – controller vs. hand-tracking, etc. On desktop, the platform uses classic WASD controls. In either case, you can navigate the virtual space just like you would a physical space, or teleport from location to location.

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Engage teleport

Creating an Avatar

The ENGAGE avatar creation menus are balanced enough to create a pretty personal avatar without getting lost in the weeds. If you really want a photo-realistic avatar, you can literally upload a photo of yourself.

Even without going to those extremes, you can get pretty close.

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Avatar creation

Creating and Joining Sessions

Creating your own ENGAGE sessions is practical and rewarding, but watching or joining some sessions yourself first can be enlightening and inspiring. There’s even a short welcome video that shows you around some of the features.

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Content

You can also watch sessions recorded by other users, or join live sessions. Some pretty interesting people and familiar organizations have public live events or recordings for everything from history and science lectures to learning languages.

In sessions, you can access the menu to take photographs and notes without pausing the audio and video, just like you might during a live, in-person session.

Leading, Experiencing, and Recording Sessions

When you join a session, either a live session or a session you start yourself, you can choose to join by yourself or with others. Joining with others creates a more social and collaborative environment, while joining alone gives you more control over the pace and content of the session.

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In either session, you can record the content to be shared or exported for asynchronous viewing. You can even create quizzes and forms to test your audience on their retention or gauge their reactions to your content.

Interacting with Objects and Locations

Creating a session and joining by yourself is also a great way to familiarize yourself with the controls and content before you try to use ENGAGE to educate others. It also lets you explore the different locations that the platform gives you for different types of events and audiences, from lecture halls, to boardrooms, to the surface of Mars.

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Locations

Without any assets or models at all, you could use ENGAGE to interact with others or give a lecture to an audience. However, one of the coolest and most useful features of the platform is the IFX interface.

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Objects

Once you have placed an object in the environment, it gets its own menu and toolbars that you can use to lock the object in place, or move, scale, and rotate the object.

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Rotate objects

Use one or two objects as you need them, or bring in multiple objects to make the prefab environments a part of your own presentation.

The platform lets you use 3D objects and props, but you can also bring in video screens to show images, videos, or presentations with your own content or online material.

How Will You Engage?

ENGAGE is an easy, free, accessible platform for remote education, collaboration, or just learning and playing on your own. If you start to outgrow the platform, there are always more features to master and more options to unlock with paid tiers.

Whether you’re an educator, a student, an executive, or just someone who loves learning in VR, it’s worth checking out.

 

Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance journalist with special interest in emerging technologies. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.