Developer Blog
Whispering Gets an Overhaul in TS3
by Florence on May 29, 2009
In our latest developments, TeamSpeak 3 gets a nice new interface to an old feature - "whispering". In TeamSpeak 2 whisper functionality is not very easy to find and configure, so many users don't even know it exists. In contrast, TeamSpeak 3 vastly improves whispering via overhauled and simplified configuration.

In case you're unfamiliar with what whispering is, we'll explain by example. Usually when you talk in TeamSpeak, the users that will hear you are those that are in the same channel as you. But on some occasions you may want to talk to a specific user that is not in your channel (without either user having to leave their current channel). Or you may simply want to talk to someone "privately" (without other users knowing). Further yet, you may want to talk to only a subset of users on your server. Whispering is required for each of these examples. With whispering, you can specify a list of users or a list of channels that you will talk to whenever you press your whisper key.

Let's dive into a more game-related scenario. Suppose you are playing a multiplayer game with 30 players on your team and everyone is logged into TeamSpeak. Imagine the chaos if all players in the same channel were to speak freely. You may have something important to say but your comments are most likely targeted to a subset of the 29 other players in your channel. Furthermore, it can be frustrating waiting for other player's babbling to come to an end so you can begin talking. Well, whispering is one possible way to work around these problems.

Next we will map out a solution to this example scenario using whispering. Keep in mind there are no strict guidelines here. Whispering empowers you to take control and target your comments to anyone else on your TeamSpeak server, so experiment and find what works best for you and your group.

In our solution, someone is needed who takes leadership of the whole party and organizes the flow, so let's call this person the Main Leader. You then have to split the players into groups of people that are likely to have a lot of information to share between each other (e.g. the crew of the helicopter, or the warrior/melee team, or perhaps the ranged offensive team, or the healer/medic team, etc.). Each of these groups will need a Group Leader. Now, to take advantage of whispering we need to create a channel for every group and each Group Leader will need to set up a whisper key to whisper to the Main Leader. To illustrate this arrangement, refer to the following image:

If you choose your groups wisely most open, default communication should be confined to relatively small, manageable groups of users talking within the same channel. But inevitably there will be situations where communication has to pass this barrier, and this is where the Group Leader comes into play. The Group Leader passes on strategic information to the Main Leader via his whisper key. Similarly, communication in the opposite direction also utilizes whispering. The Main Leader has whisper keys for each Group Leader, and then communicates directly to the appropriate Group Leader, who then passes the information on to his group.

A heavy weapons infantry player from the "offensive task force 1" group is badly wounded, and requires medical attention. He tells his Group Leader (in the same channel) about the situation. The Group Leader of the "offensive task force 1" presses his whisper key to message the Main Leader, and describes the situation. The Main Leader will then press the whisper key to whisper to the Group Leader of "medical squad 2", because he knows that they are the closest to the wounded player, and orders their Group Leader to dispatch a medic. The Group Leader of "medical squad 2" then communicates within his group's channel and asks a medic to go attend to the wounded player.

Although hypothetical, this example illustrates how organizing your team in a hierarchic fashion while utilizing whispering can be quite effective.

Ok, so what if you are a veteran TeamSpeak 2 user and you already knew all of this!? Not to worry, let's dig into what's new with whispering and TeamSpeak 3. For starters, setting up a whisper hot-key for a group of users (or channels) has been largely simplified via drag and drop. So creating a whisper list is as easy as dragging users into the whisper setup dialog box. Incidentally, one thing that makes whispering in TeamSpeak 3 much more powerful than TeamSpeak 2 is the fact that every client connection has a unique identity, which in turn allows you to create a key binding for "bob" no matter which nickname he chooses, and no matter on which server you meet him. This also allows you to drag people from your buddy list into your whisper list regardless of whether or not they are online.

The following image illustrates setting up a new whisper key binding (the right CTRL key in this case) to whisper to PeterS and Rico, regardless of what channel they are in. This is achieved by simply dragging PeterS and Rico from the main channel/user tree list view into the Whisperlist1 box.

As with other features in TeamSpeak 3, there is an easy and simple way to setup whispering and there is a more advanced way which gives you access to additional, powerful features. The advanced method is accessed via the keybinding manager (see image below).

As you can see, adding a whisper key per the drag and drop example above automatically creates two new entries in the keybinding manager which by default are configured to behave in a push-to-talk manner. Let's suppose, however, that you want to alter the behavior of activating and deactivating your whisper modes. With the keybinding manager advanced users can for example activate whisper mode when pressing the left CTRL key, and deactivate it when pressing the left ALT key. This way you would not have to keep the key pressed down all the time.

We hope you've enjoyed this dev blog. Until next time!
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