Idea: Close Range Voice Chat UI For Multiplayer Video Games

The problem with voice chat in multiplayer online games is that everyone on your team can hear you. And as maps get larger and teams get bigger a new set of communication problems have developed. It becomes difficult to strategize and warn players on one side of the map when team members on the other side of the map are sharing their strategies and warnings. When you hear “ENEMY DOWN THE HALL!” or “I think there’s someone behind you.” or “ok you guys stay here”, or “follow me” you’re not quite sure who the message was meant for. Many times it’s so distracting you end up getting yourself killed because you were confused.

“Who me? Go Where?”
A strategy currently used to combat ‘who me? go where?’ syndrom is to nickname every nook and cranny of a map, every tunnel and bridge has a name so team members, whose names you also have to memorize, can yell “Enemy coming down tunnel 3!” and everyone knows exactly what’s going on. But it’s an inefficient solution, players have to memorize these nicknames and sector numbers like the back of their hand. Not to mention there are some things you can’t name: bushes, trees, etc… The small percentage of players who play with friends or clans everyday religiously might handle the memorization but what about the rest of us. Over the course of a week we meet hundreds of different people whose names we’ll never remember and only a fraction of them know the maps well enough to use advanced naming techniques. So it’s safe to say the ‘team voice chat’ + ‘name everything’ + ‘know everyone’ techniques are insufficient at allowing players to communicate properly because they’re unrealistic. No one is going to take the time to teach everyone all these names.

A suggestion: Add ‘Close Range Voice Chat’.
– If holding “C” allows me to chat with all of my team…
– Then holding “V” should allow me to chat with only those around me.

How it works:
Holding “V” on your keyboard (or whatever button you assign) will create a dotted circle around you that your whole team can see. If they are inside the circle they can hear you, if they aren’t they can’t hear you. They can move towards you to come into your circle or you can move towards them and your circle will move with you.

Now you can chat with those around you without distracting the entire team. Players warning and chatting on one side of the map aren’t distracting players on another side of the map. Now you can quickly yell “Oh shit behind us!” without everyone on your team turning around.

And now for a question:
How fun would it be if enemy players can see your circle and hear you if they are inside of it as well as talk to you if you are within their circle? I see a whole new class of spies and communication disruptors being born out of this one feature.

– Volume Icon from Interactive Media
– Screenshot from Valve’s Counter Strike Global Assault.


  1. EliSklar says:

    Great idea!

    Perhaps the guys at Valve should see this post, the implementation of this could be super easy, so even if the new Counter Strike is already at final stages, they could add this as experimental feature.

  2. Tucaaue says:

    That’s a great idea… Close range voice chat should be the norm, but enemies should only be able to listen to you if you had easy buttons to make gestures… Just like real life. Since mapping out 5-10 gestures on a keyboard for gestures would make the game more complicated, I think they should stay away from the enemy-hearing-you part.

    But yeah, close range = normal chat, press a button to yell would be awesome and can be done on PC games or even on consoles, most times there are unused buttons anyways…