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Party games with video chat in the time of quarantine

We tried family Jackbox last night over Zoom. Lessons:

  1. Set the “safe for kids” mode unless you want to see Grandma draw

  2. Set the “extended timeouts”; most Jackbox games have some toggles labelled as “recommended only for streaming games”; this is what they mean it for. Latency for the web apps will be high.

  3. Turn down the volume, at least for music & sfx. Zoom’s sharing of the sound from the game is much much louder than the voices.

Every household needs one device to run Zoom & see the “main screen,” optionally another for video chat close up. Every person needs a device to run the client web app. The host needs a real computer to run Jackbox + Zoom, sharing the screen. We used the Steam Link app to get the main screen on an apple TV. That had its own problems: audio feedback with the iPad in the room (also on the Zoom chat) was minor, but the use of the Apple Remote as a trackpad was nearly impossible.

For next time, I guess I’ll try adding a Steam Remote to the AppleTV—maybe its trackpad will be more usable. But maybe it’s a protocol issue with getting fine grained trackpad support through an AppleTV, and I’ll have to move a hardware Steam Link (sadly discontinued) down there.

tech, games