Roger Wilco

Roger Wilco is a product of Resounding Technology, which was acquired a few months back by HearMe. The website URL is still www.resounding.com however. Among this program's outstanding features are its ease of use and incredibly tiny download size--just 350K for the current beta. We're using a slightly older version, Mark Ia, but changes since then are minor. You must register to get a "key" so Roger Wilco will operate more than 15 minutes at a time, but registration is free. An alpha-test Mac version is also available.

We've used Roger Wilco to play Quake II, Quake, and ZDoom for several months. Hosting a session requires just two mouse clicks. Other folks can join you by hitting "Join" and entering your IP address. Voice quality is great considering its low bandwidth consumption. We can FTP zipped files at 2.6 kilobytes per second while conversing--an impressive feat considering we connect at 24000 or 26400bps.

Getting Roger Wilco working the first time wasn't easy. Bryan had to buy a new sound card, and we both had to install upgrades for DirectX and our sound drivers. Still, getting voice-over-IP software to share the hardware with games is inherently tricky; we probably would have had to do the same upgrades for any of the programs reviewed here. To get ZDoom working, we also had to add the following text to Roger Wilco's games.txt configuration file by hand:

"" "ZDOOM*" 1 3000

I had trouble benchmarking Roger Wilco because its "test" feature doesn't play and record simultaneously. Adding together the results yields about 35%, which may be correct since FPS rates in games, especially ZDOOM, drop discernably--though not unacceptably--when we talk. And it's probably significant that our voices break up horribly when playing games unless we select Roger Wilco's option to use a high priority level. Even then, there's still breakup once in a long time. Bear in mind that our computers are pretty minimal by today's standards; newer systems will probably have no difficulty satisfying Roger Wilco's demands for CPU time.

Our biggest complaint about Roger Wilco is its unreliability on our computers. When Bryan first launches Quake II, he sometimes hears my voice start to repeat like a broken record, and nothing short of rebooting his computer will silence it. And sometimes in the middle of a game Bryan's voice disappears, and I must exit Roger Wilco and reconnect to him to restore it.

Such events occur perhaps every other evening of gaming. Roger Wilco is certainly a good, usable program, but its instability on our computers was just annoying enough to make us wonder if there might be something more reliable. We began our search with TeamSound.

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