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TeamSpeak

Ventrilo vs. Teamspeak Servers for Voice Communication

Ventrilo and Teamspeak are inherently two very similar applications. In their purest form, both utilize a Voice over IP technology in a client-server layout to allow gamers to communicate online. In other words, many users can install the software on their home computer (the “client”), which is organized through one central hub (the “server”) placed ideally in a well-connected data center in the local region as to minimize latency.

Teamspeak and Ventrilo are most often used with a computer headset, however both will work fine with simply a microphone and speakers. Some popular games that use these technologies include World of Warcraft, Everquest, Counterstrike, America’s Army, and virtually any other online game where gamers can utilize teamwork to accomplish the game’s objectives. Client-side applications for either voice utility have been successfully implemented for Windows, Apple OS X, and a wide variety of unix-based operating systems.

Ventrilo Servers

Ventrilo’s first release was let out on August 3, 2002 which replaced outdated predecessor Roger Wilco released in October of 1999. Although it has not completely overtaken the market, Ventrilo has expanded its market share heavily over the multi-user VoIP industry in recent years. Ventrilo communicates primarily over TCP, and depending on the level of active codecs, tends to be more bandwidth-intensive. Users of Ventrilo’s client interface tend to prefer its simple and light-weight display.

Teamspeak Servers

Teamspeak was initially released on August 29, 2003 by Ralf Ludwig and Niels Werensteijn in Germany. The current release of Teamspeak is Teamspeak 2. Teamspeak communicates its packets primarily over UDP and is a processor-intensive application due to a reliance on SQL database queries server-side. Teamspeak 2’s client interface is very feature-rich, however slightly bulkier than Ventrilo.

Future Development

The Alpha release of Teamspeak 3 currently contains a number of new features such as tabbed server participation, revised instant messaging similar to IRC and AIM and is expected to be released before the end of 2007. Little has been said about the next release of Ventrilo, however a new Ventrilo release is also expected soon which should remain very competitive with TeamSpeak as well as any other entries to the voice industry in the foreseeable future.

As online voice communication evolves, one thing is for certain- with the fiercely competitive development of either application, users need not let their hopes down for the future of online gaming.

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TeamSpeak

Online Gaming – 10 Tips On How To Keep Your Clan Active

Causes of inactivity

“Know your enemy” as the old saying goes. If you want to use the right tool to counter inactivity, you will first have to find out what causes the inactivity and in which area. An example: if your clan members barely visit your clan website and forums, countering this with organising an internal ladder is not the best option: they won’t read the announcement for it. Better it would be to contact a few randomly selected members on an instant chat programme, i.e. MSN, ICQ and the like, and see what his or her personal interests are. With that knowledge, you will be able to group your clan members based on common interests. Thus starting a few forum topics which are related to their common interests usually cures the forum inactivity. Fact is: you will have to be creative to find the cause of an inactivity. Chances are slim a member will come to you with the message: “hi, you can cure my inactivity by installing a blog for me.” If it would only be so easy… 😉

10 tips to keep your clan active

This is probably the part of the text you are actually looking for. However, I would suggest reading this entire article as I cannot guarantee the following 10 tips will work if you simply use them as misguided missiles.

1. Host internal tournaments or ladders

Usually a never-ending, member-only ladder can be used as a preventive measure against inactivity. It keeps both the clan activity in-game and on-site — i.e. clan website — stable. This because members will play ladder games whenever they please, they will upload the result of the match as a recorded game, and they will comment on each others performances, strategies and the like.

2. Have weekly meetings with members

Many clan leaders underestimate the power of common conversation. Having a weekly or bi-weekly meeting with your clan members in a chatroom can do a lot of good to the morale — not to mention the sense of unity — amongst the participating members. Of course, you ought to invite your clan members on a voluntary basis. Try publishing the invitation for such a meeting on a place which your clan members visit often. I.e. if they do not check forums often, use word-of-mouth instead: tell one member you organise a meeting, and he will spread the word to fellow clan members he encounters. Have such a meeting in a chat app or a teamspeak programme — I personally prefer teamspeak above a chat window with my clan members as it raises the “sense of communicating with another human being” rather than reading some text off a chat window from a complete stranger.

3. Have on-going topics in your forums, i.e. “forum games”

Having one or, if you like, a few on-going topics in your clan forums usually causes both site visitors and clan members to return. Just Google for the words “forum games” and you should be finding yourself an ocean of examples. Just to pick one for the lazy ones out there: the never-ending story. One person posts a few lines of a made-up story, the next poster continues the story with his own few lines. This goes on and on. Not only this measure is considered fun by forum junkies and spammers — i.e. people who post awfully much — it also gets your clan members an opportunity to work together on something.

4. Have surveys and discussions

Not every clan leader is as talkative as your aunt is. For those who have no clue on how to start a conversation on a chat programme with your fellow clan members, a survey can be the solution. You could use a survey or a poll to find out what your members like, dislike, adore, hate and the like. All you have to do is create the poll, and design the voting options. If you are not familiar with creating an effective poll, then I would suggest to keep it basic. Give your voters three options: black, grey and white. Black being the hate or disliking something, grey being neutral about the issue, and white being a fan or in agreement of the matter at hand respectively. With polls you can usually launch a discussion to sort out why someone voted on a certain option. This deepens out the poll and can get you valuable information as a clan leader on the likes and dislikes of your clan members. Just make sure the discussion does not go off-topic, though!

5. Encourage the creation of interesting articles

This one sounds harder than it looks like. What it basically comes to is that you reward the members which are active in the game the clan is involved in. Active clan members have their own play style: they have considerable knowledge of the game they play, they know strategies, tricks and the like. Why not design a system which rewards those members by sharing their knowledge with their fellow clan members. The reward can be a small token of appreciation — usually this already is enough. Its kind of hard to describe, so you will basically have to see for yourself. For Legio Romana, I have such modest award system in place. I combined the Guild Roster with it. A member gets a “medal” next to his name for forum posts, articles written and other in-game achievements depending on the game your clan caters to.

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TeamSpeak

Review – Rock Out Wirelessly With the Kyrocera GSH-300 A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Headphones

Kyocera’s Bluetooth A2DP Stereo Headphones Rock!

I’ve had my Kyocera GSH300 for quite a while now and have never done a review on them. Why? I’m not sure. But I’ve been seeing a lot of posts around the internet lately about different types of Bluetooth A2DP headphones and none of them seem to compare to these.

What is this crazy A2DP thing you keep talking about?

A2DP is a Bluetooth profile that allows compatible devices to stream Stereo high quality sound wirelessly. Both the headset and the transmitting device must support this profile. Most new cell phones that are touted as ‘music phones’ support it – the iPhone unfortunately does not. Also, most computers with Bluetooth devices support it.

What does this mean?

Using your computer as an example, you can stream all of the audio from your computer straight to your wireless headset. No wires getting tangled in your computer chair, no pets trying to eat them, no tripping down and spilling your Appletini when you try to get up and didn’t realize you’ve turned in a circle 10 times in the last hour and your headset cord is now wrapped tightly around your leg and the chair.

Also, many VOIP applications now support bluetooth headset profiles, so your new super cool wireless headset can allow you to chat wirelessly. Some of them even support use of the buttons on these headsets and you can pickup and make calls without even touching your computer. Ventrilo and TeamSpeak also work with these headsets – watch out though, your weekend gaming binge might leave you speechless with a dead battery – they only last 6-10 hours generally between charges, but charge in only a couple hours.

When used with a compatible cell phone you can do much the same, the phone will stream the audio right to your headset. Many A2DP compatible headsets also have microphones built in so if you get a call on your cell phone you can pick it right up and use it like the bluetooth headsets we are accustomed to.

Now that that is out of the way… on with the review!

The style on this headset is a little different from the others I’ve seen and used. The Motorola S9 headset (overhyped and advertised with the likeness of David Beckham) is a rigid behind the head type headset with rubbery earbud style speakers. The Logictech Freepulse are similar to the S9, although the connector between each ear is smaller and the speakers are more like a standard set of headphones. The Kyocera GSH-300 (Part Num TXCKT10161) goes for a different approach: each earpiece is like a normal headphone, but connecting them is only a simple wire. The earpieces sit on your ear much like a standard bluetooth headset you’d use with any cell phone, and between them the wire runs behind your head. The wire has a small bead on it that allows you to adjust the slack so the wire doesn’t get all tangled. The fit is comfortable, but not too loose. They can easily be worn while you do work around the house or the office. Did I mention they come with a cute little case?

The sound quality on these is great. I’d say nearly amazing, particularly for a wireless connection. The highs are reasonably clear, the mids are good (as is the case with most any headset) and the bass is surprisingly full. There is no static at all with these. Effective range will depend a lot on your environment. In my home, with 2 computers, 3 monitors and ~6 wireless networks within range, I can go about 15 feet away before they start to break up – which amounts to being able to go anywhere in the next room, but not 2 rooms away. This will vary greatly based on a number of factors, including the wireless interference in your area and bluetooth transmitter. A phone in your pocket will always provide great signal, but a laptop on your desk in the middle of a ton of electronics (like mine) will get it cut down from the advertised 30 foot bluetooth range.

Battery duration is amazing too. They’re rated at up to 15 hours of talk/listen time or 300 hours of standby, and in my testing I’ve definitely gotten close to that, although its hard to measure exactly because I don’t exactly sit and listen to music for 15 hours at a time generally speaking. Suffice to say with heavy use they can easily go all day and then some. Need to recharge ’em? That’s easy too, they charge via a USB cable from any computer.

They have all of the features possibly available from a bluetooth headset. Right now they’re hooked up to my computer and I’m using them to listen to music. Without changing applications, I can press a button on them and turn the volume up or down or fast forward songs. They’re amazing. When paired with an appropriate cell phone, not only can you stream the music to it, but if a call comes in all you have to do is hit the right button and they will pick up your call and you can converse with the built in mic.

It has an up/down/push toggle on the back, a button on the side for answering and hanging up, and volume up/down buttons on top all easily accessible and attached to the right side earpiece.

If you’ve got a little extra cash, I definitely advise checking these out – but get them soon! Kyocera has discontinued them and looks to no longer be selling any A2DP headsets, only standard bluetooth. You’ll have a hard time finding any used, I think, because honestly I haven’t seen a single bluetooth headset on that market that can replace them. I managed to track some down however, and you can find them right here on eBay starting at ~$58 from what seems to be a reputable US based seller and is a good price for an A2DP stereo headset.

Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you might have about ’em. I love mine and I’m sure you’d love them too. I’ll be posting my thoughts on the other headsets I’ve tried (Moto S9 and Logitech Freepulse), but I can tell ya – they don’t even come close to this Kyocera. Get it now before they’re totally off the market.

For those of you, like me, who end up ordering thise headset and then end up losing the manual.. you can find a PDF version right here.

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TeamSpeak

MMORPG Etiquette – How to Play Nice Online

MMORPGs (also known as Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games) have become immensely popular in recent years. What used to be a niche hobby has expanded into a mainstream pastime. If you plan to try one of the many MMORPGs available, learn the basics. I am not talking about general movement controls or how items work in the game. I am referring to those basic codes that should exist in all MMORPGs, no matter what genre it falls under or how many people play it. If you want to make friends and build bonds in your MMORPG, know how to play nice.

Conversationally Speaking: Basic MMORPG Interactions

The main draw to an MMORPG is the fact that you are playing with real people. So many different personalities are what make online games dynamic. This can also spell conflict when players do not know the proper ways to communicate.

Never type in all capital letters. Although this rule was instated long ago, when the first chat programs became popular, many people still have no idea it exists. When you speak entirely in caps, people think you are yelling. Unless you greet new acquaintances in real life by screaming in their face, it is recommended you not do it online, either.

Avoid rude or personally insulting comments when meeting new players. You have no idea who that person is or where they come from. In time, you may get to know them and know their personality and what is and is not OK to say around them. However, when communicating with strangers, remember that another human being is on the receiving end of what you say.

Proper MMORPG Grouping

Joining others to complete tasks can make levelling far easier in an MMORPG. Not to mention it provides the opportunity to meet new people and create bonds. If the experience is positive, your group mates will probably be willing to join you on adventures again. However, make sure you start off on the right foot.

Before inviting someone to a group, talk to them. One of the biggest pet peeves people have in MMORPGs is the blind invite. When applied to real life, how do you think a stranger would react if you pulled up beside them in your car and demanded they get in? My guess is the cops would be called and havoc would ensue.

Should someone refuse to group with you, do not take it personally. Calling them names or getting aggressive about it will do you no good. They wouldn’t group with you before and after you spam the word “noob” at them fifty times, they certainly won’t group with you ever. Just let it go. Who knows, they may see your maturity and change their mind about grouping. Besides, you never know when a situation will require you to work together later on.

Need Always Comes before Greed

Another aspect to grouping is the sharing of loot. When there are spoils to be had, think of the others who have assisted in obtaining the gear or items. Do not demand everything of value for yourself, even if you cannot wear or use it. You can always do another dungeon run or task later. Most MMORPGs have instated a need and greed rolling system. This allows people to either pass on things they do not want, or roll need if they need it or greed if they could use it but don’t need it. If you have any questions about who gets priority for various items, ask. It is often best to agree upon any looting rules before you begin so everyone is clear.

Some items sell well in MMORPGs. If an item like this drops, always let someone who can actually use the item take priority. This is exactly what the saying “need before greed” means.

Fun with Voice Chat

Ventrilo, TeamSpeak and other online voice chatting programs can make MMORPGs even more entertaining. They also provide a fast way to communicate in difficult situations, shaving valuable seconds off of response time for heals or assistance. When utilizing a voice chat program, avoid commandeering the conversation. Let others have the floor so everyone gets to participate.

When you join a session in progress, always say hello. Entering without speaking can make others uncomfortable. After all, you are the one who joined, so it is your responsibility to announce yourself rather than the responsibility of those already chatting to acknowledge you. After a friendly greeting, allow a pause to make sure you are not interrupting a conversation or event. Some groups can be very intense and require total concentration. Make sure you are not talking over vital group directions.

Starting Out is Hard to Do

Beginning a new MMORPG, especially one that has been active for a long time, can be frustrating. You must learn how to play and build up your character while other players have already achieved maximum level. Gaining levels can be fun however you will most likely not have much in the way of currency and items. This will come in time. Some people hate waiting and want it all now. Never beg or ask for currency or gear from strangers. If you have a friend who has been playing, they may help you out. Remember, everyone else started at level one just like you did. They worked hard to build up their characters and obtain in game wealth. They will have little sympathy for your cause. Part of the fun of MMORPGs is experiencing various storylines and content as you level up. Unless you would be willing to walk the streets in your neighbourhood, begging for money, do not do so in game.

MMORPGs can be lots of fun! Utilizing these basic rules can get you on the right path to build friendships and enjoy your game time even more. When you treat others respectfully and fairly, they will be more willing to help you later. Play nice and have fun!

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TeamSpeak

Ventrilo Server Hosting or TeamSpeak Server Hosting

What do you know about Ventrilo or TeamSpeak?

Many people have never heard of Ventrilo and or TeamSpeak. They have both been used in the gaming industry as well as the office environment. Both have been leaders in the VoIP industry, but which one should you use?

What is Ventrilo?

Ventrilo (also known as Vent) is a voice communication program allowing users to connect to a central server and chat with other users much like a conference call. This is essentially voice over IP technology, and in video game terms can often mean the difference between a successful raid run and or a complete wipe. Ventrilo users can count on no lag, amazing codecs and great stable performance. Ventrilo is definitely one of the industry’s leading players in VoIP.

What is TeamSpeak?

TeamSpeak (also known as TS) is a communications tool that uses the internet as a highway for delivering clear communication. TeamSpeak was originally targeted toward the gaming community. This software was made for increasing the communication in online games. However, the same possibilities with games became very useful with business. This software created a revolution in the multiplayer gaming around a couple of years back. Before TeamSpeak all gamers knew of was in game voice commands.

The features and differences:

Ventrilo

# Cross channel communications.

# User-to-user private conversations.

# Individual channels that can be created dynamically.

# Sub channels.

# Muted channels.

# Queued channels.

# Password protected

server login and channels.

# Advanced channel control options and filters.

# Text-to-speech (TTS) voice generation.

# Key binding to execute special program functions, play wave files, send TTS messages.

# Separate phonetic spelling of user and channel names for proper TTS.

# Built in chat similar to IRC.

# Users can enter dynamic comments for all other users to see.

# User assigned names for server connections. No need to remember IP numbers.

# Multiple platform support for servers.

# Servers are now ready and supported on 64bit platforms.

# Ability to restrict server admin features. Useful for hosting services.

# Server specified codec’s to control voice quality and bandwidth usage.

TeamSpeak

# Optimal bandwidth usage with codecs ranging from CELP 5.1Kbit to GSM 16.4Kbit to Speex 25.9Kbit for optimal voice clarity

# Local addressbook allows you to connect quickly to your favorite servers

# Webserver list allows you to find TeamSpeak servers without their IP

# Channel and subchannel creation

# Client is designed to work well with firewalls and routers

# Passworded servers and channels

# Completely configurable keybindings (hotkeys) to quickly join specified channels, mute your microphone, etc.

# Whisper functions so you can speak privately to inidividuals, groups of persons, or other channels

# Auto voice normalizing (no need to adjust your mic manually)

# Supports Microsoft Gamevoice ™ hardware

# Windows/Linux server

# Windows/Linux client

# Text messaging in the client

# Seemless optoinal MySQL integration, allowing you to customize your server database

# Minimal CPU and RAM requirements

# Given bandwidth requirements are met, servers can easily handle thousands of users

# Free Public TeamSpeak Servers

At the end of the day it is personal preference in choosing between a Ventrilo server or a TeamSpeak server. They are both without a doubt amazing products

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TeamSpeak

What Are Teamspeak Servers?

If you participate in MMORPGs or perform detailed software work with multiple users on different computers in various locations, you already know the importance of a reliable voice chat connection to ensure clear, timely communication. Whether you need more flexible control over who can enter your group’s chat, or a system with more dependability and stability than what you’re currently using, Teamspeak servers are a great option for WOW players, other MMORPG gamers, and anyone who relies on voice over IP chat for their work-related or gaming needs.

A Teamspeak server allows you to customize and control who you chat with, with full administrative functions that allow you to add or delete users at your discretion. At any time, you have the ability to add slots and manage all aspects of your group’s online communications. With your own Teamspeak server, you’ll enjoy crystal-clear audio, web-based administration control, and a fully adjustable and scalable user permissions system.

With this solution, you’ll have the ultimate control over how you and your friends connect online. All you need is a microphone and headset to start enjoying the benefits of your own Teamspeak server. Finally – a cost-effective way to have ultimate control over your group’s voice chat, with instant set up, live support, unlimited bandwidth, and other premium services. Please visit our website for more information.

You can purchase a server from one of the hosts on TeamSpeak.com or go through the headache of installing the server software yourself. This is not recommended. You can also join many public TeamSpeak Servers with Free Channels.

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TeamSpeak

What is a Ventrilo Server?

And how does it benefit me?

Ventrilo (also known as Vent) is a voice communication program allowing users to connect to a central server and chat with other users much like a conference call. This is essentially voice over IP technology, and in video game terms can often mean the difference between a successful raid run and a complete wipe. Ventrilo is not free, however; the server is going to cost you. Prices range depending on how many slots (users) you need, average estimate is about 15.00USD per month per 30 slots. TeamSpeak is another option, and for non commercial end users it is free; if you want dedicated space however, dig out your wallet.

Then again, VOIP is certainly not exclusive to the video game world, there are many providers out there, and many free services that may meet your needs. Not everyone is going to require a 30 slot conference system, perhaps you only want to chat with 1 person at a time while questing! Windows Live messenger offers free pc to pc VOIP, and is compatible with many other instant messaging systems as well. The key point to keep in mind when using VOIP to communicate during gaming is to look for a program that requires minimal system resources to run; this will ensure that your game continues to run smoothly while chatting. It is also useful if the program itself has a manual sound quality control, allowing users on a slower internet connection to avoid in-game lag due to the VOIP.

In the end, utilizing a VOIP program can enhance your online gaming experience. Ventrilo is definitely one of the industry’s leading players but it is not your only option