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OrenSatov
August 12th, 2012, 14:35
This was originally posted in a less than ideal place on August 2nd 2012. I've been asked to move it, so I have.

Since we are talking voice clients I'd like to promote the following features / behaviours / standards / netiquette for players. Why do I say players instead of participants? GMs are the linchpin of any game and their voice requirements are different than that of players. (People merely observing a game should pretty much NEVER be heard.)

1) Use a headset, not a mic and speakers, if at all possible. If it currently isn't possible, do what you can to make it possible. Feedback tends to be an issue whenever people have a live mic and speakers within a couple of feet of each other. For some this is a mere annoyance, for others it can effectively destroy the game experience. Either way it makes the game longer as it forces people to pause, restart or have to entirely repeat what they've said. You may be interfacing with a computer but you are playing with real people. Your ease and comfort is NOT the only consideration.

2) Keep the TeamSpeak (or Ventrilo or any other client that gives visual feedback) window open on your screen. The program gives visual confirmation of when anyone has their channel open. Often this gives you a heads-up that someone is about to speak, even though you haven't heard them yet, indicating that this precise moment would NOT be ideal for you to chime in. Also, you can tell whether you can tell whether or not YOU are transmitting. You may not be aware that you are, or you may not be aware that you are not, depending on your settings/configuration.

3) Use the PushToTalk feature. Any time more than one channel is open at the same time feedback can become a problem, even when only one person is speaking. If you use the AutoDetect feature it can be set off by virtually any sound, sometimes even quiet or distant sounds. Just in the past 30 days of gaming (not just PFS games) I've heard the following extraneous sounds broadcast, sometimes drowning out the legitimate voice traffic: nose blowing, ringing telephones, phone conversations, use of illegal (where it was being used) drugs via a bong, sneezing, coughing, vigorous passing of wind, self-talk/muttering, spousal/parental arguments/abuse, eating, loud gum-chewing including blowing/popping bubbles, dog barking, cat meowing, bird squawking, and "Hulk smash!"-level typing (heavy hail storms are less noisy). Remember, the volume of the sound isn't necessarily the problem. The fact that multiple channels are simulatenously transmitting, even multiple silent channels (!), can cause feedback.

Online gaming is NOT the same as F2F gaming. Air transmits sound very differently than electonics do, particularly with digital and/or narrow spectrum / compressed bandwidth channels. These sounds may be cricket F2F but they are generally serious disruptions Online.

For clients that do not have a PushToTalk option, like Skype, be aware that you can always mute/unmute your mike. Skype makes this easy by forcing open a small activity window even when the conversation window is minimized.

Another possible option to reduce/eliminate channel conflicts/feedback is to temporarily disable your speakers while speaking. TeamSpeak lets you do this.

4) If you are consistently/repeatedly being told that your software/driver/hardware setup are causing noise for others, please be aware of the situation. This is NOT a good time to make throw-away jokes or say anything else not immediately relevant to the game and its participants. Instead, since you have been informed that you are unwittingly causing a disruption, you should be trying to keep your voice communication to a minimum. If you have no way of repairing the situation and want to give 'side' info, consider typing it rather than speaking. Frankly, if you aren't the GM and it is not your turn you should *always* seriously consider typing your thoughts before speaking them. Between games, look into addressing the situation in whatever way you can. Update drivers. Replace faulty hardware. Buy a headset if you don't have one that works. Use different settings. Be proactive.

If I've left anything out feel free to add to these general guidelines.

Thanks for your consideration.

Killian
August 13th, 2012, 18:45
Has anyone got suggestions for a good Push to Talk button? I am constantly hitting CTRL whenever my characters want to emote and most others triggers sticky keys

Blackfoot
August 13th, 2012, 19:49
As I've said in the past, I personally hate push to talk. I find that it throws big negatives on style of play that aren't compensated for. That said... players have a certain responsibility to make sure they are playing in a quiet environment without a lot of distracting noises... (babies, fans, dogs, TVs, wives, cars going by on the street outside...)
With the new Teamspeak server you can set a key to mute/unmute... a much better option that push to talk. I use the ~ key for mute... it seems to work out just fine. Take the time to get the voice threshold right.. it'll make everyone's experience much better.

Griogre
August 15th, 2012, 01:15
Has anyone got suggestions for a good Push to Talk button? I am constantly hitting CTRL whenever my characters want to emote and most others triggers sticky keys
A "safe" non printable key for push to talk is almost always "Scroll Lock" unless you are doing something with spread sheets when playing FG.

Blahness98
August 15th, 2012, 15:16
I always have bound my push to talk key to an unused button on my mouse. Makes it easy to hit the button when needed and it not on the main keyboard.

Blackdove
August 18th, 2012, 08:06
Great advice. Thanks for compiling that together. I've also bind my push-to-talk to a free mouse button. I've been using for so many years for MMOs and FPS that it has come so second nature that I do it from time to time now even when not needed.

Always good to test and play with the settings. A fine tune sensitively level on voice activation can make a large difference. And I agree with the fact that the same quiet noise f2f will drive me nuts when I hear it in my headphones.

JohnD
August 19th, 2012, 18:38
No idea why this is constrained to the Pathfinder section - all this is applicable across rule sets.

Hornet
August 21st, 2012, 04:20
A couple of observations...

1. Voice servers have lag just like game servers. Just because it sounded like that person just deliberately talked over you, doesn't mean he intended to. Remember, your signal had to go to the server and then get sent to all other clients. When he pushed the button to talk, you weren't talking. It just came out that way after both of your packets bounced off a few hubs hit the voice server and then bounced its way to the listener. Maybe yours bounced a little faster than his. It seems like he is talking over you, but maybe he heard you talk over him? Give the close calls the benefit of the doubt. If it gets bad do the 50/50. Every other time back off and let the other person talk. If everyone did this there would be far less fights for the spotlight.

2. Skype has a push to talk feature in beta: Beta-Release-5-7-0-123-released/td-p/274990 Located Here (http://blogs.skype.com/garage/2011/11/skype_57_beta_for_windows_with.html) I don't particularly like skype compared to TS/Vent/Mumble, but if you have to use it use this version. I used it for a several month long campaign and experienced no problems and the PTT worked great.