CHATTING ABOUT CHAT UPDATES

CHATTING ABOUT CHAT UPDATES

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Howdy, ya’ll! It’s Jack again, and I’m here to talk to you about updates to the chat system that are heading your way soon.

Communication is a cornerstone of any multiplayer game, and it’s even more important in a world like Crowfall® where the system is designed to make players interdependent on one another. Chat is used to buy, sell, and trade; find groups, coordinate attacks, and warn your faction of nearby enemies; find friends (and foes); and so much more. Our updates to the chat system make it more visually appealing in 5.7 and lay the groundwork for more exciting changes in the future!

HELLO, VIVOX
The chat system from earlier versions through 5.6 is one that we made in-house. It serves its purposes, but it isn’t scalable and misses some key features that most folks who are familiar with MMORPG’s expect (namely all variety of custom channels). Enter Vivox, a third-party chat system with the scalability and features we’re looking for along with seamless integration. (This integration also aligns well with us implementing zones because Vivox doesn’t care what zone you are in, it only cares what channels you are in.)

The first iteration of our new chat system is a visual overhaul and integration with the Vivox service. The functionality of chat remains much the same (updates to that are coming soon), but you’ll notice it’s more streamlined and you’ll see some familiar default chat tabs: General, Zone, Me, and Group.

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General is your global chat, and contains all chat traffic coming in to you from all subscribed channels. Zone is zone-specific chat; this is where you’ll see chatter from friendly players in the same zone as you. It fills the places of the current Faction tab, with the addition that it will only include players who share your zone. Me is all chat directed specifically at the player, including whispers and alerts. Finally, Group is created when you’re added to a group and acts as a private channel for the people in that group.

MORE OPTIONS IN THE FUTURE
In addition to the visual update, there are some quality of life features on the way, too.

There will be a row of icons that will allow you to customize your chat experience by toggling on and off things like chat tab notifications, a quick-access friends list, and a settings menu.

TABS AND CHANNELS
You’ll also have the ability to create new tabs and channels in your chat. These custom chat sections have several different options at the time of creation, including the ability to change the tab's or channel's name or color and enable or disable additional game messages.

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Right now, tabs and channels are one and the same. In the future, they will be split into two systems that interact with each other. Tabs are what you see in the screenshots (General, Zone, Me, etc.) Channels will be the actual content that goes into that tab.

For example, you could create a tab called Raid Time. In this tab, you could select to view the Group and Zone channels. The text from both Group and Zone would feed into the Raid Time tab, allowing you to view the messages from both without swapping tabs. The text will be color-coded for ease of organization. Begin typing your message with the slash command associated with your targeted channel (e.g. /group) and when you press the spacebar, your message will be sent to that channel only.

This is a great way to organize your communication between different groups of people without it getting lost in the chat feed of your other tabs.

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CUSTOMIZING YOUR CHANNELS
Within your channels, you’ll have a lot of options for individually adjusting them. As you can see in the screenshot, you can set moderators, see who’s online in the channel, add and remove people to individual channels, and more! Clicking on a player’s name within your channel will bring up the same options you would see when using F to interact with that person.

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EASE OF USE
Along with these new commands and new options for specifying which channel you want to talk to, we also plan to implement an autofill option. Start typing with a forward slash, and a series of autofill options will appear, allowing you to quickly cycle to the command you’re looking for.

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You’ll also have the ability to drag tabs out of the main chat box and place them anywhere on the screen in their own window. These new windows can’t contain more than one tab (but remember that tabs can contain text from multiple channels!), and they won’t have a field for text entry. However, this will be a great option for announcement tabs like the Me channel. You can also reply to the channels in that tab by using the slash command in the main window’s chat box.

Going back to our previous example, you could pull out your Raid Time tab and tuck it above your main chat window. This would let you see the announcements from raid leaders and, if you need to reply to anything, you can use the appropriate slash command in the main chat window (“/group Ready to move out!”) and see your reply in the Raid Time tab.

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We’re really excited for the options available with Vivox integration (as well as bringing our chat up to what most players expect)! Allowing you to customize your chat experience means you can set up communication just the way you want, and it makes connecting to other players even easier.

Let us know what you think in the discussion thread.

Until next time!
Jack Kirby
Utility Infielder, ArtCraft Entertainment

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