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Video and Voice Chat

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WebRTC is an HTML5 high-definition, peer-to-peer VOIP service, that runs natively in your browser without the need for any additional plugins. It's also adaptive so it works well with low-bandwidth connections. Roll20 utilizes an in-house built-in WebRTC video and voice chat feature that allows you to communicate with other players.

Once at least two people log into a game using any Broadcast options beyond None, you should see a dialog box along the top of your screen that asks you to give permission for Roll20 to use your camera/microphone.


Contents

Enabling and Disabling WebRTC Video & Voice Chat

Managing Browser Permissions

In Google Chrome:

A dialog box will appear along the very top of your browser screen. Click "Allow." (You may only have to do this the first time you use WebRTC).

WebRTC Video Confirmation Dialog.png

Note that you can click the little camera icon located in the far-right of your address bar to change the settings of what camera/microphone is being used.

WebRTC Indicator.png

In Mozilla Firefox:

A dialog box will appear, click on "Share Selected Devices" to allow Roll20 to start video chat (highlighted in green below). If for some reason a dialog box does not appear, or if you wish to change your settings after the game has started, click on the Camera icon (highlighted in pink below) to change your settings.

MozillaWebRTCScreenshot.png

Roll20 Video/Voice Settings

The Video + Voice Settings on the My Settings tab

Go to the My Settings tab (the y icon) on the Sidebar (top-right side of the screen). Scroll down to find the Video + Voice heading. There will be several drop-down menus here. They are:

  • I want to Broadcast to others: This controls whether or not you will broadcast Video and Voice, Video only(Roll20 WebRTC feature), Voice only, or Nothing(disabled) to other players in the game.
  • I want to Receive from others: This controls whether or not you will receive Video and Voice, Video only(Roll20 WebRTC feature), Voice only, or Nothing(disabled) from other players, if they are broadcasting at all.
  • Player Video/Player Avatar Size: This controls the size of the player avatars that are shown on the Tabletop. There are four size options available: Large (200px x 200px), Regular (150px x 150px), Small (100px x 100px) and Names Only. If the last option is selected, the portrait image is hidden entirely and all that remains is the user's name plate. Note that if you choose Names Only, you will still broadcast video and/or voice if that setting is enabled. You need to set the Broadcast To Others setting to broadcast voice-only, or nothing at all.
  • Player Video/Avatar Location: This controls where your player avatars are positioned on the Tabletop when using Roll20 WebRTC. You have the option of setting them at the bottom or at the top of the tabletop. At default, the avatars are aligned to the bottom.
  • Moveable Player Avatars: One of the features of Roll20 WebRTC is the ability to move the Player Avatars to wherever you want on the Tabletop. Underneath this setting is a single reset button available only when using Roll20 WebRTC. Clicking this will snap the player avatars back to the location you originally designated in previous setting.

Turning Video & Voice Entirely Off and On

Further down on the My Settings tab, past the Video + Voice heading is the Video + Audio Chat Options Options heading.

Chat Tech: This drop down menu allows you to switch between Roll20 WebRTC or None for your video/voice chat options. Upon choosing a different Video selection than what was selected before (this includes setting it to or from None), your and all other players currently in the game will have their browser tab refreshed. This is necessary to change up the chat tech.

Roll20 WebRTC Features

Relocating Player Avatars Around the Tabletop

One of the features of Roll20 WebRTC is the ability to move the player avatar portraits around the screen.

One of the unique features of Roll20 WebRTC is the ability to move the player avatars to wherever you want on the screen. This can be very helpful when you have a specific broadcast overlay for streaming. This feature is always enabled for the Game Master, but it can be either disabled or enabled for the players to re-arrange the avatars as they see fit.

To move an avatar, first make certain that Roll20 WebRTC is already enabled, and then hover your mouse over one. An icon resembling three horizontal bars will appear in the bottom left corner of the avatar (over top the Name Plate). This is the avatar's handle that you can click and drag the avatar to a new location on the Tabletop. You can still move these around if you have the avatar portraits hidden and only display the Name Plates. Regardless of who's moving their avatars around, they can only ever be placed in a spot on the Tabletop. You can't drag it atop the Tabletop Toolbar or over the Sidebar. They also will snap away from getting partially stuck under the sides of the browser window.

You can set whether the players can move their avatars or not

You can decide whether to prevent your players from moving their avatars by going to the Movable Avatar/Video Screens: Setting under the Video + Audio Chat Options heading. You can choose between GM Controlled or Player Controlled. It's important to note that when the Game Master rearranges the locations of the avatars on the Tabletop, these new positions are set on the Players' ends as well. If you set this option to Player Controlled, the Players can change the locations of their avatars, BUT it is only seen locally. One player's screen is likely to be arranged entirely differently than another's (be it GM or Player) and vice versa.

Options for re-positioning, controlling, and resetting avatar locations are only available when Roll20 WebRTC is currently selected

Beyond moving the avatars individually, you can also set the avatar portraits to either align to the top of the Tabletop or the bottom via the Player Video/Avatar Location setting which is found under the Video + Voice Heading. By default, avatars are aligned to the Bottom of the Tabletop.

The locations of the avatars will snap back to their default location if you swap back to either OpenTok or None for Video Chat.

If you ever wish to reset the avatars back to where in the beginning, click on the Reset Player Video/Avatar Location button under the Video + Voice heading of My Settings. This will file the avatar portraits/name plates either on the Bottom of the Tabletop or the Top (depending on what you have set for the Player Video/Avatar Location setting).

A Note About Splitting The Party

If you have the avatars re-positioned on the Tabletop, you're still able to drag players onto individual Pages (AKA Splitting the Party). Just make certain to click and drag on an area of the portrait that isn't the Avatar Handle on the bottom left corner. This will allow to drag the player into the Page Toolbar and assign them to a particular Page.

Muting and Volume Normalization

While video/voice chat is active, other players in your game will have a volume slider overlay located at the bottom of their portrait. This allows you to adjust the volume of each individual. Instead of a volume slider on your avatar, you'll find a mute button. You can use this to mute your mic if you don't have the physical means for it on your microphone itself.

Mic Input Indicator

Between the user's Nametag and Avatar Portrait (or video footage, if broadcasting that as well), is a small bar that lights up pale blue when a player begins speaking into their microphone. This blue bar expands and contracts with the wavelength of what is picked up from the mic. This is the "Mic Input Indicator" and it should help Voice-Only games determine which user is speaking at any given time during game play.

Push to Talk

You can enable Push To Talk capability with Roll20 WebRTC. You will first need to enable "Use advanced keyboard shortcuts" under the My Settings tab of the Sidebar. Once enabled, the Tilde Key(~), will control your microphone's broadcast. Press and hold the Tilde Key for the duration of what you wish to speak to your fellow gamers in-game. It's important to note that Push To Talk functionality only works while the browser tab currently running the Roll20 game is currently focused on your device.

Whispering

This is a player broadcasting Voice Only with the GM hovering their mouse over the Whisper Player button.

Another feature unique to Roll20 WebRTC is the ability to whisper directly to a single player in the game (Presently only the GM has this ability). When Voice is active, a chat bubble icon is available for the GM on the upper right hand corner of the avatar's portrait when you mouse over it. This icon is the Whisper Player button. Click on this button to toggle on whisper mode. While the whisper icon is enabled, the other members currently in the game who aren't in on the whisper will have their avatars grayed out to demonstrate that the GM is holding a private discussion with the other player. This appears on the whispered player's side as well. Likewise, those players not in on this private conversation will see the GM and the whispered player grayed out to them. The group not privy to the whispered conversation can still talk among one another like usual. Everyone's avatars and Voice feeds will return to normal once the GM toggles off the Whisper Player button.

Video/Voice Bandwith Options

You can adjust the video/voice bandwith with Roll20 WebRTC. If you have a user who is working with a slower or limited connection, you can drop the bandwith to a less taxing setting. The drop-down menu for this can be found right underneath the Chat Tech menu option of the Sidebar (if Roll20 WebRTC is currently selected). There are four bandwith settings to choose from: High, Medium, Low, and Very Low. The bandwidth rates scale depending on how many players are currently in the game.

Video Only Broadcast

With Roll20 WebRTC enabled, a new option appears in the I want to broadcast to others: and I want to receive from others: drop down menu–Video Only. This will only display the video footage of a webcam and ignore all microphone input.