Object path

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An object path is a set of folders hosted on a web server that is a vital component to worlds, as they host its content on a web-accessible location. The content is stored in ordinary files based on their type: textures, models, sounds, and other media are held in these folders on the web server to be served to visitors via HTTP downloads requested by the browser and then cached.


The Active Worlds (software) browser behaves like a normal web browser in regards to world content; it requests models, avatars, textures, sounds, SEQ animations and object groups from a web-accessible directory (such as http://objects.activeworlds.com/aw/) on the internet or local intranet. Using the object path URL set in the world options for the world the user is currently in, the browser then looks for sub-directories, dependant on the type of content, and finally tries to locate and download the file.

Folder Structure

  • Zip files, such as masks, models and avatars, can be password protected for use with the Object Password world property. Note however that all passworded zips must share the same password due to browser limitations.
  • Zip files are caps sensitive when being referred to by the object name on a built object. For example, building a "POLE1M.rwx" when the zip file is "pole1m.zip" on the web server will result in a registry fail or 404. However, the mesh file inside the zip is case-insensitive; Active Worlds uses the first object present in the ZIP by alphabetical order. [uncertainty]
  • For meshes (avatars and models), object names without an extension (such as .rwx or .cob) will make the browser assume and look for a .rwx object first. [uncertainty]
Folder Name File Types Description
avatars/ Zipped .rwx/.cob/.scn/.x, Zipped avatars.dat The browser looks for a zip file called "avatars.zip" and then unzips it to try and find "avatars.dat". When successful, it reads this file and fills the user's avatar list, taking name, mesh and animation definitions from the file. The meshes put in this folder are for avatar meshes, either skinned, jointed or plain mesh.

They are defined by just their .rwx/.cob/.scn/.x file name from avatars.dat but can be accessible to builders by prefixing "../avatars/" to the object name, as a web server hack. However this is dependant on the web server supporting ".." on urls and, when enabled, the registry containing entries for the avatars including the "../avatars/" part in its name.

models/ Zipped .rwx/.cob/.scn/.x Meshes for objects are looked for in this folder by the browser. Like avatar meshes, the browser requests the zip using the object name provided and then loads the mesh, requesting any textures it needs from the textures folder at the same time.
groups/ .awg When a group file is called via the group action command, the browser will look for that AWG file (the .awg extension is unnessacary) in this folder and then load it.
seqs/ .seq After the avatars.dat definitions file is loaded, the browser then requests the associated SEQs for the user's selected avatar from this folder. Also, SEQs applied to objects via the seq command will be requested from here.
sounds/ .wav, .mid, .mp3 All sound world/zone settings (such as water enter, exit noises and global ambient sound) and object commands such as sound or noise will request the specified sound file from this folder. An extension is required for these sound files.
  • 4.1: .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .wmf, .png, .ico, .bmp, .tiff, .emf, Zipped .bmp
  • 3.6: .jpg, .jpeg, Zipped .bmp
The browser looks in this folder for all textures required for a mesh (avatars and models) as well as for textures applied to an object via the texture or picture (without a URL) command. Prior to 4.1, only JPG was supported as a image texture and grayscale 8-bit BMPs as masks, due to proprietry image rendering code. Version 4.1 and onwards now use Windows' GDI+ DLLs to support a wide variety of image texture formats, including color BMP's.

The reason why masks are required to be in zip files is due to their large sizes. As bitmap files, they lack compression and may reach sizes of up to 2 megabytes. This caveat is solved via zip compression, where the browser unzips and uses the BMP after downloading the zip file. However, since 4.1's support for .PNG, .GIF, .ICO and .TIFF includes transparency, a BMP mask is not nessacary for these formats.