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Playing in Google+ Hangouts

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Google Hangout Changes on January 10, 2017

As of Google's announcement of its closure of its API, there are now a couple caveats for successfully launching games in Google Hangouts.

  1. Hangouts will only work with users who have previously approved the Roll20 App within Google Hangouts and approved it for use.
  2. all players must be logged in to their Roll20 account before launching Hangouts.

If a new player tries to approve the Roll20 App within a Hangout, but has not done so before the recent changes, the Roll20 app will error out. The same is true if the user is not signed into their Roll20 account before joining the Hangout.

Launching a Game in Google Hangouts from Roll20

By default, when you launch a game, you will be playing on the Roll20 site itself. Roll20 uses a built-in WebRTC feature for video and voice chat. However, you also have the option to take your game with you to a Google+ Hangout.

To do so, just click on the name of the Game in your Games listing to access the Game Details page. Then click the drop down arrow next to the Join Game button to reveal the link to Launch in Google+.


This will open up a new Google+ Hangout in a new tab/window. Go through the normal process of creating a Hangout by indicating who should be invited to join the Hangout (note that anyone that you invite to the Hangout will have access to your Roll20 Game). The first time you launch a Roll20 Game in a Hangout you'll also need to give quick permission for Roll20 to access some limited information about you on Google+. Then the Hangout will load and your Roll20 Game will appear as well.

As your players join your Hangout, they'll need to locate the "Apps" in the upper left hand corner of the screen and then choose to launch the Roll20 App. That's all there is to it!


Launching Roll20 from a Hangout

Once you have successfully launched a Google+ Hangout from Roll20, the Roll20 app will be available for use during any hangout. Clicking the Roll20 app in a Hangout will bring up a menu of all the games of which you are a GM. Simply select a game and start rolling.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to stick to either Google+ or Roll20 only for each game? Can I use a Game that we've already started to play in Google+?

You can choose to launch any game in a Google+ Hangout, even one that you've already started and played inside Roll20. So you can play on Roll20 one session, then in Google+ the next, or any combination. In fact, for ease of use, we recommend doing all of your prep work on Roll20, and only launching the game in a Hangout when you're ready to play a session with your players.

Can some users play in Google+ and others play in the normal Roll20 interface?

In theory, yes. However, players in Google+ will only see/hear (for video chat purposes) other Google+ players, and players on Roll20 will only see/hear other players using Roll20. So it's really not a recommended way or doing things, and not something we officially support.

I'm getting an error saying that "Regretfully, it didn't work" because it doesn't know what game I want to play. What should I do?

You MUST start the Google+ Hangout using the link on the Game Details screen inside Roll20. If you create a new Hangout on Google+ and then just add the Roll20 app to the Hangout (for example, from your Recent Apps tab), then Roll20 won't know which Game you actually want to play and will show you this error message. Just go to Roll20 and use the "Launch in Google+ Hangout" link to create the Hangout and you won't receive this error.

What's the difference between Google+ Hangouts and Google+ "Hangouts On Air"?

Hangouts On Air is a version of Google Hangouts that has the ability to broadcast live to YouTube. It also archives the broadcast to your personal YouTube channel once the broadcast is finished. It functions exactly the same way as a regular Google+ Hangout but has a couple more features for broadcasting. See Broadcasting From Google+ Hangouts On Air for a walkthrough on game broadcasting.