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Update 10/11: New Video Chat

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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
As development on the new chat system moves forward, we are pushing it further and further into public view. As of today, any new games created will be defaulted to using the new video chat. If you have issues, you can still fall back to the old system by changing the Video Tech option, in the game settings menu, to OpenTok. As always, if you have any issues, please leave a post here and I'll do what I can to get everything working. 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. For all of those RPGs simulating the Silent Film Era, we've got you covered! 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) Pop-out Video: All of the other pop-out systems just kinda work, which is why we are able to support them. The video chat system is a little more complex, but it's possible that it might "just work". If that is the case then we will definitely add this functionality. There is a possibility that, because it is a live video element, that this won't work. In which case, we probably won't add this functionality. I won't know until I try it, and I am in the process of working on it right now. Voice Moduation. 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.
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The Aaron
Forum Champion
API Scripter
Phil B. said: Video Only. Yeah, I got nothing. It's like Video Chat, without the Chat part. So Video thing . How about " For all of those RPGs simulating the Silent Film Era, we've got you covered! "
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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
I like it ^
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Interesting. So phil, my main issue with roll20 video chat has always been that it lags the UI on the website something fierce after an hour or so. I dont have this issue when using skype, and neither do my players. My internet is pretty good speed wise.  Do you think this sort of issue would be resved with the new system? 
Chase---I realize you asked phil but I just wanted to give some input.  My group consists of eight players including myself, and only one of the group has a new state of art PC. Most are playing on laptops or PCs that are 4+years old. I never encounter any sort of lag issues and our games are about four hours long. Have you tried the roll20 video recently? Three years ago, we had some issues and used to use hangouts, but i would say that for the last two years it has been very solid and reliable for us, even improving our gaming experience. I hope this update solves your lag issue.
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keithcurtis
Forum Champion
I'm curious: Since the windows are now movable, is it possible to make them resizable? If so, is it possible to have something like a "videochat mode", where the video window replace the map interface entirely? This would be really awesome for doing "Theater of the Mind" style play, and then move to the map interface as needed. The sidebar with all it's tabs could remain so that you could reference characters and use the chat interface for displaying graphics or rolling dice.
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TheWhiteWolves
KS Backer
API Scripter
Phil B. said: 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. Nice thing to add to this one would be a Audio output selection, alot of the time I have my laptop connected to the TV at the same time and I like to have things like this still play audio through my laptop instead of the TV while still be able to leave the system default on the TV so everything else goes through there.
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We use Hangouts right now because the streaming option lets us "save" (in a manner of speaking) to YouTube, where anyone who missed the session can catch up.  I imagine you don't have the storage to keep that sort of video content around indefinitely, but if you had an option to capture the streams - perhaps for player download or automated transcription? - that'd be pretty rad. 
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RPG Fantasy Graphics
Marketplace Creator
I really love the Whisper idea, and look forward to trying it. I hope more DM will move in this direction and start using roll20 for there RPG. I would love to see a vid showing in actual use. Do you have something like that showing the whisper tech in use?
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Love the new changes, will be coming back to test it with my group soon! (We switched to Hangouts because of bandwith issues) Any chance of being able to adjust the volume of each participant separately? Hangout Toolbox has an option for that and it's a godsend. Edit: So the mute/unmute shortcut doesn't work for me after activating Advanced Shortcut. I'm using an AZERTY keyboard and on these instead of the " ~ ", there's " ² " See AZERTY layout here:&nbsp;<a href="http://upload.factorio.org/images/factorio/fr-minecraft_IAEF_800px-clavier-azerty-svg.png" rel="nofollow">http://upload.factorio.org/images/factorio/fr-minecraft_IAEF_800px-clavier-azerty-svg.png</a>
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Nobody in my group can manage to get this working, but I would LOVE to use the whisper function in games. If I can help in any way, system specs or anything, please let me know how.
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Jen
Pro
Alas, we can't get this new version working. Each of us can see ourselves, but not see or hear the other people. Sometimes we see "Connecting... connection failed" on the other people's video windows. We do have it set to "I want to broadcast video and voice" and "I want to receive video and voice." And, we do have roll20 authorized in Chrome to use camera and mic. If it matters, the normal video system worked fine for us before and still does.&nbsp;Any ideas?
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^^^^ i concur with Jen's post. &nbsp;with the "Connecting......connection failed" almost every time that happens, we have to refresh the page. &nbsp; one thing on my end is that when i have certain people muted (for a reason) and then go into the video/audio to go into "i want to receive from others", &nbsp;when you switch to "Video only" or "Audio Only" or "None" then switch it back to "Video and Audio" &nbsp;and hover over each of the avatars, it doesnt let you mute them again. &nbsp; another thing is that the huge pink icons that are on the avatars are always there.. and when you're streaming (like i am) there's no way around to getting rid of those "mute" icons from them. &nbsp;&nbsp; Another thing is when you have certain people muted and go to use the "whisper" function and then turn it off... it also turns off the "mute" from the selected people that you already had muted in the first place. &nbsp; &nbsp; also with the whisper thing when you click it.. it mutes everyone else in the chatroom so those other players cant talk amongst each other while the DM and the selected whispered player talk to each other. &nbsp; and yes... i had to revert back to the normal video system for everything to keep working properly. &nbsp; which is good. &nbsp;
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keithcurtis
Forum Champion
I also had to revert to the previous chat tech. It took us nearly an hour to establish a reliable connection. Mostly, the only solution that seemed to work was for every user to refresh their browser simultaneously and cross our fingers. The basic problem seems to be one or more users unable to see or possibly hear one other. We continued to have problems with the older chat tech, but they were fewer in number. Once everyone could see and hear each other, it worked flawlessly.&nbsp;When we were saying good night at the end of the session, one player leaving knocked out the whole video chat connection. I really want to use the integrated video chat. It's much more convenient when it works, but it does seem to be difficult to get going.
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Ziechael
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
API Scripter
No joy here either, keep meaning to grab a console log but since we generally run late to start I always forget and have to switch back to tok so I can talk sorry : / Will endeavour to supply some data from tomorrows session!
Quick question.&nbsp; Is the video quality for the server or per player? I tried it with on a campaign but one player cannot connect. He is on a VPN and all that happens is he says connecting and nothing happens. If its player&nbsp;controlled I might ask him to see if he can connect on a lower setting. I tried adjusting on my side which&nbsp;didn't help (im the host/gm)
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The Aaron
Forum Champion
API Scripter
Pord said: Quick question.&nbsp; Is the video quality for the server or per player? I tried it with on a campaign but one player cannot connect. He is on a VPN and all that happens is he says connecting and nothing happens. If its player&nbsp;controlled I might ask him to see if he can connect on a lower setting. I tried adjusting on my side which&nbsp;didn't help (im the host/gm) This might help: &nbsp; <a href="https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/31048/the-webrtc-vpn-" rel="nofollow">https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/31048/the-webrtc-vpn-</a>...
A note about whispering to players: (If there isn't; I don't know because I haven't tested a game yet.) there should be some sort of on-screen notification for the other players that a whisper is happening, or whispering should mute the other players. Otherwise, you get people talking over the whisperers, assuming them to be silent.
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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
It seems we are still missing the last piece of the whole WebRTC system, the TURN server, for anyone who might know about the WebRTC architecture. I'll be making another pass at the back-end of the chat system, hopefully, next week and will hope to get this last piece working. It's currently the only thing different between the old chat's system and our own. This should help clear up the last bit of stability issues some of you are having, specifically with those that have "weird" connections (behind an ISP-base firewall or something elese outside of your control) or are connecting to people in other countries. If I manage to get it working our system should be exactly as stable as the old system, which is the goal.&nbsp; The whole thing does not have whole a lot of documentation available that makes sense to someone who hasn't worked with the system before, so it's been a lot of trial and error on my end. Trial and error that specifically has to be on as many systems as possible, because I could not possibly replicate every possible system/internet configuration on my own. So, sorry if you've been part of that "error" side of things. This is why we've left the other, working, system as a fallback. Prepare for a wall o' text. I'm going to try and answer all the questions! (most of the posts about the system not working for you are handled by the above text, so I will be skipping those) Chase R: - chat lags the UI The Roll20 editor pushes the browser to it's limits, or pass the limits where its comfortable. If you have issues with lag, running chat through a 2nd, chat specific, application will be more efficient than trying to do everything through the browser. Which is why we leave the extra video chat as an option and have always suggested the use of outside chat programs if needed or preferable. I happen to use Discord for most of my games, because all of my friends are already connected and we only used voice anyways. keithcurtis: - larger/more re-sizable video Like I mentioned above, video chat is secondary to having a good table-top experience. This, combined with how WebRTC works and my above comment, is why we want to keep the video small. Resizing a video in WebRTC can only happen with the original connection, so we connect at 200x200 and size the video down for the other, smaller, sizes. The size also has to be the same on both ends of the pipe, even if you have a powerful gaming system and could easily handle 4 HD videos, you would crash someone else's browser if they were running on something more reasonable if they tried to play with you. I am working on pop-outable videos, and those will be coming out in the near future which might be closer to what you are looking for. TheWhiteWolves: - device output When I do the input selection, this will also include output. Jurph: - saving your session Check out OBS, that's what my groups use. David R: - AZERTY I feel your pain, as an alternate layout user myself. (COLEMAK) I will look into this and see what I can do. I believe if you just use the " ` " character, wherever it is, it should work. Pord: - video quality, shared? The video quality is set for the game. Because of how WebRTC works, you can't send HD to one person and SD to another. Which means you have to run your game at a setting that is suitable for your slowest machine. This can suck if you have someone running the game on a toaster, or over a VPN, but it's not something we can "fix". Sorry :( Aies: - show that people are whispering This should be happening. When a person is in a whisper, their video window will be grayed out to show that they are no longer "in the same room" as you, and to help fight against those pesky lip readers! If I missed your question, please let me know...there was a lot of questions. I'm trying to be as transparent with this process as possible!
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Jurph said: We use Hangouts right now because the streaming option lets us "save" (in a manner of speaking) to YouTube, where anyone who missed the session can catch up. &nbsp;I imagine you don't have the storage to keep that sort of video content around indefinitely, but if you had an option to capture the streams - perhaps for player download or automated transcription? - that'd be pretty rad.&nbsp; I've used a phone and a tablet for recording audio...The question is, anyone know a good and free transcription solution? It doesn't need to be all that accurate (I'm mostly thinking it would be nice to have something searchable...even if it's missing 20% of the words, it'd be useful.) Also being able to use WebRTC from the Android or iOS app as a standalone videophone (although we don't use video) rather than using valuable screen real-estate would be appreciated.
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keithcurtis
Forum Champion
Thanks for all your hard work, Phil B. It sounds like a daunting project.
David R: - AZERTY I feel your pain, as an alternate layout user myself. (COLEMAK) I will look into this and see what I can do. I believe if you just use the " ` " character, wherever it is, it should work. Unfortunately on azerty it's Alt+Ctrl+7 two times for two " `` " (can't type only one), and it seems to mess with the input: I can get it to mute/unmute if I do exactly Alt+Ctrl+7 three times THEN 7 key only (???) If I switch to qwerty with maj+alt it works on the " ² " key fine. I've tried to bind a custom keyboard key to input " ` " directly, but it doesn't seem to work. Thanks for the reply!
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Jen
Pro
Hi Phil, I am sure this has been tough! We get that many issues won't appear until it's here with the larger audience. For now, I'll just assume that our&nbsp; inability to connect will perhaps be fixed with your TURN server. If there's anything you need us to do to somehow detect or log what's going on, let me know, though. Meanwhile we'll use the old video system and since we use Teamspeak, keep muting ourselves and each other. Please consider a video-only option for that system someday, too. Thank you!
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The Aaron
Forum Champion
API Scripter
Jen said: Please consider a video-only option for that system someday, too. Thank you! Actually, there is already a video only in the new video chat: Video Only. For all of those RPGs simulating the Silent Film Era, we've got you covered! It's like Video Chat, without the Chat part. So Video thing .
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DMS Creations
Pro
Marketplace Creator
keithcurtis said: I'm curious: Since the windows are now movable, is it possible to make them resizable? If so, is it possible to have something like a "videochat mode", where the video window replace the map interface entirely? This would be really awesome for doing "Theater of the Mind" style play, and then move to the map interface as needed. The sidebar with all it's tabs could remain so that you could reference characters and use the chat interface for displaying graphics or rolling dice. Oh that would be wonderful &nbsp;IF we could resize them as well.
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jflo
Pro
API Scripter
What STUN/TURN implementations and versions are being used for WebRTC?
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Bryn
Pro
Marketplace Creator
Our group has been experiencing issues with the new WebRTC since it has been available as an option. Not only does it weirdly cut off one of my players video window(about 1/8th, the issue has been reported in another thread, but I shall also show the screenshot in the bottom of this post) but also random disconnections. All is well for the first hour or two of the game then it just starts randomly disconnecting people. Peoples videos flash black like they are refreshing, and it's all of a sudden a game of&nbsp;whack-a-mole. Then we have to switch to the Opentok. Which in my opinion is far inferior. Not only does Opentok cut players off mid sentence when others start to talk, it doesn't have the same video quality or sound quality. And not to mention all the fun things like whispers. That brings me to the second issue. There is always 1 player that is "immune" to my whispers. And the player changes from week to week. This is an odd thing. But there is ALWAYS one person that I cannot whisper. Whom ever this is, also is immune to me manually adjusting their volume. It is very odd. Also during these&nbsp;whack-a-mole sessions, the audio that I have adjusted manually on the player will refresh to full volume again.&nbsp; Screenshot that was mentioned: P.S This screenshot is from the players own perspective. It looks fine at our end.
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Jen
Pro
(To clarify the above -- The Aaron, if you reread my last paragraph, you'll likely see that it was talking about the old video system. It doesn't have video-only. I realize the new one does, that's why I said "too" there. Thanks.)
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The Aaron
Forum Champion
API Scripter
(Oops, sorry, so it does!)
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We tried the new chat last night and total failure. Basically same issues everyone is reporting. Couldn't ever get all 5 of us functioning at the same time.
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Issue is - 2 players from my gaming group can't join us via OLD solution for more than 1 hour already + I, personally, could not access Dev server for 20 mins? What is happening, guys? Last time we played was 2 days ago, no issues, everything was fine.
I would like to use the Opentok chat which seems to be not working, I don't know if its intentionally shut down, but if not,&nbsp;could you look into this.
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The Aaron
Forum Champion
API Scripter
There is a large DDoS attack going on right now against DynDNS which is affecting many sites. Tokbox.com appears to use them for their DNS and so is likely affected: Domain Name: TOKBOX.COM Name Server: NS1.P20.DYNECT.NET Name Server: NS2.P20.DYNECT.NET Name Server: NS3.P20.DYNECT.NET Name Server: NS4.P20.DYNECT.NET
None of the chat options working for me. I can see myself and my son who's pc is right next to mine is not recieving any video or audio. I have a game tomorrow with 5 people in 3 different states and 2 countries.....only can guess at the nightmare that awaits....
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Steve K.
Roll20 Production Team
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Compendium Curator
For more information on the TokBox issues, please see&nbsp; this post .
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The Aaron said: Pord said: Quick question.&nbsp; Is the video quality for the server or per player? I tried it with on a campaign but one player cannot connect. He is on a VPN and all that happens is he says connecting and nothing happens. If its player&nbsp;controlled I might ask him to see if he can connect on a lower setting. I tried adjusting on my side which&nbsp;didn't help (im the host/gm) This might help: &nbsp; <a href="https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/31048/the-webrtc-vpn-" rel="nofollow">https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/31048/the-webrtc-vpn-</a>... Still not able to get friend to connect with the new webRTC based video chat. Just says connecting, then connection failed. He has tried with and without a VPN and is currently in Abu Dhabi which has strict Internet rules. Ive tried a few things The Aaron suggested to me with VPNs and webRTC but still having issues... can anyone help me at all?
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keithcurtis
Forum Champion
We were able to connect this weekend with much less refreshing to get everyone seeing and hearing everyone else, but we had many, many intermittent dropouts lasting a few seconds each time. No VPN issues here; I doubt if any of my players even know what it stands for. :)
When I set broadcast and/or receive to "Voice only", I don't receive voice at all. Using Chrome Version 54.0.2840.71 (64-bit)
Doesnt work with people in the UAE. even tried google hangouts which doesnt work in the UAE. So unless ToK stays all these people wont be able to play
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Riley D.
Roll20 Team
keithcurtis said: We were able to connect this weekend with much less refreshing to get everyone seeing and hearing everyone else, but we had many, many intermittent dropouts lasting a few seconds each time. No VPN issues here; I doubt if any of my players even know what it stands for. :) We've been experiencing some capacity issues while we've been getting all the bugs worked out. I think we've got most of them at this point, so let us know if the dropouts stop happening :-)
Yesterday we only had three people show up for our session and the last person to connect could see and hear us but we couldn't see or hear him. As we tried different things to fix the problem it got worse! I hope these issues get resolved as it is almost impossible to play without a third party program which is what i'm looking into next!
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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
As of today, we finally have the TURN server working! This is the last piece of WebRTC that the old system had and we did not, but now our system should be just about as stable as the old system now. This will put orders of magnitude more strain on the chat server than what we were running with before, which is why we are TURNing (HA get it?) it on on a Monday morning. I'll be watching closely over the rest of the week, and into the weekend, to make sure the system can handle everything we throw at it. If you were one of the groups where the old system would work for you, but the new system would not, if you don't mind giving it one more try and let me know how it works for you. There will still be some small bugs here and there with the overlay and additional features, but the base chat functionality is basically as stable as we can make it. I will be continuing to work on these additional features in the coming weeks to get everything working as cleanly as possible.
Activating the Beta Chat Tech makes my entire Macro Quick Bar be shunted to the right of the rightmost camera until I move every single camera slightly up. I also have to move them up again if I reset a camera's position, as I do if someone happens to reload the page (or I have to reload). Even setting the cameras to be at the top of the screen doesn't seem to solve it. Using Roll20 with Firefox on a 1366x768 monitor, if that helps. Not that big of an issue, as it only takes a few seconds for me to fix, but it's worth reporting.
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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
Tulio: Can you paste a screen shot of the issue you're having? I'm having trouble picturing it. &nbsp;(Thanks Scott C.) Thank you for pointing this out, I'll look into it. It looks like it's limited to just FireFox, so if it's too much of an issue you can fall back to Chrome.
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Scott C.
Pro
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Phil B. said: Tulio: Can you paste a screen shot of the issue you're having? I'm having trouble picturing it. There's at least one (I believe several) bug reports on the issue:&nbsp;<a href="https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/4143978/macro-bar-is-showing-up-weird#post-4162591" rel="nofollow">https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/4143978/macro-bar-is-showing-up-weird#post-4162591</a>
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keithcurtis
Forum Champion
Thanks for all your hard work, Dev Team! The acid test will come Saturday for me, but I'm glad things are promising to go motr smoothly.
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Ziechael
Forum Champion
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Thanks for the regular updates Phil, I'll re-enable it for tonights game and let you know if it works this time or not ;)
When using the "video only" feature there's a really obtrusive (especially on medium/small video) and completely unnecessary mute icon slapped onto everyone's video.&nbsp; Please get rid of that, or at least make it so it only shows up when you hover over the person.&nbsp;
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Jen
Pro
I have to second Edward's comment regarding the mute icon in video-only mode. I understand that you want to let us know that we're muted, but A. we picked that mode on purpose, and B. as noted, it is unnecessarily huge, especially if you're using the smaller video windows. Making it appear only on hover would be great, just like the other controls already do. On the upside, when my group tested, we could all see the video this time! More consistent connectivity than we would usually have from the old system. Thanks for that, definitely.
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Phil B.
Roll20 Team
Edward & Jen: On removing the mute on video only, thank you for this input. I will definitely do this, you make a good point. I will also set it up to scale the icons with the smaller video and probably make them smaller all-around. Jen: Thank you so much for testing this for me. You have no idea the weight that this is lifting off my shoulders, knowing that this is finally fixing the issues that people have been having for so long!
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Glad to hear the pink icons are going away for video only! Also, myself and one of my players both encountered the same "black bar on the right side of the cam" issue, seen in this post's screenshot. <a href="https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/4098464/update-1" rel="nofollow">https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/4098464/update-1</a>... It only appears for the person whose cam it is, and is not visible to other players.