Hi guys, I need some advice from anyone familiar with voice-chat applications / java.
A couple of months ago we hired developers to build us a voice-chat.
Among the functional requirements were
1. it had to be browser-based, integrated on a website, without making the user download an external application (except java)
2. it had to handle more than 3 users at a time, even 5 or 10+
3. It had to be a square box, integrated within a website, where each user was assigned a simple avatar (a square image)
4. If avatars moved towards each other, the audio level would increase, as they moved away the audio would decrease (proximity effect)
Unfortunately, the developers came across 2 major problems.
1. There was this annoying echo during the chat. Sometimes nasty high-pitched feedback whenever the offending user came close. This ruined the entire experience.
2. It didn't work for everybody, some people had clean audio, others sounded like an old distorted walkie-talkie.
The developers built in a volume-test which the users could use before entering the chat, this to ensure the right levels.
They even tried some sort of echo-cancellation or voice activation, which would stop the audio streams whenever the user wasn't talking..
But none of these solutions worked effectively..
In any case, months later the developers simply gave up. They said they tried everything, but 'since it's browser-based, the necessary calculations to perform echo cancellation cannot be achieved'. As for why it didn't work with certain users, we never had an explanation.
We are to receive a RAR archive with the scripts, and that's it, end of story...
Again, what we wanted was a voice-chat, between 3-5 people, with skype-quality audio, without the need to wear headsets.
My questions are:
1. Was JAVA a bad idea from the start?
2. What alternatives/approaches do you suggest for a webbased voice chat?
3. Should we let go of the 'no external download' requirement? (if a plugin solves the issue, heck why not)
Thanks a million for your tips!