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Update 9/7: New Video Chat

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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
Exciting news! I am pleased to give everyone beta (like, for real beta, as in there will probably be some things that won't work) access to our new internal voice chat system. Because we are moving away from a 3rd party service for our voice chat, that gives the freedom to finally add a bunch of features that everyone's been asking for. Since this is a beta we are making it "opt-in" so that only people that are aware there will be bugs and connection issues will be playing with it. To use the new system your GM can scroll to the bottom of the game settings menu and switch the "Chat Tech" option to "Roll20 [Beta] WebRTC". The game will refresh and you will have access to all of these new features! Please be aware that the video system still won't turn on until you have more than 1 person in the game. Already available: Whispering . You're the GM and your player secretly just got charmed, but you don't have the time to have a long text conversation through whispering in chat. Have no fear! You can click the whisper button on your player's video and have a quick side-conversation with them and get back to watching your newly acquired puppet turn on his allies! HA HA HA (this is currently only available for GMs, but it will eventually be able to be turned on for all players) Voice/Video Bandwidth Options . Do you and your players live inside of your ISP and have all of the bandwidth you could ever want?? (lucky you) Awesome! Watch some super smooth video of all your friends do their thing. Does one of your players live out in the forest where the only internet they have is delivered by carrier pidgin? No problem! Lower your video settings and you can still get to see their smiling face, though slightly less smoothly than before; internet is heavy and pigeon is tired. Movable video windows . I've always wanted to use video chat, but all the action always happens at the bottom left corner of my map, whatever will I do? You can just drag your videos wherever you want them! Hotkey Control. Does your roommate like to tell embarrassing stories while you're on video, do you have a fan pointed directly at your microphone, are you allergic to air and constantly sneezing into your player's ears? Do we have the solution for you! Once you've turned on "Use advanced keyboard shortcuts" you can use the tilde ( ` ) key to mute/unmute yourself at the push of a button! (please be aware that the keyboard shortcuts will only work when you have the Roll20 Editor tab focused, so it won't work if you have another tab or another program like a PDF selected when you push the button) Video Only. Yeah, I got nothing. It's like Video Chat, without the Chat part. So Video thing . Coming soon to a Roll20 table near you : Audio/Video input device selection. The camera I want to use is part of a 360 degree camera rig that's attached to my compute. How does Roll20 know which camera I want to use? There are so. many. cameras. Easy, select Camera #256 from the video input selection box to get that perfect role playing camera angle. Maybe : (like, seriously, MAYBE) Voice Modulation.  I'm 95% sure we are not able to do this, because of the way WebRTC (the video tech) works. WebRTC tells the browser to connect to a video stream, and the browser does all of that internally. We don't have access to the stream itself, we can only watch it as it flies by, from what I understand. I will do some more research at the end and see if this would be a possibility, because it would be AWESOME, and I really like awesome. But, don't get your hopes up. :( "Put on pants" Dialog. A warning message before the camera turns on sounds like an easy task, but it's not. Right now the video chat loads in time with the rest of the VTT, automatically. Shoving an interrupt in between them will take a lot of extra "scaffolding" to support running the camera out of sync with the rest of the table-top. This sounds like it would be useful, but to pull it off correctly will take a lot of extra work. I will look into this at the end, if I have time to spare. If not, this will be pushed back to a version 2 feature. Push-to-Talk. Because of how browsers track keypresses I can only capture "push-to-talk" events if the player specifically has the Roll20 Editor window selected when they push the key. Because of the nature of the games we support, this isn't something I can assume is going to be case. Players usually have additional materials like PDFs or other windows open that will take focus away from the browser. We'll see how well the keyboard shortcut works, and possibly add the additional PTT functionality on top of it if everything works smoother than I think it will. Sound Gating. Almost positive we can't do this, but I will look into possible alternates. The only way for the code to know that you are transmitting enough volume is for your mic to be on. If we turn your mic off when it's quite there's no way for us to know when you start talking again. A reminder, this service is in its very early stages of development and still needs lots of TLC. So, don't be surprised if you are messing with your broadcast settings and someone's video disappears. When in doubt, if you can't connect to someone, refresh your browser window or have them refresh their browser and that will usually fix things. If it doesn't fix things, let me know here and I'll do what I can to help, and if that also doesn't work we still have our old already-working chat to fall back on. Happy Rolling!
Double-you oh double-you!
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The Aaron
Forum Champion
API Scripter
Sweet!!!! Good old RFC-1149!  (Though I hope you've at least got RFC-2549 support planned!)
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Ziechael
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Just in time for tomorrows game night, can't wait to try it out!
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Scott C.
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Woot, looking forward to using it on the live server and seeing how it goes
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Gold
Forum Champion
Video Only mode (technically called "Video thing" per the OP) we'll be testing this next game session!
Great news! Thanks Phil and the Roll20 crew! We will be testing this out over the next few weeks.
Movable video boxes is awesome!
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Just when we're taking a 2-week hiatus! Will be fun to come back and be impressed with still more awesomeness. As for fixing noise in the player's microphone, I'm thinking my better solution will be to spend $20 and buy him a real headset for Christmas.
It literally took me and my group of three players an hour to sync up with the game last sunday! I hope that video and voice can be fixed soon. Roll 20 itself we had no issues with but the video and voice ugh!
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Kristin C.
Roll20 Team
Brian A. said: It literally took me and my group of three players an hour to sync up with the game last sunday! I hope that video and voice can be fixed soon. Roll 20 itself we had no issues with but the video and voice ugh! I'm sorry to hear you were having do many difficulties with your game, Brian. Were you striking out with both OpenTok and Roll20 WebRTC?
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Great news! We'll give this a real try on Sunday when we do character gen.   Do you want bugs/observations here rather than in the production bug forum? I've noticed that when you move the video frame toward the top of the screen and click the button to change your color the palette will render off-screen rather than reposition. 
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Kristin C.
Roll20 Team
Perry T. said: Do you want bugs/observations here rather than in the production bug forum? I've noticed that when you move the video frame toward the top of the screen and click the button to change your color the palette will render off-screen rather than reposition.  If you have any errors to report, lets keep them all together in here with the update notice. A lot of these are going to be new implementation bugs which we can stomp out early if we get them. We do have some fine-tuning still to do regarding some of the pop up elements when avatars are close to the top of the page. Card Hands have the exact same issue. I'll add the color palette to the list of things we need to address.
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Scott C.
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
A graphical glitch I've noticed is that since the video update if a player has a long name that the game puts on two lines under their portrait (or with only names view turned on) the name portion begins to cover up the macro bar. It's not a huge deal for names with only two lines, just requires some precise clicking as roughly the top half of the bar is covered by the name plate, but if the name was to extend past that, it would make that section of the macro bar unusable. EDIT: Images of the overlap
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My group of gamers and I tried the new voice chat on Sunday night, but it didn't last long.  The original option - Opensomethingorother - worked fine for us, no issues.   What was happening, as the GM I was able to hear everyone, but they couldn't hear me or each other. We tried and checked everything you'd normally check when an issue comes up with Opentok. Making sure the correct mic is in use. Turning voice off and then on again, reloading, that sort of simple stuff. We were late to start, so we didn't get too in depth with trying to diagnose it, but I thought I'd let you know.
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Rog
Pro
Marketplace Creator
I dm without pants anyway so don't worry about the warning system.
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Will this update include making the audio feature usable on mobile devices like tablets?
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Ziechael
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Labyrinth said: My group of gamers and I tried the new voice chat on Sunday night, but it didn't last long.  The original option - Opensomethingorother - worked fine for us, no issues.   What was happening, as the GM I was able to hear everyone, but they couldn't hear me or each other. We tried and checked everything you'd normally check when an issue comes up with Opentok. Making sure the correct mic is in use. Turning voice off and then on again, reloading, that sort of simple stuff. We were late to start, so we didn't get too in depth with trying to diagnose it, but I thought I'd let you know. My group had the same or similar issue, they could hear me (The DM) but I couldn't hear them and others had trouble generally. As above we were already eating into my 'play' time, a precious resource so couldn't diagnose in depth... just switched back to the normal 'usually' ok system and carried on. On my side I was getting the camera icon with a cross through it on each players avatar. Will try it again this week and grab a console log if it does the same.
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Bryn
Pro
Marketplace Creator
My group an I tried this new feature out in yesterdays gaming session and came across a few issues. Firstly now and again(5 times total) my browser seems to refresh itself(but not in the usual, everything reloads fashion) and for a few seconds my audio cut out for the rest of the group. I could hear them but they could not hear me. All 5 of us use Chrome. Another issue also was a player using a Logitech c920 webcam had part of his camera screen cut off. A black section about 1/8th of his screen on his own webcam feed cut into the right hand side. Now none of us could see that and the issue does not present itself on Opentok. I had him take a screen shot of it to show the issue. Also I could whisper any player using the new whisper feature, but when I tried to whisper him it did not activate. I had him go through the usual quick troubleshooting, but didn't want it to take too much of our precious game time up. But nothing seemed to fix it. 
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Kristin C. said: Brian A. said: It literally took me and my group of three players an hour to sync up with the game last sunday! I hope that video and voice can be fixed soon. Roll 20 itself we had no issues with but the video and voice ugh! I'm sorry to hear you were having do many difficulties with your game, Brian. Were you striking out with both OpenTok and Roll20 WebRTC? Hi Kristin! We don't use open tok just the default video and voice that comes with roll 20. Like i said roll 20 itself was great! The video and voice though... We also had the issue where me as a DM could not see and hear everyone and they could not see or hear me.
Linking my bug report into this post: <a href="https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/3971503/webrtc-bugs/?pageforid=3972651" rel="nofollow">https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/3971503/webrtc-bugs/?pageforid=3972651</a>
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Kristin C.
Roll20 Team
Arenlor said: Linking my bug report into this post: <a href="https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/3971503/webrtc-bugs/?pageforid=3972651" rel="nofollow">https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/3971503/webrtc-bugs/?pageforid=3972651</a> Thanks, Arenlor. Something that I find curious about your report is that when the GM chooses one of the three Video Tech choices (Roll20 WebRTC, OpenTok, or None) it's suppose to force a reload for everyone currently in the campaign. If it's not doing it for you or your players, there's something interfering with that process. Could you please carefully work through the these steps of our guide to Solving Technical Issues ? Step 2: Ensure that there are no extensions/addons interfering with Roll20 Please disable all add-ons/extensions and anti-virus programs. Step 3: Clear your cache If none of the above succeeds, please thoroughly work through Step 4 . (Don't forget the complete Console Log!)
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When the gm changes the "video bandwidth" dropdown, does this change the camera upload rate for everyone simultaneously or does every player get a dropdown box to adjust? In short, I'm just wondering if everyone is forced to go at the speed of the slowest player's internet for video bandwidth.
Using this for the first time today, and there appears to be a "bug" with the whisper feature. Players can bypass the feature for whispering between a person and a GM by the player merely changing the volume of one or the other, or both. Doing so unmutes the two for a player allowing them to hear everything. I realize it's not a real bug, but I felt GMs should be aware of it.
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IsItMyTurnYet
Plus
Marketplace Creator
Until this is fixed, here's how you re-enable sound when coming out of a whisper fails you. Hover over the persons portrait and adjust the sound. You'll notice it was turned all the way down, turn it up. Everyone should check the volume settings after they exit a whisper, just in case. I've noticed it mainly happens when whispering to more than one person, as roll20 doesn't seem to know how to turn the volume back on for everyone when exiting a multiple person whisper. This sometimes happens with a 1 on 1 whisper as well. As SeanOG noted, players can listen in on the whisper by using this trick as well. I know it's probably a limitation of webRTC, but I hope there are plans to look into this in the future.
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I've always preferred the idea of using A/V within Roll20, rather than outside programs (Hangouts, Skype, etc.). &nbsp;Our experience, however, was that the OpenTok within R20 wasn't as reliable as, say, Hangouts. Love the idea of you guys building cool gaming features into the new A/V, but I would offer it's going to be just sheer reliability and quality of the A/V that'll have your gamers not going anywhere else for their A/V needs when playing over Roll20. Great job on continuing to improve Roll20.
I really like this chat beta however some of my players mics don't connect when using the beta but work just fine with normal chat. Both players are using chrome and a macbook.
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Pierre S.
Pro
Translator
Very good, although Whisper won't be a good idea because HAL9000 can read lips, ha ha ha!
F%#k yes! Go roll20
Is it possible your in house AV could go HTML5 instead of Flash Player? &nbsp;For some reason Flash does not play well with my main computer and I can't use any chat type program on it. &nbsp;My laptop works, but there are other reasons why that's not an optimal solution.&nbsp;
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we tried this Friday for the first time......on refresh 3 players(of 8 total players) could not connect when we switched to the update. if i flipped it back to the traditional set up everyone was able to get in &nbsp;game.&nbsp; we did not do too much troubleshooting except making sure every one was using chrome and rebooted. Because &nbsp;3 players kept getting a connection failure, we went back to the the traditional setting as we did not sacrifice our game time. anyone else have similar issues? this update truly would be used for my group, it would make our game better and was looking forward to using it!
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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
I have been fighting with an issue with our WebRTC relay server since the very beginning. It's been a very long and frustrating process because there is very little documentation on how to get this set up the way we want it. But, yesterday I finally made some headway! When testing it with the other devs we would always have problems connecting to Steve, but could eventually fix it by refreshing a few times. But with the changes I made yesterday, everyone connected to Steve on the first try, even after rejoining several times in different orders. So, I can't say for sure that I've fixed it for everyone, but I can say that it should at least &nbsp;be more stable for most people. If you've had issues connecting to friends in the past, could you please try it again and see if the new changes work for you? Just FYI, I haven't been ignoring the other issues, I've just been focusing on trying to get the main service to work like it's supposed to. Hopefully this does it, and I can go back to fixing the other issues.&nbsp;
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Scott C.
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Great news Phil, I'll try and setup a test session with my group today &nbsp;this weekend.
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Ziechael
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Great stuff, thanks for the info Phil. Just missed my game night but will certainly try next week to see if our connection problems are solved, will report any issue back ;)
I ran a test with one of my players that was having the issue....and he was able to connect without an issue. awesome. Hopefully ill run a test with entire group soon.
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Scott C.
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
That's encouraging.
ran more tests...this time with four people. all worked great. but i was able to create a glitch: while voice whispering to one player, i tried to include another player(hoping i could could whisper to more than one at a time. quite useful if i have the party separated in half). every time i tried this it created a situation that one player could not hear another, even when all whispering was off. a quick refresh would fix the problem perfectly. i know you might be thinking "Don't try to have more than one player in a whisper!" ......But i was hoping it would work, that's all. Roll20 gives me an inch, and I want a foot! The one to one voice whisper works fine....but now I hope we get voice whisper to work to more than one player!
Loving the new system and seems to work well.... However went to use the other day and one of my players was timing out with the new system. He is using a VPN due to the country he is in and it just times out the connection with the video/audio with the new system. He is connected to the game but unable to connect to video (just times out saying connecting). On the old system he is able to connect just fine so had to swap back to that one for the session
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The Aaron
Forum Champion
API Scripter
@Pord: Maybe this will help your player: &nbsp; <a href="https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/31048/the-webrtc-vpn-" rel="nofollow">https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/31048/the-webrtc-vpn-</a>...
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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
We've made some updates to the chat system, and I've made a new post. In order to keep everything in one place, I'm going to close this thread and ask that you make any future posts in the new thread:&nbsp; <a href="https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/4098464/update-10-slash-11-new-video-chat" rel="nofollow">https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/4098464/update-10-slash-11-new-video-chat</a>