Anyone who’s ever played video games as a kid remembers the awesome feeling of getting together with your friends and having a blast. Everyone would pile up together on the couch, grab a controller, fight over who got to be player one, and then the fun would begin! Whether you were throwing blue shells on Rainbow Road and dodging bananas, or piling into a Warthog together and zooming off at the speed of light, everyone agreed that playing games together as a group was the ultimate way to enjoy these classics. You could discuss house rules (No one can play Oddjob! Final Destination only!) or enjoy some friendly banter during the whole game, and even improve your skills by discussing tactics and going over what went wrong. As technology advanced, this play style evolved into the “LAN party”. Dozens of people would truck into a gaming centre, internet cafe, or spacious basement, set up a Local Area Network, and boot up some multiplayer classics to go head-to-head or work as a team. DreamHack, an event in Sweden, once connected over 12,000 systems together for online play. As technology marches forward, it can seem as though these days of playing with your best buds in a comfortable setting where you can jeer or cheer at each other have come and gone. More and more games restrict the ability for local multiplayer or local area networks, preferring that you join a faceless online network to play with strangers. This way of playing may be more convenient and its far faster to get a game going, but what about spending time with your best friends or even meeting new ones? Where has the sense of community gone? If you wish you had a way to talk to your friends and hear their real time reactions to your killer head shot or the delicious agony over a total shut out in Capture the Flag, you’re not alone. Luckily, there’s a solution: Mumble. What is Mumble? It’s a voice over IP (VOIP) application meant to solve these woes and connect gamers from around the world.
Why is Mumble Good for Gamers?
Mumble is a program designed for gamers, by gamers, and the results can be fantastic when used with games that require heavy communication and dialogue. What is Mumble especially good at? It’s the best program to use for cooperation and teamwork in games that require blisteringly fast reflexes or a strong team that can withstand any challenge. If you’re going after Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2, trying to build a community of survivors in Day Z, or want to take down the biggest and baddest bosses in the entire World of Warcraft, then you’ll want this handy voice chat client on your side.
Are you more of a competitive gamer? Are you the type who gets an adrenaline rush every time you spot an enemy on the map? Or the sort of player who is only happy with their score when they top every other player by a wide margin? What are Mumble’s strengths for these sorts of players? The ability to work with your team and pull off new feats that you wouldn’t have been able to without allies at your back or an extra set of eyes keeping guard. You can get instant criticism or praise for your biggest plays, and correct bad habits before they start. Players who want to master a game will notice that Mumble is their biggest tool in their climb to the top.
How Do I Use Mumble?
Here’s how it works: Mumble is designed so that anyone can download the client for absolutely free and have it running on their PC in minutes. Once users boot into the program and enter a server, they are run through a quick calibration exercise to ensure that their sound levels are at the right volume and they can be easily heard by other users. Once the user has completed (or skipped) the calibration exercise, it’s time to use the program! Players have a choice between using an existing server, be it a small one meant for a group of tight knit pals, or one of the sprawling community servers that can host hundreds of people run by prominent online communities like Something Awful or Penny Arcade. People looking for a calmer and more tight knit experience can try simply hosting their own server. A Mumble server, also known as a Murmur, has ‘rooms’ within the channel that can be re-named for special purposes. One room might be labelled “Starcraft 2”, another “League of Legends”, a third “Raid Night WoW”, and then the last one being “Chat and Hang Out”. Players join the appropriate channel to meet up with their team before plunging into the game together.
What is Mumble’s Interface Like?
The Mumble experience has enough customization to satisfy gamers of any experience level. You can have an overlay over your game that shows what channel you are in and who is currently speaking. This is ideal if you’re joining a twenty five man raid full of people you’re not entirely familiar with, and you want to know who is speaking. You can discard this option if you’re playing with your friends to reduce screen clutter. Playing a competitive First Person Shooter like Call of Duty or Battlefield? You can add a plug-in that will give you positional audio of other players, meaning their location will influence how you hear their voice.
Is Mumble Good for Every Gamer?
If you’re not interested in any of these advanced options, you might be wondering what is Mumble’s draw for less experienced gamers. The user interface is incredibly straight forward; you won’t have to worry about wading through menus or staring at a list of options that seem identical. Users can enjoy high sound quality without having to worry about latency interfering with their games. Mumble is open-source software, so it’s always being improved by the community, and there are plug-ins available to users who wish to further improve their experience. It’s also cross-platform; a PC gamer, a Mac user, and a Linux fiend can all play a rousing game of Team Fortress 2 together on the same server. If you’re worried about your privacy, you can rest assured knowing that the communication is encrypted.
Is Mumble’s Voice Quality Clear and Reliable?
Chatting on the Mumble client has many strengths: First of all, it’s crystal clear, and volume can be adjusted in seconds. Whether you want to crank up your shy friend or turn down your team’s loud mouth, you never have to stress about another player’s volume. Secondly, there’s instant feedback. Other voice chat clients like Ventrilo have a noticeable pause between one user speaking and another user hearing. When you need your healer to move out of the fire pronto, this is a huge problem. The interface is also slick and easy to read, so there’s no confusion or miscommunication at a critical moment.
If you long for those days of playing on the couch with your friends or attending a local LAN party, you might be feeling a little morose. Mumble is a program meant to take the best parts of those experiences and allow you to share it with people from all around the world in any game of your choice. This voice chat client is great for communities and groups of friends, and whether you play competitive frag fests or cooperative quests, you’ll find that this voice chat client can suit your needs. Try downloading Mumble to experience it for yourself!