The messaging app in Zwift is very useful, but there any many people that dont want to trust how well their technology is likely to last with a sweaty keyboard or screen. As a result a lot of people have started looking at TeamSpeak as an alternative communication tool during races. Guest Post by Karissa Bramhall Minn
First, download the TeamSpeak client at http://www.teamspeak.com/ and install it. Then, open TeamSpeak, click “Settings” at the top of the screen, and click “Setup Wizard.” You can choose Voice Activation Detection or Push-To-Talk.
With Voice Activation Detection, you’ll set a sensitivity level that will let you talk freely while keeping background noise from getting through. If you don’t want your microphone to record everything you say, or you notice that you’re annoying people with your heavy breathing, choose Push-To-Talk and assign a hotkey. You can use any speakers/headset and microphone that works with your computer, including the ones built into your computer if it has them. If you’ll be using TeamSpeak a lot, though, it might be worth an upgrade from your built-in microphone or iPhone earbuds to something with better quality so you can hear and be heard more clearly. Nothing fancy needed – unless you want it, of course!
Close the server list if it pops up at the end of the setup wizard – you don’t want that. Instead, click “Connections” at the top of the screen and hit “Connect.” Type “ts21.gameservers.com:9149” for the server address (there is no server password) and choose a nickname. To avoid confusion, it’s best to use something similar to how you are known in Zwift. Click the “Connect” button to join the TeamSpeak server. To save these server settings, click “Bookmarks” at the top of your screen and hit “Add to Bookmarks,” then click “OK.”
In the channel list in the left panel, you should see your name under “Default Channel.” Typically, you won’t want to stay here and chat – it’s more of a lobby area for people to sit in before they join a channel. Instead, scroll down the list of channels and double-click one to join. Some are all-purpose (like “Zwift 1,” “Zwift 2,” and “Zwift 3”) while others are meant for specific teams or group rides (like “WSR Channel”). If the icon to the left of the channel name is yellow instead of blue, and there is a padlock icon to the right, then that channel is locked and requires a password (for example, “WSR Leads”). Under each channel name is a list of who is currently in that channel. You can collapse or expand these by clicking the little triangles to the left.
To voice chat while you’re in a channel, either just start talking (if you set up Voice Activation Detection) or hold down your Push-To-Talk button while speaking. You’ll notice that the blue dot next to your name glows when you speak. If you want to mute your microphone on TeamSpeak completely, hit the microphone icon with the red “X” in your toolbar. To mute sound from TeamSpeak, click the speaker icon with the red “X” next to it. Your blue dot will change to show other users that your microphone or speakers are muted. If you try voice chatting with someone who has a muted speakers icon, then, don’t be surprised if they give you the cold shoulder!
You can still talk on TeamSpeak without voice chat, though. At the bottom of your screen should be two tabs, one with the server name and one with the name of the channel you’re in. If you click the channel tab, you can use the text box below to type a chat message to everyone in that channel. Please keep in mind that many people aren’t looking at their computer screen! It’s also possible to create a private chat. Just double-click the name of the person you want to send a message to, and a new tab should appear. When you click once on someone’s name, you can see some information about them in the right panel.
If one person in a channel is a lot quieter or louder than the others, TeamSpeak will let you adjust that person’s relative volume. This setting will stay the same each time that person logs on from the same computer. To do this, right click their name and select “Change Volume.” You can also block someone from the right click menu – or add someone as a friend, which will cause the TeamSpeak voice cues to identify the person as “Buddy” instead of “User.” To manage your contacts (friends, people you’ve blocked, and people whose volume you’ve adjusted), click the icon with two people in your toolbar.
When you need to step away from the computer, you can let people know you’re away by clicking the gray sign icon in the toolbar at the top. Your blue dot will change to an away sign. Click the button again to show that you’ve returned. If you right click your own name, you can change your name or add/change an avatar. Please keep it clean!
Nathan Guerra is the server admin and has special powers, which you can see when he’s online by the “S” icon next to his name. He also has his own set of channels, and while he is there he will also have a “C” icon. Nathan says requests for channels are welcome, and requests for admin privileges (as needed) are welcome from regulars and people he knows. He can mute, kick, or ban you, so make sure that you thank him and Vision Cycling profusely for allowing us to use their TeamSpeak server for Zwift!