Proposal: Synchronize audio and video features across multiplayer sessions

The problem

Currently when a user interacts with an audio or video feature, no other users in the parcel will see or hear this happen. Every user has their own version of the playback. This has been fine, but it does erode the illusion of a shared world somewhat.

Another similar case is with autoplaying audio: every time you enter the parcel, the audio starts from the start but that is kind of weird and unnatural, especially if you are on the boundary between two parcels.

Proposed changes

I propose we synchronize playback for all audio and video features across multiplayer sessions.

  • If one person is hearing/seeing something in your parcel, all other visitors will see and hear the same thing
  • Autoplay audio/video will play in sync for all visitors to the parcel. Finally, that sweet drop will happen at the same time for everyone!
  • Autoplay+loop elements will provide the illusion that he sound is always playing on loop in a given parcel. It will never start from the beginning, instead just fade in as you enter the parcel providing much more streamlined audio exploration experience.

Potential issues

This will change some of the exisiting behavior of audio features and could potentially break some exisiting experience particularly when scripting is involved.

  • if you are using on grid scripts, things will continue to work as they do now
  • if you are using single player scripts, other users will now also be able to hear these sounds - if this is not desirable, I recommend you modify the audio rolloff option to tune it for a nearby user
  • if you depend on a video or audio file starting from scratch when a user enters a parcel, you will now need to take into account if the video was already playing from a previous visitor (we’ll probably add a “restart” command to scripting to help with this)

I’m keen to hear from builders that user audio features to try and preemptively deal with as many cases as possible before we deploy this change. Please tell me what I’ve forgotten to consider!!

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I really like the idea, but I was wondering, currently it’s possible for the user to stop the playback, so with the synchronization on, anyone could stop any media (by accident or on purpose) and this would affect everyone on the parcel?

Thanks @raniczny, that is a very good point, and not something I had considered.

I think that we will need to remove the option for users to stop and start audio features with Autoplay and Loop enabled.

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