DISCORD for Internet RPG

videochat
play-by-videochat

#1

G’day

I hear vague murmurs that the cool young people are playing their internet video chat RPG by means of something called Discord. Is that right? What is Discord? Would Discord suit my RPG needs?


#2

I joined a Discord group for something but it was clearly being used as an alternative to a forum; in that role it was a failure, since it seemed to be little more than a chatroom-style flow of text. Didn’t see any video option there, but I’ll have another look.

We generally use Google Hangouts, which had been fairly reliable.


#3

Another one I tried was appear.in, which was OK for two person chat but broke badly at three. That was some years ago.


#4

It works fine for audio.
Use it with groups of 5-6 sometimes.
The main chatrooms are very much IRC reimagining, if you liked IRC you will like the chat.
People use it a lot to replace Roll20 audio


#5

Do you need video? For RPGs it’s not hugely useful, I think it can damage immersion and it means I need to wear pants.

I think Google Hangouts works better than Discord.

I usually use TeamSpeak for audio but I don’t know if it supports video.


#6

Where on earth do you have your camera pointing?


#7

I’ve done audio only for RPGs, and it can work, but it’s another layer of distancing; and if someone’s connection fails it’s not immediately obvious that it’s happened. Occasionally it’s useful to be able to hold something up to the camera.


#8

I like video. I like to see other people’s expressions.


#9

I’ve been using Discord a lot due to moving abroad.

One benefit versus video is needing much less bandwidth, which is possibly not an issue for you, but important when you’re trying to jump the Great Firewall for hours at a time.

I also find that audio works fine for me. It’s definitely not as good as being round the same table, but video hasn’t given me that experience to be honest - partly the differences in things like eye contact, and partly lag etc. I use push-to-talk which means it’s easy enough to eat and drink without doing horrible violence to the mic, and nobody is forced to watch me. However, as Roger says, it can be very hard to interpret silences! We’ve had people drop out unnoticed (before they officially drop off the server), and several times someone has been happily chatting away in the belief their mic was turned on.

In terms of Discord specifically, it’s the best thing I’ve found so far. Significantly easier to handle than Ventrilo, my previous go-to. Our groups tend to be set up with extra channels - a private voice channel for secret asides, and in some cases individual GM-player text channels for specific information. I find it’s good.

If you happen to like recording games, there’s a bot called Craig that will handle it all for you in a multi-channel Audacity-ready format. This has turned out better than Vent, since it turned out one of my players simply couldn’t be recorded on Vent for reasons we never worked out.


#10

I’ve tried play by VOIP several times, and I have a couple of problems with it. The more serious is with cueing: my diction is rather ponderous, and it seems that other people have trouble recognising when I have stopped and am cueing them to speak in a voice-only channel; also, I have had trouble with cross-talk, when more than one character-player will start speaking at once. Very probably that problem would ease as my players and I got used to replacing our non-verbal cues with verbal ones, but I’d like to give PBVid a solid try before committing to the learning curve of radio protocol with PBVOIP.


#11

I have found voice-only difficult, but I suppose it would be tolerable with a small-enough group.

You can get inexpensive kilts by order over the Internet these days.


#12

This happens on video too; there’s a discipline to avoiding it which isn’t hard to learn, but people do need to realise that learning is needed.


#13

I wouldn’t play an RPG without pants even if there was no way other people could see. . . .


#14

You Californians are so staid!


#15

I have played a session with the rest of Whartson Hall while in bed… their minds were apparently able to survive the shock.


#16

IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION: Roger and the rest of Whartson Hall were not in the same bed, or even the same county.


#17

Oh Jon, and you said such sweet things.


#18

With G+ going away, is Hangouts still going to be around?
–Ron–


#19

Yes, it’s now entirely separate from G+.


#20

I downloaded and installed Discord, created an account, and ?created? a server called “Thundering Vale”. Nothing seems to do anything, and I don’t see any mention of video.