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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus WallyTrooper's Avatar
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    Time for some comms discipline?

    This could be long, so:

    TL;DR:

    Awesome work over the last year experimenting with comms but isn't it a bit unrealistic to think we'll ever get the comms nailed without any comms discipline? Comms discipline doesn't mean no fun at all, doesn't need to kill the banter but does require some consideration and mild effort. I think it's worth a try. Discuss.

    Long version:

    First of all, hats off to the all (and in particular to EsotericReverie) for the incredible effort, ingenuity and thinking that has gone into making mumble work better for us and for having the perseverance to try new systems. I'm genuinely impressed with everyone's efforts on this front and I think they've yielded real benefits for us. Thank you. The following suggestion of having comms discipline does not imply that I think any less of the work on mumble and different comms set ups. I just think we might have exhausted what we can do with mumble and it might be time to try attacking this issue from another angle. Flanking it, if you will.

    Now, please, indulge me by reading my unnecessary metaphor:

    Imagine that Mercedes wanted to build the perfect car but they noticed that having the driver distracted by having to focus on the road meant that he wasn't so much able to join in the banter in the car. Worse still, when some of the giraffes in the car (ultimate cars are designed for giraffes, obviously) started throwing popcorn and balloons around inside the car the driver sometimes got disgruntled and posted veiled criticisms of the passengers on the internet. So Mercedes went to the ends of the earth trying to make a car where the driver didn't have to pay the road any attention at all. Much experimentation followed which resulted in some awesome nights but a few car crashes and frustration. Mercedes still haven't quite cracked it.

    Now replace "Mercedes" with "a bunch of keen amateurs". Any surprise that the driver-less car project still isn't complete?

    As far as I'm aware every organisation in the world that uses radios professionally also has some form of radio discipline. This doesn't mean that they all use the British Army system (whatever that is) but they generally have agreed signals for "your turn to speak now" and "this is important" because there are no visual cues to convey those meta messages. Why would the same not apply to us?

    My proposal:

    Let's have some light comms discipline for a week or two and see how it goes. Basic ground rules that I think would help us with pretty much any mumble set up:

    1. Respect when people say "break break" - that means shut up immediately.
    2. Once you've said "break break" let people know when to recommence bantering by saying "all clear"
    3. Only use "break break" when it's necessary - requires judgement but generally urgent field reports wouldn't make the grade. This is PS2 so there will always be people shooting at us, we will always be losing bases, there will always be enemy sunderers and maxes. Try using "break break" when you're the RO, SL or PL and you can't communicate with someone who's trying to communicate with you. Overuse makes the whole "break break" thing pointless.
    4. When we're fighting think twice before beginning your story/joke/musing - some fights are low intensity and you can describe your killstreak in real time. Other times not so much. Think before engaging mouth.

    There's loads more we could add to our comms discipline but this is pretty light weight and, I think, would help a lot with everyone's enjoyment. How about we just give this a go for a week or so?
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    Yeah, we need to be a bit more mindful of how we use our comms, that's for sure.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Cephas's Avatar
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    This is essentially what I was getting at in the Thursday Lessons thread. I agree thoroughly.
    There's no use in having an over engineered Mumble system when the main issue is discipline on the comms.

    Two points I'd add
    - Brevity would go a long way. If it's tactics related - think about what you're going to say before just vomiting your words everywhere.
    - Personally, at no point do I need to hear a blow by blow commentary of what someone is doing. Unless you're David Attenborough in which case please continue. Even phrasing can go a long way "I just got shot by a Reaver" goes from being a cool story bro to something useful if you say "There's a Reaver flying over the north end of the base covering A".

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Ksempac's Avatar
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    I say it won't work.

    Granted I'm a pessimist, but this outfit lives on banter and discussion. Having people follow their PL's orders is a much less controversial issue, and we barely manage it.

    It's not that people don't respect break break. It's simply that we like joking, discussing, etc. We even have PL/SL who love talking, sometimes in unending monologues. We actually pride ourselves on having TACGIR squad that still manages to have jokes and discussions. In the casual platoon people starts discussing when things are clear, and then they keep at it when it's hot.

    If we were a militaristic outfit, where we value efficiency above all else, we would be able to do it. See SWAT 4 teams for an example of that. But PS2 RPS isn't that at all (whether it's a good thing or not is a personal opinion)

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus WallyTrooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksempac View Post
    I say it won't work.

    Granted I'm a pessimist, but this outfit lives on banter and discussion. Having people follow their PL's orders is a much less controversial issue, and we barely manage it.

    It's not that people don't respect break break. It's simply that we like joking, discussing, etc. We even have PL/SL who love talking, sometimes in unending monologues. We actually pride ourselves on having TACGIR squad that still manages to have jokes and discussions. In the casual platoon people starts discussing when things are clear, and then they keep at it when it's hot.

    If we were a militaristic outfit, where we value efficiency above all else, we would be able to do it. See SWAT 4 teams for an example of that. But PS2 RPS isn't that at all (whether it's a good thing or not is a personal opinion)
    Responding early to avoid the misconception that seems to be going on here. For clarity:

    COMMS DISCIPLINE DOES NOT MEAN
    * NO BANTER
    * NO JOKES
    * WE START PRETENDING WE'RE IN THE ARMY
    * WE'RE PRIORITISING EFFICIENCY OVER ALL ELSE


    The whole point of a bit of comms discipline is that it allows us to have banter without completely sacrificing efficiency. Sometimes we are completely inefficient and we get beaten back at every turn. The banter might be awesome but if I'm repeatedly losing I'm not having fun and I might be better off just bantering whilst I play a single player game.
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  6. #6
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    Brevity, respecting 'breaks' and identifying yourself when using command whispers are all super important.

    Not sure if I should bring this up in the mumble discussion thread or something, but since we seem to be moving back towards the traditional split comms system, is PL isolation still a problem? One of the issues seems to be, if all command chat is brief and to the point, the PL will be having a really boring time. They also won't have anyone to discuss tactics/suggestions with. Perhaps using a PL crew as standard would help with cross-comms discipline, by allowing the PL to discuss and banter without messing up cross-comms, as well as give terse, serious orders when needed.

    PL batmen/crew idea attributed to Grible, I just think it sounds good.
    Last edited by Rizlar; 16-08-2013 at 10:24 AM.

  7. #7
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    Is it possible to set the comms so that say platoon orders auto mute all the other chatter? Sort of like the in game voip functionality?

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gmaz View Post
    Is it possible to set the comms so that say platoon orders auto mute all the other chatter? Sort of like the in game voip functionality?
    I hope so. I've been asking for that for months.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    It is possible and it was trialled for a period. It was decided against being used.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    You can set someONE to be "priority speaker". Then whenever they talk, all others are pushed down to 50% or 20% volume or whatever it is. It's on a person-basis, rather than the much desired channel-basis, and it comes with a couple of downsides. Personally, I rather like having my PL as prio speaker when I ran as RO, but some people didn't have ROs and for them it was a really serious problem not being able to hear their squads.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus WallyTrooper's Avatar
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    Driverless car designer 1: "Maybe if we stuck an enormous bouncy ball on the front the car would just bounce off stuff it hits?"

    There are some suggestions about mumble creeping in here. Please can we take those over to one of the many mumble threads. They may be fine suggestions but I think we could really benefit from a proper discussion about how we use mumble in addition to the many conversations we've had about how we customise mumble.

    Edit: Apologies for the slight snarkiness, I couldn't help myself. Really happy to see more discussion of mumble set ups but would also like to see discussion of how we use the comms.
    Last edited by WallyTrooper; 16-08-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    Point taken.

  13. #13
    Activated Node HexPen's Avatar
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    I don't think I play consistently enough to have too much of an opinion or right to discuss how the comms are organised, I thank my lucky stars when I get a chance to play with you fine ladies and gentlemen. However, one minor niggle is the lack of precision when information is passed over mumble. For example:

    "Spawn beacon is down"

    What does this mean? Has our spawn beacon been placed or destroyed? Alternatively, has an enemy spawn beacon been destroyed?

    Just adding enemy or friendly when giving updates and using some more diverse language other than "down" would be great.

    Hopefully not a tangential point.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus WallyTrooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexPen View Post
    I don't think I play consistently enough to have too much of an opinion or right to discuss how the comms are organised, I thank my lucky stars when I get a chance to play with you fine ladies and gentlemen. However, one minor niggle is the lack of precision when information is passed over mumble. For example:

    "Spawn beacon is down"

    What does this mean? Has our spawn beacon been placed or destroyed? Alternatively, has an enemy spawn beacon been destroyed?

    Just adding enemy or friendly when giving updates and using some more diverse language other than "down" would be great.

    Hopefully not a tangential point.
    Definitely not a tangential point. Similar examples:

    * confusion over waypoints and beacons
    * confusion over friendly and enemy sunderers (I encourage people to always refer to friendly sunderers as busses but it didn't catch on)
    * lack of orientation - calls for "enemy max coming in" only mean something if we all know where it is

    Getting more reliable at exchanging these bits of info means we can save on the follow up comments ("where?" "from the north" "north of what?") which frees up the comms for more banter.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by EsotericReverie View Post
    You can set someONE to be "priority speaker". Then whenever they talk, all others are pushed down to 50% or 20% volume or whatever it is. It's on a person-basis, rather than the much desired channel-basis, and it comes with a couple of downsides. Personally, I rather like having my PL as prio speaker when I ran as RO, but some people didn't have ROs and for them it was a really serious problem not being able to hear their squads.
    I really like Mumble, but it's still in desperate need of TeamSpeak 3 equivalent transmit and "channel commander" features. When I played EVE Online, having the alliance command talking over the rank and file was quite a useful thing.

    Back on topic though. As long as people can provide clear, concise and *useful* information when talking to the squad channel about in-game events and that others respect the need to be quiet when said important information is being relayed, then unless you're doing TacGir, it really doesn't matter what kind of fun/banter/bullshit is happening the rest of the time.
    Last edited by Towneh; 16-08-2013 at 01:52 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexPen View Post
    I don't think I play consistently enough to have too much of an opinion or right to discuss how the comms are organised, I thank my lucky stars when I get a chance to play with you fine ladies and gentlemen. However, one minor niggle is the lack of precision when information is passed over mumble. For example:

    "Spawn beacon is down"

    What does this mean? Has our spawn beacon been placed or destroyed? Alternatively, has an enemy spawn beacon been destroyed?

    Just adding enemy or friendly when giving updates and using some more diverse language other than "down" would be great.

    Hopefully not a tangential point.
    Saying "Spawn beacon down" may be perfectly acceptable within the right kind of context. For example, if the squad leader just asked "can someone please take out the enemy spawn beacon" moments before.
    Last edited by Towneh; 16-08-2013 at 02:03 PM.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus EsotericReverie's Avatar
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    Using positively/negatively charged words might do the trick:
    - "Spawn beacon available" (our beacon is available)
    - "Spawn beacon lost" (our beacon was lost)

  18. #18
    Activated Node HexPen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Towneh View Post
    Saying "Spawn beacon down" may be perfectly acceptable within the right kind of context. For example, if the squad leader just asked "can someone please take out the enemy spawn beacon" moments before.
    Totally, absolutely I agree. This is not a one man assault on the word "Down". It's just we have all these other words such as deployed, destroyed, placed, obliterated, demolished, shining its beautiful purple light for the glory of Vanu etc., which are less ambiguous.

    It's not all about spawn beacons either, it's about getting useful information out in the shortest time possible. In fact in my previous sentence I'd argue the toss about not using deployed and destroyed as they can sound somewhat similar. However, I'd be against an "approved" set of words as I feel this is against the ethos of Rock Planet Shotgun. Perhaps what I'm trying to get at is getting people to think what they're going to say before they start talking. See if the phrase makes sense to anyone who isn't 100% sure where you are, which way you're facing or what you're doing.

    I've found myself guilty of this sort of thing "Sunderer east of <checks map to see where he is>... um... uh... Deepcore Platinum" Is it friendly or enemy, is it really east (I have a problem with east and west) and why am I clogging up the mumble channel when I don't even know where I am?

  19. #19
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    When i hear 'spawn beacon down' i always assume that the squad beacon has been destroyed, unless someone else mentioned an enemy beacon close-by.

    spawn beacon up is what i'd expect to hear when it's deployed. is that weird?

  20. #20
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    Think the only way to improve clarity of reports is to consistently bring it up when someone has been unclear. Possibly explain why it was unclear, give a better example; 'alpha beacon is up', 'enemy sundy north of base'.

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