Well, it's December, and you know what that means... The H O L I D A Y S E A S O N is here! And it's getting real cold over here in the northern hemisphere. Let's not focus on the chill though, let's focus on the trove of good news and pretty pictures we've got brewing for you. Here goes! Developer Spotlight Hi rollers, Steve K here. Today I wanted to talk about Roll20's built in video and voice chat. Some time ago Roll20 was forced to move away from the third party chat service we'd been providing for free. At that time we chose to start providing our own WebRTC based chat platform. This allowed us to continue to provide the service for free, have control of the end user experience, and bake in new features like customizable video locations, audio whispering, noise gating, audio input indicators, push-to-talk toggles, and more. As many of you know this transition did not go smoothly. WebRTC creates peer-to-peer connections between everyone in the call. That means unlike Skype, where every user connects to Skype's servers and then those servers pass along the video and voice data, in WebRTC you create a connection to each and every user in the call and transmit the data that number of times. While the download bandwidth of such a call is about the same, the upload bandwidth is multiplied by the number of callers and it's that upload bandwidth that was wrecking performance for many users. In the United States for example the national average upload speed is less than a third of the download speed. It's even worse in many other countries, with many of our users often connecting with less than a single megabyte of upload bandwidth. This meant that our WebRTC based chat worked for most users in a medium sized call. However, it regularly failed for at least one user in larger games of 6+ users. Because this drop in bandwidth, usually only temporary, would kill the connection silently without throwing any errors, we were doing a bad job of recognizing when calls failed silently between two Roll20 users and automatically trying to re-establish their peer-to-peer connection. What are we doing about it? We're working with an external consulting group whose core competency is in WebRTC based video and voice chat. With their help we've been able to hone in on the weaknesses of our process and come up with some potential fixes. We're hoping to have a major re-vamp and upgrade to our WebRTC video and voice chat coming in or before our next major update. Thank you again for your patience as we continue to strive to make Roll20 a one stop shop experience for all your tabletop gaming needs. Steve K. Roll20 Lead Developer Community Highlights Character Sheets We love the sharp look and formatting of Zach Pierce's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea character sheet! It's brand new too, and itching for an able adventurer to put it to good use. On the Marketplace This has been a great week if you're looking to build epic overland maps! Check out some of the latest world builder packs: Any Which Way: Map Artwork Ruined Lands by Arlin Ortiz Stylized, colorful, unique, we love the art in this and can't wait to see what people make with it. World Map Maker, Set 2: Tropical Region by Arkangel Some on our team are in complete denial that summer's tuly over even now, and the sunny tropical maps you can make with this pack are their only solace in the long winter days... Campaign Overworld 6 by Dylan Grinder What we wouldn't give to travel to the fantastical world of floating islands this gorgeous pack promises us. WOTC Highlights As the seasons inexorably change one thing remains constant: Tiamat is threatening to cross over and only you can stop her rise in our latest Dungeons & Dragons modules, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat , available on the Roll20 marketplace! I think I know what your DM and/or players want for Christmas... If buying two separate modules is as exhausting for you as it is for us, fear not! We've bundled them up nicely as the Tyranny of Dragons bundle , to make your life easier. Gifting season approaches so remember to be kind to others, but also to yourself. Don't be kind to Tiamat though, probably. Stay warm, -Alex