Tactile 3D Manual     2010.09.12
Table of Contents
Installation & Upgrading
Audio CD Lookups
Using Tactile 3D
What You're Seeing & Hearing
File, Folder, and Drive Operations
Command Line & Configuration
This manual aims to document and explain how to use the Tactile 3D Interface
Currently this manual includes mouse and keyboard controls as well as a description of all option pages.
To some extent this manual is still a living document. It is not yet complete but is still a good
jumping-off point. Probably the most helpful advice would be to browse the Controls
and try each one out directly in the interface. Have fun!
- Windows7, WindowsXP or Windows2000.
- Pentium III or AMD Athlon XP. The SSE instructions are required.
- OpenGL 1.4 and latest graphics card drivers.
- 512 MB Main Mem.
- Wheel Mouse.
- Decent graphics card. Minimum GeForce2 or equiv. 32MB VRAM.
- Decent sound card. Minimum SB Live! or equiv.
- IBM BlueGene/L. The one with 65536 Processors.
- An even faster graphics card than you have now.
- A sense of adventure.
- Space Navigator from 3Dconnexion®.
Installation and Upgrading
Download and run the core installer.
No need to uninstall previous version. Simply run the new installer and it will automatically authorize the
newer version if you have purchased a key. If you do uninstall the previous version, you will need to
re-authorize the product with the key that was e-mailed to you.
Default mouse and keyboard bindings. This reference is a good way to discover some of Tactile 3D's
abilities. Note that Tactile 3D
also supports 3Dconnexion devices like the Space Navigator
|3Dconnexion® device like the Space Navigator|
|Translate left/right||Strafe left/right|
|Translate forward/backward||Move forward/backwards|
|Pull/push up/down||Strafe up/down|
|Tilt left/right||Roll (dutch) counter-clockwise/clockwise|
|Tilt forward/backward||Pitch down/up|
|Twist clockwise/counter-clockwise||Rotate right/left|
|Buttons||As set in the 3Dconnexion control panel|
Please note that many of these settings are adjustable in the 3Dconnexion ® control panel.
The drivers supplied by 3Dconnexion® allow fine-tuning device sensitivity as well
many other options like swapping zoom axes.
Their drivers will remember the settings for
if you save them by selecting Options->Save As
in the control panel.
A suggested button config is L:Return Key
and R:3DxWare Panel
|Move mouse up/down||Pitch up/down|
|Move mouse left/right||Rotate left/right|
|Shift-Mouse up/down/left/right||Directional strafe|
|Mouse wheel forward/backward||Move forward/backward|
|Ctrl-Mouse wheel forward/backward||Move forward/backward faster|
|Mouse wheel forward/backward while down||Move forward to object / move backward to current container entrance|
|Left mouse button single click||Select object / Press button / Deselect all if not pointing to anything|
|Left mouse button double click||Open file / Enter directory / Rotate sort corner mode / Follow shortcut|
|Right mouse button||Context sensitive menu|
|Wheel double click (middle mouse button)||Toggle rotation mode|
|Ctrl-Left mouse button click||Select multiple|
|Space bar||Open Windows explorer or My Computer at current location|
|Home key||Jump to home/root|
|Up/Down arrows||Strafe up/down|
|Left/Right arrows||Rotate left/right|
|Enter||Move to selected or hovering object (selected has precedence)|
|Backspace||Move up a directory|
|W||Forwards (Z key if the Azerty keyboard option is set)|
|A||Strafe left (Q key if the Azerty keyboard option is set)|
|Hold down '1' to '9'||Associates current location with that number|
|'1' to '9'||Jump to associated location|
|Esc||Escape from current operation. In order, escapes from rename, quick-select mode, grabbed or copied objects, fullscreen, and maximized|
|P||Lose focus and enter sleep mode. Not exactly "Pause", but close enough|
|Alt-'A' to Alt-'Z'||Select objects beginning with that letter|
|Alt-'0'||Select all objects that do not start with a letter|
|Delete key||Delete selected object(s)|
|Shift-Delete||Deletes objects without placing them in the recycle bin. Works in conjunction with the delete key as well as any delete buttons|
|Alt-Enter||Toggle fullscreen mode|
|Backslash '\'||Toggle rotation mode|
|F1||Help. Shows the manual|
|F5||Resync with current directory|
|Ctrl-X||Cut/Grab files so you can move and drop them elsewhere|
|Ctrl-C||Copy files so you can move and drop them elsewhere|
|Ctrl-V||Paste/Drop files at current position|
|Ctrl-O||Open all selected files|
|Slash '/' and Tab Key||Toggle quick select mode. In quick select mode, all letter, number, and arrow keys are used for text entry|
|Tilda ~||Hold down for God mode|
|< or > (no shift)||Previous/Next one. Cycles sorted objects|
|< or > (shift)||Previous/Next five. Cycles sorted objects|
|< or > (ctrl)||Reset sort order|
|Ctrl-1 to Ctrl-6||Sort into shape (cube, lines, stadium, double-helix, cylinder, pyramid)|
|Ctrl-N||Sort by Name|
|Ctrl-D||Sort by Date|
|Ctrl-E||Sort by Extension (Type)|
|Ctrl-S||Sort by Size|
|Ctrl-F||Sort in Forward (Ascending) direction|
|Ctrl-B||Sort in Backward (Descending) direction|
|Ctrl-T||Sort Tight packing (no gaps)|
|Ctrl-L||Sort Loose packing (gaps)|
|Ctrl-R||Sort Reset (sort all objects)|
|Numeric Key Pad|
|Enter||Move to selected object|
|Zero/Dot/Plus||Toggle rotation mode|
|4 6 8 2||Directional Strafe|
|7 9 1 3||Move to corresponding sort corner|
|5||Reorient to face forwards|
|The Tactile 3D options are available from the right-click menu.|
Choosing options from the right-click menu will launch a separate application that allows most of the
settings to be adjusted. The values are stored in the User.cfg
file and may also
be modified using a text editor.
Please note that some settings take effect immediately (eg. sound volume and text size), while others
(eg. switching themes) will require a restart (note that "restart" simply means restarting Tactile 3D
not rebooting your machine). If tactile 3D
is running, the options tool will offer to restart for you
if such a change in settings was made. The following descriptions of the Tactile 3D
options will tell you if
a particular setting is live
or if it requires a
. Look for those two words.
Many options pages have a "reset" button. That button resets the values for that page only.
Press reset if you have modified a control and would like it set back to the default value.
|Options theme chooser page.|
You must choose to restart Tactile 3D
after you change themes or the skybox if you wish
to see the results immadiately. The 'info' buttons will display additional information about the corresponding
theme or skybox. Add-on themes require Tactile 3D
to be authorized before they can be downloaded
and installed. Skyboxes may be created using the skybox tool.
The Tactile 3D
general options include settings for controlling text, what objects
are visible, sleep mode, the cache, Audio CD track lookups, the control system, and other advanced settings.
|Text and font options.|
Lets you control various text and message output in Tactile 3D
- Render Stats (live): Toggles rendering statistics on and off. Statistic include FPS (frames per second) and AA (anti-aliasing mode).
- Info Text (live): Informational text. Displays current location and number of files selected.
- Text Size (live): Controls the size of text inside the Tactile 3D environment.
File names, directory names, drive names, and details text are all affected by this setting.
Controls which file and media types Tactile 3D
will recognize and map into the 3D world.
- Show Hidden Files (restart): Hidden files are either not displayed at all, or displayed as semitransparent objects.
- Show System Files (restart): In general system files do not need to be seen and should not be moved or modified.
- Removable Media (restart): Removable media encompasses cameras, memory cards, and other non-floppy removable media.
- Optical (CD/DVD) (restart): Controls whether Tactile 3D is aware of optical removable media.
- Floppy Disks (restart): Floppy removable disks. If you don't need this on, leave it off. Startup times may be quicker with this off.
- Network Drives (restart): Mapped network drives. Having this on can cause slower response times in some circumstances.
- RAM Disks (restart): Memory disks are visible to Tactile 3D if this is turned on.
The options on this page allow you modify the Tactile 3D
control system. Changing these options will
affect how Tactile 3D
behaves to keyboard and mouse input. Settings that allow tweaking mouse sensitivity,
keyboard layout, and other control system parameters are found here.
- Control Speed (live): Controls how quickly you move around in Tactile 3D. Also affects how quickly precomputed
paths are followed and the resorting speed.
- Control Tightness (live): Controls how tight/loose the controls system feels. A lower value will make motion smoother but
is less precise.
- Rotation Area Width (live): Controls the width (in percent) in which yaw rotations are initiated. Notice
the vertical on-screen guides to help visualize the extents of the yaw rotation area.
- Rotation Area Height (live): Controls the width (in percent) in which pitch rotations are initiated. Notice
the horizontal on-screen guides to help visualize the extents of the pitch rotation area.
- Azerty Keyboard (restart): If you have an Azery keyboard (France/Belgium/Canada) you may want to turn this setting
on. It will modify keyboard input so that the ZQSD keys can be used to strafe and move. Normally the WADS keys are used for this.
This is a stop-gap measure until full keyboard configuration is implemented.
Sleep mode allows Tactile 3D
to use fewer CPU cycles when it is not the active window. Lowering the
(frames per second) will allow other apps to run more smoothly on slower machines. The changes are live
if Tactile 3D
Setting the Sleep FPS
to zero means that Tactile 3D
will use no CPU when it doesn't
have focus. However, sometimes there are pending messages that require a redraw like a completed thumbnail
generation event. These events can cause Tactile 3D
to appear to redraw at a slow FPS in the
background. Even in these cases Tactile 3D
only uses the CPU for the duration of the redraw.
caches high resolution thumbnails and other data. The settings here allow you to adjust how much
disk space is used. Changes will occur the next time Tactile 3D
is run and you may not clear the cache while
It is perfectly OK if the amount of cache used has reached the current maximum.
Unless you visit a very wide range of locations on a regular basis, the least-recently-used nature of the cache
will save you from noticable cache regenerations in most cases.
Installing a newer version of Tactile 3D
automatically invalidates the cache.
Audio CD Lookups
|CD lookup options.|
is capable of accessing the freedb.org
audio CD lookup service to report song names, album title,
artist, genre, and other information when an audio CD is inserted. The settings here allow you to enable
and disable this web service and set the name of the server used to gather the information.
caches lookup results allowing song names and album information to remain
available for your CD collection even if the web connection or CDDB server is down.
- Enable CDDB Lookups (restart): Enables or disables CD database lookups. If you turn this
off Tactile 3D will not display addition information about any audio CD that is inserted.
- Force Web Lookup (restart): With this option in the default disabled state Tactile 3D
will use its cached results whenever they are available. This reduces CDDB server load and web traffic
from Tactile 3D. However, sometimes corrections to CD information are made at the CDDB servers.
If you want Tactile 3D to try to connect every time you insert a CD enable this option. Any new
results get automatically cached.
- CDDBP Server (restart): The name of the CDDB protocol server. It is suggested to choose a
server that is geographically close to you for fastest response times. The default setting will
randomly choose a server for you.
- Find a mirror from www.freedb.com (restart): Pressing this button connects you to the freedb.org
site where a list of servers is available. Choosing a geographically close mirror will give faster, more consistent
responses and reduce load on the default freedb server that redirects queries randomly.
Lets you control Tactile 3D
- Confirm on Delete (restart): If you don't want or don't like the warning dialog box when you delete
a file or other object inside Tactile 3D, simply leave this box unchecked. Be careful!
- Quick-Select (restart): The quick-select option allows you to type a filename and have the
selected set of files quickly converge on what you type. Quick-select mode is entered by pressing the slash (/)
key in Tactile 3D. Pressing enter when only a single file or directory is selected will take you to
- Use In-Place Database Files (restart): Allows Tactile 3D to insert small, hidden, in-place
database files into your directories. Checking this box will allow Tactile 3D to maintain custom
positioning and sorting of objects even when a directory is moved or copied while Tactile 3D is NOT running.
With this setting enabled all your custom settings and file positions will remain in-tact for the new directory.
It is suggested that this option remain on unless these database files are causing you problems.
The small hidden 'tactile.tdb' database files behave similarly to the 'Thumbs.db' files that Windows
generates. If you find those files an annoyance, you should probably clear the check-box. If you
don't mind them, or don't know what this is all about, you should probably check the box. We recommend
checking the box to allow the in-place database files. The default setting is un-checked so that
tactile 3D remains as unobtrusive as possible.
- God Mode: When this is checked Tactile 3D will be in God Mode. In this mode
collisions with containers are turned off. You can enter and leave from any angle straight through
container walls. Note also that double-clicking a directory while in God Mode will take you
straight in. Similarly for backing out; the path no longer goes through the directory door.
The Tactile 3D
graphics options include settings for controlling rendering speed,
rendering quality, and full-screen mode.
|Graphics performance options.|
- Full Screen Anti-Aliasing (restart): The anti-aliasing sampling size. The larger the number the
higher the AA quality. Lower numbers are faster. "Full Screen" really means "full window" in the context of
Tactile 3D running in windowed non-fullscreen mode.
- Thumbnail Generation (restart): This affects the quality of the compressed thumbnail textures. Thumbnail
textures are used on jpg, gif, as well as other file types. The high quality setting is currently very CPU intensive.
However, it may be acceptable depending on your hardware. Once the thumbnail is generated it gets cached so the
CPU cost is only felt once. Changing this option from low quality to high will clear the cache. From high to low
will allow any previously generated high quality thumbnails to continue being used.
- Object Culling (live): If rendering speed is too slow you can try reducing this number. It limits the
maximum number of objects that may be drawn on screen at any one time. Note that there are many other runtime
techniques in use including view-frustum culling, impostors, LODs, etc. If you are able, leave this setting at a
relatively large value.
|Graphics full-screen options.|
This options page allows you to control how full-screen mode in Tactile 3D
To enter and leave full-screen mode, simply press Alt-Enter.
- Normal Fullscreen (restart): In this mode pressing Alt-Enter will make Tactile 3D take
up the entire screen. No title-bar, and no access to the Windows taskbar.
- User Positioned Fullscreen (restart): In this mode pressing Alt-Enter will make Tactile 3D take
up a user defined portion of the screen. The rest will contain the standard Windows desktop. This can be
useful if you want to quickly switch between Tactile 3D and the regular desktop. The xy coordinates have their
origin at the top left of the screen. You'll probably want w (width) and h (height) to be less than your
current desktop dimensions.
- Reserve Taskbar Area (restart): This is like the normal fullscreen mode except that one edge
of the Tactile 3D screen area will be left uncovered. You can choose which edge (top, bottom, left, or right)
and how think the edge is. This allows you to access the Windows Start menu and task bar. If your taskbar
is set to auto-hide, you can get away with a small taskbar width setting. Otherwise it should be set to a
width that allows the entire taskbar to be visible.
- Volume (live): The overall sound volume.
- Doppler (live): How pronounced the doppler effect is. You will only notice this when
you are in motion inside Tactile 3D. A larger number results in a more pronounced effect
and lowers the effective speed of sound.
- Device (restart): The installed sound device that Tactile 3D uses to generate
the audio. In most cases it should be left at preferred unless you hear audio glitches or
suspect other audio based problems.
- Background Mute (live): With this checked, Tactile 3D will cease to make
sound when it isn't the forground window. If it is unchecked, audio will be heard no matter
what window you are currently working with. Note also that while you are on the Sound Options
page, Tactile 3D will emit sound regardless of the background mute setting. This is so that
any volume or doppler adjustments can be heard.
- Persistent Mute (live): This option allows muting of persistent sounds in Tactile 3D.
In some cases it is preferrable not to hear the continuous sounds of files and other objects. For example,
if you listen to music while browsing with Tactile 3D it is beneficial if there are no competing
non-stop sounds playing. All transient one-shot sound effects will still continue to function when
persistent mute is enabled.
Lets you control the tactile feedback strength on your touch enabled mouse. Strength changes are live if
is running. Disabling and enabling touch feedback with the Enable Feedback
checkbox requires a restart to become effective. This page may be safely ignored if you do not have
any touch enabled hardware.
Use this area to Authorize Tactile 3D
for use past the trial period. Authorizing is the process
of purchasing a key for Tactile 3D
. It allows the software to run indefinitely and
also allows other theme(s) to be downloaded. Authorizing is a simple 3-step process:
- Purchase Key: Takes you to the Tactile 3D website to securely purchase your key. The key
gets e-mailed to you.
- Paste Key: Simply copy (Ctrl-C) and paste (Ctrl-V) the key from your e-mail into the box
on the left (4)
- Authorize: Click "Authorize" or the "OK" button. You're done.
The line of the key that starts with the word "FETCH" is called the fetch code
. This can be used to
download the extra themes and other goodies from the Tactile 3D Web site
only the fetch code
means that sensitive information, such as your name and e-mail, is not submitted over the
The entire key is encoded into the Tactile 3D
executable. When you upgrade Tactile 3D
will automatically try to use your previous key. However, you should still save your key in a safe place in case you need
to re-install a clean copy after a hardware failure or other incident.
Using Tactile 3D
This section gives hints on how to effectively use Tactile 3D
. It may also shed some light on some of
's more subtle features.
What You're Seeing & Hearing
The Tactile 3D
environment. Some clues as to what you are seeing and hearing while using Tactile 3D
- Read-only files have a red (emissive) tint to them.
- Hidden files and directories are displayed with see-throughness if viewing of hidden files is turned on in
- When you select objects there is a circular selection indicator. The indicator rotation rate is based on the last
modification time of the selected object. A visited file will have its indicator rotating in the opposite direction.
- You can tell the size of a file by listening to the pitch of the collision sound when you bump into it.
Navigating the environment. Hints on moving around in Tactile 3D
File, Folder, and Drive Operations
- It can be very useful to create links or shortcuts to your favorite folders. Do this using the right-click menu
and selecting 'link' while hovering over a directory container. You can then drop this link wherever it's convienient.
The next time you double-click the link you will be 'flown' into the original folder.
- The numbers 1-9 (Jump buttons) work like the radio station buttons in a car. Hold to set
station/location. You'll hear a sound when it has been set. Press quickly to go to the set location.
- God Mode can be enabled by either turning it on in the options or by simply holding down the
tilda (~) key. The tilda key is a fast way to allow quick entry or exit to a directory or drive container.
Performing file, folder, and drive operations in Tactile 3D
. Operations include copying, sorting,
moving, renaming, deleting, etc. Here are some suggestions:
- You can grab (ctrl-x) or copy (ctrl-c) more than one file/folder at a time by having multiple selected.
You can also hold up to 6 groups of one or more files/folders at one time.
- Ctrl-A is very handy to quickly select all objects. You can then immediately tell which files are newer by
observing the rotation speed of the selection indicators.
- Double clicking a sort corner will make it go into the next sort mode. Double clicking the corresponding
back sort corner also accomplishes this. For example, to go to the next sort shape, double-click either the
front or back lower-left sort corner.
- When you grab or copy files nothing on the filesystem changes until you drop them somewhere. If you want
to escape from all your grabs and copies and be left with a clean cursor, just hit escape. Everything will be
where it was before you did any grabbing or copying.
- Dropping stuff inside a sort box will sort it. You can tell if your inside by looking at the item holder.
The holder is visible only when the cursor is holding files or containers. It will change colour if you enter
the sort box. White means you're inside.
- You can turn of the delete warning in the options under General->Text (strange place for it, yes). But it
is hard to justify it being off by default.
Command Line & Configuration
- Tactile 3D is smart about resizing itself if you change screen resolutions (while running or not).
- If you have a file or drive selected and press space, the same file or drive will be selected in the
launched explorer window.
- If you have an especially fast graphics card and or processor, play with some of the settings in the
options page. Turn on Graphics->Text->Display Stats so you can see the framerate. Try increasing the number
of objects that can be displayed at once and maybe 4x antialiasing.
- Tactile 3D will remember how things are sorted and how files are positioned even for CD/DVD ROM disks,
removable USB devices, network disks, and floppies (do people still know what these are?). The next time you
put in that particular disc, the contents should be arranged in the same way you left them.
- If you have a fast machine and want high quality thumbnails on your objects, set the Performance Options
to 'High Quality Thumbnails'. It will take longer to generate the first time you visit a new image file, but
once it's cached it will be as fast as ever.
- By default Tactile 3D does not place small hidden tactile.tdb files in directories you visit.
Hovever, when you install Tactile 3D you are given the option to turn them on.
The tactile.tdb file contains the sort parameters, positions of objects, and other meta-data for the directory it is in.
Unfortunately most filesystems do not support drive, directory, and file meta-data directly, so this method is the most resilient.
Directories moved or copied when Tactile 3D is not running will have their tactile.tdb file moved or copied as
well. The next time Tactile 3D is opened all sort parameters and custom positions will be retained.
In some cases having a generated hidden file may not be desirable. If you chose to turn them on
during the install, they may still be turned off from the Options. Select General->Advanced and uncheck "Use in-place database files".
When off, all database entries are stored in a single directory where Tactile 3D was installed.
Per-directory settings will be correspondingly less resilient when this is off.
This section documents the command-line options and configuration settings that are not available in
interface. Configuration settings are stored in a file called User.cfg
the Tactile 3D
installation directory. Only additional settings are documented here.
Command Line Options
-v, -version, --version : Report full version
number : Major.Minor.Revision.Build
Config File Options
[ Impostors True/False ] :
Impostors are small images that take the place
of models that are far away or do not take up much screen real-estate. Their purpose is to speed up
rendering times. If you suspect rendering is messed up because of impostors, you can turn them off
by ensuring [Impostors False] is in the config file.
[ DisplaySplashScreen True/False ] :
Whether to display the splash screen during loading.
[ AllowObjectRotation True/False ] :
If this is True objects will rotate after they are opened and, in the opposite direction, when they
have been recently accessed. Setting this to False will stop object rotation for both cases.
[ ReorientSelectedObjects True/False ] :
If this is True selected objects will orient to face the camera plane.
[ AlwaysShowMyFolders True/False ] :
Some system folders should be displayed even when viewing of system folders is off in the main options.
These system folders often start with 'My' as in 'My Pictures' or 'My Music'. If the AlwaysShowMyFolders
property is set to True, these folders will be visible regardless if whether viewing system
files is on or off.
These documents are maintained separately from this manual and are available below.
Copyright © 2005-2010 Upper Bounds Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Space Navigator is a Registered Trademark of 3Dconnexion, a Logitech Company.