Cache and cache management

What is cache ?

Each time you enter a world, then you will see that all objects are first "red icons with hour-glasses" and then the models start loading without a texture. Then you still need to wait a while until the textures are loaded upon the objects. Not only objects, but also the skybox, the terrain, the water, clouds , pictures, sounds , music, avatars and the sequences must be loaded. All these items are stored into the memory of your computer. When you reenter the same world the day after, then you will notice that everything is loaded already, because all objects are still stored in the memory of your computer, so you won't lose time with waiting until everything is loaded. These stored items are called "cache".

If the objects of the world don't load and continue "red icons", then it means that there is a problem with the object path . The object path consists of maps with models , textures, sounds, avatars and sequences, and those maps usually stored on an online website, if the website is down , then the objects won't load, unless you have downloaded the objects already , because you visited the place before, then you will see the objects of the cache of your computers.

In this example there is no problem : all the plants start to appear into the world. (picture of AWReunion world).

"Bouncing" : renewing the cache in a world

In some worlds, there is the problem that some objects don't load well (e.g. avatars, new objects) .And that"s because the computer still loads the objects from the older cache-file. The solution is "bouncing" : the computer will start to erase the old cache files, and without having to re-enter the world, there will be created new cache files, but now all objects will load properly.

For bouncing, you need to press the " F3"-key , then a window appears (=the downloads window) and then you right-click in that window an choose "Empty local cache". Then the computer starts to delete the existing objects in the world and immediately after ,the objects start to reload in the world.

When the objects are starting to reload in the world, you can also enlarge the F3 window and then you see the messages of the objects and textures which are loading into the world. These messages scroll very quickly, because most of the files are very small, but textures with lots of kb will appear longer in this downloads window. Also objects and textures that don't load (=that don't exist) remain a bit longer in this downloads-window, and finally they will appear as "object error messages" in the chat window(see 7. object error messages). Below this downloads screen you can also see: "16 items left to load".

But you can also see the number of items on the status bar (=at the bottom left of the activeworlds screen). So in fact you can close this F3 screen again after the "bouncing", because you can view the same in the status bar (and in the chat window for the error messages).


Looking at the cache files on your computer :

All the cache is installed under in the Activeworlds program files, and when going from world to world , there will be created new cache maps and submaps, which you will all find in the Activeworlds folder.

Click "CTRL + E" to start the explorer on your computer.

Then go to : This computer - Program Files - Activeworlds(or another program if you use another universe).

Underneath you will see the sub-file : "cache"

Then you will see the sub-file : "art"

Then you will see separate cache files , and then you will the see sub-files : "avatars" - "groups" - "seqs" - "sounds" - "textures" and "mip" .

The files are stored per world, but since the last versions, the files are coded,so we can't say anymore if it is still stored per world, but that doesn't matter. First we will take something into consideration before deleting ....


Storing some cache files

Now you can choose to keep some files in the cache maps : you can save the sound files, and the seq files , or the awg-files in the map groups. The textures however are coded as RAS-files .There exists a program "RAS to BMP" , so that you can see the stored textures, but starting doing this for thousands of files is too much work, and you can easily find the textures you want on the internet and/or make them yourself. The only textures you can keep are .bmp files of the skyboxes.

Now you can create on your computer new maps for this : cache sequence and cache sounds,...etc , but don't create the maps under the activeworlds program , but rather under "My Documents".(because if you want to re-install the activeworlds program, then those files would be deleted too) . Now you start to move the sounds files from your cache into your new map "cache sounds" , and you do the same with the sequence files. There will be a lot of identical files, just skip the identical ones. But in the end you will have a lot of sound files and sequence files, which you could use for your own world !!


Deleting cache files

If you are often online on Activeworlds, by visiting all the worlds, after some months or years, you will have lots of gigabytes of cache files on your computer , so then it"s time to clean up regularly. Now that you know where the cache maps are stored on your computer, you just select the cache map and delete this map with all subfolders. If the size is too big , then you go to the subfiles, and start to select several pages of files by pressing the shift key , and delete them that way.

Don't forget to delete the cache , because after some years you can have more than 100 gigabyte of cache on your computer, it takes a while to delete all of this on your computer. But Activeworlds has a solution for this : Cache management.


Cache management

In order to prevent that you have too much cache on your computer, you can manage this in the settings. Go to the aw menu and choose : Options - Settings - Cache.

The standard option is that there is no cache limit. But you can put a cache limit : e.g. 5 or 10 gigabyte , or you can choose to delete the cache that hasn't been used for a certain period.

And you can also see how many Gigabytes of disk space is currently used for you cache.

This is an easy way of managing your cache, if you want to keep some cache files, then you can still put these files into a seperate folder, before the activeworlds program deletes the cache files automatically... When visiting these worlds again, then all objects will loading again and will be stored into a new cache file.






Picture and media files management


There is also the option , where you can prevent that you download urls for large picture files or urls for large sound and media files.

Go in the activeworld menu to : Options - Settings - Donwloads

The standard is that all urls for pictures and sound files are downloaded.

But you can choose here to download small files only. Or you can even disable all urls of picture files, all urls for audio files , and also all media URLs .