Dec 1, 2008

Using Gaming Tools for Improved Communications

I haven't tried this yet - I'm more curious than anything else as to your opinions.

I use Ventrilo (a VOIP utility) for gaming quite a bit and I never seem to get the voice glitches that Skype & Live Messenger seem to get. It's low on CPU (important when gaming) and high on sound quality – a pretty good mix in my book.

Since I regularly have up to 6 way conversations with it, I was then wondering how well it might work for remote software development teams. I can imagine an arrangement where everyone would run Ventrilo during the day and could chat with the rest of the team at any time they needed. They could also use the push-to-talk feature so that background noise wouldn’t be coming through all day long, and because it's so low on CPU usage it wouldn't affect the all important activity of software compilation :-)

So, do you think it would create a better sense of connectedness between team members? Do you already do something like this in your remote teams? Or am I just day dreaming here?

Opinions welcome.


  1. I used Ventrilo a lot for online gaming a few years ago. But I have used skype more this last year, I haven't experienced any problems with it and I think the sound quality is very close to what ventrilo offers.

  2. You know I have to say I've had this same idea myself many times, and have looked into it and getting none gamers to use a gamer tool like ven is not very easy. Many people aren't interested and many just you IM. Whic I think is funny as IM is to VoIP as Mail is to Email I think.

  3. We frequently use table tennis or foosball to work out personal issues within the team - does that count? ;D

  4. It all depends. If your team has access to a common VPN; or your company has access to a internet-facing server then a game VOIP package (I personally use Mumble) is probably a good first option.

    However, small companies might not have these luxuries and so having Skype/Messenger host your VOIP sessions is obviously the only route to go.

    On top of this, chances are customers wouldn't be able to access your VOIP server if it's a non-standard one (I don't think our customers would appreciate us asking them to install Mumble ;)).