MadCast: Scooba

Web Host Change and Discord Trial Run

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The SFM+ team has been hard at work evaluating the support, costs, and benefits of our community resources.  Mainly our website and VOIP server.  We have always wanted to provide the best possible experience while keeping the cost of resources to a minimum.  The source of this discussion stems from some glaring website issues and the lack of support from our provider needed to correct them.  We've elected to move to a new web host with the ability to fully customize settings currently unavailable to us.  This decision did not come lightly and was debated heavily.  Ultimately we agreed that a fully functional site was something not worth compromising on.  This decision comes with a rate increase.  We began to evaluate all of our costs to see if we could minimize the rate increase without sacrificing quality.  The community had already done most of the leg work on this for us as luck would have it.  Many of you showed interest in the use of Discord as a VOIP option.  We setup a server and began evaluating the quality and options Discord provided.  While Discord is still developing as a VOIP provider it has shown great promise.  While development is ongoing with Discord there are a few features that our current VOIP server provides we would have to give up.  Features such as creating sub-channels and advanced admin options.  Many features like the ones mentioned are listed being in development.  While the progress of Discord is noteworthy we weren't quite comfortable cutting the cord on TS3 without a trial run on Discord.

 

That brings us to the climax of this post.  Migration will begin this weekend and that means some down time for both the website and the TS3 server.  We are going to use this as an opportunity to give Discord a true test run with the community.  Beginning right now we are encouraging you to join us in our Discord server.  You can join one of two ways.  Clicking the invite link below will automatically connect you through your browser however we highly recommend downloading the client for premium sound quality and access to all the features.  We will be running an extensive test using Discord as our main VOIP server for the next few weeks.  If at any time we are dissatisfied with the service provided our TS3 server will stand at the ready (once it has been migrated).  Member feedback is encouraged so that the SFM+ team can make an informed decision on our future VOIP provider.

Non expiring Discord invite:   https://discord.gg/0xxFSJbQ24SMc30D

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Post trial notes:

We have gathered enough information over the last week or so to conclude the trial.  We thank all of you that took the time to provide feedback to help us make an informed decision.  Based on public feedback in this thread as well as internal admin feedback we have decided that we will remain with Teamspeak.  The general consensus is that 'Discord isn't quite there yet'.  Based on feedback related to UI performance, lack of permission options, various connectivity issues, and the glaringly obvious inability to create sub-channels and compartmentalize groups we've elected to to keep Teamspeak as our standard VOIP provider.  As Discord develops we will monitor and evaluate the possibility of adopting it in the future.  

This decision comes with a small price increase.  The upgraded web hosting mixed with the decision to keep Teamspeak will increase our monthly costs by $7.02.

The TS3 server has a different IP address.  The new IP address ts3.madcastgaming.com

Everyone is welcome to move back to TS3 as of right now

Again we thank all of you for participating and providing feedback during this trial.

 

Edited by MadCast: Scooba
Trial wrap up notes

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If you're uncertain about how to do this, hop into TS or Battlenet early and we'll help you get Discord set up.  

We're using it for ARAMS tonight at 9!

Edited by MadCast: Angelix

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So far it seems pretty seamless.  I am wondering if the RFMS and SFMS will miss the functionality that was previously available.  Is there a list or proposed work arounds to get us similar functionality to what we had on TS3?

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I've been using Discord for a while now. It's constantly in development adding new features! Discord plans to have 1 on 1 and group calls privately soon™ along with many other additions such as announcement stickies, message history search, and Two Factor Authentication. I think it's a great tool for online gaming communities, and it's a great experience to have compared to the prior VOIPs available. I'll be around on it, cuz I'm constantly on it anyways for SimsVIP!

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23 minutes ago, MadCast: Kit said:

I've been using Discord for a while now. It's constantly in development adding new features! Discord plans to have 1 on 1 and group calls privately soon™ along with many other additions such as announcement stickies, message history search, and Two Factor Authentication. I think it's a great tool for online gaming communities, and it's a great experience to have compared to the prior VOIPs available. I'll be around on it, cuz I'm constantly on it anyways for SimsVIP!

Are you from around here?

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I think it's worth noting that Discord users should run the program as administrator if they want it to function well.  I had some issues with it not recognizing my push to talk button about half the time until I ran it as admin.

I'm not sure if that would have fixed the issue that Khaos was experiencing the other night, as I haven't asked him if he was running as admin.  He kept getting dropped from Discord during our D&D session.  I run it as a program from my computer, rather than using the web browser... not sure how he was running it.  I'll ask him later.

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Discord is one of my favorites plus it will help me get to know people more that don't play the games I play.

For those that haven't figured out how to change your nickname on a specific channel just right click your name in the user bar and click "change nickname"

Another tip, if you're in multiple channels you can move your channels around now. So since MadCast is the best and it happens to be at the bottom of your list. Just click and drag it to the top!

One suggestion, the current icon is a little dark with the grey sidebar, it might be a good idea to change the icon to a white background with the MadCast logo for better visibility. The sidebar color stays the same when you're either in dark or light mode.

Edited by MadCast: Emaxxy
Figured out how to change nickname on channels!

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18 hours ago, MadCast: Sotarkadin said:

Are you from around here?

Where am I? Who am I? When am I?

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Hello Folks, 

With the weekend having come to a close I wanted to reach out and see if we have decided to continue to test the Disco VOIP application or if as a community we are reverting back to TS3?  Has there been any discussion or recommendation on which way we are planning to proceed?

Thanks!

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On 5/21/2016 at 10:35 AM, MadCast: Scooba said:

That brings us to the climax of this post.  Migration will begin this weekend and that means some down time for both the website and the TS3 server.  We are going to use this as an opportunity to give Discord a true test run with the community.  Beginning right now we are encouraging you to join us in our Discord server.  You can join one of two ways.  Clicking the invite link below will automatically connect you through your browser however we highly recommend downloading the client for premium sound quality and access to all the features.  We will be running an extensive test using Discord as our main VOIP server for the next few weeks.  If at any time we are dissatisfied with the service provided our TS3 server will stand at the ready (once it has been migrated).  Member feedback is encouraged so that the SFM+ team can make an informed decision on our future VOIP provider.

Non expiring Discord invite:   https://discord.gg/0xxFSJbQ24SMc30D

The original post answers that question, as shown above. If you have feedback, leaving it in this thread is encouraged. We will use that feedback in making the decision as to how to proceed.

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If im honest, im really not sold on discord. the primary reason for that is the UI.

for context, i personally keep my comms open in full screen on one of my side monitors, naturally it is very important to me to be able to make out information at a quick glance, and i feel that discord lacks very heavily in that regard. the gray on grey apperance leaves little to no contrast and makes it quite difficult for me to quickly read the channels and users ( i am aware that they have a light theme, but it inexplicably only effects the chat portion, and not the channels) a problem which is exacerbated by the lack of structure that the channels have overall, there are no subchannels,  no descriptions, and an exceedingly large font that means that i can never quite fit the whole server on screen (again it makes it difficult to gather information at a glance). Overall the chat seems to take precedence in the UI and it overall just doesn't have the same instant recognizability that a clear text based UI like teamspeak does.

when i mentioned the lack of channel descriptions, I really think this takes away from the user experience as well. channel descriptions had a few key uses, firstly it included the number of clients (great for easy setup of events / inhouses etc) and  a location to store pertinent information (links to streams, or game connect links / passwords etc). while it is mostly just an inconvience i still miss having it.

at the same time, the design overall feels very floaty, in that the various buttons and such lack the right feedback, unlike the very recognizable windows .NET forms style that teamspeak uses. a more minor gripe, but i do think it counts.

The sound quality appears fine, as does the connection, but the UI, and design decisions tank for me.

as a final note, while this may not apply to me personally as i already have discord installed for outside purpouses, a lot of users are very accustomed to teamspeak, and use it regularily, and so transitioning over to discord is less of a change in software and more of an ADDITION of software, meaning that instead of having 1 voip tool installed, now many people will need to have two, and switching back and forth is a hassle on top of the storage space taken up

while i do think discord is a great alternative to teamspeak in the context of a small group of people, perhaps a group of RL friends, or a CSGO team. I dont think it is well suited to large scale use in a community the size of MadCast with several different branches, maybe that will change as development moves foreward, but as it stands, Discord just feels like discount teamspeak, a bit worse but without the cost.

 

EDIT: I should also note that this is not an issue of i need to take time to get used to discord. i have been using discord for several months with various starcraft 2 communities including everything from casting and streaming, to setting up and hosting clan wars of 10 players and up to 35 spectators, to simply daily voip driver use. I have plenty of experience using discord, i just dont find it fits my needs as a voip service.

Edited by MadCast: MasterWonton

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6 hours ago, MadCast: Scooba said:

A reminder that we encourage feedback during the trial period.  

As my fellow collegue has said; for everyone who has a positive or negative opinion about Discord, please with obvious tact, state them in this thread. So SFM+ can use the data to figure what's best for our community based on everyone's opinion. I like, actually we all like to hear from most of you of what you all think.

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I absolutely dislike Discord. I have even used it before MadCast tried it. It has its place for small gatherings where you have less than 20 people but if you get more than that it turns to chaos. I know that this may not be a concern in the future but having no sub channels kills Discord. Having 40 people online with relatively no control over channel organization is horrible, it looks like an awful mess compared to TS.  I am having an impossible time getting people to switch over, and when they do everyone finds it unnecessarily complicated and gets super frustrated. People in MMOs don't like using it and it will affect our growth. Everyone I have talked to finds it clunky and hard to use.

MadCast does not gain anything from using Discord, it puts a barrier up for people who want to be on VOIP.

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As much as I enjoy using discord I have to agree with Quanta. I don't feel it meets the needs of a group the size of MadCast. The channel navigation and the lack of a text chat being tied to specific voice channels can make things confusing for people trying to hop on and play with a specific group of people.

I also understand where Emaxxy is coming from, though. TeamSpeak is very segmented and it's very easy to find the people/channels you are comfortable in and stay there. Discord seems to give more commonality to the chat, but I think TeamSpeak allows for that as well, but only full members and above are allowed to use it, and it's mostly reserved for announcements rather than as a forum for conversation.

If, collectively, MadCast decides to use Discord I think it can be made to work, and I understand the fact that it being a free service makes it very attractive, but I think TeamSpeak is better suited to a group as large and diverse as we are.

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Assuming that the issues I had the other day with push to talk not functioning 100% were just a one off due to not having logged out of Discord for 15 hours, or were due to me not using administration rights to run it, I have no issues continuing to use Discord.  I don't really notice a difference in sound quality or latency.  I'm not really fussy when it comes to voice chat though.  I just want to be able to speak to other players, and Discord does that. I think the Discord devs have the right idea for the most part and i suspect they will continue to polish it and give it more options as time goes on.  I'm also frugal, so it makes sense there too.  The only real issue I had was chat rooms not existing on a per channel basis and even that doesn't really bother me now.

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So far I have had nothing but problems with Discord. To my 60% crash rate when opening the program to my mic ceasing to work and the super confusing gui. Also it confuses me with its completely jumbled and unorganized arrangement of chat bars and and channels half the time I feel like I'm in the wrong channel. I've noticed that we have had a lot of issues with all the star wars people and i think the frustration has caused some member to stop participating in our voice chat and its hurting our numbers and community. Its gotten to the point I'm thinking of either not joining discord anymore or just getting a cheap ts server for a few people for star wars because I cant stand it any more.

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I never used TS until I joined MadCast, so I downloaded that and learned enough basic information in order to become a part of the community.  If it had been Discord instead of TS, I would have learned that one, instead.  From my own perspective, either service would have been new to me, and I'd have learned either one to be a part of MadCast.  In fact, Discord auto-configured my push-to-talk correctly, whereas TS caused me issues when I first downloaded and installed it.  Again, in order to be a part of MadCast, that issue wasn't enough to deter me.

I'm still not proficient with Discord and am tweaking settings (or trying to learn where to tweak certain settings).  The only downside I currently see is creating subchannels for different HotS games, as that was very important during different dojos and in-houses in the past.  Otherwise, I believe it'll be fine from my perspective as I get to know it better. 

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Thanks for the continued feedback all.

35 minutes ago, MadCast: Pretolkos said:

  Again, in order to be a part of MadCast, that issue wasn't enough to deter me.

As someone who enjoys reading everyone's experiences  with MadCast post joining, this was a very heartening line to read Pretolkos,

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i actually preferred TS3. i dislike not being able to make a subchannel directly within the channel im in, and my mic seems to have really shitty sound quality in discord...everyone complains about it where as i never had that problem before. i also dont like how discord is always running in the background if i dont close it from the tray. i also really like having text chat for each channel, and not just one big one, i dont even use the big one because most things i want to type/link are directed at the people im directly talking to, and might be spoilers etc.  I honestly would love it if we went back to TS3.

Edited by MadCast: Danhat

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