Gather 101

Setting or Changing your Name and Character Style

You set your name in the preview screen when you first enter a Gather Space. The name you enter is tied to the Space. This means you can have a different default name for every Space that you enter. You can always change your name on a Space by Space basis. If you have created an account, you can set a default name that will automatically be used when you enter a new space. 

When you first use Gather, you will be asked to enter your name and choose your avatar. You will see this screen again if you need to edit your character.

Whenever you return to Gather or visit other Gather Spaces, you can always change your name by clicking "Edit Character" which will take you to the dialogue box shown above.  

You can change the name you set for yourself for the Space by clicking "Edit Character."

Changing Your Name After Entering Space

If you're already in a Gather space, go to the control panel at the center bottom of your screen and click on your name to open your User Options.

Click your name at the bottom of the screen to open you User Options

Click "Edit" near the top of the new window that pops up.  That will open your User Settings where you have the option to change your name and microphone/webcam/speakers.

To change your name, click the "Edit" button next to it.

Your name will be automatically edited and changed dynamically as you type into this box. You can close the menu once you have entered in your desired name. There is no need to click a save button. 

Enter your desired name in the box at the top of your User Settings

Changing Your Character Style After Entering Space

If you're already in a Gather space, go to the control panel at the center bottom of your screen and click on the image of your Character.

To edit your character's style, click on the image of your character in the blue bar at the bottom of your screen. 


Video and Audio Settings Introduction

Gather Settings

Every time you enter a Gather space, you will be asked to select your input devices (microphone and camera). There is a microphone pick up volume indicator, so users can test the sensitivity of their mic before entering the Gather space.

A screenshot of the input selection window that appears when you enter a gather space. The camera is set to 'HD Web Camera' in the example, and the microphone is set to (Krisp Microphone). Your hardware settings will be different. There is a 'Join the Gathering!' button at the bottom of the window.

To change settings inside Gather, click on the cog on the left side bar to open your Space settings. In the upper left corner of that window, click 'User' to see user settings.

A screenshot of the options window, which you can open by clicking the gear icon, which is the first / top most option in the left side menu bar. In the window, there are two tabs for User and Space. User is selected, and the information below relates to the what is in the User options.

You can now test your microphone Audio Level and play it back to yourself in the user settings.

Several fields are relevant here:

Switch Inputs

This allows you to select which webcam and microphone to use for audio and video. 

If you do not see your camera and microphone in the drop down menu, you may need to change your browser settings and permissions.

Smooth Movement

This is a feature that allows your avatar (and background) to transition smoothly from tile to tile as you move through your Spaces. With this turned off, your character and map will jump from tile to tile as you move through space. 

As smooth movement may put additional strain on your machine and impact performance, we have offered the option to turn this off.

Auto Idle Muting

Auto idle muting will trigger whenever you are tabbed away and not connected to others. This means that in an office environment, if you're sitting in a desk next to your auto-muted coworker, tabbing away will also turn off your camera to maximize your privacy. When you return to your Gather browser tab, you will automatically be unmuted and your camera will turn back on.

 The first time you tab away from your Gather tab, you will see this message when you return:

A screenshot of the Gather auto muting alert window

If you disable this in your user settings, you will always have your camera and microphone on, even when you are tabbed away from Gather.

When you are inside of an iframe and not connected to others, you may also experience being automatically muted. This is due to the iframe being in "focus" as opposed to the Gather Application itself which has a similar effect to being tabbed away. When you close the embedded object or click on the sidebar to put gather back into focus, Gather should automatically unmute you.

Use HD Video Quality

By default, you will always see an HD Quality video if you are connected to only one person (if they are transmitting an HD video stream). When others join your conversation, your video quality will automatically switch to standard quality to help with general performance. You can instead change your settings to always make all videos HD whenever possible in your user settings.

This will make your computer work harder to show videos, and take up more of your network, but the video quality will improve significantly! 

Browser Settings and Permissions

Gather must request permission to use your mic and camera from the web browser. Right now, Gather is supported on Chrome, Firefox, and Desktop Safari (in Beta). Here's how to check your browser and system settings to make sure you have a smooth experience in Gather. 

To work properly, Gather should be Allowed access to the microphone and camera.

If you dismiss or block the initial mic/camera permission pop-up window, you may see a message stating that "Gather needs your permission to access your Camera/Microphone..."

The warning you will see when your browser has blocked Gather from accessing either your camera and/or microphone.

You may close this warning, but if you do not change your settings, others may not be able to see or hear you inside of Gather. 

Here is how to find your browser settings and grant Gather access to your camera and Microphone. 


Chrome Settings

When you first enter Gather, you will see a pop-ups asking for camera and microphone access permissions. Click "Allow" in order to provide the best experience in Gather.

The pop-up asking for your camera and microphones permission will appear on the upper left side of your browser. Click Allow to continue.

If you accidently blocked Gather from accessing your camera or microphone, you will see a camera icon in the upper right of your site address bar with a red "x" to indicate that you have denied the site access. You can click on this to change your preferences.

If you accidently blocked camera or microphone permissions, you can click the icon in the upper right to see what you have blocked and adjust your permissions.

After selecting the radio button to allow Gather access to your camera and microphone, you will need to refresh the page for the changes to go into effect.
After allowing access to your camera and microphone, you may need to refresh your page before changes will go into effect. 


You can always check or change your permission settings by clicking the lock icon in the upper left of your site address bar. 

Privacy and Security settings for each webpage you visit are easily accessed on the left side of your site address bar.


Firefox Settings

When you first enter Gather, you will see a pop-ups asking for camera and microphone access permissions. Click "Allow" in order to provide the best experience in Gather.

A pop-up asking for camera and microphone permissions will appear on the upper left of your screen when you first use Gather.

If you accidently blocked Gather from accessing your camera or microphone, you will see a camera and/or microphone icon in the upper left of your site address bar with a grey slash through it to indicate that you have denied the site access. You can click on this to change your preferences.

If you have denied Gather access to either your camera or microphone, it will show you icons with a grey slash through the camera and/or microphone icon.

To remove the blocked permissions and allow Gather access to your camera and microphone, click on your site privacy and security settings by clicking the lock icon on the left site of your site address bar and then clicking the "x" next to each blocked permission. Refresh your page. 

Click the "X" next to each blocked permission inside of your site privacy settings located on the left side of your site address bar. 

Once all permissions have been granted, you can always check or change your settings by clicking on the lock icon in the left side of your site address bar.  Your site security settings should look something like this:

Site settings with both camera and microphone permissions temporarily allowed. 

If you get this message instead, you need to refresh the page.
Site settings after canceling blocked permissions but not yet refreshing.


Desktop Safari (Beta)

Safari will prompt you for camera and microphone permissions when you first log into a space.

A screenshot of Safari's permissions prompt. It says "Allow "gather.town" to use your microphone? You can change this setting in Safari Websites preferences." There are three options: Allow, Never for This Website, and Don't Allow.

Safari will prompt you twice for camera and microphone permissions when you first log into a space. Click 'Allow' to permit Gather to use your microphone, and to use your camera. 

If you accidentally click 'Don't Allow', refresh the page and try again.

If you accidentally click 'Never for This Website', you can change this setting in your Safari Preferences. 

In Safari Preferences, open the 'Websites' tab and scroll down on the left side bar until you see 'Camera' and 'Microphone'.

Safari preferences window, with the 'Websites' tab highlighted. In the list of permissions, Microphone is selected. In the list of websites, gather.town is selected, and the drop down menu is set to 'Allow'.

Click into each one of these and find gather.town on the list of websites to the right, then set the drop down menu to 'Allow' (or 'Ask', if you wish to be prompted every time).

You might get stuck with a screen saying "Awaiting Audio and Video Permissions" if you dismiss or block the initial mic/camera permission pop-up window or if you have not previously enabled security permissions for your browser on a Macbook or Apple computer inside of your Apple Privacy and Security Settings.

To access these settings, open System Preferences and select Security and Privacy.

Open your Apple System Preferences by click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen.

From your system preferences, select and open your Security and Privacy settings. 

Enable permissions for both your camera and microphone  for the browser you are using. 

In the menu on the left side, find and select 'Camera' and 'Microphone' and check the box on the right to enable permissions for your web browser to use your camera and microphone.

You might need to click the padlock in the bottom left corner to allow changes to your system preferences. 


How to View and Navigate Your Video Calls

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 be shown 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".

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. 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 button in the upper right of your screen with the arrows pointing towards each other. 

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 your an on-going 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 such that the most active contributors to a conversation will automatically be brought to the front of your carousel.

How to use Emotes

You can easily respond to the current situation and let others know how you are feeling by using emotes!

A room of people using several different emotes at the end of a meeting.You can access emotes by clicking on the Emotes Icon on the far right side of your Control Panel and selecting the emote you wish to display. You can also quickly and easily switch between emotes by using the associated numbered hotkeys!

Emotes in Emote Menu

Note: The graphic for the Emotes will vary depending on your operating system

When using the keyboard shortcuts for your emotes, you will see a preview for the one you selected before it is displayed above your avatar's head. This is to help make sure you have the right one keyed up before it appears above your avatar!
An animated preview of what it looks like when you use the number hotkeys to activate your emotes.


Note: The raised hand (#6) will stay raised until you clear it. All other emotes will disappear after 3 seconds.

Raised Hand

To raise your hand, you can either select it from the Emotes Menu or press the number 6 on your keyboard. While your hand is raised, your name will move up to the top of the Participants list. For the raise hand emote, you have to press the number 6  again for the emote to disappear. Alternatively, you can click on the raised hand emote in the emote menu or the clear all button to lower your hand

When you raise your hand, a hand  will appear next to your name and bring you to the top of Participants list. 

Follow Feature

The Follow Feature allows someone to easily follow another person without having to move their own character around a space. When you are in follow mode, you automatically follow the person you chose to follow. To exit follow mode, press any arrow key to move away from the other person.

To activate follow mode, click on the person's name in the  Participants List and select 'follow.'

You can follow someone by clicking on their name in the participant's panel and selecting the "follow" option.

Alternatively, you can click on their name inside of their video conversation to open the same module. You can click on a person's name inside of their video to open up their User Menu.

To stop following someone, press any arrow key on your keyboard. 

Messaging

Users can send and view messages in the Chat Panel, located above the participants tab, second from the bottom on the left of your screen. Here, you can view past messages, as well as send messages of your own.

You can access the messaging system by clicking the chat bubbles icon in the bottom left of the screen

There, you can send messages to three different kinds of recipients, which you can toggle using the options located in the drop box at the bottom of the Chat Panel. 

These options allow you to send a message to:

  1. Everyone - Your message will appear in the chat panel for every user in the space. 
  2. Nearby - Your message will appear in the chat panel for every user that you are currently video chatting with. This could be whoever is standing within your interaction distance, or whoever you are in a private space with. 
  3. Individuals - The remaining options will display the names of other users in the room. You can scroll through this to select a user to send a private message to. You can also click on a users name in the chat history to make them the recipient of your next message.

A screenshot with examples of messages to everyone, nearby, and private messages.

You can also click on a person's name in the chat panel to automatically start private messaging them. 

Note that you can only send private messages to users that are currently online and in the Space with you.

To close the side panel, click the arrow in the upper left. This works for Builder mode, the Calendar pane, the Chat panel, and the Participants list.

View of the top left corner of a Gather window, with a Chat panel open. The left-facing caret is circled in red to emphasize where to click to collapse the panel.Click the arrow to close the side panel.

Status Messages

You can set status messages for others to see in the Participants pane! To edit or set a status message, click on your name in the control panel at the center of the bottom of your screen.

Edit your status by clicking your name at the bottom of the screen

Text Statuses are displayed under each users name in the Participants Tab. The set emoji will appear to the right of your name. To have an emoji appear below your name, include it in the status text box. (Press windows key+. (period) to open the emoji panel on a Windows Machine).

Status messages will appear in the Participates Pane under your name

All of your past status messages will be saved so you can easily search and reselect old status messages! They are listed in the order that you first used them, not necessarily based on what was most recently used

You can search your past status messages to easily reuse them! 

How to find link to invite/share

To get the invite link you would want to go to the Gather Icon in the upper left, or the participants tab in the bottom left, while in the space. Both of these options will bring you to a menu that will say "Invite" and once you click that you'll be given two links you can share. You can distribute this link however you would like, but email is most common. 

Click on the Gather Grapes icon to select "Invite people"

Once that menu opens: 

  1. First select how long you would like that link to stay active/not expire
  2. Then either copy the invite link and personally email your attendees OR enter a specific email to send the invite directly.

Links can stay active for various amounts of time. 

2 Options in the Invite Modal 

Please note that you are welcome to send out the link in advance if you'd like. Your space will always be hosted on a free server outside of the paid premium reservation time, so up to 25 users can enter for free! If more than 25 users enter before your event, the server connection will degrade but you will not be charged. 

Turning off another user's video and audio for yourself

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 that 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. 


Blocking users

Blocks are done by account and can be undone if needed. This is very different than Banning a User which is done by IP. Blocking a User will disable all communication between you and the other person, but not for anyone else in the Space. Other Participants will still be able to see and hear both of you, and you will still be able to see that user's avatar in the space.

How to block a user: 

  1. Hover your mouse over their video feed.
  2. Click the circle with the diagonal line through it.
  3. Click the "Confirm Block" button that appears on their video feed.


To block someone, hover over their name, click the block icon and confirm your choice.

To unblock a user, simply hover over their video and click the button that says, "unblock."

After you block a user, you will still have their video in your carousel to indicate that they are within your interaction zone, but it will appear without sound or video and only show the an option to unblock them.

They will not be notified that they have been blocked and will still be able to see and hear you.

You can also block someone from the participants list.

A screenshot of how to access the block feature from the participants list.

Gather UI Tour

Below, find an exploded view of the Gather UI and its labeled parts. 

Gather Icon - Where many support-related links can be found.

Grid Mode - Where the videos of other participants are placed in a grid rather than in a carousel at the top of your screen. (Note: Grid mode only supports 9 videos at a time. If you are in conversation with more than 9 people, you will need to click the arrows to see the next page of videos).

Settings - Where you can change various options .

Builder Mode - Where you can add or remove objects from the map (if you have the appropriate permissions).

Chat or Message Panel - Where you can see messages sent or received from other participants.

Participants List - Where you can see the list of online participants as well as their status messages. 

Ring Feature

The Ring Feature is available when a user in the space is muted. 

The Ring Feature's main function is to call the user's attention back to the Gather tab. When clicked, there will be a short audio ring played to grab their attention. 

Ring Feature on a User that is double muted

Ring Feature on a User that is only muted one-way.


Conversation Bubbles

Conversation Bubbles

A bubble is a temporary conversation between you and another person. Need to get a word in, but don't wanna disturb the flow or the larger meeting going on? Break out into a bubble. Bubbles are great for a speedy whisper with your neighbor without talking over the current group conversation. 

How to Start or Join a Bubble

  • Right clicking or double clicking on another avatar in the space to open the Context Menu. Then click Start Bubble!

A gif demonstrating how to start a bubble. Two users stand in a room. The first user clicks on the second user and selects 'Start Bubble', and then the first user's avatar automatically walks over and enters into a semi-private conversation.

  • People outside your bubble will still be able to hear you, albeit very softly (and with transparent video). People can join and leave bubbles freely, even across private spaces. 

Control the volume of people around you/outside your bubble. 

Host multiple bubbles as well!

*Screen sharing in a bubble will broadcast your screen to everyone who could see you in a normal conversation. 


How to Leave a Bubble

Two methods to leave a bubble: 

  1. Move your avatar away by using the arrow keys or WASD keys
  2. Click the Leave Bubble button 

Leave Bubble button 

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