This article offers a summary of what object types are with links to find out more about each individual object type. You can also watch the following Video for a quick overview of objects and a walkthrough of the Object Picker:
Objects are the images that appear inside of your Space, on top of your Space's background image. They can be uploaded as custom object images, or selected from the large variety of pre-generated objects inside of our Object Picker. Objects can be almost any size, but are often scaled to match your avatar's size and can be moved, edited, and deleted without affecting the main background image. There are 2 primary categories of objects:
Decorative Objects - Purely aesthetic with no interaction (Does not count towards Object Limit)
Interactive Objects - Can be activated when your avatar is near the object
Only Interactive Objects are counted towards your object limit when selecting the Town or City plans for upgraded Space Reservations. Non-interactable objects such as chairs, tables, and other custom uploaded objects that are purely decorative will not count toward your limit.
It is possible to turn a chair, table, or other traditionally Decorative Object into an Interactive Object. Once an interactive effect is placed on an object, it becomes an Interactive Object, regardless of what the image originally was.
Interactive Objects are further broken down into 2 categories:
Basic Interactive Objects - View images or text uploaded to Gather
Advanced Interactive Objects - View or open a link external to Gather + Spotlight Tiles
The Town price allows 10 Basic Interactive Objects and 3 Advanced Interactive Objects, whereas the City plan allows 50 Basic Interactive Objects and 10 Advanced Interactive Objects. There is no limit on Interactive Objects on either the Free or Metropolis plans.
Basic Interactive Objects
Embedded Image - Upload an image (.png, .jpeg, .gif) to display inside a Gather iframe.
Note Object - Display typed text or provide text links for users to open in a new window.
External Call / Zoom Call Integration - link to an external call (Zoom, Webex, Teams, etc.). Call will open in new window and auto-mute your Gather browser tab.
Embedded Video - link to any embeddable video or live stream to display inside a Gather iframe.
Advanced Interactive Objects
Synchronized Embedded Video - link to any embeddable video or live stream to display inside a Gather iframe.
Embedded Website - link to any embeddable website to display inside a Gather iframe.
Spotlight Tiles - Allows the user standing on this tile type to broadcast their video and audio to everyone in the Room
All categories are listed on the left hand menu of the object picker. There's also a search bar at the top if you're looking for a specific object. Our design team adds new objects weekly so make sure to be on the lookout for those!
On the bottom left, there are two special options:
- Insert Text feature allows you to use plain black text to label your space. You can change the size of the text and set the x,y offset. At this time, you cannot change the font or color.
- Upload New allows you to upload any sort of custom object! Here's a short video on how to make use of this - https://youtu.be/2XjTLK6aNz0
Object Interaction Types
- Embedded Website: link to any embeddable website directly inside a Gather frame.
- Embedded Image: upload image (.png, .jpeg, .gif) to display inside a Gather frame.
- Embedded Video: link to an embeddable video from YouTube, Twitch, or Vimeo. Works for playlists and live streams as well.
- External Call: link to an external call (Zoom, Webex, Teams, etc.). Call will open in new window and auto-mute in Gather.
- Note Object: display lines of text or provide links for users to open in a new window.
The activation distance is the number of tiles away from which you can interact with an Interactive Object. This distance includes all diagonals and is measured starting from the outermost edge of all of the tiles the object image is contained within.
If you do not set an Activation Distance for an Interactive Object, the Activation Distance will default to 3. If set to 1, only those directly adjacent to the object will be able to interact with it. If set at 0, only those who stand directly on top of the object will be able to interact with it.
You can link any embeddable website inside of an object and have it open directly inside of Gather within an iframe. This includes individual Google documents, spreadsheets, and forms, but not Google Drive File Directories. Almost any site can be embedded as long as the website administrator allows embedding.
To embed a website, select a object and click on "embedded website" under the Object Interactions.
Embedded Website Not Working
To make sure the website you want to use can be embedded, you must make sure that:
1.) It is an HTTPS site. Unfortunately, HTTP sites will not work due to security concerns.
2) The website administrator allows embedding. If they do not, you will get a message saying "refused to connect" or something similar. You can test this here: https://www.w3schools.com/tags/tryit.asp?filename=tryhtml_iframe
Note: Some sites might require that you allow 3rd party cookies to display properly.
Not all websites are the correct format to be embedded within Gather, and it is also common practice that companies and website hosts block embedding or their URLs to avoid spam.
A workaround for websites that can not be embedded would be to paste the URL within the object as a note interaction. This will allow the participants to see a URL when they interact with that object, like in the screenshot below. If they click the URL it will open the website in a new tab.
You can embed your own images or posters inside of an object and have it open directly inside of Gather within an iframe.
Here's a video that walks you through embedding images using our poster set templates, otherwise read on for more info!
Embedded Image Objects include a preview of your image that appears when you approach the object and are within its activation range.
In order to upload and embed an image, the image must be:
- in .png, .jpg, .webp format
- at least 1000px for the width
- at least 600px for the height
- max 3MB in size
We recommend a minimum DPI of 72, but this is not a requirement. All images will be stretched to fit inside of the iframe, so exact dimensions and proportions are not required. Transparent backgrounds will be filled with a black background.
When you interact with the embedded image, the full image will open inside of an iframe.
You have the option of including a caption or short blub when you first create your embedded image object. This will appear when you interact with the image object when you mouse over the information icon on the right side of your image.
After interacting with an embedded image, you and anyone else who has opened the image may use the "Presenter Mode" tool on the right hand side to click and indicate specific areas of the image or poster that you are discussing. Everyone who has the image open will see the locations that you click on while in Presenter Mode. The indication will appear as a small colored circle that will disappear after a few seconds.
Here's a great article one university wrote up about their poster upload experience as well - https://photonicsonlinemeetup.org/virtual-poster-session-gather-town/.
Interactive video objects let you embed videos from other platforms, like:
- Youtube live (live streaming)
- Twitch (live streaming)
- Or really anywhere with HTTPS and a video embed link.
Embedding a Youtube or Twitch live stream into an object is also another way to do large talks or performances in Gather. If you choose to use a live stream link, please do not set up a start/sync time. This will mess with the video and will not allow the live stream to play.
Embedded Video Options
Link to Video - This should be the link to the video page. If it doesn't work, try pulling the link to the video out of the code that appears when you click 'share', then 'embed'.
Activation Distance - This is the distance which defines how far away from the embedded video object the user can be before a video preview no longer appears in the lower left corner.
Change Map Image - Changes the image that appears on the map when the object is not interactable. Doesn't have to be a TV, but this is helpful visual shorthand.
Active Image (Highlight) - Changes the image that appears when the object moves into activation range. (By default, this is the yellow highlight).
Synchronized Start Time - Automatically plays the video to everyone within the interaction radius at the specified time.
Object Active Start time - Sets the time when the object appears on the map.
Object Active End Time - Sets the time when the object disappears from the map.
More About Syncing Video
Here is a short tutorial on Synced TV Objects
Gather supports "synced" objects, that are set to start playing an embedded video at the same time for everyone. To set a synchronized start time, simply select the time and date you would like your video to automatically start in the appropriate field.
To test your Synced TV to see if the video plays back properly, set the 'time' for a time ~1 minute in the past, and make sure the video plays accordingly. (It should start ~1 minute in.)
Video objects with a sync time set that have not yet reached their sync time will appear on the map, with a blank black screen. The blank screen will continue to display until the start time you have entered. Guests will not be able to start playing the video on their own.
Note that you cannot use the Synchronized Start Time in conjunction with Live Streams.
More about Livestreams
For livestreams you need to leave the "Synchronized Start Time" field blank. Meaning you should not fill out the "synced tv" field. This is because the synced TV function automatically moves the time dial forward or backwards to ensure all participants are seeing the same part of a video and Livestreams on Youtube do not have a time dial. Youtube already handles the video synchronization on their end which means you only need to link the live stream as if you were embedding a regular video.
Here's a short video on how to place External Call Integration objects -
This feature currently works for any pre-set meeting link; Zoom, Google Meets, Teams, Webex, etc.
How does the user interact with this object?
- User enters a Gather room that has a press 'x' to enter zoom call button.
- They see this text
- Click on the zoom link and open the zoom application ins a separate window, Gather will auto-mute the user's video and audio output.
- Enter presentation is hosted on Zoom directly
- They exit the zoom call, and head back to Gather to see this message. They click the green button to enter the Gather space exactly where they last left off.
Tips and Tricks:
- Make sure to increase the activation distance (found under the advanced options for the external call integration object). This will guarantee that anyone who walks into the entire room/area that you designate for the external presentation will be able to press 'x' to interact. Otherwise, you will have too many people crowded in one small area.
- We also frequently see hosts create larger custom objects rather than using our blank object image, so it is visually obvious to users that there's an object to interact with.
- We also frequently see hosts place multiple instances of the same external call object around the room (or in multiple rooms) so more users can interact easily with the object.
If you choose to rotate zoom links throughout the day, you will need to either:
a) designate someone to enter builder mode in the space, erase the object with the old call link, and place a new one (with a new link) during the period of time between speakers, or
b) create visually different objects or places (eg: signs) in the room where people can walk to to get the next zoom link.
Both of these might be trickier than hosting one big zoom call for the room, depending on what you are comfortable with; by default, the 'zoom call integration' object is invisible, and so it will not appear to either participants or builders visually on the map.
If you expect less than 100 participants, using Gather's spotlight feature (and screenshare for slides) might also be an option, although that 100 is a fairly hard limit.
Message in Note Objects
You can place messages inside of note objects. The messages will appear inside of an iframe and can include links to other sites that will open in a new tab.
Unfortunately, at this time, the note object does not support carriage returns, but you can insert emojis!
Editing a Message inside Note Objects
If you want to change the message of the note, you have to edit the message in the Note Object in the Mapmaker
Our team has incorporated around 10 pre-set games in the object picker. These games are set up so that you can join private games within your Gather space, so you can play while also video chatting with friends!
We don't own any of the games in the object picker, but we have worked with their developers to 'genericize' them so they create a unique room when opened in Gather- but a good workaround for one-off gaming events is to build the games ahead of time and drop links to those rooms directly into the object. They'll expire eventually, but that skips any awkward intermediate step for now!
If you would like to integrate your own games you can do this by embedding any embeddable game into an object in Gather.
You can find out more about the games and how they work on their respective websites:
Catan-esque game: https://colonist.io/
One Night Werewolf: https://netgames.io/games/onu-werewolf/
Draw Battle: https://drawbattle.io/
Gather's default collaborative whiteboards are powered by http://tryeraser.com/. Eraser has a great interface for note taking, a canvas for drawing, or both!
You can choose the exact color you want for your pen by entering the color code
How can I save a copy of my whiteboard to share with others?
- Click the Share button the share the link to your whiteboard
- The best way to generate a hard copy would be to "copy as PNG" by right clicking on the canvas and then pasting it into a file editor or image editor then saving as file. That's obviously a lot of steps – we are working with the Eraser team to try to streamline this and support PDF download.
With the embedded image, you cannot upload a PDF. If you would prefer to have a pdf rather than a png or jpeg displayed, you would need to upload it to a public site (such as Google Drive) and use an embedded website object rather than an embedded image object.
If you upload your PDF to Google Drive, you have to alter the shareable link before you can embed it.
Original Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RlIH-FVz0BO_4G6ktrsbCTiBrqbaTEx2/view
Embeddable link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RlIH-FVz0BO_4G6ktrsbCTiBrqbaTEx2/preview
You can also host a PDF on your website and embed your PDF as a website URL
In order to share your Powerpoint, you first need to upload it to a site that allows embedding. One place you can upload your ppt is to Google Slides. Once you have your presentation on Google Slides, you can embed it after publishing it to the web: from the Files menu. Makes sure that the bottom of the prompt box says that your presentation is published.
Delete everything from the original link that begins with "pub?" and replace it with the word “embed” so it looks like this instead: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/e/2PACX-1vSbaMdqLEgO0CjXPzEahfQm4mJIDhaGjU2waSy6DJz4m1hRXQNOBsRaoR74hYwH8s6atXylVla2ODM8/embed
Copy that modified link and paste it into the URL field for embedded websites.
You can embed Office 365 documents into Gather using the following process:
1) Go to your OneDrive folder in your web browser. ( https://onedrive.live.com/ )
2) Right-click the file you wish to embed.
3) Click 'Embed'.
4) In the panel that appears on the right, copy the text in the 'Embed' box and paste it into a text editor.
5) Extract the embed link from the IFrame text. What the link will look like is highlighted below (it's everything between the quotes that comes after 'iframe src=').
<iframe src="https://onedrive.live.com/embed?cid=[NUMBERS]&resid=[MORE NUMBERS]%[NUMBERS]&authkey=[NUMBERS AND CHARACTERS]&em=2" width="402" height="346" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
6) Paste that embed link into the 'Website (URL)' field.
When you are in Mapmaker you can select the grid space using the "select mode" tool in the upper left hand corner. From there you will see the "edit stack" menu on the right hand side. This would act as a stack in real life and you would just click and drag the objects above/below one another in the stack. If you'd like the rug to be on the bottom you would want to make sure the rug is below the table and chair within the stack.
Bulletin Board Object
The Bulletin Board is an object in Gather that you can select using the object picker. This is a good way to display information such as birthdays, holidays, game nights, meetings, lunchtimes, etc.
It's as simple as embedding a Google Document, Miro Board, or any other collaborative application into the Bulletin Board object. If you would like a more formal bulletin board that's not collaborative we recommend using a Google Doc that is not editable.
Here's an example Gather Bulletin Board for reference: