First Time in Gather
When you first visit a Gather Space, you get to choose your avatar, the digital character that represents you in the Space.
When you've picked the perfects details for your body, clothing, and accessories, click Next Step. Enter a name for your character.
Note: The character you design and 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 and character at any time, for any Space.
When you're satisfied with your character and name, click Finish. The Check Your Hair screen (as we call it) displays with a preview of your character and a preview of your video feed, with the input/output options for your camera, mic, and speakers. When you're ready to continue, click Join the Gathering.
Warning: You must grant permission for Gather to use your camera and mic in the browser. Read more about Browser Settings.
Edit Character & Name
When you return to Gather or visit other Gather Spaces, you can always change your name by clicking Edit Character on the Check Your Hair screen, which will take you to the character picker.
You can also change your name and character when you're in the Space. In the Bottom Bar, click on your character to open the character picker and change your avatar.
To change your name or status, click your name in the Bottom Bar. The Bottom Action Menu opens.
Click Edit to change your name. You can also return to the character picker by clicking Customize. If you're satisfied with your name and character, click Finish. Your changes are saved.
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.
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.
Tip: To quickly access your A/V settings in your Space, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/⌘+P.
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.
Select Start playback to test your microphone. When you are finished testing, select Stop playback.
Drag the SFX volume slider to adjust the audio level of any sounds in the Map (such as Ambient Noises or embedded media).
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.
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.
You can manage additional Gather features by selecting General under the User tab of Settings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gather must request permission to use your mic and camera from the web browser. Right now, Gather is best supported in Chrome and Firefox. The desktop Safari browser is supported 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.
When you first enter Gather in Chrome (or if you've cleared your Chrome history), you will see a pop-up asking for camera and microphone access permissions. Click Allow in order to provide the best experience in Gather.
If you block Gather from accessing your camera or microphone in Chrome, 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.
Select the option to allow Gather access to your camera and microphone. Refresh the page for the changes to go into effect.
You can view or change your permissions at any time by clicking the lock icon to the left of the URL.
When you first enter Gather in Firefox (or if you've cleared your Firefox history), you will see a pop-up asking for camera and microphone access permissions. Click Allow to provide the best experience in Gather.
If you block Gather from accessing your camera or microphone in Firefox, you will see camera and mic icons with slashes through them to indicate that you have denied the site access. You can click on these to change your preferences.
You can view or change your permissions by clicking the lock icon to the left of the site URL. In the site permissions pop-up, click the "x" next to each blocked permission. Refresh your page.
Once all permissions have been granted, you can check or change your settings by clicking the lock icon to the left of the site URL. Your site security settings should look something like this:
If you get this message instead, refresh the page.
Safari (on desktop, not mobile) will prompt you for camera and microphone permissions when you first log into a space.
Safari will prompt you for camera and microphone permissions separately when you first log into a space. Click Allow to permit Gather to use your microphone and to use your camera.
- If you click Don't Allow and want to change the setting, refresh the page and try again.
- If you click Never for This Website, you can change the setting in your Safari Preferences.
In the Safari menu, click Preferences, and select the Websites tab. Scroll down to Camera and Microphone. 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
You can easily respond to the current situation and let others know how you are feeling by using emotes!
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!
Note: The graphic for the Emotes will vary depending on your operating system
Note: The raised hand (#6) will stay raised until you clear it. All other emotes will disappear after 3 seconds.
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
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.'
Alternatively, you can click on their name inside of their video conversation to open the same module.
To stop following someone, press any arrow key on your keyboard.
Users can send and view messages using Chat in the Left Nav Menu. Here, you can view past messages, as well as send messages of your own.
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:
- Everyone - Your message will appear in the chat panel for every user in the space.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Manage Chat Notifications
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.
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.
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).
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 invite people to your Space in three ways: copy and paste the URL, create and a copy a unique link, or email a link through Gather.
- Copy and paste the URL of your Space: Bim, bam, done!
- ✔ It's easy!
- ✖ The link won't expire and anyone can pass it on.
- Invite with a unique link: Click the Gather icon, select Invite People, select an expiration for the link, and click Copy Invite Link.
- ✔ You control how long the link is active!
- ✔ You decide how to send the link (e.g., via email, messenger, hyperlink in another file, etc.)
- ✖ You have to manually distribute the link.
- Invite via email: Click the Gather icon, select Invite People, select an expiration for the link, enter the email address of the person you wish to invite, and click Send Invite.
- ✔ You control how long the link is active!
- ✔ You don't have to go to another platform to send it.
- ✖ You can only email one person at a time. (Coming soon: multiple email entry!)
Member v. Guest
In remote work Spaces, you can invite people to your Space as Members or Guests.
Note: Only remote work Spaces distinguish between Members and Guests.
- You can send an invite to a Member via email or by copying the link to your Space.
- The email invitation and the invitation link for Members expire automatically after 30 days.
- A Member must have a Gather account.
- A Member is automatically assigned the Builder role.
- You can copy a link to invite Guests to the remote work Space.
- A Guest does not have to have a Gather account.
- The link for a Guest has an expiration date.
- The Guest can still visit the Space after the invitation link has expired if they have the URL to the Space.
- If you want to prevent a Guest from accessing the Space after you have invited them, you must block or ban them.
If you want to remove the Invite people option, open Settings. The Space tab is active by default, and Space Preferences displays. Toggle on Disable invite button.
For more about limiting who can access your Space, see Space Access Restrictions.
Note: You are welcome to share the link to you Space 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 and some users may not be able to enter until the event begins and your Space capacity increases. However, you will not be charged if more than 25 people try to access your Space before your reservation begins.
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.
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.
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:
- Hover your mouse over their video feed.
- Click the circle with the diagonal line through it.
- Click the "Confirm Block" button that appears on their video feed.
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.
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. If you are in a remote office, the Participants list will be split into Members, Guests, and Offline Members. A member is a user logged into the Space with their Gather account who has been set as a moderator, builder, or owner in that Space.
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.
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!
- 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.
*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:
- Move your avatar away by using the arrow keys or WASD keys
- Click the Leave Bubble button