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Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

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  • Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

    Due to the time of day I am writing this, I will have to add a followup. Therefore, I will only comment on one issue: voice communication.


    Am I being heard?

    I would assume that some people choose not to lead is due to an uncertainty of whether they are being heard over VON. Moreover, when I am acting in a commanding role, I sometimes have no idea whether a person has received my communication. This could be due to one of the following reasons: they are dead; they are under fire or a difficult situation; they are ignoring my broadcast, or VON is simply not relaying the message to their computer. The first three possibilities are premised on actions (or inactions) taken by the player. The last possibility is due to an unintended technical reliability flaw within Arma. Therefore, it can become somewhat challenging for both the sender and receiver as either one cannot be certain that a proper radio message has been transmitted.

    If I die who will take charge?

    In addition, the design of Arma missions sometimes makes it difficult to determine who is able to hear messages being broadcast over the command channel. The 2IC of a squad may not be the person in the 'intended' role. We have a convention in TG that the SL must have a microphone to ensure proper communication to the higher chains of command. A times the 'command' of a squad is thrust upon the person who joined as the second person in the squad list who may not be prepared to lead. At other instances, a bug occurs robbing the SL of his ability to hear traffic over the command net. Moreover, a JIP who has a rank higher than the acting SL will start receiving command channel traffic as soon as they join in game, this may occur during inopportune times as the acting SL may be in the middle of a discussion with command over a critical, time sensitive event. The only recourse the acting SL would have is to broadcast over side channel their message, which increases the amount of com chatter.

    Logic notwithstanding

    When utilizing combined arms, the limitation of who can hear the command net is made more apparent as only the 'leader' of the pilot or armoured squad can hear traffic over command net. Moreover, if there is someone like a FAC or FO they are normally not in the highest ranking position of their squad thus robbing them of the ability to communicate via the command net. Therefore, the only recourse is to broadcast on side channel or have their 'leader' relay traffic. An illustration of a platoon RTO in Alpha 3 trying to communicate with a Transport helicopter in Juliet 2 and a CAS bomber Juliet 1 demonstrates the issue. The RTO would have to relay their message to the Platoon CO, who would then forward it to Juliet-1, who would then finally send the message to Juliet 2. The situation would repeat itself until message has ended. I experienced this first hand when acting as a RTO.

    Where do we go from here?

    I would strongly recommend that we add a few more channels to Teamspeak in a manner similar to how things were prior to VON, so we can have all squads move into their respective channel and start to use teamspeak channel commander as the default command net. This way we, the players, decide who can speak or listen in on the command net instead of a flaw in game design deciding who can hear. Moreover, because of the client/server model, we can be certain that the message is actually being received. On a squad level, players would be free to communicate with each other on Teamspeak in situations where there are other squads nearby, where inter (in between) squad communication is not needed. To put it in laymen's terms, they would be able to have a casual conversation with each other without causing an over talk problem if the CO is nearby and trying to speak to another squad[Common sense still applies]. In addition, this would also reduce the amount of lag as players in other squads would not be subject to non essential voice communication. Sometimes this design is intended like in Storm Chaser or the new CSAR missions; however, we can address those by not using teamspeak during those events. Moreover, common sense would also dictate when it is acceptable to use VON radio net to speak in a more 'global' manner.

    So who is speaking?

    At the very minimum, we should really try to force ourselves to use very basic radio procedures when speaking. One of the comments I hear on why we should not play on expert mode is because we cannot 'see' who is speaking as the player's name does not appear. This issue is created because we do not follow proper radio procedure: we were able to resolve it prior to the introduction of VON. Basically CO needs to know 'what' you are (ie Charlie-1) rather than 'who' you are (ie Skin, a clueless n00b). I recommend individuals read Zedic's radio procedure guide to assist in sending proper messages.


    An external solution to audio identification?


    As Inkompetent notes, there are overlays that can be used with teamspeak to assist in identification of who is speaking. With TS3 you are able to use positional audio based on who is speaking as a manner to assist identification via audio.

    Vehicle chat should be straightforward as it is easy to familiarize one with the voices of the vehicle crew. I could see VON being preferred over TS in the case of a SL from a different squad is acting as the crew commander for a dedicated gunner and driver. However most situations would have all crews in the same TS channel. In either of these instances the standard radio procedure of "Gunner, Orient S/W", or "Driver, Move North, fast" should be used to avoid reliance on the 'id' tag.

    Commanding on a smaller scale

    In larger squads that have multiple fireteams, I tend to restrict use of group to the squad and fireteam leaders. The fireteam leaders identify themselves with the colour of their team: "Blue, contact 125.". Teamspeak should still be used for this or any important intra (within) squad communication based on the reliability Direct should be used the most by grunts as it helps keep the fireteams cohesive by adding a sense of directionality to the message. What I mean is that if someone yells grenade, or contact over direct chat and does not say anything else, the rest of the fireteam (or squad) is able to figure out where the situation is based on the audio. This also enables fireteam leads to maintain control over their fireteams as group is reserved for priority intra squad messages. I think that most players already exercise this discipline ingame during a combat situation.


    Conclusion

    • Help leaders lead by switching to TS for radio communication.
    • Create extra TS channels for Arma
    • Enforce players to be on TS
    • Use TS for Radio via channels for intra squad communication & Channel Commander for Command
    • Use keybinds to switch TS channels quickly or turn on Channel commander without alt tabbing
    • Use VON for direct chat and in instances where common sense would dictate.
    • Train people in using basic Radio procedure to identify who they are sending the message to; who they are, and if the other side has understood. (Zedic's radio procedure)
    • Help the game conform back to TG SOP by restricting use of side to only priority communications.
    • Be aware of chat overtalk if there are people trying to communicate on command net



    It is not a labourous task for admins to create extra channels on teamspeak due to prior precedent. It is not difficult for players to use teamspeak as it is a requirement to get the server password in order to be on Alpha. I would recommend that the admins increase the enforcement of this rule. The only real issue is showing people how to use keybinds and using channel commander; there are already guides explaining this. VON has it's uses for direct chat to enable communication between players from different squads and provide localization of where someone is talking from; however, as a means of using radio, Teamspeak is more useful for the reasons stated above.

    -Skin
    Last edited by Skin; 11-30-2009, 05:53 AM. Reason: Inkompetent inspired me to add a section I previously deleted

  • #2
    Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

    Very good post!

    Only addition I have is the part of 'seeing who is speaking'. The only times I do think it's needed (and TSOverlay, TSDisp and other applications can show this for all comms that can be done over TS) is for Group, Direct and Vehicle chats, since they don't by their own nature follow standard comms procedures.
    Last edited by Inkompetent; 11-30-2009, 10:26 AM.



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    • #3
      Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

      I have been asking for the same thing skin. Wonder Twin Powers Unite and maybe we can make something happen

      [unit][squadl][command2]

      KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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      • #4
        Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

        Good read and points there skin.
        I love the idea of direct chat (positional audio) except my speakers are a bunch of planks and only the right one works (a problem ive had with all my 5.1 speaker sets) so i can only hear directional audio if someone is to my right. Otherwise it comes through all muffled and inaudible.

        Anyone else ever had their speakers slowly give up?
        Nihility

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        • #5
          Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

          if it is a re-occuring problem and its the same speaker every time it might be your sound card.

          [unit][squadl][command2]

          KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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          • #6
            Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

            Good idea, I really enjoy the direct communication in this game. I wish more games use it. Project Reality doesn't have it, but using mumble together is awesome.


            It's going to rock hear at the radion: "Hitman 2, this is hitman 1, over"

            :P

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            • #7
              Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

              While I agree the Comm SOPís need to be followed a lot more along with people practicing radio discipline, I do feel the need to point out that a lot of people have problems running TS and Arma2 at the same time. Personally it has been a mixed bag for me. Iíve had the two play in harmony, but I have also had times when I was ingame and used TS only to have Arma ctd. To this day, using TS while ingame drops my fps down to a crawl for some reason but I still sign into TS every time I play on the TG servers.

              With regards to ingame Direct, I know I am not alone saying this but that is even less dependable then Group. 90% of the time I can not hear the person even if they are standing directly infront of me. 5% I can hear a bit muted and the other 5% it sounds like God is yelling in my head.
              The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse. EDMUND BURKE 1771

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              • #8
                Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                i like the ideas that everyone is putting forth but we should probably wait till TS3 is out to put any of this into affect
                If you wanna find me off TG
                Xbox live- fusionpo0
                Steam Username - 0hilla27/fusionpoo
                Xfire - fusionpoo

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                • #9
                  Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                  I would love to put this into effect. The reason I rarely talk is because of my dislike of VON. If I'm not choppy the person I'm talking to is. TS is much, much clearly and definitely preferred.

                  Direct is ok, but not perfect. During the air assault course my group switched to our own channel in TS as we couldn't hear anything on direct.


                  TG-18th 18th SF Operational Detachment Delta

                  If you're playing the game, be in the correct TeamSpeak Channel.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                    Is TS3 still alive? I stopped tracking that years ago, I just figured it was vaporware.
                    The Don Abides...

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                    • #11
                      Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                      I am GeneralCarver and I approve this message.
                      Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. - General George S. Patton.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                        Good stuff.

                        I'm beginning to view VON as a subtle exclusion to anyone outside of the US. Many, many players outside of the US cannot hear or broadcast voice with in-game comms.

                        VON has failed. When are we going back to TS?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                          Originally posted by 1longtime View Post
                          When are we going back to TS?
                          When did we leave? :p

                          A lot of people have always signed into TS, I would imagine those that did not have any ill performance as a result. I have been fortunate with TS and games, but TS has just as many limitations as VON, just different. Using both to get around those limitations might currently be the best solution.
                          |TG-12th| tHa_KhAn

                          XBL GT: Khan58

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                          • #14
                            Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                            I have been using both TS and VON, always have one as a backup, but using both can be a great idea, All command and important messages can be sent over TS, leaving Direct and squad for use ingame, but the only problem we could have is getting newer people on TS

                            My name: Adept a skilled or proficient person Abyss a deep, immeasurable space, gulf, or cavity
                            So I'm a very skilled deep hole :D

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                            • #15
                              Re: Voice communication: Using TS for Radio and VON for direct

                              I have a similar problem. with VON my first 1 or 2 words might be heard followed by static (based on other peoples reports) and it seems like everytime i get into TS there is either no comms going on at that time or too much jibber jabber. Maybe i just have bad luck. /shrug
                              "Lay down your soul to the gods rock and roll!" - Venom, 'Black Metal'



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