Audio & Video Features

User Settings Overview

Every time you enter a Gather Space, you see what we call the Check Your Hair screen (because you get to see your video preview and check your hair!). This modal shows a preview of your Gather character, a preview of your video feed, and the A/V selections for your camera, mic, and speakers. 

A screenshot of the Check Your Hair screen. The text reads "Welcome Riley!" above the character preview. A character wearing a blue hat and blue tshirt shows. A video preview currently displays "You are muted" and "Your camera is off" with two red icons of a slashed mic and slashed camera. Three drop-down fields are available to select your camera, mic, and speaker inputs. A Join the Gathering button displays at the bottom of the modal. Beneath the button is text that reads "By joining this room, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and confirm that you're over 13 years of age."Each time you enter a Gather Space, you see the "Check Your Hair" screen, which shows a preview of your Gather character, your video feed, and your A/V selections.

You can edit your name and character on the Check Your Hair screen by selecting Edit Character, which will open the Character Picker. Select the mic and camera icons on the video preview to turn your mic and camera feed on or off prior to entering the Space. You can also change your input for camera and mic and output for speakers using the three drop-down fields. When you're ready to join, select Join the Gathering

Note: When you're in a Space, you can see your video preview in the bottom right corner of the screen. Select the mic and camera icons to turn your mic and camera on or off. Select your video preview to see yourself full screen.

Audio & Video

To manage your audio and video settings while in the Space, open Settings in the Left Nav Menu. Select the User tab. By default, the Audio & Video section displays. 

To manage your Devices and other A/V settings, select Settings in the Left Nav Menu. Select the User tab. The Audio & Video options display.

Tip: To quickly access your A/V settings in your Space, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/⌘+P.

Devices

Open the drop-down fields to change your camera, mic, or speaker selections. 

Note: If you do not see any options in the drop-down fields for Devices, check your browser settings. If you're on a Mac, you may need to check your system settings as well.

Warning: Firefox does not allow you to select your speaker output. 

Audio Level

Select Start playback to test your microphone. When you are finished testing, select Stop playback.

A screenshot of the fancy office template with the Settings modal open. The User tab is selected with the Audio & Video category active. A red outline displays around the Audio Level settings. A noise indicator is lit up with green bars about halfway. A Stop playback button displays. From User Settings, select Start playback to test your audio. Select Stop playback when you're finished.

SFX Volume

Drag the SFX volume slider to adjust the audio level of any sounds in the Map (such as Ambient Noises or embedded media).

A screenshot of the fancy office template with the Settings modal open. The User tab is selected with the Audio & Video category active. A red outline displays around SFX volume, auto idle muting, use hd video quality, and use original audio. Auto idle muting and Use HD video quality are toggled on, and Use Original Audio is toggled off. The SFX volume slide is at the maximum end.You can manage in-Space sounds using the SFX volume slider and toggle Auto Idle Muting, HD Video, and Original Audio on or off.

Auto Idle Muting

By default, Auto idle muting is turned on so that your audio and video feed turn off whenever you are tabbed away from the Gather window and not connected to others. When you return to your Gather window by clicking in the Space, you will automatically be unmuted and your camera will turn back on. If you turn Auto idle muting off, your camera and video will remain on unless you manually turn your mic and camera on or off, even while you use other windows or applications. 

A view of the auto idle mute message that displays when you have auto idle mute turned on. The message reads: "You were auto muted while away" and "Gather will automatically turn off video and mute your audio when you're tabbed away." A Got it button displays to accept this message.When auto-idle mute is turned on, your audio and video are turned off when you navigate away from the Gather browser tab. This message displays to remind you that auto mute is on.

Tip: If you want to hear any time someone walks up to you in your Gather Space, turn Auto idle muting off.

Note: When you are inside of an iframe (interacting with an interactive object such as an embedded video or website) and not connected to others, you may be automatically muted. This is because the iframe is in "focus," as opposed to the Gather app itself, which has a similar effect to being tabbed away. When you close the embedded object or click in the Gather Space, Gather should automatically unmute you.

Use HD Video Quality

By default, you will see HD videos if the people you are connected with are transmitting an HD video stream. You can turn this feature off to connect to SD video quality instead, which may improve your performance.

Use Original Audio

By default, original audio is turned off so that Gather can reduce echoes and suppress background noises. You can enable original audio to gain full control over your audio, which may also improve your performance.

General

You can manage additional Gather features by selecting General under the User tab of Settings

A screenshot of the fancy office complex with the Settings modal open. The User tab is selected and the General category is active. Toggles display for Beta features, use smart zoom, and use smooth movement.  You can also select Respawn to move to the default spawn point in the Map or select Sign Out to sign out of your account.Select General under the User tab in Settings to manage additional features in Gather.  

Beta Features

If you want to be first to experience features we're developing and testing, turn on beta features. With Beta features turned on, you'll see a Beta Features icon (person with a speech bubble) in the Left Nav Menu. Select Beta Features if you have feedback to give us. You can choose whether to provide your name and email for us to get back with you.

Smart Zoom

By default, Smart Zoom is turned on to provide you the best view of your Space based on the size of your browser window. You can turn off Smart Zoom to manually control your view of the Space. 

Manual Canvas Zoom

When Smart Zoom is turned off, you can manually adjust the view of the Map. You can select a specific percentage or any point on the slider. 

A screenshot of the fancy office complex with the Settings modal open. The User tab is selected and the General category is active. A red outline displays around the Smart Zoom and Manual Canvas Zoom features. Smart Zoom is toggled off, and a line displays under Manual Canvas Zoom with dots every increment of 50%. The max zoom is 400%. You can turn off Smart Zoom to manually control the view of the Space, up to 400%. Changing the canvas zoom affects the view of the Map, not the size of the interface. 

Note: Using the browser zoom function enlarges or shrinks the entire window, including the navigation menus and windows, whereas Smart Zoom just enlarges or shrinks the view of the Space.

Use Smooth Movement

By default, Smooth Movement is turned on. This feature allows your character (and background) to move smoothly from tile to tile as you move through your Spaces. With this turned off, your performance in Gather may improve, but your character and map will jump from tile to tile as you move through the Space. 

Respawn

Select Respawn to rejoin the Space at the default spawn location. (The default spawn location is the tile or group of tiles placed on the Map where new users enter the Space.) You can also access Respawn in the Bottom Bar menu by selecting your name.

Tip: If you're stuck and can't move in your Space, select Respawn to rejoin the Map.

Sign Out

Select Sign Out to log out of your Space and your Gather account. You can also access Sign Out in the Bottom Bar menu by selecting your name.

Proximity A/V

Article coming soon!

Video Carousel

In Gather, when your avatar approaches others, a video call automatically starts between you and the people you approach. All videos will initially appear at the top of your screen. In an open area, you will be connected to everyone within 5 tiles unless you activate Quiet Mode. When you are in a Private Area, you will be connected to everyone who is also inside of the private area.

When there are multiple participants in one gathering, a select number of video call windows will show at the top of your screen. The number of video participants shown depends on the size of your browsing window and resolution of your screen.

Video Carousel

You can scroll between the videos manually by clicking the arrows to the left and right of the videos shown.  This is called the "video carousel."

A view of a lunch room with five video feeds displayed at the top of the screen. Blue arrows point to the left and right chevrons that allow you to scroll through the available videos.  You can navigate through your video carousel by clicking the arrows on either side of your screen. 

Grid View

To increase the number of videos visible to you or to enlarge the videos you are currently seeing, you can enter Grid View by clicking the expanding arrows icon. Grid View will display up to 9 videos in a grid format at the same time with their names and avatars visible. To exit Grid View, click the collapsing arrows icon in the upper right of your screen. 

A view of the lunch space with the grid view enabled for the video feed. Nine video streams display. A blue arrow points to the collapsing arrow icon at the top right of the screen.When you are in Grid View, you can collapse back to the regular Video Carousel by clicking the button in the upper right corner of the screen. 

Video Prioritization

When someone first joins an ongoing group conversation, they will appear at the end of your video carousel. Whenever they speak, their video will be brought to the front of your carousel if they aren't already visible on your screen. This helps sort the videos you see so that the most active contributors to a conversation will automatically be brought to the front of your carousel. When anyone speakers, their video preview will also be outlined in green. 

Enlarge a Video

To focus on one person's video (or screen share), click on that person's stream. The rest of the videos will display in a vertical row on the right of the screen. If the Calendar, Chat, or Participants panel is expanded, collapse it for the largest view.

Muting Users

If there is another participant who you do not wish to hear or see you can mute them or turn off their video. To do so, hover your mouse over their video box and click on the microphone and/or video camera icons to mute and/or turn off their video for yourself.

When you hover your mouse over  another person's video, it will display the "microphone" and "video" buttons you can use to mute or turn off their video.

Doing this will only mute their audio/video for yourself and no one else in the space. They will still be able to see and hear you, and everyone else will still be able to see and hear them. To turn their audio/video back on you would follow the same steps.

Note: If you turn off another person's audio or video for yourself, if they leave your range of conversation and return, it will reset the setting so that you will be able to see and hear them again. 


Screen Sharing

You can share your screen with all of the people you are connected to on Gather if it is enabled in the Space that you are in. To do so, click on the screen sharing icon in the Bottom Bar at the bottom of your screen.

Click the monitor icon in the Bottom Bar to start screen sharing.

Note: You will be prompted every time you wish to screen share in Gather; there is no option to automatically authorize a website for screen sharing.

Sharing in Chrome

Any time you screen share in Chrome, you are given the opportunity to share an Entire Screen (choose from any screens you have), from a Window (choose from any program open on your machine), or from a Chrome Tab (choose from a specific tab in Chrome).

Click the monitor icon in the Bottom Bar to begin screen sharing. If you are in Chrome, select the screen, window, or tab to share.

When you have selected the screen, window, or tab you wish to display, click Share

Sharing in Firefox

Any time you screenshare in Firefox, you are given the opportunity to share a window or screen. 

The drop-down list will display all options for sharing, which include sharing a window (any open program) as well as your screen (entire monitor). 

When you have selected the window or screen you wish to share, a preview will display. Click Allow to begin sharing that program or window.

Sharing in Safari

Any time you screenshare in Safari (the desktop browser, not the mobile browser), you will need to grant Gather access.

Click Allow to screenshare for that session. If you accidentally click Don't Allow, refresh the page to be prompted again. You only have the option to share the screen (monitor) that Safari displays on. 

If you accidentally click Never for This Website, or if you want to have Safari automatically authorize Gather, open Safari Preferences

The Preferences window opens. Select Websites in the top panel, then click Screen Sharing. Grant Gather access by clicking the drop-down field and selecting Ask.

Warning: We do not currently support other browsers, so we have not included information for screen sharing outside of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Audio Through Screen Share

To share audio while screen sharing in Chrome, (1) select Screenshare in the Bottom Bar, (2) select Chrome tab in the Choose what to share window, and (3) select the Chrome tab that has the audio. Make sure that Share tab audio is selected.

A screenshot of the fancy office template in Gather in a Chrome browser. The steps of sharing a browser tab in Chrome are indicated, with a number 1 next to the Screenshare icon in Gather, number 2 next to the Chrome tab option in the Choose what to share window, and a number 3 next to a YouTube tab. A red arrow points to number 3 and text reads "Select the desired tab to share audio.", with the Chrome screen sharing window open. In the Gather Space, the screen share icon is outlined in red with a number 1. In the Choose what to share window, Chrome tab is outlined in red and displays a number 2. A YouTube tab shows a number 3 next to it. An arrow points to the YouTube tab and says "Select the desired tab to share audio."To screen share with audio, (1) select Screenshare in the Bottom Bar, (2) select Chrome tab, and (3) select the desired tab.

Sharing Slides

To share a PowerPoint or slidedeck, click Screenshare in the Bottom Bar, and in your browser's screen sharing window, select Window. Then select the window that's showing the presentation. If you have multiple monitors, you can select the window that's displaying the fullscreen slideshow. 

A screenshot of the fancy office template, with the screenshare window open. A red outline is drawn around the Window tab on the screenshare window. Another red box is drawn around the window that shows "PowerPoint Slide Show."To screen share a slide show, select the Window tab in your browser's screen sharing window. Then select the preview that's displaying the fullscreen presentation.

Ambient Noise

We offer sound emitter objects to add ambient background noise to your Space, such as ocean waves or cafe chatter. You can manually add sound emitters or objects with sound to your Space, or your template or object may come with a sound emitter already embedded (e.g., beach and island templates typically have the ocean sound emitter, and fountain objects have water trickling).  

Add Sound Emitter

If you would like to add a sound emitter or object with sound effects to your Space, open the Object Picker. Enter "sound" in the Search bar or select Sounds from the Left Nav Menu of the Object Picker. Select the object you wish to place and add it to your Space.

A view of the Object Picker with the Sound category selected. A fire pit, two fountains, and several sound emitters display as options. A red outline is drawn around the speaker icon that shows under the Fire Pit label.To add ambient noise to your Space, open the Object Picker and select the Sound category. Objects that have sounds display a speaker (See fire pit) or are speakers on top of a pole.

Note: A speaker icon next to the object indicates that the object has sound effects embedded in it.

Adjust Sound Level

When you place a sound emitter or object with sound in your Space, the noise grows louder as your character walks closer to the object/emitter and fades as you walk away. If you would like to manually adjust the sound level of the ambient noise, open Settings and select the User tab. In the Audio & Video section, use the volume slider under SFX volume to adjust the noise level of all in-Map sounds. 

A view of the User Settings with Audio & Video active. The volume slider of the SFX volume is all the way up.Open Settings, select the User tab, and in the Audio & Video section, adjust the volume slider for SFX volume.

Note: Adjusting the SFX volume only applies to your experience; this does not change the sound level for other people in the Space.

Remove Sound Emitter

If you want to remove a sound emitter or object with sound, use the Erase tool either by selecting Build in the Left Nav Menu and selecting the Erase tab, or by entering the Mapmaker and selecting the Erase tool while Objects is selected in the Top Nav Menu. Click on the object to remove it. 

A view of the rooftop template in Mapmaker. A red outline is drawn around the Erase tool in the Left Nav Menu, and a red arrow points to a sound emitter object with a red outline around it. The sound emitter object looks like a pole with speakers on it.Use the Erase tool and click the sound object to remove it.

Note: Only Owners and Builders can use the Erase tool to remove sound emitters.  If you're not sure what sound object you're looking for, search for the speakers on a pole in your Space or use the Sound category in the Object Picker to see which objects have sounds. You may need to refresh the page to apply the change.

Modes

Quiet Mode

If you wish to reduce the number of video call connections your device makes, you can turn on Quiet Mode by pressing Ctrl + U (Windows) or + U (Mac) or by selecting it from your user menu. 

You can turn on  Quiet Mode from your user menu, found by clicking on your name on the bottom, center control bar. 

When you're in Quiet Mode, you  will only be able to connect with and video chat with those who are immediately adjacent to you (diagonals included). People outside of this range will appear faded to you. Additionally, your status indicator will turn red in your control bar, next to your name in the Participant's List, and next to your avatar inside of your video window that others see. 

A screenshot from gather.town. There are two users, standing one tile apart; one user has Quiet Mode off, and their video call is connected.A screenshot from gather.town. There are the same two users, standing one tile apart; the user on the left has Quiet Mode on, and is not connected to the user on the right.

Notes on Quiet Mode

  • Quiet mode is overridden by private areas - that is, you will still be connected to everyone in a private space, regardless of distance. 
  • Some users use Quiet Mode to indicate when they are busy, or away from the keyboard.

Ghost Mode

Are you blocked in by other people or do you want to enter a Private Area where all the seats are taken? Press and hold the "g" key to enter Ghost Mode. This allows you to pass through tiles that are occupied by other people. Consequently, this means you can use Ghost Mode to have multiple people stack up on the same tile.

Warning: While in Ghost Mode, you will be disconnected from everyone and will be unable to make new audio or video connections until you exit Ghost Mode.

Dance Mode

You can make your avatar dance by pressing "Z" on your keyboard. A heart displays above your avatar's head when you are dancing.


System Requirements

Gather can be used on any computer (laptop or desktop), on any OS (Windows, Mac OS, Linux), using one of our supported web browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari).  Our Safari experience is currently in beta.  

Warning: You can access Gather on your mobile device or tablet; however, the mobile-responsive experience is in development. Use a desktop browser for the best experience!

We recommend the following system specifications for an ideal experience:

  • 2.4 ghz dual core
  • 8 gb RAM

For internet speeds, we recommend:

  • 10 Mbps download speed 
  • 3 Mbps upload speed 

Your experience will vary based on the total number of video streams you are connected to and whether you have "HD Video Quality" toggled on. The number of video streams you will be connected to is based on the number of participants you are actively video chatting with.  It will be more taxing on your system if you are connected to 20 or more  participants as opposed to being connected to one or two people. You may still be able to experience most of the features of Gather with a minimum of 3Mbps down/1Mbsp up; however, you will experience more lag as you connect to more people.