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Why use Skype when there is google hangouts?

1343989429
Tommy R.
KS Backer
In a discussion this morning about players using Skype with Roll20, but I am hoping I can get a feedback on why? Google Hangouts is free, uses less bandwidth, uses less memory, offers video calling for free to a group (unlike skype which forces a premium membership for multiple person video calling,) offers ability to schedule events through Google+ Events, as well as being able to chat message board style by starting a circle of just players. I get that some people do not want to sign up for another item, and some people do not want video which can turn off in Hangouts. I think setting up a game is also easiest with Hangouts, put all the players in a circle, then start the hangout with all those players from that circle. As mentioned earlier, i use the Events every game to see who is or is not coming, so I can plan accordingly. And even better, I set up a fanpage in Google+ that only my others players follow, so we can give feedback of the game, talk about characters, add pictures and so my GM can keep a weekly Journal.
1343989568
Tommy R.
KS Backer
BTW, I use Skype as well for both business and personal and I never used Google+ all that much till Roll20, but whoa I am a convert. Def. drank the kool-aid.
You can do group calls in Skype without premium O.O I do it all the time. I haven't tried Google Hangouts, yet, though, so I can't do a comparison. I might have to try it, though. My computer is crap so Skype tends to cause problems :/
1343991349
Tommy R.
KS Backer
You can do group calls in Skype without premium O.O I do it all the time. I haven't tried Google Hangouts, yet, though, so I can't do a comparison. I might have to try it, though. My computer is crap so Skype tends to cause problems :/ That's why I made sure to say "offers video calling for free to a group ." Some people like / prefer to use video. Quick Note: Running Skype, while using Hangouts does cause Hangouts to crash occasionally. I find that is is probably due to the amount of resources Skype uses.
1343996510
Chris Clouser
KS Backer
I don't like Google Plus; that's pretty much it right there.
1343997338
Tommy R.
KS Backer
I don't like Google Plus; that's pretty much it right there. So, you won't use Google Hangouts because of Google+? So, you would rather not use a better program for a personal opinion. Though I disagree, it's your opinion. I personally am becoming quite fond of google+. The circle idea was a great breakthrough in how to communicate in social media, this way I can split the conversations between friend, business and family up quite easily.
1343999049
I like using skype for the main reason that I have NEVER had a single problem with it. It is just so solid. The other night I was running a Dark Heresy game and we kept loosing the table, disconnect problems ever few minutes. We were all using skype though so we never dc'ed from talking to each other. I was able to pull up some other online "dice rolling chat room" and we were all able to continue playing even while the table was dc'ed, only jumping back to the table for combat when we had a good connection. This example is the main reason I use Skype and love it. I have a google+ account and have looked at trying it out for games there are two main reason I have not done it yet though. First is that I have looked at how to use google+ (circles and hangout and other features it has) and honestly it confuses me. I'm sure that I could sit down and figure it out but I have jut not had the real desire to bother learning it yet as I am already happy with my current system. I would like to be able to organize my groups more outside the table and I think Google+ with circles would help with that but that just hasn't been a big enough motive to devote the time to figure it out. You can say that is lazy or that it is not that hard and that is all well and good, I just have not been able to see the opportunity cost being worth it yet. Second is that when I ask my groups there is always several people that do not have a google+ account and since I didn't require a google+ account when I was first recruiting for my games I am not going to all of a sudden require one of my players to make an account and learn how to use it when we have a working alternative. So I have nothing against Google Hangout and actually want to try it eventually. At this point there has just not ben a real reason to jump over that outweighs the additional time and effort it would take to get the desired result.
1343999255
Oh and after reading another post about it just now I also like the fact that I can hide Skype behind the table window so that I have more screen space on the table. Didn't realize this was another plus until I read something about Google+ and screen realestate.
1343999476
Tommy R.
KS Backer
Ellmo, if you ever need any help. I can give you my google or skype name and would love to help you.
1344001018
Chris Clouser
KS Backer
So, you won't use Google Hangouts because of Google+? So, you would rather not use a better program for a personal opinion. Though I disagree, it's your opinion. Truthfully, yes. And it's not because I have something against Google+ on any moral level; G+ is simply Yet Another Social Networking thing, and I have plenty of them to manage, and hangouts are just video conferencing, something that already exists in Roll20. I have limited attention to devote to yet another software tool when I have functional ones at hand. Plus, I kinda think it hurts Roll20 to see "it's okay, but if you want it to really work, use it in Google Hangouts." I'm okay with people disagreeing with me or thinking it weird, by the way.
1344001354
Tommy R.
KS Backer
Weird? I find it probably helps Roll20 financially being on another product as they don't have the pay the bandwidth expense of the chat/video. About being another social media platform and we are on far too many .... that I agree, which is why I only using it for gaming.
1344018885
Nolan T. J.
Roll20 Team
There are lots of weird things being said in this thread. We used Google+/Hangout integration for two main reasons: 1) There are a lot of people in the gaming community already using G+ as a solution, so we wanted to be part of that. 2) Some people, especially over long, international distances, continued to have difficulty getting TokBox to cooperate. It's not a money thing. It's not a marketing thing. It's a "some people prefer that video chat" thing. Oddly enough, our most recent survey revealed that it's mostly a vocal minority that use Roll20 in Google+. But darn near half (!) our users don't use video / voice chat and the vast majority of those that do think that TokBox (the in application video / voice chat) is "average" to "excellent". Kind of interesting, I thought.
1344019384
Phil
KS Backer
Wow I'm surprised that many don't use voice/video. I would love to use R20 on its own, however I'm one of those "internationals" that suffers horrendous lag :(
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I was surprised at how many people don't use voice/video from some of my games, that I have played in and ran. When running a game I always prefer that everyone have at least voice as it makes everything smoother and easier, I will let a few players join that don't have voice capability but no more than two text only players per game. Otherwise it just slows stuff down a lot. Video I make completely optional, I always use it when I can myself but that might just be me subconsciously liking to look at myself at the bottom of the screen. I originally thought that the TokBox was great and didn't understand why people were saying so many things about it... and then I played more than 3 games. TokBox is perfectly fine when it is connecting and working but it has issues a LOT of the time and we have had to reschedule games based on the fact that TokBox was having major problems on a given night. Hopefully my experience with TokBox has not been the norm though.
1344024463
Chris Clouser
KS Backer
In that survey, was that 50%+ not using either ? I'd be surprised at that; I figured voice would more or less de rigeur for VTT's no matter which app you use, simply for convenience. We reserve voice for out-of-character talk, generally, but we still use it because it's nice to be able to speak to each other about rules questions or shoot the bull while we play. So if a lot of people aren't using either, that's really surprising. Video I'm less surprised at, simply because I think it's probably (until G+, at least) been much less of a "thing" for remote gaming. None of the VTT's prior to Roll20 had integrated video (and only one had integrated voice, IIRC - that being WotC's abortive attempt at it). It wasn't available, people were comfortable with what they had, and thus, it's slower to be adopted (although as I said in one of the other threads on this topic, I also don't have any webcams).
1344032370
Tommy R.
KS Backer
I was superposed at how many people don't use voice/video from some of my games, that I have played in and ran. When running a game I always prefer that everyone have at least voice as it makes everything smoother and easier, I will let a few players join that don't have voice capability but no more than two text only players per game. Otherwise it just slows stuff down a lot. Video I make completely optional, I always use it when I can myself but that might just be me subconsciously liking to look at myself at the bottom of the screen. Easier than I, I refuse to play with people that use text, if it was up to me I wouldn't play with people that didn't use video either. But I am quite social and I like that aspect of gaming.
1344036380
I definitely prefer it when everyone has voice.
1344048015
Phil
KS Backer
Before I used R20 I used Fantasy Grounds and preferred text only at the time. My move over was because I wanted to try gaming with voice and video and thought that would be the case for most people. Chris, at least 2 VTs had video before R20 and Tabletop Forge - iTabletop and Infrno.
1344070007
Chris Clouser
KS Backer
Ah, yeah, I'd totally forgotten about those two.
tl;dr mumble for life My current roll20 group wants to use Skype which I never personally use for anything else. I prefer mumble since it has superior sound quality and a support for positional audio. I have the rare hangup bug in the installation of Hangouts so I'm unable to install it. There's no fix for it and the only workaround would be to install some older version of hangouts and then update it. Haven't arsed to do it yet.
1344154572
Tommy R.
KS Backer
If I was going to go voice only, tools like Ventrillo, Teamspeak and mumble are far superior tools to skype due to higher clarity and lower memory useage.
After some experiments, my group is probably going to settle to voice only. Do you know a place where all those voice applications are compared? We are a group with very different machines, old/new, mac/pc,... I would like to find something hassle free.
1344157016
Tommy R.
KS Backer
Patrick, I PMed you.
1344157158
Tommy R.
KS Backer
The big thing here for me is that players are going to have to try something new, being whatever the GM wants. If it is Hangouts, skype, or any of the VoIP solutions I posted about ..... they are getting a gaming experience for free of charge. Make it easier on the GM and use what he wants.
Thanks for the link Tommy. I'll have to make some experiments.
I haven't used Google+ or Hangouts. How difficult is it to set-up and learn?
If you have a G+ account, its pretty easy. You might need to download a Gchat plugin for FF users. I can help you experiment with it if you want.
1344228541
Mr G
KS Backer
None of the VTT's prior to Roll20 had integrated video (and only one had integrated voice, IIRC - that being WotC's abortive attempt at it). It wasn't available, people were comfortable with what they had, and thus, it's slower to be adopted (although as I said in one of the other threads on this topic, I also don't have any webcams). iTabletop (which was my go to VTT prior to the arrival of Roll20) has had embedded voice and video from the off, which is approaching 4 years now. It's a good tool, lots of power and flexibility, and I would recommend anyone check it out. Where it is weak is in cross-platform compatibility (IE 32 bit / Windows only) and making it up as you go along tools (no whiteboard). <a href="http://itabletop.com/" rel="nofollow">http://itabletop.com/</a>
1344251451
Tommy R.
KS Backer
iTabletop (which was my go to VTT prior to the arrival of Roll20) has had embedded voice and video from the off, which is approaching 4 years now. It's a good tool, lots of power and flexibility, and I would recommend anyone check it out. Where it is weak is in cross-platform compatibility (IE 32 bit / Windows only) and making it up as you go along tools (no whiteboard). <a href="http://itabletop.com/" rel="nofollow">http://itabletop.com/</a> I am not really a fan of people advertising other companies on this forum, may be a personal thing but it feels wrong. Yes, there are other VTT's, some with features we want, and some that are utter trash, and some that are amazing but cost a ton of money, but this forum is for Roll20, let's keep the community here!
1344309380
Josh F.
KS Backer
I don't have a google+ account, and I'm one of those people who won't until someone forces me to do so. TokBox can be a bit buggy but I'm hoping that it improves (or Roll20 implements their own solution) so that I can game just using Roll20.
1344491493
Mr G
KS Backer
iTabletop (which was my go to VTT prior to the arrival of Roll20) has had embedded voice and video from the off, which is approaching 4 years now. It's a good tool, lots of power and flexibility, and I would recommend anyone check it out. Where it is weak is in cross-platform compatibility (IE 32 bit / Windows only) and making it up as you go along tools (no whiteboard). <a href="http://itabletop.com/" rel="nofollow">http://itabletop.com/</a> Hi Tommy I don't think that's really a ringing endorsement of iTT, as I've self admittedly here and elsewhere in the forum abandoned it for Roll20. Pointing out similarities and weaknesses of other products is not really advertising in my book. Besides, it's a different business model altogether - iTT operates a subscription model whereas Roll20 is free. A diverse and vibrant VTT community in all its shapes and colours is good for all of us. Cheers, Mr G.
I like using skype for the main reason that I have NEVER had a single problem with it. It is just so solid. This. Only one member of our group actually has a webcam, so video chat is not a concern for us. Voice is essential on the other hand, and if we were using Roll20's built-in voice, we'd be dropping like flies every few minutes (it seems especially bad when we play, which is Friday nights). We used Skype before Roll20 anyway. It doesn't force any of us to sign up for a social media service none of us are ever likely to use outside of the game.
1344529978
Tommy R.
KS Backer
Did you sign up for here? Signing up for a free program should be a simple process, especially when if you already have any google account, you don't even need to sign up for google+.
I use Skype because I can voice chat with the other players and the GM without dropping the connection every 10 seconds. I can't even use TokBox because it keeps dropping me, and I think a good number of people I've played with would get distracted by the weird things hangouts has that you can do to peoples' faces (the Google Effects), and wouldn't spend much time playing the game. Plus all of the people I've played with so far have Skype, and it's fairly reliable, if resource demanding, so we don't worry about it too much. It also gives us the screen space on the tabletop that hangouts doesn't.
My group and I have been using G+ Hangouts to playtest D&amp;D Next for almost 7 months now. &nbsp;We have been using an actual tabletop with a grid mat and minis and webcams. &nbsp;This has been fine, but tonight we used roll20 for the first time and it lagged really bad for the DM. &nbsp;We won't be using hangouts next week as Skype tests have seemed to be more stable.
1361769667
Tommy R.
KS Backer
Jason Pesch said: My group and I have been using G+ Hangouts to playtest D&amp;D Next for almost 7 months now. &nbsp;We have been using an actual tabletop with a grid mat and minis and webcams. &nbsp;This has been fine, but tonight we used roll20 for the first time and it lagged really bad for the DM. &nbsp;We won't be using hangouts next week as Skype tests have seemed to be more stable. I wonder if it is location based, as I have had zero problems for the last 9 months using Hangouts .
1361772304
Gauss
Forum Champion
Some people have reported lag problems with G+ hangouts. They also stated that refreshing from time to time helps.&nbsp; - Gauss
I am a Roll20 and Google+ convert too, T... But my groups problems with it, AND Skype stem from the same problems for this format. The foremost being - unequal computers. Unequal cameras too. 3 players have a pc, and 2 have a mac. Of the 3 pcs, mine is the most upto date as I am an MMO gamer and a digital artist. The next inline was recently upgraded to something from last year, and our worst pc user has one 12 years old. I kid you not, they are now using a custom built desktop, unsure of the year, but vastly better than 12. Of the 2 Mac players, one is newer, but the user isn't as much of a techie, of the latter, while only 5 years old, has an OS 3 generations behind, and a busted sound card. Also, Google+ auto mutes the mic upon log in to a hang out. IF the cache for the game in Roll 20 gets too long, dumping it is a bit of a hassle, especially on that 12 yr old pc, which HATES everything! During play, if the player hasn't clicked in a while, Roll20 sends that&nbsp;weird&nbsp;bed reminder, or is that Google+ ? That being said... Skype was an fing nightmare on Friday nights after 12, paid group connection or not... just a 2 bar existence till about 1:00am. The traffic of lag was horrible for all involved, even for my uber pc. We love that Google+ is free, for the most part the audio is fine, occasionally we get a weird echo.&nbsp; I suspect 2 other factors yield a better to worse connection for Skype/and or Google+ Whether all your players are local, that is to say the same state... and in my case the same country. I am in Canada, while the 4 others are Stateside. Though of the 4, 1 is in Oregon, and the other 3 in NY. Skype is not an option for my group any longer, the reliability is just too inconsistent. Same for OoVoo, which we used before Skype. When Google + works, it works well 95% of the time, I cannot say the same for Skype. The idea of running it simultaneously with Roll20 would be a nightmare I suspect. Up till 2 weeks ago, another DM buddy of mine was using Skype for a side line game from our main one, and photoshop as his shared screen map on his mac. Once again, the audio was horrible, he would build up static, break up his connection like a bad airline controller, he would have to reboot several times in a night. The last time was SO bad, we suggested going to Roll20 which he was unfamiliar using as a DM. Converted him in the first 30 minutes, and we played the rest of our usual 3 hour night, having wasted 30 minutes on Skype. He hasn't looked back since...
1361819239
Amontillado
KS Backer
My use of Skype / MS Messenger is pretty much used to get people in game and to have a secondary communications tool should something go wrong.&nbsp; I haven't even looked at Google Hangouts.&nbsp; Why? One of the main attractions of Roll20 is the ease of getting people into the game.&nbsp; The more things I have to convince people to instal, sign up for, configure, troubleshoot, and use, the less likely it is that they will bother. &nbsp; I need less barriers of entry, not more. I'm also one of the GMs that doesn't use a lot voice and almost no video. Most of the people I play my games with via Roll20 I have not physically met.&nbsp; They are friends and roleplayers from forums and MMO's that I've come into contact with.&nbsp; People from other countries where English is not their first language.&nbsp; We are used to roleplaying via a text chat interface though avatars, and translating written text is easier than dealing with accents. It can be jarring to suddenly hear the voice or see the face of the PLAYER, when you have known this person through their characters in the past.&nbsp; What do you mean Fred the husky Swedish truck driver doesn't REALLY sound like the sultry Jennie, sword mistress of Vienna?&nbsp; Likewise Fred, aware of the lack of femininity in his voice.. is suddenly much less likely to fully embrace playing his character if he's required to play her via audio. Not having to rely on our acting skills frees us and makes the roleplaying better. Then there's the archiving.&nbsp; The more I keep in text, the better record I have of what has occurred in the game.&nbsp; Don't need a player taking notes when it's all right there in the chat log. Yup, it slows things down a bit, but from a roleplaying perspective, I've found the advantages far outweigh the benefits. No Google Hangouts for me.
I run Roll20 with the audio and video disabled and use Skype chat for the audio. We have not had one problem. I play in three different games, (one doesn't use roll20, but the skype still works well and it is myself in the USA, the rest are in England, France and Sweden. Again, not problems. I have played in games using Google+ hangouts and if I ever decide to stream to my youtube channel, I WILL use google+ Hangouts (takes care of all the issues I might have on my own) I won't tell my players to get a google+ account just to play in my games.&nbsp; If they all DO get them, that is a different situation.
Amontillado pretty much took the words out of my mouth.&nbsp; Though I go one step further and don't even use skype at all.&nbsp; We use pure text for our games because we feel it adds to the immersion factor from a roleplay perspective.&nbsp; When using voice I find that my roleplay becomes 3rd person and I end up getting caught saying things like "I have Bob the fighter go to the inn and ask the barkeep if he's seen anything unusual" where as in text I'd do something like (Bob heads into the inn and leans up against the counter, turning to look at the barkeep in the eye.&nbsp; "Sir, we're a band of plucky adventurers who are low on coin and looking for dangerous work.&nbsp; As we haven't the looks for becoming courtesans, we'll settle for some sort of mercenary work or trouble solving instead." Bob picks up an ale from someone else next to him, downing it all in one gulp and then belching loudly.) The latter being something I'd in general feel somewhat uncomfortable saying.&nbsp; I'm not really sure why, it's likely due to the same reasons Amontillado said above, where it's hard to take it seriously when you hear your own voice portraying the character.&nbsp; Because we love to keep an archive of our game logs, we keep all of our OOC chatter in a separate window running an IRC chat, while one of our players ends up extracting the text from the log and cleaning it up for formatting and picture + map additions.
I thought I could pitch in with my answers. How many of my group's players use G+? 0 How many of them use Skype? All. How many of them use video chats? 0 The only reason to start using G+ would be because of Roll20 and since I don't even have a web-camera imo there really isn't a proper reason. Don't get me wrong. Google hangout could be better in every way but since (at least so far) I'm not really having problems with Skype the amount of time and effort I would have to consume in order to use Google hangout well would just be too much compared to the expected increase in my utility.
Kurses said: ... We use pure text for our games because we feel it adds to the immersion factor from a roleplay perspective... I wish we could use text but there's at least 1 player in my plaing groups who writes so slowly that 1 h of text RPG would be the same as 3 min voice RPG.
My group uses Skype over TokBox or G+ Hangouts for the following reasons: 1. Reliability. While one guy has a terrible internet connection anyway, we've had trouble getting TokBox to work for everyone at once, much less without lag, and in the past when I've tried Hangouts, It would have worse audio quality, bad video, and drop me every 45 minutes for no apparent reason. This may be better now that I'm in a place with better internet and G+ has been around longer, but there is still... 2. Recording. Windows 7 (or maybe it's my sound card) doesn't let me record my microphone and the stereo mix (the sound I'm hearing from the other players) at the same time, even with my professional recording software. I'm not ready to run out and do some hardware purchases to get around this, so I have to use a program that lets me record both my voice and the players' voices at once for free. There is a plugin for skype that does this. It's not quite what I want (treats all the players as a single voice instead of recording them separately), but it gets the job done. Maybe there's an equally reliable solution for G+ or TokBox, but I'm not aware of it right now. 3. Pragmatism. I don't think all our players have Google+ accounts, and even if they did (or I persuaded them to), I wouldn't likely to be able to get them to install the necessary plugin(s) to make voice and video chat work with it. I've played with people before who are unable, reluctant, or not allowed to install anything on the computer they're using. (Or doing so won't work with their network's firewall/filter, as was the case for me for a long time.) Plus, I don't have a webcam anyway (except for my laptop, which is too slow for G+, but fast enough for Skype video -- so I question the resources argument), and I'm not sure all my players do, either. Even if we all did, it would probably overwhelm the shoddy internet connection of one of our players. So, we only need voice chat. Since I want the screen real estate offered by Roll20 over Hangouts Roll20, the only advantage G+ has is free, multiway, cross-platform screen sharing. I've used it for that in the past, but since Roll20 has a built-in grid and drawing system, I haven't needed screen sharing for our games anymore. In other words, as much as I like Google+, it's easier and more reliable to use Skype voice + Roll20 grid, plus that lets me record the audio for the sessions.
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A lot of people have given good reasons but one I think I didn't see is that Skype can be used in the background on an iPad &nbsp;while google+ app doesn't allow users to run apps. So iPad users have to use the browser + Skype in the background. Google hangouts won't run inside the browser so they have to use the app.&nbsp; Half my players would probably be using iPads so that's what I'll do if I get my game off the ground
1362028232
Amontillado
KS Backer
I might add that when I say I use Skype marginally as a back up communications system.. it's STILL only text.&nbsp; I don't use skype voice at all.
Most of our game is in the same guild in WoW... so we generally use our ventrillo server while playing. &nbsp;We have had a lot of trouble with skype.... we can never get it to work with multiple people in voice... chat yes but well there's a chat in roll20... and google+ is a mess, if you aren't using chrome then forget about using it... last time we tried to have 3 people in goolgle+ one person could only hear the audio couldn't see the text box or video and another person could only see text nothing else... they were not on chrome and don't want to download it just to use one program. (understandable)&nbsp; I guess it all comes down to personal&nbsp;preference&nbsp;I guess... &nbsp;
1362054279
Tommy R.
KS Backer
I find teh Chrome comment so strange, as 2 of my players use Firefox and one uses Saffari and we have played weekly for 8 montsh with few problems.
1364691583
I'm glad to hear that so many people have had no trouble at all with Skype. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case with our group. Prior to using Roll20, we used Skype to bring two players into the game. (We mostly meet in person, but one couple often can't make it because of work/child care issues.) Skype has been great about 80% of the time. But that other 20% has caused real trouble. We'll get frozen frames, terrible lag, and dropped connections. So every game we use Skype for is like playing Russian Roulette. Most of the time we're okay. But occasionally - BANG!&nbsp; Also, it was even worse when one of our players was on deployment with the Air Force in California (we play in Virginia). For whatever reason he always had a terrible connection with us. (Which is odd because he said his internet was very reliable otherwise).&nbsp; In any case, we're going to try Google Hangouts next week and see how that works. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. But based on the feedback I've seen here, I'm feeling good about it.&nbsp; My only concern is about the screen real estate that Google Hangouts takes up. Is there any way to minimize that? Or is that just a price &nbsp;you have to pay for using Google Hangouts?&nbsp;
1364696309
Brian, I know you can reduce the size of the left hand sidebar (the one that shows all your apps) in hangouts. &nbsp;But it *does* kinda take up extra real estate. &nbsp;It's a bit tough on a smaller laptop monitor but looks just fine on a larger screen. We use google hangouts pretty much exclusively. &nbsp;Skype gave us way too many problems. &nbsp;
1364699992
Sarah, I'm glad to hear that. I'm not sure what my remote players use, but I use an average-sized laptop for GMing, while we have a large monitor facing my in-person players. So I doubt they'll be bothered at all. For my part, I can learn to deal with a little less space.&nbsp;