Using the Overlay
Overlays show you who is speaking, by overlaying a bit of text on your screen. Ever used the Steam browser whilst playing a game? Similar idea.
Mumble has a very good and customisable overlay built into it. I find it extremely stable and less crash-prone than all of the ones available for Teamspeak 3 and other competing VOIP clients, but your mileage may vary.
Go to configure, settings and check the box in the bottom left labeled “Advanced”. Then select the Overlay tab on the left. At the top of the screen, make sure Enable Overlay is checked. First, go to the Overlay Exceptions tab. I’d recommend putting it on whitelist mode and adding the .exes you wish to use it with manually. Fig. 2A illustrates this process. Whilst it is very stable, the overlay can still cause conflicts with some systems/games. The number one bug-fixing tip is to turn off the overlay!
Fig. 2: Various useful overlay settings
Next you will want to fine-tune the positioning and contents of the overlay. Return to the layout tab and use the red pin to drag the target position of the user list to somewhere convenient. It’ll probably take several attempts to get it just right. If you’re playing with a large group, you may wish to only show people who are currently speaking. To do this, click on the list of names (not the pin) and go to Filter, then click on “Only talking”, per Fig. 2B. Right click the user list again, then go to edit. I like to use the settings shown in Fig. 2C, which removes the black boxes and user icons but leaves the text and mute status intact. Make sure you apply appropriate settings to all of the States!
As well as dis/enabling certain display elements, you can click on the ones shown on the screen and drag them around to rearrange things. Finally, before closing the Overlay Editor window, left then right click on the text (e.g. Talking) and go to font. I find that size 20 verdana is nice and clear at 1900 x 1200.
You find yourself in a subchannel and wish to transmit to people in other subchannels. It is dark. You may annoy another user.
Rock Paper Shotgun (Unofficial) VOIP Server
}----+ Arma 2
| }---+ Blufor
| | }---+ Alpha
| | | } Nullkigan
| | }---+ Bravo
| | | } Bodge
| | }---+ Charlie
| | } President Weasel
| }---+ Opfor
| }---+ Alpha
| } Joseph
}----+ Alien Swarm
| } Washington
Fig. 3: Example user layout
Let’s say that Nullkigan (in Blufor Alpha) wishes to send a message to Bodge (in Blufor Bravo) – perhaps because his squad needs some fire support. He’s happy for President Weasel (in Blufor Charlie) to hear the request, so Charlie can stay clear of the danger zone, but don’t wish to alert Joseph (in Opfor Alpha) because he’s the target of the fire mission. Nullkigan also doesn’t wish to annoy Washington, who is playing an entirely different game (in the Alien Swarm channel).
To do this, go to Configure -> Settings -> Shortcuts. Per Fig. 4A, click the Add button, then click “unassigned” and use the drop-down list to select “Whisper/Shout”. Select data. Click the box with the ellipsis (…) inside. Select “Shout to channel”, then scroll to the bottom and find the “Parent” entry. Additionally select “whisper to subchannels”. Click OK. Select “shortcut” and press the button you wish to use as a shortcut for whispering. Then check the box marked suppress if you wish to prevent other applications from receiving those key presses whilst mumble is running (warning: if you suppress “o” and leave mumble open, your important emails will come out funny!).
Fig. 4: Setting up whisper lists
Now to return to our example. If Nullkigan hit his whisper key he would transmit to: BluFor (Alpha’s parent), Alpha (which he is in), Bravo (a subchannel of BluFor), Charlie, but not Opfor, Opfor’s Alpha subchannel, or the Alien Swarm channel.
If he had selected “root” instead of parent, all channels would receive the whisper. If he was in Blufor when he tried this, Alpha/Bravo/Charlie would get the whisper, but so would Arma2 (Blufor’s parent), Opfor (including Opfor Alpha/Bravo/Etc), and so Joseph would hear him. If he was in Arma2 and tried this, people in Alienswarm and other games would hear him, as the parent would be the games channel, and all game channels are subchannels of it. So only use this type of whisper when in an appropriate subchannel!
Advanced Whisper Lists
Consider the previous example of calling a firemission from another squad, and all other squads on my team being able to hear and react to this. Sometimes this is not desirable; what happens when we have 20+ players who are all shouting at people in other squads? Do I have to listen to that fool in Alpha when I’m just a grunt? The solution is Group Restricted Whispers.
In Fig. 4A there is an option called “Restrict to group”. If we enter #mytoken here, only people who satisfy the conditions of the whisper list (i.e. in an appropriate nearby channel) and also have the mytoken access token can hear the whisper. Note that when restricting to group, you need to at a # in front of the token, but you do not need to do this when adding the token to your client to allow you to hear these whispers.
To add an access token, go to Server->Access Tokens->Add at the main screen.
I recommend the use of an access token of “cc” for Command Circuit chatter. This lets squad leaders and mission commanders communicate without drowning out or annoying fireteam members. Anyone can listen to these messages by adding the cc access token to their client, and removing it prevents you from hearing it. It does need a seperate key for transmissions, but this is easily set up by following the above guide.