Mumble – the open-source group voice chat software designed mainly for online gaming

Mumble is a VOIP (Voice over IP) application which allows users to speak on a chat channel, as in a telephone conference call. It was designed for gamers, who use the software to communicate with other players in the same multiplayer game.

Mumble is a relatively new arrival on the VOIP scene; it has been around in a stable form for about a year, at the time of writing. It takes advantage of newer technologies, such as sound quality and low latency, removing the noise from the audio input.

It is a cross-platform product which is free and open source. It is integrated with the game software in a customisable game overlay so that as well as hearing the other players, you can identify which is speaking. It supports advanced voice activity detection and will record conversations if set up.

To start you must set up the Mumble Server, called murmur, which features secure communication and full extensibility.

We think this is a product with a bright future. It looks easy to work with on the face of it, but running into difficulties is unnerving. It has live support team contact available. There is some technical support from community forums, and there looks to be a wish list for future development. It looks and feels like a product that is on its way up and it will be interesting to see if it develops for usage outside the game arena, but first it needs to grow new functionality, to include things like a user database.

Download Mumble for WindowsDownload Mumble for Mac

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Xfire – an instant messaging systems for gamers

My oldest son is 6, and he’s turning into quite the gamer. Without being able to read well at all, he was able to complete Pokemon Silver on his Nintendo DSiXL, much to the surprise of me and most of the Geek Squad at the local Best Buy. We don’t have a an X-Box360 or PS3 in the house yet, as most of the games that you’d want those consoles for aren’t age appropriate for my boys. They also don’t have a gaming class PC available to them…yet. However, for those that do, you really want to check out Xfire. It’s a must have gaming utility for Windows

Xfire is the kind of gaming utility that you were wondering would make its way on to the internet a decade or so ago, it’s that cool. With it, you find the games you play. It then tracks how long you play them; and allows you and your friends to find each other so that you can play together.

Once you finally hook up, you can use Xfire to coordinate strategy, strikes and game play. You can chat with other Xfire users, as well as your friends on AIM, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger without exiting the game. If you have a hoard to command or are trying to coordinate a multiplayer strike against the enemy, you can bring your friends into a group chat. Best of all, you’re not confined to texting or IM. If the situation requires you to keep your hands on the controls, you can bring everyone into a voice chat and bark orders without a hit to performance or ping.

Read full review | Download Xfire

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Get in touch over email, IM, or a call with Google Talk

You know…Skype is the thing. It really is. The Jetson’s video-style chat is something that many people have been dreaming of as the standard M.O. for voice communications for the last 50 years. Now, thanks to the Internet and to those tools like Google Talk, it’s now possible; and it really doesn’t matter what platform you’re using. Google has a communications solution for you.

Unified communications is one of THE buzz words of the coming year. Google is doing its best to provide most everyone with the single best way to communication with family and friends and they are hoping that their Gmail and Google Talk combination are the key to that success.

With Google Talk, you can IM and voice chat with friends, family and just about anyone with a Gmail address or Google account.

With Talk’s text chat, you can send instant messages, make status updates, and transfer files. With voice chat, you get free PC to PC GLOBAL, long distance calling, and can hold an video conference with multiple parties all at once. All you need is Google Talk, a Gmail address and a web cam at each end point. Even if someone is missing a web cam, they can still participate either via audio only or one-way video

 

 

 

Read full review | Download Google Talk

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TeamSpeak 3 has been released

Extremely popular around the MMO gamers, TeamSpeak is a VOIP application suitable for voice communication via the Internet. TeamSpeak is created on a platform that offers a client-server architecture where client and server software is clearly separated. This means that the server product runs as a dedicated server, rather than peer-to-peer. In this way the TeamSpeak server software is literally capable of handling thousands of simultaneous clients or users, which results in an Internet-based teleconferencing solution that works for a repertory of different applications such as an alternative to conference calls, cutting long distance telephone costs, or just as a method of personal communication with friends and family.

TeamSpeak 3 is a complete rewrite in C++ and continues the legacy of the original TeamSpeak communication system previously offered in TeamSpeak Classic (1.5) and TeamSpeak 2. Therefore the voice quality has been significantly improved through new codecs, advanced noise reduction and echo cancelation. Also the latency has been significantly lowered compared to TeamSpeak 2 and other voice communication software solutions. Besides the obvious improvements, TeamSpeak 3 comes with a fully integrated 3D sound support which allows spatial placement of sound effects and audio streams. This creates the illusion of a sound source being placed anywhere in three dimensional space, including behind, to the left of, to the right of, above, or below the listener. No special hardware is needed. Simply use your headset or 5.1/7.1 speakers to enjoy spatial sound.

With TeamSpeak 3 you can now connect to multiple voice servers at once. This can be controlled by using “tabs” similar to what is found in most web browsers. In this way you can  administer or participate in multiple TeamSpeak 3 Servers from a single interface. In addition, support for multiple audio devices and outputs over simultaneously connected servers is also available. Preferred servers are now stored as bookmarks, similar to your favorite web browser. TeamSpeak 3 was designed with cutting edge hardware in mind. Thus, it will have full support for the latest G-keys from Logitech in addition to other currently unannounced hardware manufacturers.

Another intersting new addition is the Friends/Foes list. When a friend or foe is added, the TeamSpeak 3 Client remembers your friend or foe’s unique identity regardless of whether they change their display/nickname, and regardless of what server you’re connected to. TeamSpeak 3 allows you to assign a custom nickname to your friends and can play a custom sound event when your friends come online. TeamSpeak 3 also tracks your friends/foes “last seen” date and allows you to permanently mute/ignore your foes.

In order to complete your social experience, Teamspeak 3 features file transfers.  Depending on your permissions, you can recursively upload or download files on a per-channel basis or into a common folder tree. All files are stored directly on the TeamSpeak 3 Server. Users no longer need to worry about how to setup FTP or mess with complicated firewall issues or other file sharing solutions. TeamSpeak 3 makes this automatically.

download TeamSpeak 3 for Windows | download TeamSpeak 3 for Mac

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