Battleground chatter and voice communications

One of the key components of Battlescape in my opinion will be communication, both as a way of coordinating with teammates and as an immersion factor. Most multiplayer games these days has some form of built-in voice communication system, which personally I almost always turn off straight away. However, there are many people who like engaging in vocal interactions and it definitely makes things easier to organize within your team assuming everyone is cooperative and not just blaring Rick Astley all the time.

IG RSX commented about this on the Kickstarter page:

I-Novae Studios@ Please can you integrate VOIP for the social relation betwen players. for future feature. This allows for wingsquad and player scommunications It also features like a 3D local speech, meaning you can hear players from other squads and player if they are close to you. . I know some people prefer a quiet solo gameplay exploration , but frankly massive spacebattle, i m will really glad to coordinate and with my wingsmens as team. Its lot of work but for future feature sound great for immersion and gameplay design. Thanks Kindly

He makes a good point about scope. You obviously wouldn’t want everyone in your faction, potentially a hundred or more people, all talking at once. So a good way to establish sensible degrees of communication is limiting channels to local space and/or a small squad. Personally I believe both modes would be ideal providing there would be some system to form a squad of people you know. Perhaps faction-wide communication could be interesting just as a mode to turn on once in a while and just see how hectic things are.

So I can imagine up to maybe four degrees of voice communication:

  1. Off - People should still be able to fly around in peace
  2. Squad - Voice communications only between a select group of maybe up to 2-8 players
  3. Local - Open channel for anyone in a spherical vicinity around your ship
  4. Faction - All communications open between all ships

Let’s just say for the sake of gameplay and being able to communicate with anyone instantly even if they’re on the other side of the system is possible because of magical superluminal radio waves.

Now the other thing that a lot of multiplayer games have is battle chatter. Even if your teammates aren’t very chatty, or you’ve turned them off because they were too chatty, you still get an immersive experience from all the player’s avatars periodically sounding off situational lines. Star Wars Battlefront makes great use of this and really brings the battle to life as people around you are yelling and shouting out orders or encouragement.

For example, if one your faction’s battlescapes comes under attack, the event is announced by an “avatar voice” instead of some ominous AI voice, providing sensors actually detect it. I think it’s just a lot better to hear about an enemy interceptor on your tail from Wedge than Cortana. Of course professional voice acting might be a bit too expensive at this point but I think it’s definitely something to keep in mind for a year or so down the track.


I think something like what they showed in the Kickstarter video - where the station control tower issued a warning to nearby ships about the impending attack their sensors had detected and the various NPC ships could faintly be heard dying in the background - would be fun. Especially if such things were actually linked to the station’s “awareness” of its surroundings and the NPC’s status (health, number and type of friendlies/enemies around them, etc.). Don’t know how hard it would be, but it would be a fun way to increase immersion IMO.

Channels required:
Note: POI - point of interest


Universal Broadcast: commanders can use this channel to talk to everyone. It’s limited and use resources, 1-way Tx.

Team-to-Team channel: enabled for commanders on request, to chat between 2 different teams

Team Broadcast: commanders and such can use this to talk to everyone in the same team, 1-way Tx

Squad Broadcast: commanders and squad leaders can use this to talk to a specific squad, 1-way Tx

Command room: used to chat between commanders and squad leaders

Squad chat: used to talk with your squad comrades

Local chat: used to talk with people near you

private chat: used to talk to an especific player


Universal Broadcast: commanders can use this channel to display a message for everyone. It’s limited and use resources.

Team-to-Team channel: enabled for commanders on request, to chat between 2 different teams

Team Broadcast: commanders and such can use this to display a message on all the team member’s screens, easy way to share a POI with everyone

Squad Broadcast: commanders and squad leaders can use this to display a message on all the squad member’s screens, easy way to share a POI

Command room: used to chat between commanders and squad leaders, easy way to share a POI

Squad chat: used to chat with your squad comrades, easy way to share a POI

Local chat: used to chat with people near you

private chat: used to talk to an especific player

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I like to use the Teamspeak plugin ‘Crosstalk’ to give the voices I hear various radio comms effects and hiss. And then have my own mic on and off and others on and off mic beeps.

I asked Discord support if they could make a similar plugin and they said when the API is out the developer of Crosstalk is free to make his plug-in work on Discord. (I’ve already asked the developer)

Crosstalk make things sound just like the I:D KS trailer videos radio comms chatter :slight_smile:

Anyone else interested in ‘Crosstalk’ for use with comms in I:B ?

I’m against integrated VoiP for various reasons, the first one being that’s taking more than necessary server bandwitdth.

There are already plenty of third-party tools, like Teamspeak, Mumble, Discord, Skype and whatnots that do this job very well.

If there has to be “standardized” voice, then your last suggestion is very good, @AusQB: some AI informing that battlestation “alpha” is under attack, or its commander is demanding a full attack on a designated target.

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ARMA 3 separates voice traffic from game traffic so that one doesn’t impact the other. In fact, if the game wedges, we can still communicate by voice. On the server I play on, game voice generally caps out at about 10 people in a channel before starting to degrade. If it was backed by Teamspeak, it could handle many more, but 10 voices is probably the limit in practical terms anyway. The separate Teamspeak server that we also have can accumulate 20 or 30 people and when they all start yelling for support, it gets to be a real mess.

So I’d like to see voice associated with in-game units. I can belong to as many units as I want, but I can command only one unit. I can listen to as many units as I am a member, but I can speak in only one unit at a time.

One thought that occurs to me is to allow players to supply their own Teamspeak servers as the underpinning for their in-game units. So if a clan shows up in the game, players wouldn’t have to fiddle with both Teamspeak channels and in-game unit communications. The commander would just supply the information for his unit’s Teamspeak channel to the game and the game software would allow his team members to speak through that channel.

Note that all clan commanders can specify the same Teamspeak channel, causing everyone to end up speaking on the same channel, despite being in different in-game units. That would be up to them.

I’m assuming that Teamspeak’s terms of use allows this sort of thing.

Arma 3 is—n’t exa----ac—tly th-----e be----st e----xam—ple o—f ho—w t—o do i—nte—gra—t----ed vo----ice co----mm—s.

The main reason ingame voice isn’t used by any ‘serious’ group in games, is that if you lose connection to the game for any reason, you lose connection to comms. Plus the functionality of in-game comms is always going to be very rudimentary compared to the functionality of a dedicated application.

It would be nice if the game could offer some kind of easy integration with an existing voice application… And by easy I mean easy for the user to just press a button and be connected, not “lol this would be easy to implement and the devs could do it during lunch” because I know “it shouldn’t be that hard” is a term that makes developers everywhere sad.

But still, cross-application integration I think is technically feasible. Because Eve Online player alliances usually have out-of-game IT infrastructure that authorizes users based on their Eve accounts (via an API provided by Eve). That central auth server then grants the user access to all of the alliance’s out-of-game services like Mumble, Jabber broadcasts, forums and any other applications they may have. Here’s an open source example of an Eve alliance auth system.

Mumble would be a good candidate for integrating with Infinity. It has murmur which allows you to add or edit users on a mumble server via SSH, its open source so it requires no paid license like Teamspeak does, and it has a good set of features, and is better than Teamspeak imo.

So you’d have a mumble server associated with a given Infinity game server, and the game server could have the ability to create a mumble user that corresponds to a player on the game server. Then when you’re ingame and you want to join voip, you press buttan (mumble can be launched from URLs such as mumble://, the game launches mumble and connects you to that server. You get the best of both worlds, easy communication with people in the game, and a fully-featured out-of-game application.

It is also possible to assign user permissions and access levels in mumble so a user can only enter certain channels, so you could assign players from certain teams to different channels and stop them from entering the wrong team’s channel.

I like integrated VOIP, but the issue is always that people go on private servers, and that’s all fun and games, but I’d love for an interception method for in game chatter, but that would again push people to private servers :frowning:

Yeah, if you try to compromise in-game communication, people will very easily metagame around it.

What is needed a system that achieves following:

  • Encourage and support cooperation between casual players.
  • Encourage and support cooperation between casual players, established groups and veteran players not just between themselves but intermixed.

The second is a lot harder. Having everyone migrate to the metalevel once they cooperate isolates those groups and isn’t allways the best solution. An automatic integration would be best but would be complicated to implement.

Well, voice is simply an enabler. If the gameplay itself doesn’t foster cooperation between various groups then voice integration isn’t going to accomplish much. In my opinion, voice is something that players should be clamoring for after they’ve played the game a bit because they’re having difficulty coordinating things. It’s a solution to a problem, not a feature unto itself.

At that point, there’s the question of how gameplay needs to be structured such that the players see the lack of voice to be a problem. Why do they want to so closely cooperate that they need to talk to each other. To me, that rings of a need for complexity. Something more than “Bomb this” and “Protect that”. If the targets need to be bombed or protected in very specific ways that are not always the same, then describing how to bomb or protect it requires more than just a quick text message. Further, if the battle is fluid, then voice would be critical to update everyone on how to deal with the changing circumstances.

So if voice is integral, and marshaling even the novices is important (as they tackle support tasks as an introduction to the game), then players will want integrated voice, however that’s accomplished at a technical level.

You guys decide what type of voice communications you want and I’ll use it (with in reason) When I get my new setup I’ll make a thread asking what the consensus is (I gave up to X-mass.

I’m getting deja vu! I swear this was discussed way back (probably untraceable now).

In short, I prefer having a bunch of preset commands that I can hit at a moment’s notice. I find that also tends to work best when integrated with some sort of HUD indication, depending on the message.

Then a more conventional text chat can allow for more sophisticated planning and communication.

Talking about built-in VOIP, aside from maybe not being a priority and probably not something the devs aught to focus on for some time, if it IS implemented I hope for a few features.

First that we can choose which soundcard that handles voip. So that anyone with multiple soundcards can have the main game audio through speakers and voice comms through a headset.

Then if various channels are available it would be nice to be able to “tune in” to two channels at once and be able to broadcast to each channel individually.
You could have your “team” channel with lower volume to let you hear an overview of whats going on while having you “squad” channel at higher volume for clear direct comms.

Do people actually send game audio through speakers while wearing a headset?

Depends on your preference of course but I would definitly have the main audio through my surround speakers while having voice comms through a small handsfree/headset.

Its all about having a ‘crosstalk’ like radio comms effects plugin for me. I’ll be happy to use any platform we all agree on if its got or could have something like crosstalk. And own mic on/off sounds, and others on/off mic sounds.

I guess if it’s a small one like the cheap Xbox mono headset that might be understandable.

Yes im talking about a small, one ear comms headset.
Most people use headphones and might not see the use of a feature like this but for those that do, its very neat. Not required but neat.