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Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness

Vale announces that today's new Steam update adds Skype's SILK audio codec for voice communication, offering what they call a "significant" improvement in sound quality over Steam's previous voice technology, at the expense of a little bandwidth, as SILK's dynamic bitrate ranges from 8-30 kbps versus the fixed rate of 15 kbps for their old codec. Word is: "Steam chat with SILK is now also automatically available for all games that take advantage of the Steamworks Voice API. Valve's own Portal 2, set to release in mid-April, uses this newly updated system to enable voice chat in its cooperative gameplay mode."

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11. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 18:13 Rockn-Roll
 
Whose Vale? I thought ValveSoftware developed Steam.

TF2 voice chat has always been superb but Steam chat has always been poor. I thought it was just a problem with the response latency of the Steam server and a low bandwidth resolution for the data stream as well as poor settings on the clients as well as poor impedence matching of the microphones to their audio hardware. It sounds like SILK is going to allow the bitrate to drop to half what it was originally or under some undisclosed conditions doubled.

This might be an improvement...under unspecified conditions, but I don't see how that is going to help solve the latency problems or poor settings on the clients or poor impedence matching. If valve wants to improve their voice communication then they need to sample the audio signals for cut-off and noise and provide a signal generator to test the settings and provide feedback to the client and let them know if their microphone is not the proper impedence...it's not rocket science.
 
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10. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 15:56 KilrathiAce
 
This is great news, now all games that use steamworks and use its voice api get automatic upgrade.  
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9. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 15:56 elefunk
 
Techie714 wrote on Mar 22, 2011, 14:38:
So this wont work with Battlefield:BC2 but it will work in TF2, right?
If you use voice chat directly in BC2, of course not since BC2 only uses Steam for some distribution. None of Steamworks APIs.

But if you spin up a voice chat session through Steam chat rooms in the overlay and just so happen to start playing BC2, then the Steam chat will use the new codec.
 
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8. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 15:30 PHJF
 
Back when I was regularly playing NS, there was always a guy around named Protoss.

Guess what he sounded like.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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7. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 15:28 Cutter
 
Licensing issues aside they should have vocal sfx so you can sound like Soundwave, a Cylon or Stephen Hawking when you speak.
 
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6. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 15:22 bhcompy
 
What was it previously? Why not go with SPEEX since it doesn't have licensing issues?  
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5. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 15:14 necrosis
 
Techie714 wrote on Mar 22, 2011, 14:38:
So this wont work with Battlefield:BC2 but it will work in TF2, right?
Steam chat with SILK is now also automatically available for all games that take advantage of the Steamworks Voice API.
 
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4. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 14:38 Techie714
 
So this wont work with Battlefield:BC2 but it will work in TF2, right?  
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3. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 14:31 ^Drag0n^
 
That could only be done tying in with a game using the steamworks voice API. The external voice program would have no means of determining a players position relative to another otherwise. Even then, it would involve work by the developer to integrate the voice data into the sound engine for the individual title...

Great idea, though. Just tougher to implement than it appears on the surface.

^D^

This comment was edited on Mar 22, 2011, 14:42.
 
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2. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 14:25 CommunistHamster
 
How about tying this in with locational voices too?  
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1. Re: Steam Voice Chat Gets SILKy Smoothness Mar 22, 2011, 14:23 ^Drag0n^
 
SILK. Pretty SLIK.

^D^
 
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