In today’s flight sim world, communication is vital. This is true whether you and your damaged recon are trying to get home alive as you desperately fly down in the weeds on Wargrounds or whether you are trying to round up some teammates to sally forth into the wild skies of Aces Falling. Very true! That is what the in-game chat is for! you might think if you are anything like me when I first started. I still think that way – somewhat. Chat is better than simply no communication at all, and it fills the need fairly well. That given however, aren’t there times when chat seems to be more bother than it’s worth? We’ve all seen these sorts of chat streams before:
Chat user for Allies: ”Hi everybody! So what is going on toda-”
[Kill message appears]
Baron von Richthofen shot down Chat user.
Chat user has been killed.
Chat user for Allies: “Argh! Death by typing!”
Or what about trying to help out the guy who needs to reprogram his joystick settings over the chat? This becomes both time-consuming and frustrating…not to mention your spelling and grammar goes down the drain as your time on chat extends longer. Isn’t there a better way to do this?
That, my friends, is where Teamspeak comes in!
Teamspeak is a program that works rather like your telephone does. You punch in the desired server IP address, and voila! you are able to talk to whoever else is on that channel. As Teamspeak continues to grow in popularity, it is a good idea to be familiar with it and to know how to use it. In fact, one common question ROF squadrons ask of potential recruits is “Do you have teamspeak and a working microphone?” Well never fear! After reading this article, even if you’re not exactly a technological wizard, you’ll know all you need to know to get started with Teamspeak. Ready? Here we go!
NOTE: Since I am only familiar with Windows operating systems, I am only going to cover how to run Teamspeak from Windows platforms. Sorry Mac users.
ANOTHER NOTE: To help readers, I've included screenshots in my article. If you want to have a closer look at any of them, simply click to enlarge.
Installation and Initial Setup
First of all, you are going to need a microphone that works with your PC. You can have one that either is a standalone mic or one that is attached to a gaming headset. I would personally recommend the Creative Fatal1ty gaming headset. I own 2 of them that my brother and I use for Teamspeak and we have not had any issues with these little beauties. You can get them for about $25 each on Amazon.com:
Next, you need to go to Teamspeak’s webpage to download the program. Click on the link below to go there:
Once you’re there, look under Windows and find the two download links “Client 32-bit” and “Client 64-bit” and download the correct one for your computer.
NOTE: If you don’t know what bit system you are running, go to your desktop. Hit the “start” button (the windows button), right click on “computer” and select properties. A page called “system” will pop up with information about your PC. (You can also find this page by simply typing "system" into the search bar of your start menu.) There you can find whether your system is a 32 or 64-bit operating system as shown in the photo below:
bit type system.png 33.95KB 4 downloads
After downloading and installing Teamspeak Client, right click the Teamspeak desktop icon and select “run as administrator”.
NOTE: Always remember to run Teamspeak as administrator. This fixes problems such as no one being able to hear you speaking when you are in-game.
After you have opened Teamspeak up for the first time, you will see an interface that looks like this:
Teamspeak overview.png 28.75KB 1 downloads
Since this is your first time with Teamspeak, a popup window like this should also come up:
TeamspeakNewSetup1.png 33.61KB 4 downloads
Here, you can set your nickname. This is the name that will be displayed whenever you enter a channel. For simplicity’s sake, it is best that you use the same name that you use in-game. (I.E. since my multiplayer handle is “JG1_Hotlead_J10", that is also my teamspeak nickname.)
After you’ve put in your nickname, the next thing you'll want to do is configure your microphone settings. On the toolbar at the top, click “settings”. A drop-down menu will appear. Select “options” from this menu to open up the options interface. Once you are there, select the "capture" tab on the lefthand sidebar menu. You will then see this screen:
TeamspeakNewSetup2b.png 34.75KB 3 downloads
Here, you can choose either “voice activation detection” (the microphone is always on), "continuous transmission" (like "voice activation detection, only much more sensitive), or “push to talk” (the microphone is only on when you push an assigned hotkey). I prefer “push to talk” because then I am in control of what other people on my channel hear. If you are using “voice activation detection” then whatever happens in your room other people on Teamspeak will hear: door slams, washing machines, you sneezing… you get the picture.
You can select any hotkey you want to be your “talk” button. You can even assign one of your joystick buttons. As you can see, I have V for “voice” assigned.
NOTE: If you follow my setup and use “V”, then you will need to reprogram the bombsight button in ROF, since that is by default also “V”. If you don’t, then every time you push your hotkey in ROF, you will be taken to bombsight view. Not much fun lol.
TeamspeakNewSetup3.png 35.25KB 0 downloads
Once you’ve selected your push to talk hotkey, you have the option to test your microphone. As shown in the screenshots above, simply hit the "begin test" button in the middle of the menu, then hold down your hotkey and test speaking into your microphone. You should hear yourself on the speakers and see the sound bar responding to your voice. If nothing happens, then there’s something wrong with your setup. One common “oopsie” is to have the mic on your headset switched off. On my headsets, there is an “on/off” switch for my mic. Often the problem will be something as simple as me forgetting to turn it on.
Finding and Connecting to Channels
Now that you have all the basic settings done, you are ready to connect to a channel!
Teamspeak connect to channel.png 11.99KB 0 downloads
On the toolbar at the top, click “connections” and then select “connect”. A window will appear where you can put in the IP address of the server you are trying to connect to. There is also a smaller box to the lower right where you can put in a password, if the server requires one. After you have put in the required information (make sure you typed the IP address and password correctly!), hit the “connect” button on the bottom.
Teamspeak sub channels.png 58.48KB 0 downloads
Often, Teamspeak channels will have sub-channels. Switching which sub-channel you are in is simple. Just double-click the sub-channel you want to enter and you will be moved there.
Once you’ve got Teamspeak up and running, you can launch ROF (or whatever game you are playing) and you should still be able to hear people in your channel talking.
ROF audio settings.png 243.45KB 2 downloads
NOTE: One thing I have found out is that when you are flying in ROF, the noise of your plane’s engine can drown out anything your teammates try to say over Teamspeak. The solution to this annoyance isn’t complicated. All you have to do is turn down ROF’s in-game volume. To do this, go to “options” and select the “audio” tab. I have my in-game volume set to about 5%.
ANOTHER NOTE: When I first started using Teamspeak, I was under the delusion that if I had started ROF already and wanted to use Teamspeak, I would have to first exit out of ROF in order to launch Teamspeak. This led to some awkward conversations over chat…
Teamspeak user: “Hey do you want to hop on TS with us?”
Me: “Can’t just yet…in the middle of a sortie.”
Teamspeak user: “?”
The truth of the matter is, you can access Teamspeak even while ROF is running! All you have to do is hit “Alt + Tab” and you will be taken back to the desktop, where you can start and run Teamspeak normally. After this is done, you can just click the ROF icon on the bottom toolbar of your desktop to re-enter the game.
And that is all you need to know to get started with Teamspeak! If you have any questions, feel free to post them below and I will try to help.
HotleadColdfeet (JG1_Hotlead_J10 online)