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General: Vivox Interview with Monty Sharma

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

Monty Sharma is Vivox's VP of Product Management and Marketing. Today, he speaks to Garrett Fuller about their VOIP technology and the games that use it.




image MMORPG.com: With Vivox getting more involved in the voice chat of games do you believe it to be a step up from Ventrilo or TeamSpeak?

Monty Sharma: The biggest difference between Vivox and the others is that our voice services are integrated into the game. There is no separate application to run, and no credentials and server addresses to negotiate. The service reflects the look and feel of the game and supports the established social structure. The solution is fully managed and supported by Vivox - you don't have to run your own communication server anymore.

In addition, our service allows you to talk to anyone else in the game, not just people on a particular server. This opens up a huge range of possibilities for grouping, adventuring, and conquering. Imagine approaching another character and just starting a conversation, or having guild-to-guild or corporation-to-corporation negotiations. Similarly, by integrating with the game, we can match the communication hierarchy to the command hierarchy, so that raid leaders or fleet commanders are automatically mapped to the communications infrastructure.

The whole article is here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of MMORPG.com
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios

Comments

  • ChrysosChrysos LondonPosts: 77Member

    I don't think the Vivox chat has gone live on Eve yet but it will be interesting to see what effects it has, if any, when it does become active.

    In guilds or groups where everybody agrees to use voice this should add a lot of value.  I don't think though devs would allow voice chat in 'say' or 'shout' in local so we'll still be typing at least some of the time.

    I remember CCP saying in the beginning that the Vivox system in Eve would have an additional cost if you decide to sign up to it.  Not sure how many people will be willing to pay extra for a service they already get via TS or Ventrillo.  Also roll players seem to prefer typing as it's easier to be in caracter.

    I support Belgiums efforts to get noticed ... at all.

  • XXenXXen HalverPosts: 88Member

    In the Kali test build its already activ, without subscription though.

    The main Problems now are less the integration in EVE, but more the billing for it and what happens on Connection Loss of the Client. Most TS Servers are free or very cheap and you still have you voice com if the client dropped,
    the bad thing of TS/Vent is that they use additional system ressources, you cant see whom your talking to and
    the qualitiy, in which Vivox is far superior from what i heard.
  • JorevJorev Fenwick Island, DEPosts: 1,500Member
    Being able to talk to people outside your legitimate in game communication range does create problems though especially in PvP. Realistically you wouldn't be able to call friends to come help you in a PvP battle if they were outside your shouting range. The only solution I see is that games start instancing PvP combat to prevent those who were not in the immediate area originally, from interfering.

    image
    "We feel gold selling and websites that promote it damage games like Vanguard and will do everything possible to combat it."
    Brad McQuaid
    Chairman & CEO, Sigil Games Online, Inc.
    Executive Producer, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
    www.vanguardsoh

  • blazeredsxtblazeredsxt Schaumburg, ILPosts: 7Member
    Jorev, that depends on the game. In Eve, or City of Heroes, and any number of more "modern" settings games, a com link can be active at some level and I don't see any issue with that.

    That being said, I think that many games could benefit from this technology getting a leap in distance and physics effects. For instance, only people in a certain radius should be able to hear you, and if you whisper, literally dropping the volume you are pushing, that radius should drop in-game. It would be nifty, but I can see the difficulties with the mass crowding of certain social areas in some games... but would still also create a better immersion factor and put in-game voice options way ahead of out of game options.

    Planetside had an in-game chat mode since its release, and it generally created massive lagging issues, so I have been leary of such technology. I am sure Vivox, being dedicated to such technology has improved its efficiency... but even so, without a leap in immersion for the tech, I can't see using it. Although I am not an avid raider, or a guild leader... some of the features Vivox discussed seems like they could prove very useful to such folks.

    Cheers!



  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,224Member Uncommon

    People do not pursue voice chat because it is a feature.  They pursue voice chat specifically because it is not a feature, but a tool to act upon the game in a way that gives an advantage.  It is a metagaming solution to play problems, not a function of play in itself.

    So what is that in layman's terms?  A guild on teamspeak or ventrillo can do the following things unavailable to the guild who doesn't use teamspeak, or ventrillo:

    1)  Talk to their group to facilitate team play between members who are in a group.  Example: "More DPS on the purple mob."

    2)  Talk to their guild who are logged in, but doing other things.  Example: "We need another cleric here Joe.  Are you done with those tradeskills?"

    3)  Talk to their guild who are part of the same guild, but on different games.  Example: "We need another cleric here in WoW Joe.  Are you finished with what you were doing in EVE yet?"

    4)  Keep secrets.  Example:  Joe types to someone, "You are such a good friend to us Stormbringer," and says to his guild on vent, "Stormbringer is such a dork, isn't he?"

    5)  Keep in contact with people unrelated to games.  Example: "Hey Joe, are you coming with us to the dungeon?"  Joe replies, "nah, I don't have time for that, but I just wanted to hang out.  Is your sister around?"

    6)  Metagaming coordination.  Example:  "Okay, here he comes, and he's only brought two friends.  Gary, James, Paul, Greg, and Joe, log in.  Fred and Michelle, stay behind, they seem to have built their templates in a way that counters your builds."

    7)  Go around harassment rules.  Example:  "You #%@&*!  Go die, and I slept with your mother."  You may not see this as an advantage, but then again, it gives the TS/Vent users the privilege of talking badly, without oversight.

    8)  Identification of the normally anonymous.  Example:  "Hey I know that voice from SWG...you were Joba Fatt, and you were an ass to me."  /kick Joba Fatt's new character from group.  /ban Jobba Fatt's IP from channel.  /ignore Joba Fatt in local.  Post about Joba Fatt's antics in a falme about his new character on the boards.

    9)  Make deals that would be easily flagged as corrupt, outside of being tracked by the game providers.  Example:  "I heard you need some gold.  How much you want?  Here is my PayPal account."

    10)  Have one central communications network for all of the guild's games, for all their players, for one fee.  Example:  "So we got ten guys in WoW now, five in CoH, twenty in EVE, sixteen in EQ2, four playing counterstrike, and two playing Rome: Total War."

    This is the sort of power and advantage one can get over the game, when you use an independent broadband communications network.  I'm not even saying its right or wrong, but only commenting on how it is understandable why the desire for voice AP has nothing much to do with how "neat," and "cool" it is, from a design standpoint as a gameplay feature.

    You see, unless Vivox understands how voice chat is used today, and why it is used today, they'll fail to provide an alternative that will be appealing to guilds...let alone us guys who stay away specifically because voice chat is integrated.

    But this isn't even about the ones that don't use voice chat.  Vivox doesn't care about them anyway, so they'd best understand that unless they create a voice system that allows for all of the above needs to be met, no guild will abandon what they have, and the ones who do pick up Vivox will find out very quickly how much less useful it really is.  I mean, do you really think Mr. Sharma, that your average player actually cares about your "neat feature," if by adopting it, they compromise their ability to metagame?

    The truth is, its not a game feature, and the few who have tried to make it a feature have discovered that the ones who depend upon it don't really care how "cool" it is if it prevents metagaming options, and the ones who don't like voice chat saw it as an imposition.  Nobody really "likes" voice ap in itself.  They like it only because it is a very useful tool for manipulating the game to the advantage of the user.

    Which is why I predict Vivox will fail.  They fail to see that people are not using voice chat because it enhances the game.  They use voice chat because it gives them power to manipulate the game in ways that an integrated system could never do.  Todays gamer, and today's clan are not in the business of pursuing "neat" technologies because they are "neat."  They pursue useful technologies, because they are useful.

     

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
    --Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

    "It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • MinscMinsc Burford, ONPosts: 1,271Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    People do not pursue voice chat because it is a feature.  They pursue voice chat specifically because it is not
    a feature, but a tool to act upon the game in a way that gives an
    advantage.  It is a metagaming solution to play problems, not a
    function of play in itself.

    In my experience most people
    use voice chat because it's just easier to communicate that way. Most
    people can talk much faster than they can type. It also reduces the
    l33t sp3ak that goes on, as most anyone who actually uses l33tspeak
    when they talk is generally called out for the moron that they are.


    So what is that in layman's terms?  A guild on teamspeak or
    ventrillo can do the following things unavailable to the guild who
    doesn't use teamspeak, or ventrillo: 1)  Talk to their
    group to facilitate team play between members who are in a group. 
    Example: "More DPS on the purple mob."


    Can be done just as easily with in game text chat, but it is slower.


    2)  Talk to their guild who are logged in, but doing other
    things.  Example: "We need another cleric here Joe.  Are you
    done with those tradeskills?"


    Uh...what's guild chat again?


    3)  Talk to their guild who are part of the same guild, but
    on different games.  Example: "We need another cleric here in WoW
    Joe.  Are you finished with what you were doing in EVE yet?"


    Xfire anyone?


    4)  Keep secrets.  Example:  Joe types to someone,
    "You are such a good friend to us Stormbringer," and says to his
    guild on vent, "Stormbringer is such a dork, isn't he?"


    And the reason you can't already do this with tells/guild chat is?


    5)  Keep in contact with people unrelated to games. 
    Example: "Hey Joe, are you coming with us to the dungeon?"  Joe
    replies, "nah, I don't have time for that, but I just wanted to hang
    out.  Is your sister around?"


    Again Xfire what?


    6)  Metagaming coordination.  Example:  "Okay, here
    he comes, and he's only brought two friends.  Gary, James, Paul,
    Greg, and Joe, log in.  Fred and Michelle, stay behind, they seem
    to have built their templates in a way that counters your builds."


    Again, could be done using IRC or Xfire. Voice is just more efficient.


    7)  Go around harassment rules.  Example:  "You
    #%@&*!  Go die, and I slept with your mother."  You may
    not see this as an advantage, but then again, it gives the TS/Vent
    users the privilege of talking badly, without oversight.


    Most TS/Vent servers would have thier own admins, which could deal with said asshats appropriately.


    8)  Identification of the normally anonymous. 
    Example:  "Hey I know that voice from SWG...you were Joba Fatt,
    and you were an ass to me."  /kick Joba Fatt's new
    character from group.  /ban Jobba Fatt's IP from
    channel.  /ignore Joba Fatt in local.  Post about Joba Fatt's
    antics in a falme about his new character on the boards.


    Uh, kharma's a bitch?


    9)  Make deals that would be easily flagged as corrupt,
    outside of being tracked by the game providers.  Example:  "I
    heard you need some gold.  How much you want?  Here is my
    PayPal account."


    again just as easy to do this through text-based means.


    10)  Have one central communications network for all of the
    guild's games, for all their players, for one fee.  Example: 
    "So we got ten guys in WoW now, five in CoH, twenty in EVE, sixteen in
    EQ2, four playing counterstrike, and two playing Rome: Total War."


    And this is bad how?


    This is the sort of power and advantage one can get over the game,
    when you use an independent broadband communications network.  I'm
    not even saying its right or wrong, but only commenting on how it is
    understandable why the desire for voice AP has nothing much to do with
    how "neat," and "cool" it is, from a design standpoint as a gameplay
    feature.


    It's a tool that facilitates
    communication within a guild/corp/group of friends. Talking is
    inherently easier for most people than typing. There are many people
    who can't type 80 wpm or has to look at the keyboard while typing.
    Being able to just speak instead of taking your eyes off the screen, or
    having the conversation go by while you were typing a reply is going to
    make it easier to pay attention to what is happening in the game.



    You see, unless Vivox understands how voice chat is used today,
    and why it is used today, they'll fail to provide an alternative that
    will be appealing to guilds...let alone us guys who stay away
    specifically because voice chat is integrated.


    They have already said that
    there should be the ability to connect to voice even when you're not in
    game. It's user/password based so as long as you have an account you
    can log in and chat. As far as those who stay away because of voice
    chat. I count you and dialup users, who only stay away because their
    connections can't handle voice and that number is rapidly dwindling as
    more users have broadband available to them.



    But this isn't even about the ones that don't use voice
    chat.  Vivox doesn't care about them anyway, so they'd best
    understand that unless they create a voice system that allows for all
    of the above needs to be met, no guild will abandon what they have, and
    the ones who do pick up Vivox will find out very quickly how much less
    useful it really is.  I mean, do you really think Mr. Sharma, that
    your average player actually cares about your "neat feature," if by
    adopting it, they compromise their ability to metagame? The
    truth is, its not a game feature, and the few who have tried to make it
    a feature have discovered that the ones who depend upon it don't really
    care how "cool" it is if it prevents metagaming options, and the ones
    who don't like voice chat saw it as an imposition.  Nobody really
    "likes" voice ap in itself.  They like it only because it is a
    very useful tool for manipulating the game to the advantage of the user.

    And who is this nobody you
    speak of? Have I met him? Last time I checked most people like voice
    chat because it's easier to communicate than typing. It has nothing to
    do with metagaming.


    Which is why I predict Vivox will fail.  They fail to see
    that people are not using voice chat because it enhances the
    game.  They use voice chat because it gives them power to
    manipulate the game in ways that an integrated system could never
    do.  Todays gamer, and today's clan are not in the business of
    pursuing "neat" technologies because they are "neat."  They pursue
    useful technologies, because they are useful. Most
    people in my clan use voice to actually talk to the people we group
    with, to get a better idea of the person they are that you can't convey
    through text chat. And because it's nice to hear a human voice on the
    other end of these virtual characters, nothing more.
     

    You
    have almost as big of a hardon against voice chat as you do against
    EVE. I don't honestly know what the big deal is. It's your choice to
    use it or not and it's others choice to not group with you if you
    don't. The whole point of MMO's is to be a social experience and using
    voice is an enhancement to that experience for most people.



  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,224Member Uncommon

    You can attack me, but you can't attack the reasoning.

    If I am allowed to get away with something on TS or Vent, that I won't be able to get away with on Vivox's system, then I'd be a fool to go to Vivox's system.  First, because I end up nerfing myself, and secondly, I'm going to have to compete against others who would rather have a useful tool, than a tool that sacrifices usefulness for "cuteness."

    You mentioned that a lot of this can be done with Vivox + Xfire or IRC.  What is the real point though when you can do it all on TS/Vent, and not need Xfire or IRC?

    Yes, I personally don't like voice chat.  But this isn't about me, as much as it is about what voice chat does for those who use it now, and the usefulness of it to those that depend on it in ways that Vivox is unable to facilitate.  An independent voice IP system is just a better tool, and it is better simply because it exists independent of the game.

    By the way, most of the arguments for independent voice servers over this integrated stuff from Vivox has come from those on the EVE forums.

     

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
    --Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

    "It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • TariothTarioth San Diego, CAPosts: 5Member
    Sounds like it will be good. This is my opinion despite the funny little controversy that your guay are having. :) Haha.
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