[MUD-Dev] [TECH] Voice in MO* - Phoneme Decomposition and Reconstruction

amanda at alfar.com amanda at alfar.com
Thu May 23 10:14:37 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Mike Shaver <shaver at mozilla.org> wrote:

> While that's true in a cocktail party situation, I find that it
> isn't as true in a conference call/speakerphone situation.  I'm no
> sensory theorist, but I suspect that it's at least partially
> related to the loss of spatial cues, which make it easier for the
> brain to "demux" the different audio streams.

That's part of it, but there's another aspect that is a problem for
MMO systems of any sort: latency.

You think lag is annoying for driving a character around; lag in
conversations, especially variable lag, disrupts many of the
turn-taking cues.  This can result in other people seeming rude
because they "won't let you talk" unles you know what's going on.
Anyone who's done long-distance videoconferencing has probably
experienced this.

A 1-2 second lag in text chat is basically unnoticeable.  A 1-2
second lag in voice conversation will bring things to a screeching,
confused halt.  In this respect, the half-duplex, push-to-talk
"walkie talkie" style of voice communication may actually work
better on current networks than the continuous, spatially cued
"cocktail party" approach.

Now, on a LAN, this is not a major issue--but for the general
Internet case (even with high bandwidth players), latency can be a
very squirrelly problem.  I'll note here that the successful "voice
over IP" efforts that use the Internet (as opposed to dedicated
connectivity) are the ones like Roger Wilco that don't pretend to be
a telephone call--rather, they are closer to ham radio.

> Games today are certainly able to do spatial audio stuff, but
> unless the listening player has a very finely tuned setup, I
> suspect they're going to lose a lot of "spatial resolution".

Audio rendering (like graphics rendering) is likely to be less of a
problem than simply keeping things in sync.

Amanda Walker
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