Current edition: Vol.6, No.7, July 2003

Active Worlds News

3.4 Released!
World of the Month
Worlds to Watch
Tech Support Tip
AWFestival 2003
Bot of the Month
Artist's Tip
AWTrivia Winners
AW Building Contest
AWUniversity News
Hot Spots to Visit
Reunion 2003
AWCamp 2003
AWEC Calendar


Building Links
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AW Tech Support's Tip of the Month

"The new moving clouds option is awesome! How do I make it work in my world?"

In order to take advantage of all of the new 3.4 world features you'll need to make sure that you have the latest version of the world server (if your world is hosted by Activeworlds this has been done). You can access the new moving cloud layers option for your world by clicking on OPTIONS - WORLD - FEATURES - CLOUD LAYERS.

There are three layers of clouds available for use in your world. Each layer may have its own texture, an (optional) mask, and an opacity. The layers are "drawn" in numerical order, with layer three being drawn last. This means that if layer two is opaque (it has no mask and the opacity is set to full) then it will block your view of layer one. Similarly, if layer three is opaque, it will block your view of the first two.

Note that the world light source texture will be rendered after cloud layer 1, but before layers 2 & 3. This makes it possible, using a starfield texture for cloud layer one, to have stars in the sky that will not overlap the "moon" texture.

The use of filmstrip textures is not supported by the layered clouds feature in this version of Active Worlds.

For each layer you have the following options:


This controls what texture will be used to paint the clouds. Note that it does not have to be an image of clouds. For example, you could specify an image of stars to create a night sky. Leave this field blank to disable the cloud layer.


You may specify a mask to go along with the texture for a particular cloud layer. This field is optional. You may also give the same name for both texture and mask to make the texture "self-masking". This means that brighter areas will be more opaque, while darker ones will be transparent.

Speed X

This defines how fast the clouds will move. Positive values will cause the clouds to go east, while negative values will move them west. Larger numbers will cause the clouds to move faster. Set this to zero if you don't want the clouds to move.

Speed Z

This defines how fast the clouds will move. Positive values will cause the clouds to go south, while negative values will move them north. Larger numbers will cause the clouds to move faster. Set this to zero if you don't want the clouds to move.


This controls how many times the texture will tile across the sky. Setting this to 1 would cause the texture to fill the sky from edge to edge without repeating. Setting this to 4 would cause the texture to tile four times in each direction.

This is a tradeoff setting. Lower numbers will make each area of the sky more unique, but also more pixilated. Higher numbers will make the texture sharper (and thus seem more detailed) at the expense of making the sky more repetitive. One good technique is to make layer 3 less repetitive, but transparent enough to let the clouds above it show through and add to the level of detail.


This controls how opaque this layer of clouds is. Setting the slider all the way to the right will make the clouds fully opaque, thus blocking your view of the sky and any preceding layers. Setting this to the left will make the layer more transparent.

For those who are using the Megapath Object path ( the following textures have been added for use with the new 3.4 water/sky features:

  • Cloud textures: cloud_strat1, cloud_strat1m
  • Star textures: stars1, stars2
  • Sun textures: c_sun
  • Moon textures: c_moon1, c_moon2, c_moon1m
  • Water textures: water1_top, waters, water1_topm

For those who are interested in trying their hand at creating their own cloud layers, you may want to check out the Artist's Tip of the Month.


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