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Shuttle: An Upcoming Taiwanese Online Exhibition System

*Lai, Chen-Min(Professional Teachers from the Industries of National Central University&Chief Operating Officer of Dream Maker, Taiwan)

**Yi-Chi Chiu(Kang Chiao International School senior 3, Taiwan)


        In the midst of the pandemic, physical activities around the world were forced to cancel, which included university recruitment and industry expos. However, it gave Tempest Digital, a Taiwanese digital company, the idea to create an online system where universities and industries can host their exhibitions without worrying about the pandemic. Thus, the Tempest team created Shuttle, the online convention system that is now gaining more recognition by Taiwanese companies, universities, and industries. However, Shuttle’s reputation has not yet spread beyond its country of origin.

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Main Features

As an online exhibition platform, Shuttle provides a plethora of functions for its partners. Using Unity, a game development system, Shuttle creates a 2D RPG-like gaming environment where the exhibition will be hosted (see image 1 below). First, users will select a desired avatar; next, they can control their character in different booths of the exposition; finally, users are able to navigate and learn more about the host through the online convention. The booths are customized to the needs of the host. For instance, to present a university to its freshman, Shuttle will consult with the university admission to find out what kind of information their prospective students want to know more about, like the different clubs. Proceeding with the example of the university admission, Shuttle can also boost the convention environment from being identical with the campus landscape, so that prospective freshmen can get a grasp of what their school looks like while discovering the university’s clubs and facilities. Furthermore, one of Shuttle’s most unique features is that the users can also communicate with others through a chat-box that will pop up when one user clicks another user’s avatar. This means that students can make friends even before school starts. If users don’t want to chat but simply want to know their peers, they can exchange their business cards, a feature most frequently used by corporate customers at online industry expos. Additionally, users can book online meetings for future discussions or if they wish, they can directly video call each other directly via video on site (see Image 2 below). This feature is more useful for cooperation exhibitions, where customers can make larger meetings for multiple users to join. The limit on the maximum number of users is without concern, as Shuttle has tested, where the website can withstand more than 500 users simultaneously.

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Past Achievements

As an online exhibitor pioneer in Taiwan, Shuttle has had numerous successes in the past working with many partners, from business to academia. To name a few, Shuttle was the host of the 2021 Taiwan Student Game Developer Forum (see Image 3 below) and the 2022 YouthRocks Online Startup Internship Fair (see Image 4 below). Furthermore, Shuttle has worked with Taiwan’s most prestigious universities and organized countless events, such as the 2021 NYCU Open House (see Image 5 below) and 2021 NTU Online Club Expo (see Image 6 below). At the very least, Shuttle currently has a significant and stable share of the Taiwanese online exhibitor market due to its unique features and abilities to adapt to the needs of its partners.

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        One exemplary past success is Shuttle’s recent 2022 Taiwan Student Game Developer Forum(TSGDF)(see Image 7 below). Different from the event from 2021, this year, Tempest focused on prospective student game developers with the intention to connect students with actual gaming development industries(see Image 8 below). For instance, 2022 TSGDF hosted their first ever “Under Construction Game Exhibition”, where users can work on the games themselves during the online expo with like-minded developments and industries to create multi-perspective game innovations(see Image 9 below). Furthermore, the exhibition included more 9 Taiwanese counties, 27 universities, and 34 games. The Microsoft team in Taiwan went further to sponsor TSGDF by providing 40 Surface Laptops to allow the connection between students at the physical expo and students in the online expo(see Image 10 below). All in all, the 2022 TSGDF is one of the many successes of Shuttle.

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Comparison with its competitors

Shuttle’s lack of fame outside of Taiwan is due to its strong global competitors that have more functions outside of hosting online exhibitions, allowing them to reach more clients. Shuttle’s chief rivals are GatherTown and SecondLife. GatherTown is similar to Shuttle so they both focus on hosting online events in more engaging environments. However, other than online conventions, GatherTown has the additional function of hosting online courses and even graduation ceremonies, imitating in-person education events. For instance, using GatherTown, University of Pennsylvania’s Computer and Information Science Department has recreated a virtual Levine Hall for their students (see Image 11 below). SecondLife, at the other end of the spectrum, is similar to Shuttle in that they both create an RPG-type world so that users can immerse themselves in their own virtual world (see Image 12 below).

Although Shuttle does not host online classes, it specializes in the function of online exhibitions. In addition, Shuttle charges the same for the same amount of users. Although GatherTown’s price can initially be cheaper for small quantities of people, it can accelerate quickly to big expenses for larger groups of users. Furthermore, despite the stimulation of a virtual world by Shuttle, it’s not as advanced as Second Life. However, Shuttle’s simple RPG can be more user-friendly for convention attendees, who might perceive Second Life’s complex virtual reality as a distraction from the actual exhibition event. Overall, Shuttle’s professionalism in hosting online expos makes the platform worthy of broader recognition.

  Functions – Online Conventions – Online University Admission Expos – Gaming development and consultation with industries– Online exhibitions – Online graduation ceremony – Online virtual classroom  – Virtual reality world – Multimedia platform
  Strength– Online exhibitions  – Game development –  Engaging online classes through RPG– Advanced virtual world for users to social
Fee  – Constant fee without limit(current testing show shuttle can withstand more than 500 user)– Free for less than 25 users –  $7 USD/user, up to 500 users– 11.99/month

Future Goals

        As mentioned, Shuttle’s success in the Taiwanese online exhibitor market, prompts Tempest Digital to extend its partners beyond its source. Tempest Digital’s goals for Shuttle can be categorized into two aspects: promotion-wise and technical-wise. First, like mentioned, Shuttle’s successes in the Taiwanese online exhibitor market, prompts Tempest Digital to extend their partners beyond its source. Second, Tempest Digital’s would also like to make breakthroughs in their RPG environment, improving its current 2D and 3D technology in order to achieve more malleable and flexible customizable options for Shuttle’s clients.

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