Voice chat

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Voice chat (a.k.a. voice-over-IP or VoIP) is a feature of the Active Worlds browser that allows users to communicate with others using voice. Voice chat is free for use by citizens and can be restricted by zone or globally per-citizen. A microphone is required for transmitting voice, but not receiving. Voice chat is accessed via the voice chat tab.

Usage

Checklist

After performing any number of these steps, it is recommended to click the yellow "Reset" button in Voice Chat Controls once. Voice Chat Controls can be found in the Voice Chat tab of the Active Worlds browser.

To listen to other users talk on voice chat, ensure the following:

  • The system's volume is at an acceptable level - Test this by playing music on a media player, for example
  • Playback hardware such as speakers and headphones are plugged in and turned on - Some headsets may have switches on their wire which could accidentally be left off
  • Sounds and music can be heard in Active Worlds - Sounds and media are not required for voice chat, however they may be useful in checking if Active Worlds is at least emitting sound
  • Voice chat is connected - This is shown by a green plug icon on the top right corner of the voice chat tab. If it is red, click it once and wait until it turns green. If it is black, the world has voice chat disabled or restricted
  • The correct playback device is set - In the chat tab of settings, there is a drop-down list labeled Playback Audio Device. "System default" should be sufficient.
  • The playback volume is at an acceptable level - In the voice chat tab is a section called Voice Chat Controls; click it to expand it and ensure the Playback Volume slider is not set all the way to the left

To talk on voice chat, ensure the above and the following:

  • The system's microphone capture volume is at an acceptable level - Sometimes it may be set to zero by other software or when using a microphone for the first time
  • Recording hardware such as microphones are plugged in and turned on - Some microphones may have switches on their wire which could accidentally be left off
  • The correct recording device is set - In the chat tab of settings, there is a drop-down list labeled Capture Audio Device. "System default" should be sufficient.
  • The capture volume is at an acceptable level - In the voice chat tab is a section called Voice Chat Controls; click it to expand it and ensure the Capture Volume slider is not set all the way to the left
  • The capture threshold is at an acceptable level - On the top left corner of the voice chat tab are two tall bars. The left one has a threshold; voice only gets transmitted if the incoming volume goes above that threshold. Sometimes it can be set too high, making it unable to pick up voice chat. Setting it too low may result in background noise being transmitted in hands-free mode whilst not speaking.

Talking

By default, users are automatically connected to voice chat, so other users may be heard immediately upon entry. Ensure the Voice Chat tab is open.

To talk in short bursts or only when needed, the green button labeled Talk / Hands Free should be held down for the duration of the talk. Alternatively, the F11 key can be held down to talk. This key can be changed in the Configure Controls window.

To talk hands-free, click the green button once. This will cause it to go red and change to Stop. Click it again to turn off hands-free mode.

Troubleshooting

Before following any of these troubleshooting steps, please read the checklist

Other users claim to be on voice chat but I only see myself on the list

Some zones may be configured with their own voice chat room, also known as a "cone of silence". Move far away from the area until the other users re-appear in the list, or teleport to ground zero.

Users are visible on the voice chat list, but I can not hear them talk nor can I talk

A 3.5 mm jack from a set of headphones
Using hardware in unintended ways, as these steps explain, may result in damage. Please seek assistance from an experienced user if unsure.

This is a known issue; certain sound cards require a microphone to be physically plugged in for other users to be heard. However if there is no microphone handy, any 3.5 mm jack plug can work around the problem. Try the following steps:

  • Locate any device with a 3.5 mm jack, e.g. a headset, headphones, speaker cable, 2.5-to-3.5 mm adapters or even a non-functional microphone
  • Plug the device into the microphone port; this is typically colored pink or red and may have a microphone symbol embossed above or next to it
  • Close and restart the Active Worlds browser
  • Ask another user on voice chat to test by speaking

When I talk, nearby sounds, music and media get muted

In the Voice Chat Controls section of the Voice Chat tab, ensure that the check box labeled Mute Other Sounds is unchecked.

Some users cannot talk; some have their speaker icons crossed out and some have bellboy icons

This means that voice chat in that world is set to Moderated mode. This means only certain users may talk if granted permission by a moderator.[ who? ]

The talk key stops working at random or does not work on world entry

This is a known issue; sometimes the talk key (e.g. F11) fails to work until the yellow Reset button is pressed at least once. If this fails to work, try restarting voice chat by clicking the top right plug button once. When red, click it again and wait until it goes green, then try again.

I am having difficulty hearing certain users, but other users hear them fine

Ensure that the Virtual 3D Effect in Voice Chat Controls check box is unchecked.

Other users are complaining that...

...my voice is too loud

Try moving the Capture Volume slider in Voice Chat Controls to the left. It may also be best to move the microphone away from the mouth or speak at a quieter volume.

...my voice is too quiet

Try moving the Capture Volume slider in Voice Chat Controls to the right. It may also be best to move the microphone closer to the mouth or speak at a louder volume. Checking Microphone gain control and clicking Reset in Voice Chat Controls may also help.

...they can hear themselves when I have my microphone on

This is known as an "echo". This is most likely to happen if the microphone is too close to the headset's speakers or if a speaker system is used for listening to voice chat. Consider lowering the volume of the speakers or investing in a pair of headphones.

...they do not hear my voice but are hearing my sounds or music instead

The Capture Audio Device or the system's sound card may incorrectly have the capture device set to "Stereo Mix" or "What-U-Hear". In the Chat tab of Settings, choose an alternative Capture Audio Device.

This is also a known issue with some Logitech headsets; if using a Logitech headset, ensure that the physical microphone switch on the wire is set to "on".

...my microphone is on, but it's not supposed to be

If using hands-free mode, try increasing the threshold slider slightly. This can be found on the top left corner of the Voice Chat tab, next to the first tall bar. If using push-to-talk via the mouse, it may be better to use the F11 or set Talk key instead.