Getting Started: How to Use TeamSpeak
Does this scenario sound familiar?
You and your buddies have gotten into a little friendly rivalry with another group of gamers online. It started out innocent, but one group started talking trash to another and now it’s personal. You’ve made a pact with your friends to demolish these other guys during your next marathon gaming session.
But when that night comes, you run into all sorts of audio and technical issues. Your team notices lag in your conversations to each other, and at some point,s the audio just keeps breaking up. At this point, it’s basically every man for himself, and you’re easily beaten down by your foes.
Your best laid plans – and your pride – just went out the window.
And to think none of this may have happened if just one of the members of your team knew how to use TeamSpeak.
Why Do You Need TeamSpeak
TeamSpeak is a professional-grade application you can download and run on your computer which provides a seamless audio connection with other players in your game. Sure, some gaming apps provide this option, but those connections are often choppy and unreliable. Or you could use – shudder – a conference call app.
But if you are looking for the ability to stay in constant contact during your game, just like the professional gamers, you need to learn how to use TeamSpeak.
How to Download and Install TeamSpeak
The first step to learning how to use TeamSpeak is to download the application to your computer.
Simply go to the TeamSpeak website and click on the download button. It should already be customized to your computer’s operating system. If it isn’t, there is a link below the button which will give you additional download options. Accept the licensing agreement and your download will begin.
Once the download is completed, find the file in your computer’s downloads folder or the location you selected for the file to be sent. Run the setup and follow the prompts to install the program.
After you complete your TeamSpeak installation, open the application to begin configuring your client. When you open the app for the first time, it will automatically run the Setup Wizard. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to configure your client.
1. Choosing Your Nickname
This is how you will be seen publicly in the app. If possible, try to pick a nickname that’s the same or at least similar to your gamer name.
This will make you easier to find my friends in your group.
2. Microphone Settings
Pick between a Push-To-Talk (PTT) or Voice Activation Detection (VAD).
PTT means you’ll have to hold a button in order to turn your microphone on and release the button to turn it off. VAD will automatically turn on your microphone when it detects sound.
Most gamers prefer PTT because VAD can often pick up unwanted background noise, especially if you are in a crowded area or there’s a chance it could get noisy – like your dog barking or doorbell ringing.
3. Set Your Hotkey
If you select PTT, you’ll set your hotkey by clicking on the No Hotkey Assigned Button. This is the button which you need to press and hold to activate your microphone.
You should pick a key that isn’t near the buttons you commonly use for gameplay so you don’t accidentally trigger it.
4. Test Your Microphone
If you select VAD, you will need to test your microphone levels and determine the level at which you’d like your microphone to turn on. Click on the begin test button and move the slider to the level you’d like to set.
5. Useful Key Bindings
It doesn’t matter which microphone option you select, you still need to set your microphone mute and speaker mute commands. Click each button and type in the key or key combination you’d like to use for each action.
When you are finished, click on Next.
6. Select Sound Pack
Here you just pick if you’d like to receive audio notifications in a male or female’s voice.
The app will let you know when users enter or leave.
If you’re playing with all guys, it might be a smart idea to select a female voice so you can easily tell when the app is speaking.
Choosing Your TeamSpeak Server
This is where things can get a little tricky.
Before clicking Finish to complete your setup, you’ll be asked to select your server option. You have two choices to connect your client to a server: you can run your own server or rent a server.
Renting a server is easier because all the server information is provided to you, but you’ll have to pay for your rental. If this is the route you want to go, TeamSpeak provides a list of hosts and their server locations from which you can choose.
After you select the host and order your server, you’ll receive information on how to connect.
Downloading Your Own TeamSpeak Server
If you’d rather run your games on your own server, TeamSpeak lets you download one for free that you can set up directly on your computer.
Simply go to the download page on the TeamSpeak website and select your operating system (you can choose from FreeBSD, Linux, Windows, or macOS). You’ll be able to choose between a 32-bit and 64-bit server for most operating systems. Servers for macOS are only run on a universal binary.
Select the server configuration that works for you and download. Just like when downloading the TeamSpeak client, you’ll need to accept a license agreement before the download can begin.
Once your download is complete, you’ll notice it’s in an archive or zip format. You’ll need to extract the files and find the one that says ts3server. Run this program and you’ll see a window pop up that will include the following important server information:
Copy this information and paste it into a Word document or notepad – it won’t be simple to remember.
Setting Up Your TeamSpeak Server
Regardless of if you downloaded your own server or rented one from TeamSpeak, you will need to connect it to your client.
Open the TeamSpeak application from your desktop or wherever you saved it. In the upper left corner of your client, click on Connections and select Connect from the drop-down menu.
Here is what you’ll need to enter in the following fields:
If you are connecting for the first time, you’ll now be prompted to claim administrator rights to the server. Copy the privilege key that you were given earlier into this box and click OK.
Configuring Your TeamSpeak Server
Once you’ve claimed admin rights, you can now customize your server. By right clicking on the server name in your client, you can select Edit Virtual Server to change the server name, assign a password, and other cosmetic features of your server.
If you plan to use this server for multiple games and teams, you can also create channels to distinguish between groups or games. Just like with configuring your server, you will set a channel name, password, and give individual permissions to members.
Once you have all of this information, you can share it with your friends and they should be able to connect to your server using the server name and password that you provide.
If they have trouble joining, you might need to create ports in order for them to access.
Finally, once you and your friends have connected to the server, you should add a bookmark so you don’t have to enter the server information every time you try to log in. On the top of the screen, click on Bookmarks and then select Add to Bookmarks. This will save the server information so you can rejoin with just one click.
How to Use TeamSpeak While Playing Games
Now that you hopefully have your server set up and your friends have joined, it’s time for the fun part – playing your games.
If you created multiple channels, make sure everyone is in the same one. Just like a chat room, anyone that’s in that channel will be able to communicate with each other using your microphone and speakers based on the settings you selected.
Leave your TeamSpeak client open in your computer (you can minimize it to hide the window if you don’t need to see it anymore), and open your game. As long as everyone leaves their client open, you’ll be able to communicate while playing.
Talk about creating a competitive advantage!
Featured Image: CCO Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons