Background Music Added

Rooms can now specify either an MP3 file to loop, or a Shoutcast URL to stream, as background music.  This requires the user choose to enable music while in your room – you cannot force a user to listen to the music automatically due to the security issues associated with forcing users to make connections to 3rd party systems.

The background music setting replaces the Custom Content URL setting that we were working on.   We determined that most room administrators would have difficulty understanding and dealing with the Flash security sandbox issues surrounding the use of custom images and flash movies as room backgrounds – issues that are not a major concern when it comes to simple audio playback.    Hopefully at some point we will offer some easy and effective visual options, but for now audio should be working properly.

If you are a room owner, and you want to make use of this new feature, you should go into your Administrator Control Panel (via the Page App on your FB page) and enter the full URL to either the MP3 file or the Shoutcast server you want to stream the music from… including the leading http:// – if it is a shoutcast server the URL should end with the port number for your server stream (no trailing slashes or anything else).   Once you have set the URL and it has been accepted, you can enter your room (you’ll have to leave it and re-enter it if you’re already in it) and then clicking on the room’s background will bring up the room menu, which will now include an “Enable Music” option.  That will turn the music on, and a “Disable Music” option in the same menu will turn it off…. as will exiting the room or playing music in another room.

We will likely add in some form of volume and play control to the UI in the coming weeks.  For now, enjoy the music!



Admin Control Panel – First Functions

The Administrator Control Panel in our current development area, and the very first administrator room setting is now available to experiment with for all room owners.   Additional settings and page functions will be available soon, giving room owners better control, and more interesting options to give their chatters a superior chatting experience.

As you may have read in our previous blog posting, room-specific titles are one of the things we’re working on.   The first room-specific title option, the “Fan Title” for your users who have Liked your associated facebook page, is now available to be set.  This means you can select the text of the title, and set the graphic, to be whatever you want… any chatter that uses the default “Chatter” title in your room will instead display your custom room title, when in your room, if they have Liked your facebook page.

You may notice the Custom Background Content area of the settings is there too.  This will allow you to set a custom URL to a graphic or SWF file, to use as your room’s background.  The client-side implementation of this is not yet in place, so you won’t see any results from this, but we’re leaving the option available so that when we do implement the client-side portion, you can be ready.

The three administration tabs/pages other than settings are not yet available.  These should be available in the next week or two – certainly the ability to remove administrators or existing user penalties will be in place soon.  Customized room titles other than the Fan title, will likely the the last to be implemented as we still haven’t decided how to display the selection for these to your users.

Room Features in Development – Titles and Currency

One of the big things that we’re working on for Voodoo Chat is extended customization for individual rooms – specifically, the ability to have room-specific titles, and a room-specific currency.

If you’re a regular user of Voodoo Chat, you know all about titles – they’re what determines the small image and the text on your chatter list panel, and they’re normally awarded on special holidays.  The titles of that sort are “global titles” which means they can be worn in any room on Voodoo Chat.   One of the exciting features we’re working on is the ability to create a limited number of “Room Titles”, where room owners can define the image and text, and can grant them to the chatters in their room as they see fit.   These room titles will be usable only in that specific room – if a user wearing the title goes into a different room, the title will revert back to the standard “Chatter” title that every user has.

Quite soon (sooner than the rest of these plans, that is) the “Chatter” title will actually change for chatters who have “Liked” a given room, becoming a “<room name> VIP” title, with the room’s icon as the title image.   This will help differentiate the fans of a facebook page from people who are just browsing.   In time, it is likely the image and text for the fan title will be something that can be customized by the page owner.

One of the main reasons the Voodoo Chat in-chat currency system has been delayed, is that we are making a much more (internally) complex currency system that will allow room owners to create their very own currency for their room.   Room owners will be able to give their currency a name, and an icon, and be able to create as much or as little of the currency as they see fit.   In addition, an HTTP based API will later be available to room owners to allow for site integration of the currency system (automatic creation, removal, and querying of the room currency, using HTTP requests) so that you can automatically give your chatters your room’s currency in response to things they do outside of chat.

The more advanced currency system will also require a “trading” system to allow users to exchange different types of currency.

One limit we expect to have on the room currency system is that only fans of a room’s FB page will be able to own that room’s currency – if you’re not a page’s fan, you won’t be able to receive the room’s currency from your actions or by way of trade.   This is primarily to protect against users being tricked into giving away their currency for “fake” currency – this is to say, since Facebook allows more than one page to have the name name and category, it would be possible for users to duplicate a given page and name that page’s currency the same as the real page’s currency.  If the real page’s currency were something in demand, they would, in essence, be counterfeiting it, visually.    By restricting access to a currency to page fans, this would not be an issue, as the fake page would not be Liked by the same people, and thus, the fake page’s currency would not be something that could be traded to them.

Hopefully these additions will help create a deeper and more involved social experience for each room’s chatters and fans, which is, at the end of the day, the whole point of Voodoo Chat!

The Voodoo Blog

Back by popular demand, the Voodoo Chat blog is back in business!  The blog will be used to post extended information, news, and discussion related to Voodoo Chat, and can now be accessed via our Facebook Page as well as directly.   Any updates posted to our Blog will also add notifications to our Facebook and Twitter, if you happen to be a follower of either of those.

To try to keep people informed and involved, we are going to try very hard to have at least one blog update each week – certainly more than one on particularly eventful weeks, in terms of development and activity.

Stay tuned!