WebRTC Video and Voice Chat Issues

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Steve K.
Roll20 Dev Team
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Compendium Editor
We’ve pushed out an updated version of the Roll20 WebRTC today. This update should provide a more stable connections to users with very low upload bandwidth. There is additional information on  WebRTC technical support , including requirements, diagnostics, and the information that will help us resolve your issues in future bug reports. Let us know how these changes are affecting your games.
1484857621
Thank you. One of my groups will be looking forward to seeing if this has fixed the problem for us tomorrow  night. Really looking forward to voice and video again as it adds so much more to a game.
1484861167
Very glad to see more information, improvements. and the tech support page. Thank you guys for you continued hard work. One question on the Tech Support page: the requirements section states "suggested download and upload bandwidth of 512Kbps per additional user in the chat". Is that requirement for the high, medium, low, or very low settings? And is that video and voice per user, or just audio? I imagine having the baseline spelled out will help a lot of users.
1484863404
Steve K.
Roll20 Dev Team
Sheet Author
API Scripter
Compendium Editor
Dan said: Very glad to see more information, improvements. and the tech support page. Thank you guys for you continued hard work. One question on the Tech Support page: the requirements section states "suggested download and upload bandwidth of 512Kbps per additional user in the chat". Is that requirement for the high, medium, low, or very low settings? And is that video and voice per user, or just audio? I imagine having the baseline spelled out will help a lot of users. Medium Video and Voice chat, more granular information will be available after some more testing. 
1484873473
More than meet the minimum requirements, it's still busted for me. There is some...strange, marked improvements, but it's still unusable. For brief instances of about 2 seconds, I can sometimes hear and see one or two people, then they all vanish again. Improved over last session before the update as nothing worked. Now it's more like 95% nonfunctional. We're making progress! I'll get a log up later tonight or tomorrow in another post. We're already really late to start the session because of trying to sort through the issues.
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Kelly D.
KS Backer
We've had to run a plain hangout in the background and native Roll20 for the game for the last week. Looking forward to trying this out
Sadly, this has caused more problems at least for my group.
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Jen
Pro
I think it worked better tonight than before! Six people online total, and I could see four of the five them at any given time.
1485011814
Last night very much improved mixed group 5 people 3 with video and voice 2 with voice a few issues as late comers logged on but refreshed and would say work much better stable for about 85% of the game. We are all none US players. Will see how it goes with the larger Sunday night group. If it flows as well as Friday's session then it will meen that gaming has become enjoyable again.
1485049222
Only 2 people in last night and could not talk to each other. Soon as the first two in game couldn't talk, dumped out and used a separate instance of hangouts. I am done trying; I see no reason to waste any more of my time or energy. I'll just use Hangouts and/or Discord for voice going forward.
It hasn't worked at all for us tonight. Nor has it worked for several weeks prior. We've just given up on using Roll20 for voice/video, and use Discord and Google Hangout instead.
We had a frustrating game last night.  Connectivity was poor, video didn't work, and bad audio made playing almost impossible.  
1485114267
Tried it today and its working halfway. Everybody can see and hear the GM but players cant see each other. Is there an option or something?
1485116027
Karl V.
Pro
Translator
Sorry dev team. Still not working. Two screen shots below: Above is a screen shot of the webRTC internals when running roll20 with 4 players. Video and audio unstable and poor quality. Note the large number of open sessions. These seem to consume RAM, CPU and bandwidth. This is exactly the same people communicating using appear.in (that also uses webRTC). Everything works perfetly with crisp audio and video quality. Completely stable. Number of sessions is always equal to the number of players (except yoruself).
Last night session for R20 was a fail...it worked for about 15 min, then people could not hear other.  Party size was 7 total.  We jumped over to appear.in, it worked for about 30-45 min, then it bombed out too (one person could not hear anyone).  We went to Discord, and rest of the night was a success.  I'm not sure if with our set up we will ever be able to use R20 again.  I understand that the change in programming changed the requirements of BW, however I think another solution needs to be considered at this time.  I'm not a programmer, but don't both Skype and Discord have extensions or add-ins for the browser?  How far fetched is it for the Devs to consider this type of solution?  I mean we are already 3 months confirmed, I would say closer to 4 months with this issue audio/videio issue.  At what point do you just punt and start over?  Don't get me wrong, you are making some progress.  I just don't see the same solution you had when I joined, so the added features most of us can't even take advantage of.  Sorry to be a buzz kill.  I will be on later tonight, around 830-1000 EST and have a test game if anyone wants to test with me to gather logs to assist.
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Neil M. said: Last night session for R20 was a fail...it worked for about 15 min, then people could not hear other.  Party size was 7 total.  We jumped over to appear.in, it worked for about 30-45 min, then it bombed out too (one person could not hear anyone).  We went to Discord, and rest of the night was a success.  I'm not sure if with our set up we will ever be able to use R20 again.  I understand that the change in programming changed the requirements of BW, however I think another solution needs to be considered at this time.  I'm not a programmer, but don't both Skype and Discord have extensions or add-ins for the browser?  How far fetched is it for the Devs to consider this type of solution?  I mean we are already 3 months confirmed, I would say closer to 4 months with this issue audio/videio issue.  At what point do you just punt and start over?  Don't get me wrong, you are making some progress.  I just don't see the same solution you had when I joined, so the added features most of us can't even take advantage of.  Sorry to be a buzz kill.  I will be on later tonight, around 830-1000 EST and have a test game if anyone wants to test with me to gather logs to assist. Discord has a different underlying architecture as discussed above. With discord you have one can and string talking to server. R20 uses a can and string for every person in game.  Discord spent a lot of cash and time to develop and on high end servers no doubt. I believe r20 can and will get there eventually but that will be driven in no small part by financials. Money doesnt grow on trees. i can live with third party voice for now as it is free. The pro price here is pretty good for the other features compared to competitiob.
Here is a link to a game if anyone would like to test. https://app.roll20.net/join/1906347/VP2Cuw
1485175832
We run into this issue at least 3-4 times a session (most recently last night) but with a quick hit of the reconnect button, it usually alleviates the problem for a time. I would like to add my voice to the growing frustration with this issue. I would prefer just a basic voice/video option without the bells and whistles at this point (like the previous version).
1485221007
Kirsty
Pro
Sheet Author
We're using Discord for chat, but are trying the built in video. I can only see my own video even though other players are broadcasting. Here's the  link. The rest of my games have had no issues with the video or voice over Roll20. It's getting better! :)
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Edited 1485230614
Thom
Pro
Hi folks.  So my group and I have had trouble with Roll20's WebRTC video more or less as described above (essentially instability:  particular P2P connections going blank, sometimes coming back and sometimes not, reconnecting some disrupts others, sometimes a random set of peers won't reconnect no matter what, etc).  So we spent last night systematically adding one player after another to a game session, testing upload/download speeds, watching WebRTC instances accumulating  (!) in chrome://webrtc-internals  (thanks Karl V. for that hint), taking notes on our travails or lack of same, and contributing console logs.  Hopefully seeing the same session from the perspectives of multple players could help, and the accumulation of WebRTC instances (increased by 'reconnects', adding up unevenly among players, and accumulating in a way that seems to correlate with relative levels of P2P video failure whereas bandwidth does not) seems like it might be part of the problem.  We provide a full transcript and various support files here:    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wd5foc1epmqy13y/AAAeOQa... The single zip archive contains all the other files, which are separately provided as well in case zip files make you nervous.   It does seem better this time around than a couple of weeks ago, so thanks devs!  In particular, we found that a workable workaround is to be verrrry patient.  If a particular P2P link is broken (black video, no sound), then ONE of the affected parties should click the new Reconnect button, and then WAIT for up to 45 seconds without anybody else reconnecting or otherwise trying to fix the problem.  Most often for us, in this present build, that restores disrupted connections (including those that are disrupted by the reconnect itself).  If this workaround still functions on a Saturday night, then we can hold out until the real fixes are in. Hope our info-pak helps, devs.  Insight and fortitude to you.
Hello! Still having this issue as of the last update.  The issue I reported quite a while ago here: https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/2337867/slug%7D The reason I'm bringing this up again now is that during the beta testing of the WebRTC functionality, the problem was GONE when I used "video only" for broadcasting and receiving. My mic volume remained unchanged! The second you guys rolled this out into the "stable" version, it broke again. My mic now auto-adjusts it's volume whenever I'm in Roll20. Any suggestions or help with this would be greatly appreciated.
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Edited 1485302835
I gave up on webRTC after the beta was released as final (I think it was still beta quality). We (about 5-7 people) play with None (no video/audio) with High bandwidth (sometimes Medium works well too)  and are rewarded with uninterrupted video sessions. We use Skype to talk to each other (crisp and clear), and an unexpected benefit is that we can continue to talk whether the game is open or not. The limitation is that the GM must set up a group call each time, but that is not too bad. Our party is scattered among the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, and Saipan. (That player is so far away that if she gets any farther away, she will be closer.) I would be open to trying it again, but since sound effects are severely limited (I use to play with dozens and dozens of them via SoundCloud), there is not much incentive to switch away from Skype.  -Falsoon
1485365030
Scott C.
Pro
API Scripter
Falsoon said: I would be open to trying it again, but since sound effects are severely limited (I use to play with dozens and dozens of them via SoundCloud), there is not much incentive to switch away from Skype.  -Falsoon The jukebox is not reliant on the voice/video settings of the game (as far as I know). So, you can still use them even though you aren't using the voice/video chat. Also, look into using fanburst as a replacement for the variety that was available from soundcloud. Scott
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Both of my groups got fed up with all the webRTC troubleshooting and so we switched to skype's group-call feature.  It takes up a lot of screen real-estate, but it works flawlessly. Interesting note:  my group used the webRTC feature the entire time that it was available in beta without issue.  It wasn't until the beta went live that we [immediately] had problems.  I can't believe these issues are entirely client-side bandwidth issues.  
Going 6 weeks plus with these issues and still no comprehensive fix in sight. I mean is Opentok that out of the question?
1485476807
Definitely later than I said it would be, whoops! Here's a few reports to dig through. Hope it helps solve the issues. Still no voice or video through roll20, and curiously, it repeatedly registered that I have no mic, or that it isn't working, but I tested it with other things after the first report and it's working fine. Huh. 1:  https://test.webrtc.org/report/AMIfv94MKNDIiT0jpg-... 2:  https://test.webrtc.org/report/AMIfv94E62tfasvayRH... 3:  https://test.webrtc.org/report/AMIfv94jkfFbA0FLO7d...
1485492682
Had a group of four that were on for almost 2 hours today. I was video and voice, and everyone else was voice only. We have historically had a lot of whack-a-mole type problems, but haven't played in over a month.  Good news: we experienced almost no problems whatsoever. At one point, one of the players lost my video feed, but after a quick click on my reconnect button, he had the feed again. I'll be getting back around to my other regular group next Wednesday. This group has multiple video broadcasters. Hopefully, that group will also have an improved experience.
We've started using Discord for our games. It's voice only, which means we lose a lot of the feel of the games since we can't physically emote our characters (well, we do but nobody can see us do it anymore). After last night's game we had a few minutes to spare so we switched on the Roll20 voice and video. All the same problems we had 3 months ago are still there. I could see the GM and hear one other player. The 3rd player appeared for about 10 seconds with both voice and video and then he was black screen and silent. We couldn't see or hear the 4th player at all.  It appears that nothing has improved at all since the last time we tried this. Back to Discord we go. 
1485543344
I have been using mumble successfully for over a year, but we have recently switched to discord because some of my players prefer it. Skype has never worked well, neither has the roll20 WebRTC. We only use audio in our games. I think an interesting feature would be to animate a model of a 3D face using facial expressions gathered from a players web cam. The players computer with the web cam would do the heavy lifting in analysing the players face and then it would transmit the point data of how their face is moving in real time. The facial movement data would then be used to bring to life a hobbit or a goblins face for example on another players computer. I think you would only require a tiny amount bandwidth in order to pull off this special effect.
1485544895
Scott C.
Pro
API Scripter
Jack T. said: I have been using mumble successfully for over a year, but we have recently switched to discord because some of my players prefer it. Skype has never worked well, neither has the roll20 WebRTC. We only use audio in our games. I think an interesting feature would be to animate a model of a 3D face using facial expressions gathered from a players web cam. The players computer with the web cam would do the heavy lifting in analysing the players face and then it would transmit the point data of how their face is moving in real time. The facial movement data would then be used to bring to life a hobbit or a goblins face for example on another players computer. I think you would only require a tiny amount bandwidth in order to pull off this special effect. This is already available with an  external program , and is probably far beyond the scope of Roll20 regardless.
1485549435
Jen
Pro
Agreed, while it's a neat concept and that external program is interesting... but that is well outside the scope of roll20 (and this thread). This is about making sure the regular video option is working consistently for people.
1485624442
For video, I've switched to discord, but since half or more of us can see each other with video, I tell everyone to switch to video only. It's not perfect, but it helps.
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Mike C. said: Both of my groups got fed up with all the webRTC troubleshooting and so we switched to skype's group-call feature.  It takes up a lot of screen real-estate, but it works flawlessly. Interesting note:  my group used the webRTC feature the entire time that it was available in beta without issue.  It wasn't until the beta went live that we [immediately] had problems.  I can't believe these issues are entirely client-side bandwidth issues.   They're not. I've tested on a symmetrical 20Mbps MIS connection from work, after hours, with another person in the same location... and we still had the problem.
1485650731
Can confirm. Our group has tried many times to get the video to work, different reloads, settings, bandwith limitation. Nothing works. Please revert back to the old video style or just turn this functionality off. It is very frustrating to keep hoping it will work only to be let down again. Between this and ruining the sound selections we had, roll20 has been a very hard sell recently and my group is looking at other options.
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Edited 1485669648
Not working for our group either right now. It was working a few weeks ago just fine.
1485719041
Gabe
Pro
Playing every Friday night for over a year with players up to 700 miles away, every once in a while in the past we would have an issue - with the new webRTC deal, we have issues every single game.  PLEASE fix this. I don't want to search for alternatives as I'm a paid subscriber and quite like roll20, but if technical issues continue to break our immersive fun, I may be forced to. 
1485789176
Hey all,  We had issues last night. We could see and hear our DM but players couldn't see/hear each other. Exiting and rejoining worked randomly. Two of us based in the UK, one in Spain and the other in San Diego. This has worked for us previously. DM is a pro subscriber, the others and myself are plus. Had to abandon WebRTC and use Skype group call. No issues. 
I hope this audio voice chat is corrected soon. Unfortunately some of our players are do not have great computer skills so we basically wasted a hour of game time explaining skype and discord last week. Once we figured everyones settings out skype work fine but it still was annoying missing game time. 
My video/voice worked great last night. Now it will not work at all on the same computer. Game starts in 20 minutes! 
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Scott C. said: Jack T. said: I have been using mumble successfully for over a year, but we have recently switched to discord because some of my players prefer it. Skype has never worked well, neither has the roll20 WebRTC. We only use audio in our games. I think an interesting feature would be to animate a model of a 3D face using facial expressions gathered from a players web cam. The players computer with the web cam would do the heavy lifting in analysing the players face and then it would transmit the point data of how their face is moving in real time. The facial movement data would then be used to bring to life a hobbit or a goblins face for example on another players computer. I think you would only require a tiny amount bandwidth in order to pull off this special effect. This is already available with an  external program , and is probably far beyond the scope of Roll20 regardless. actually, this is freakin' brilliant. If R20 could integrate something like this with a functioning AV platform, it would blow the doors off the competition. Jus' sayin'.
Scoundrel said: ... actually, this is freakin' brilliant. If R20 could integrate something like this with a functioning AV platform, it would blow the doors off the competition. Jus' sayin'. Actually, I'd rather we learned to walk before we tried to develop warp drive. :)
1485839539
Scott C.
Pro
API Scripter
keithcurtis said: Scoundrel said: ... actually, this is freakin' brilliant. If R20 could integrate something like this with a functioning AV platform, it would blow the doors off the competition. Jus' sayin'. Actually, I'd rather we learned to walk before we tried to develop warp drive. :) Agreed, but if it's a feature that you want to see added; I'd suggest posting up a suggestion in the suggestion forums as that is the appropriate place for feature ideas.
Karl V. said: Sorry dev team. Still not working. Two screen shots below: Above is a screen shot of the webRTC internals when running roll20 with 4 players. Video and audio unstable and poor quality. Note the large number of open sessions. These seem to consume RAM, CPU and bandwidth. This is exactly the same people communicating using appear.in (that also uses webRTC). Everything works perfetly with crisp audio and video quality. Completely stable. Number of sessions is always equal to the number of players (except yoruself). Seeing this exact same thing still when I test before each session starts. WebRTC for Roll20 uses an insane amount more sessions than other WebRTC platforms.  Lots of posts on this same issue on the closed bug threads that likely deserve further examination. Worth mentioning, since this started happening back in October, we've moved 100% to Skype for Video/voice until Discord launches Video and Sharing give Discords amount of reliable dice bots that keep rolling out.
Scott C. said: Jack T. said: I have been using mumble successfully for over a year, but we have recently switched to discord because some of my players prefer it. Skype has never worked well, neither has the roll20 WebRTC. We only use audio in our games. I think an interesting feature would be to animate a model of a 3D face using facial expressions gathered from a players web cam. The players computer with the web cam would do the heavy lifting in analysing the players face and then it would transmit the point data of how their face is moving in real time. The facial movement data would then be used to bring to life a hobbit or a goblins face for example on another players computer. I think you would only require a tiny amount bandwidth in order to pull off this special effect. This is already available with an  external program , and is probably far beyond the scope of Roll20 regardless. That's a great concept! I've been wanting to find a way to use this type of tech in a 3rd Party App. with Roll20.
1485964478
I'd suggest this has made things worse for my group too. We played Sunday 15th Jan 2017 (5 people, 3 UK, 1 Barcelona, 1 San Diego, mainly using Chrome with a FireFox in there too) and managed to get enough stability to use Audio and Video. This did take about 20 minutes of everybody changing Audio/Video settings and then hitting Reconnect mixed in with a healthy does of F5 (browser refresh) and if I remember rightly our FireFox holdout ended up switching to Chrome too. We then played last Sunday 29th Jan 2017 (4 people, 2 UK, 1 Barcelona, 1 San Diego) and gave up after 10 minutes of not getting any stability. I (DM) could see and hear everybody but nobody else could do so reliably. We gave up and turned to Skype which worked perfectly and we'll probably use that until things settle down. I don't know if this is related or not but the sound tracks I was playing were audible to everybody else but not me. This has happened before using the old A/V chat so I suspect it is a different issue.
1486092347
After several weeks still experiencing audio issues, most of the times I dont hear or see any of the players, or  I can hear and see just 1 or 2 of my 6 players, is roll20 really going to fix the issues? 
1486111614
Ravenknight
KS Backer
Last night we had some serious troubles with players being unable to see eachother, multiple reconnects and browser-refreshments later we got it working and stable. Everytime a new player joins the game the problem resurface.
1486160298
Well here we go again. Tried a session last night, it was better than a month ago, but still somewhat of a disaster. Unbelievable. We have me (DM) and 4 players connected, 3 of them are all in the same city as me, 1 of them is in Hawaii. We play with video and chat, and when we first started, we chatted for several minutes to see if it would break. Everything was good, so we started our session. About 5 minutes in, I lost sound to one of the local players. He had to hit 'reconnect' for me to receive sound from him. 5 minutes later, lost sound again. Sometimes when he'd hit 'reconnect' other players would lose sound to other players, then they'd have to hit 'reconnect'. Basically, while the video seemed to work well this time (occasional black flickers), the audio was whack-a-mole several times. We'd finally get it to work...for awhile. This is a somewhat better experience than previous attempts for the past 3 months but extremely aggravating. But here's the worst part. I have read about some people just ditching webRTC and using Google Hangouts, so as our session was about to close (we only did 1 encounter because to play any more would have given me a brain aneurysm dealing with whack-a-mole audio), I launched roll20 via Google Hangout. I was greeted with a popup saying roll20 would no longer work after April 2017!!!! WTF!!!! Why in the Nine Hells would you guys no longer support roll20 app via Google Hangouts when you know very damn well this is one of the only viable options people have to get around your flat out shitty and failed attempt at an in-house voice/chat system? I suppose you are just wanting roll20 to eventually become a thing of the past as you drive your customer base to go look for other options..options that actually work! I'm all for new features, but it all means nothing if your existing implementation doesn't work. Your guys' logic makes no sense whatsoever. And you can't claim it's a network issue on my end because openTok worked flawlessly for me, and when we test using google hangouts, our video/chat is also flawless. The problem is on YOUR side. Period. webRTC should have been thoroughly stress tested in Beta, and then stress tested again to ensure it was flawless before forced down our throats.  I read before that openTok was no longer a viable solution for roll20 to remain profitable. You mind sharing some $$ figures with us? I'd like to know how much it would cost to bring it back. Seriously. I'd consider throwing some more money out to support including openTok again if it meant having the same experience on roll20 as when I first joined.
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Edited 1486161142
Another session last night for me - a little over two hours, with six total participants. Two of us broadcasted video, and the other four audio.  We had a few problems at the start, but the reconnect button seemed to resolve all of them. Then, no problems that I was aware of through the end. This is the third session I've run under the latest upgrade, and they have all been (relatively) problem-free. I know that doesn't fix everything for everyone, but hope its at least a sign of progress for the discouraged. I used to have a LOT of problems like many of those who are posting here.
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@ Barry Z : While Roll20 is definitely ultimately responsible for the issues in their new video chat engine, the discontinuation of Google Hangouts support can only be blamed on Google itself, not Roll20. Google is apparently discontinuing support for  all  "non-enterprise" apps in Google Hangouts in April, not just Roll20. It's extremely aggravating, especially since it appears to be the only consistently working video chat option for Roll20, but all other apps using Google Hangouts are in the same boat. It does mean that Roll20 needs to get a reliable, working solution in place soon, regardless of the cost, or it simply isn't going to be a viable platform any longer. I agree that paying an additional fee for this functionality would be reasonable if there are licensing costs involved (though I'd rather it be part of the "pro" subscription, and have Roll20 divert all available funding from any other new features until they get a rock-solid video chat working).
1486163667
@Paul (DM)  Thanks for the update. I didn't realize this (raises clenched fist at Google). Sorry roll20 folks for taking my frustration out on you. This has just been a very frustrating issue to deal with as it's literally been ruining our sessions and fun. :/ For 3 months now.