WN Media Group is a gaming company that has been growing for the past few years. They are best known for their Eastern European and Russian game conferences called White Nights. The shows are usually found in Germany, Spain, and Russia throughout the year and have been expanding every year. This year, there was a fear that with the Covid-19 virus spreading, there wouldn’t be any events to attend, especially when GDC announced their cancellation in February.
With fears of none of their events going offline, they decided it was time to go online with their events. They worked with a small team of web developers to build WN Hub, a one-week event, free for developers to attend, and was complete with a virtual expo, meeting builder, chat rooms, and an event floor that had chat built inside. It was everything you needed for an exhibition, minus the parties. (We love going to those as well.)
What is exciting about the WN Hub is that it’s a platform built entirely using Cocos Creator. When they told us they were working on the project earlier this spring, we jumped at the chance to help them with any support needed, including being active participants in the show, hosting our own talk, and giving tech support when needed to their team.
Not only was the site impressive, but their live studio (mostly using a green screen) was also remarkable as well. With a very professional host and speakers setup using Zoom, it made the whole experience like watching anything you’d see on live TV.
Now that the show is over, (though you can still access the WN HUB from their website) we were able to get a chance to talk to their team about the issues they faced building a virtual event from scratch, why they used Cocos Creator, and what they want to do with the event in the future.
Cocos: Can you tell our readers about WN Media Group?
WN Media Group: We are a business ecosystem designed to provide the game industry with different business solutions. It includes the White Nights Conference, WN Hub, TalentsInGames.com, App2Top.ru, GameWorldObserver.com, Publisher Wanted. We connect the game industry, providing our high-quality services to over 150,000 people.
We also have a game development studio called WN Games, which develops social slots game.
C: When did you decide to make the WN Hub?
WN: The world is changing way too fast with the virus. It encouraged us to bring business communication as we know it to a whole new level.
To make business networking available to everyone with no location or time limits, we’ve found a solution – WN Hub. It’s an online communication platform that allows companies to find new partners, plan and run meetings, increase brand awareness, as well as exchange knowledge via online panel discussions.
C: When did you make that decision?
WN: We had thought about the concept many times, going back and forth over it and finally decided to go for it and make it as a platform, not a conference, in mid-March.
C: Why did you decide to make the Hub and not use other event software available?
WN: First, we had already been working on some tools that were used in the WN Hub for two years previously. For example, we had our own meeting system for White Nights conferences.
And also, we just didn’t find any tool that would include everything we need as a conference organizer. Our goal was to develop a solution that combines everything we love about the conferences and go beyond this – to provide a networking atmosphere we all deserve during the lockdown, and after everything ends.
C: How many developers were used to make it?
WN: We have a team of two developers, one designer, and three artists.
C: How much time did it take to make it?
WN: We built the WN Hub in one month, and we will continue implementing new features and modifying it, so the skies the limit for the future of our platform.
C: How many people attended the event?
WN: We had over 6,000 members during the launch week, with more and more people registering every day.
C: What did you do to make the videos so effective and enjoyable?
WN: We rented a professional studio and built a virtual 3D background for it, added a few excellent hosts – and voila! Two of our team were always there to connect speakers and solve unexpected issues with the stream, but fortunately, we didn’t run into any problems.
Using a green screen for a virtual studio
We tested the studio and streaming six days in a row, practicing different possible situations that should have been solved immediately if you are online. The key to the successful online stream is that we were well prepared.
C: What were some of the difficulties your team had created the event?
WN: The most challenging part was to explain how the platform works before the launch. It’s always hard to paint a full picture of something no one has ever seen before. That’s why we received tons of questions on how the expo will look, how the lectures will be implemented right on the platform, and many other questions. But in the end, the platform has become an incredible online experience – we started receiving lots of praise in its first hours online.
C: What were the things that worked out better than you expected?
WN: The virtual expo looked just amazing. When our designer shared the first iteration of the map, we were surprised, but when we saw all the buildings and people walking around the expo – we were just shocked how good it looked!
C: What were the technical reasons you went with Cocos Creator?
WN: There are two reasons why we decided to use Cocos Creator: It has a visual editor that reduces the time taken to developing and supporting, and it’s significantly light build for WebGL.
Having a product that allows for the ease of building and editing scenes, a quick WebGl debug on mobile, and cache-control helped us a lot.
C: What did the attendees feel about the whole event?
WN: Based on the feedback we received, the audience was pleasantly surprised by the high-quality performance of the product and was really impressed by the visual wrapping of the platform. But what’s even more important is that the WN Hub members were happy with the event saying that they had great online experience with lectures, productive meetings, and networking as well they have established new business connections and partnerships and found serious leads on the platform. That’s why it’s safe to say that we introduced the exceptional business product for the game industry companies.
C: Will you do it again?
WN: The whole concept of the WN Hub is different than a 2-3 day offline event. It’s continuing to help connect over 6 thousand people from the game industry from over 130 countries. We’re sure to create new content for the platform.
If you would like to join WN Hub for their next event and to meet those already attending, you can still join by registering at their website.