Teamspeak 3 is the current standard for voice communications while playing Steel Beasts. Teamspeak is voice over IP software that allows users to communicate with each other. Teamspeak may be downloaded here: http://www.teamspeak.com/ After downloading and installing Teamspeak you will need to add the Steel beasts Teamspeak server information: IP 184.108.40.206 and port 9987. There is no need for a password to enter the server or most of the channels. See this helpful wiki entry Teamspeak:Logging in
Teamspeak is straightforward to install in most cases. A new user usually has to set a "push to talk" or transmit button in the settings menu. Users may also choose a sound activated method to transmit, where the microphone sensitivity is adjusted to begin transmitting when the user begins speaking. Both methods are used, however, using a button to transmit appears to be the most popular method as it prevents unwanted transmissions caused by external sounds or the need to adjust the sensitivity based on the level of ambient noise around the user.
Once connected to the SB Teamspeak server, a new user is categorized as unregistered or anonymous. A user may become registered by a Server administrator, identified by the letters "SA" behind their login name. Being a registered user allows a user to send text to other users and post text in channels.
It should be noted that the Steel Beasts Teamspeak server exists to allow people who want to talk about and play Steel Beasts a place to meet.
The Steel Beasts Teamspeak server is divided into many different channels, including a Lobby, In Game, a scenario design help channel, a free fire zone, and channels used by various virtual units. Some channels may require a password for entry.
The Lobby is generally the first channel a user enters upon initiation of Teamspeak software. Users are free to discuss nearly any subject matter in the lobby. No games are allowed to be played in the Lobby'' due to its primary use as a "welcome center".
In Game channel is the primary channel for use when playing Steel Beasts. It has two channels associated with it: In Game Blue, and In Game Red. Players from each team go to their respective channels, which allows private communications within each team.
Sce Design Help channel is the channel used by players to offer and request assistance in designing scenarios and particularly with logic in conditions, events and scoring.
Free Fire Zone is the channel meant to be used for chat about most any subject, so that the lobby isn't full of chatter which may put off new visitors. As always language is meant to be kept child friendly, but ... it is the free fire zone.
Many established virtual units and also a couple bands of proven disruptive individuals, have their own permanent channel, some of which require a password for entry, which the units theoretically use for their own SB related activities. Special events such as online campaigns are given a permanent channel for the duration of the event for use by the organizers and participants.
Registered Users may create their own temporary channels, which will terminate when the channel becomes empty.
There are several user privileges in the Teamspeak server. Some users are Server Administrators and will have the letters SA behind their name. These users may create channels, register new users, remove and ban troublemakers from the server, and handle other activities related to keeping the server running smoothly. Other users are channel administrators and can perform many of the same functions, the administrators privileges are restricted to that channel. Most users get registered soon after they begin using the Steel Beasts Teamspeak server. Registered users can enter the server address, the users screen name and password into Teamspeak. Teamspeak:Logging in Registered users may post text and links, into a channel, and may send private text messages to other users.
Their are very few rules for users of Teamspeak. In general, try not to talk when someone else is talking, especially if you do not use a headset, as the sound of another user coming from the speakers will be retransmitted by your "open" microphone causing an echo effect which makes further conversation impossible. This is sometimes done intentionally to stop someone from speaking, most often when they are being irritating.
During the game phases, Assembly area, Planning phase, Execution phase, and AAR, Etiquette becomes more important.
The Assembly Area
In the Assembly area phase, conversation flows freely in Teamspeak and in text within the game as, aside from choosing your vehicle, nothing much of importance is occurring.
The Planning Phase
The planning phase is a time where the CO is evaluating both the terrain and the briefing and is also creating map graphics in order to formulate a plan of execution. This process is not instantaneous and can take quite a while depending on the size of the scenario. There are many etiquette rules that subordinate users, and new users especially, should abide by:
- Read the briefing. There is nothing worse than a user who cannot be troubled to read the briefing because of ADD, general sloth like laziness or some other "special condition". At the very least, all users should skim the briefing for useful information and should always read any notes since they usually contain specifics or technicalities that apply to the basic function of the scenario. An effective CO should definitely go over the basics of the plan as stated in the briefing, but users still need to read the briefing to ensure that you are aware of the details.
- Minimal disturbance should be made to the CO user. Again, there is nothing worse than a user asking "what's the plan?" or "what do you want me to do?" while the CO is working away at map graphics and attempting to digest the briefing while other users are sitting around with their thumb in their anal cavity. If you are desperate for something to do, read the briefing, or ask the CO if they would like you to add reference point labels to the map.
- Avoid striking up lengthy conversations about the usual nonsense during the planning phase since it distracts the CO from digesting the briefing. Generally speaking, if you have nothing productive to add to the briefing then just LISTEN or use this time to go to the 3D view (F1) and look over the terrain (this is called leader's recon in the real world).
- Avoid drawing nonsensical graphics on the map itself. If you are a budding Picasso and you cannot help yourself, then draw map graphics in the white space boundary off the edge of the map.
- Assist the CO where possible. This can be done by naming key locations on the map such as road junctions, towns, roads, hill tops or any other notable feature. This will provide reference points for direction and will save valuable time and possibly afford more time to discussion.
- Avoid directly challenging the CO's plan, tactical competence, or intelligence level. That is certainly not to say that advice and/or suggestions should not be offered. When offering advice, just think to yourself, "Self, how would I like to be addressed if I were the CO and had been creating a plan for 15 minutes?" In other words, avoid ever helpful comments (sarcasm) such as "this plan sucks", or the ever popular "this is a stupid plan". Instead of useless and abrasive remarks, offer suggestions prefaced by "can I offer a suggestion?" The CO has taken on, or has been stuck with, extra responsibility and should at least be afforded the respect for that extra responsibility. The fact of the matter is, one initial plan is usually just as good as the next; the real issue and test of leadership always coordination, teamwork, adaptation and flow of information, not that the plan must be a created by a manifestation of Sun Tzu.
- If a CO is indecisive in his initial plan then do not become a usurper, tactfully prod the CO for decisiveness until a definitive course of action is decided upon. Some COs may discuss and think out loud and others may ask for so many suggestions that the overall plan becomes unclear. By asking the CO what the core plan is, this will ensure that the CO restates the plan in a clear, concise, and decisive form.
- Ask questions. If it is not clear what you need to be doing during the course of the scenario or if the commander's intent is unclear, then by all means, ask away! It is far better to ask for clarification than it is to wander around the map aimlessly and become the resident Blue Falcon.
- Follow the plan. Even if you do not approve of the plan, follow it anyway. As mentioned, feel free to provide tactful suggestions to the CO but in the end it is HIS CALL. If you have brilliant tactical ideas or visions that you think are not being fully realized, then you need to take the reins as CO in the next available scenario and try your hand at it: otherwise, shut it and follow the plan. As the US Army says, every good leader must also be able to be led.
- Don't be an Monday morning quarterback. If the scenario ends and the CO's plan failed miserably then don't abrasively critique and chastise him about it in the AAR. Again, if you are so brilliant to come up with a plan that never fails then take the reigns of the CO in the next available scenario and put your infallibility to the test.
- Help out those who are trying their hand at being a CO. Do not censure, especially if the user lacks CO experience. Seeing the CO take severe criticism or condemnation discourages others from giving it a try.
The Execution Phase
This is where the scenario is actually played out. Idle conversation is not encouraged. As in real life, try to keep communications clear and short, so the channel remains clear for others to use when needed. A recent TGIF transcript from a Teamspeak recording provides an example. As the Blue commander is trying to relay information about a newly found Red threat at the climax of the battle, one Blue team member sent the following transmission: "Nyaaah iying (unintelligible) nyop 1/3/Charlie nnnnyeng something is shooting at mmmmmm something nyaah nnnn and something is shooting at it" That transmission took almost 9 seconds, didn't get any relevant information about anything to anyone, and blocked out the Blue commanders transmission by the echo effect. No one minds a user sending information about their vehicle or unit status or a tactical development, however during critical periods of a battle, a short sentence will often suffice. "Tanks, map, North" lets other users know there is a new tank contact posted on the north side of the map, and if it is relevant to them, they may want to check the map view for tanks.
The user should consider whether other users really need the information the wish to convey. Users have enraged many on their side by tying up Teamspeak by listing every item of damaged equipment on their vehicle, at the height of a battle while others are desperately trying to get battle related information out to the other players.
The AAR Phase
The AAR is another phase of the game where conversation flows freely. Observations of the battles events and alternate courses of action are discussed. Blue and Red usually remain in their in game channels and discuss events amongst themselves for a few minutes, and the both teams usually gather in one channel to discuss the scenario with each other.
Multi-Channel Battle Nets
Copied from an excellent post by Tarball, PhD.
This is meant to assist those who will take Battalion or Company command positions and utilize the new Team Speak multi-channel system.
The purpose of the new system is to provide one radio net to company and battalion-level commanders and also place players in respective Company rooms. Therefore, there is also a company net in addition to a battalion net.
TeamSpeak, our comms software, is well suited to facilitating the arrangement described above.
Here you can see what the TeamSpeak rooms for Blue and Red look like presently:
You'll notice some player names are in red. These players are known as "channel commanders" in the TeamSpeak software. The purpose of the "channel commander" role is to create a subnet within the larger channel and subchannel system. All of the Battalion and Company commanders would take the "channel commander" role.
You make yourself channel commander by selecting this option through the "self" menu.
Once this has been selected, your green icon will become steady red. When your icon is red, you are a channel commander! Okay, now how will that help you?
Creating Whispers to Communicate with other Channel Commanders
The way to create two independent battle nets (Battalion between commanders and a sub-channel for those in the same company) is to use the "whispers" feature of TeamSpeak.
Do the following to create a whisper to other channel commanders (that is, of course, if you are a battalion or company commander):
1) Select Settings -> Key Settings from the TeamSpeak menu
2) When the Keybindings Dialog opens up click the "Add" button.
3) You will see the following dialog
Use area (1) in the screenshot above to select the keys you'd like to use for the "whisper." Select the action as indicated in areas 2-4 above. Ensure that the key combination you select is not any key combination used within Steel Beasts or Teamspeak.
You should now be ready to use the TeamSpeak whispers and channel commander features to effect a commander's battalion comms net outside of the company sub-channel.