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I've attended last week a panel discussion with some politicians and around 60 attendees. A feature I'd really like to see for such kind of events in Second Life to handle such events better is available in IRC for over a decade and more already: +V, meaning giving voice.

What's "voice" meaning in IRC? Simple. IRC is a channel based way of online text communication. Some channels tend to be rather large and for many open source projects e.g. it's still a very important way to discuss stuff and things. The channel could be compared to open chat in Second Life.

All men are created equal, but not all are equal in IRC. Every channel has its owner. The owner can per default put all other channel members on mute. This means, they can type what they want, but it's not going to show up in the channel at all. This does not hinder them from sending private messages to others, but the channel is muted first.

If someone should be allowed to speak to the channel, the owner sets the voice flag, +V. This allows then the voiced member to speak to the channel.

That's a feature I'd really like to see in Second Life, parcel based, of course. It would make discussion events much easier to handle. How? Well...

The moderator of the discussion has voice. The discussion members on the panel have voice. The audience after the event started? Has no voice. So they need to direct their questions to the moderator in the room. He decides then, which questions should be asked and either asks them on behalf of the avatar or gives the avatar voice for the time to ask. If then it gets to open discussion the moderator could either give voice to all (bad idea) or make a list of speakers and give them voice one after the other.

This sounds perhaps a little bit on the harsh side, but would really help to handle open discussion events, where not all people are on the civilised side, quite more efficiently and squashes spamming in open chat very well.

There was yesterday the announcement about the public availibility of the voice beta version of Second Life. Since I had spare time and a new, shiney headset, I downloaded the special beta client and gave it a try.

The first thing you're going to notice is that you are not seeing much difference to the normal beta clients at all. Voice capability is disabled by default, so you have to enable it by yourself in the preferences. The second thing I experienced is - it's much better to enable voice in the so called push-to-talk mode - meaning, that you're only transmitting audio into the game world when you're pressing down some key. Otherwise all people around you can be hearning echos if your soundcard is not configured correctly, many computers tend to transmit much noise, well, let's just say it's a waste of bandwidth and computing power.

I know how voice is being handled by services like Skype. Skype automatically adjusts the microfon volume while you speak, so that the microfon level is always nice mannered and not too loud. In the Second Life beta you've got to adjust the microfon volume on your own, so you should better now how to setup the volume mixer under Windows or Macintosh. Yup, there's no beta for this available at the moment under Linux.

Well, if you've got your settings then right you can enjoy the voice capabilites of the beta - or not. First you need to get to a region, though, that is voice enabled in the beta grid. There are not many available and you can see a list of enabled regions in the release notes of the beta client. According to Lindenlabs there are these voice enabled regions at the moment on the beta grid: Abbotts, Lusk, Pulveria, Spaceport Alpha, Morris, Da Boom, Tehama and Balance. BTW, it's not advisable under Windows to use the Shift-Key for enable the push-to-talk mode, since this is per default enabled by Windows to enable some advanced features for people with disabilities after pressing it fives times. Better use another key or turn those features of in the system settings of Windows.

...weiterlesen "My experiences with the voice beta"