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Oliv

Guide to writing effective radio chatter

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Oliv    1888

This guide is a work in progress, and isn't complete. There will be modifications, additions, etc.

I hope you all enjoy, and please feel free to comment or add anything to it.

Current Revision: Rev 3

Changelog:

  • Rev 1 - Original - Mid October 2015
  • Rev 2 - Minor changes via feedback and to layout and examples added. Recognition section added. - Late October/Early November 2015
  • Rev 3 - Expanded voice/audio recording section to include links to Audacity and some sound samples from YouTube. Added section about radio frequencies and realism based on in game equipment. - Late February 2016

Recognition and Shout outs:

The Glass Spider

Kenny Boyo

The Chernarus Extra staff

Carib - Thanks for busting my ass about making sure there was examples :)

RedSky

Hatch


Radio chatter can be a powerful thing. It can pass information, threaten lives, bring people together, and even pass the time in the wasteland of Chernarus.

Writing effective radio chatter can be very hard. To some it comes a bit more naturally, others might find it difficult.

This is not a definitive guide. This is not something that can be considered black and white. What this is, is more a list of suggestions, for what I have found that work very well for me and stuff I have come across that annoys the hell out of me.


SPELLING AND GRAMMAR

This is going to be short. Learn how to spell and have decent grammar.

Your browser more than likely has spell check, so you should easily be covered there.

Grammar unfortunately is just something you have to know. Honestly, it can be as simple as making sure you use proper punctuation. Spot should run, not your sentences.

Now, where it becomes fun and interesting is when your playing a character where English is not their first language. Chernarussian, Russian, African, so on and so on. I myself play as Enzo, an Italian. Now he knows English well enough, but there are times where I miss spell things on purpose, use Italian phrases, or write it in a way where you may actually believe it was Enzo talking. I find this way more immersive than just reading something that starts off with ...

In a thick Russian accent Igor says something in oddly perfect English.

The difference is, in your non-speech portion of your radio chatter. When you're writing your filler and fluff, mood setting, character actions, make sure that is easy to read, punctuated properly, and the like.

If you wan't some examples of how I feel a properly written post that involves purposeful misspelling and bad grammar to ADD to to the character and post, feel free to check out some examples:

Enzo Massaro Ifa you no smile

(More to possibly come)


FORMAT

This is a very large category, so I'm going to break this up into some smaller sub-categories.

Justification:

Justification is very powerful. Using center or right justification can set something off as being very important, give better flow to your post, etc.

What you shouldn't do is something along the lines of using center justification for your whole  post. When you do that, your words jump all over the place in relation to the margin, and what you think gives your post some flair, just makes it difficult to read.

I know it's a short amount I have centre justified, but trust me, it is MUCH more difficult to read a whole post that is centre justified than just a small amount that you need to stand out or highlight.

What I actually found amusing, is that in recently reading the Chernarus EXTRA - Issue 1 that there was an interview with Rolle where he was asked about things he looks for in staff selection...

I can say what I look into when choosing possible candidates, it would be in no particular order: recent

activity on the forums, dedication and reliability (no 2 week long gaps between activity etc.), warning history

(even if below the staff requirement limit), the quality of posts (grammar, professional and mature content,

no spamming, no centred text), user reputation (from staff or other community members), role play quality.

When in doubt, just keep it to the left. This is one of those times B is right.

Colour:

Picking a colour may not make your post better, but it may break your post and causing it to be worse.

The colour of your font or fonts could follow a scheme. I for one tend to put all my characters speech in yellow and maybe actions or important things in red. Translations from one language to another could be something else, like cyan for example.

Little things like colour can vastly improve the ease of reading and enjoyability of your posts. While at the same time, choosing a colour that doesn't work well with the website background can make your post very hard and less enjoyable to read.

Here is an example...

And here is another.

Both text are in red, but one is much easier to read against the dark background of DayZRP.


CONTENT

This is a massive part of your radio chatter. No guide can help you with what to write here. What it can do is point out some things that can add and take away from your chatter.

Turning your radio on and off.... If you just turned your radio on, you wouldn't have heard what was said prior to that. If that's what you want to write about, be careful how you word it. Mention that you turned it on and heard so and so blah blah blah.

And if you turned your radio off, don't respond to any more radio chatter. You have no ears to hear, no voice to talk when your radio is turned off. (apparently I feel so passionate about this I made a rhyme?)

Fluff and filler.... This doesn't necessarily make and break your chatter. No one knows what your character is doing on the other end of that radio. But, it can make for an entertaining read, can set the tone for your chatter, and can explain why the hell your character is on a frequency at all. I remember once making a radio chatter post that was several paragraphs long in fluff, but only had one simple sentence in which Enzo was asking if anyone knew a better way to do laundry...

Here's an example that was posted below in the thread of this guide.

Those scenes are often described because it sets the mood for a radio message a written piece of text can be interpretted hostile or friendly depending on the surrounding context now IN real life with a radio message you can easily distinguish what somebodys intensions are by there way of speaking and voice but thats what lacks in text written messages for example

-Clicks on the radio-

Im coming for you

-Clicks off the radio-

OR

Finnr sits down next to the fire while hearing his friend over the radio, he cant help but chuckle and smile a bit at the mans empty threat to yet another idiot he will never catch he playfully says over the radio after clicking it on.

Im coming for you

Finnr than clicks off the radio and laughs out loud because he hopes his friend doesnt realise it was him

It changes alot of the context in a big way

[ALL FREQUENCY BROADCAST].... As discussed several times, many people hate this. With passion. Although I am guilty of it myself, I have started to refrain from using this. It is not realistic or capable from the equipment we have in game.

What I have started to do as an alternative that IS plausible, is use the term OPEN FREQUENCY or UNKNOWN FREQUENCY. This still makes it so your radio broadcast is open for people to read and respond to, but is actually a plausible event that could happen. When responding to things like this, I have simply written something along the lines of

Enzo, doing his daily frequency scans, happens to come across a voice...

This also makes for a somewhat believable response.

LOOPS.... Looping a message over and over again on a frequency until the end of time is bullshit. Do not expect a response doing this. It is technologically not possible to respond to you when your looping a message while holding down the push to talk (PTT) button. You can not receive a message while transmitting. End of story. You want to loop a message for an hour, loop it 5 times, ok, but then the PTT  must be released or your gonna hear a whole lot of nothing in response.

SMASHING YOUR RADIO... Are you an idiot? It's the fucking apocalypse. You were lucky enough to find a radio to communicate with. They don't make these things anymore. Turn it off, give it away, but don't smash it. Especially when 3-4 posts later you

hears same voice again and takes comrades radio

just to respond to some one after smashing your own. I wouldn't give you my radio after seeing you treat yours like that, asshole.


AUDIO

Audio can be a great addition to your radio posts. When done correctly, it is super effective. There have been some amazing posts including everything from songs, to doing the full on radio post with audio.

Honestly, I have no issues with this, and I tend to love it. My problem is, people can't always listen to it when they're checking the forums while at work, school, etc.

The only thing I would love to see people do when recording a vocal radio chatter is that it's only a vocal radio chatter. Those of us who can't listen at that moment would still like to know what's going on before reading everyone's replies, so please please please include a spoiler of the text of the audio.

Here is a great example of how you SHOULD make this happen from The Glass Spider. To be honest, the whole exchange between her and Kenny Boyo

is one of the best I've ever seen in my short time here. I commend these two for doing such a great job.

Now I'm going to expand on audio a bit more, because I do find that it can be an extremely effective way to chatter on that radio.

When I insert audio into a radio chatter, my tool of choice is Audacity, which is a free and open source audio recording/editing tool.

Now, when it comes to additive and enhancing noise and sound effects, you can very easily find things online that will help you achieve what you want. Here is a couple real quick examples and sources for you.

Simply run those through something like this to convert them to a downloadable mp3 file, and have some fun. Just remember not to go too crazy with additives, as it can distract and take away from the whole point of the radio message.

Also you will have to host these mp3 files of your radio messages somewhere. One of the favorites of the forum, and the one I have used, appears to be Puush. Check out Hatch's guide over here for details.


Radio Mechanic Realism

Maybe I'm just being a nit-picky asshole now, but I've noticed a trend when writing radio posts. I mean, I know we are already pushing the boundary here with the ability for radio chatter to be sent from and heard anywhere in Chernarus, but there are things that I have seen that have bothered me.

When it comes to frequencies, if you want to exude a bit more realism, then please, I beg you to pay attention to and understand that a frequency is not just some arbitrary number.

Firstly, when it comes to equipment in game, the type of radios we have in game aren't really known other than the fact that they are 2-way, Push-to-talk, likely simplex, likely on the FM type on a public use band.

What does all that mean?

2-way means the radio can send and receive signals. Yes, there exists radios that can only receive and not send. An easy example is the radio in your car.

Push-to-talk, I'm sure we all know by now, but it simply means you can not transmit without holding down some sort of button.

Simplex means that it sends and receives on the same frequency. Duplex radios exist where it uses one frequency band to receive and another to transmit, but it is extremely unlikely that any of the in game radios (unless added in later) are capable of duplexing.

FM and public band is where it gets fun...

So, we essentially have 2 ways to transmit radio signals, FM (Frequency Modulation) and AM (Amplitude Modulation). Since these are not CB radios, it is unlikely that they are AM at all. So, that pretty much rules that out and leaves us with FM.

FM and AM signals work differently, and do exactly what they say. AM keeps the frequency constant, and modulates the amplitude of the signal, where FM keeps the amplitude the same, and modulates the frequency slightly. If you want to learn more, check out this little article.

So, now we have some particulars out of the way, how do you use this info? Just follow keep the following in mind when writing your radio messages and picking a frequency to broadcast on.

69.69 MHz

87.8 MHz

89.5 MHz

91.3 MHz

94.6 MHz

96.6 MHz

99.7 MHz

102.5 MHz

Those are the frequencies we can set on the radio in game. Firstly, notice that these frequencies are all in the MHz FM band. That being said, there should be NO ONE trying to transmit on one of these puppies in the GHz FM band, and I will tell you why right now. Frequency bands are "set aside" by governmental regulatory bodies for certain things. Remember when you used to be able to pick up your neighbours phone conversations on the old 49MHz and 2.4 GHz cordless phones and baby monitors? Ever wonder why wireless routers that operated on 2.4GHz only gave you 11 channels in North America and 13 (or 14, cant remember) in Europe? When signals fight and overlap, signals suffer and don't travel as far.

Simply put, the old regulatory bodies that were in place before the fall would not have allowed the equipment available in a typical hand held radio to broadcast that high or low. Also, a fun little note, if you decide you want to RP that you hacked your radio to make that possible, you would probably have a broadcast distance of about 30 feet, as the higher the frequency, generally, the short the broadcast distance is.

Super low frequencies suffer the same problem as the super high ones, the equipment would just not be capable of doing it.

I suggest keeping your frequencies between the 69.69 to 102.5 MHz range, but perhaps with the amount of people and past and present groups, we could expand on that slightly. I have extrapolated some frequencies to include more than just the ones available for selection on the in game radio and have highlighted the ones that are selectable on that radio in red. I would suggest the red ones be considered common frequency and the rest could be a more private frequency, available for groups, etc.

All frequencies are in MHz (Mega Hertz) and the below list allows for some spacing in the band to help prevent collision.

69.69

71.3

72.7

74.2

75.7

77.2

78.6

80.3

81.6

83.2

84.7

86.1

87.8

88.4

89.5

90.8

91.3

92.4

93.7

94.6

95.4

96.6

98.3

99.7

101.3

102.5

104.3

105.7

107.2


(More to come, I'm sure)

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Guest Zenon   
Guest Zenon

I feel that too many people narrate what their character is doing when they make a radio broadcast, to the point that the actions of their character far outweigh what is actually being said. This of course can set the tone for a thread, but it can also confuse people as well (people may accidentally metagame).

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Jamie    1424

I feel that too many people narrate what their character is doing when they make a radio broadcast, to the point that the actions of their character far outweigh what is actually being said. This of course can set the tone for a thread, but it can also confuse people as well (people may accidentally metagame).

I honestly think describing what your character is doing makes people reading the chatter really build up a nice picture in their heads. Its like they can visualize the person sitting on the cliff side eating the packet of cereal. I'd rather read a paragraph of what someone is doing before they turn the radio on instead of just "Turns on radio". Just my opinion. 

With the guide, i'd make the headings more bold and clear. But so far, coming along great.

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Oliv    1888

I feel that too many people narrate what their character is doing when they make a radio broadcast, to the point that the actions of their character far outweigh what is actually being said. This of course can set the tone for a thread, but it can also confuse people as well (people may accidentally metagame).

First off, thanks for the comments.

I've written whole 5-6 paragraph posts with one sentence actually broadcast over the radio. I feel the metagaming is less what you write in a post and more what some takes advantage of what you wrote in a post.

With the guide, i'd make the headings more bold and clear. But so far, coming along great.

That's going to come. I actually uploaded this on my phone while I was sitting in a waiting room of an office, bored out of my mind. :)

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GaryCash    33

I've been looking to use the radio chatter forum feature cause it seems like a really cool dynamic to the servers gameplay, this was useful thank you

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Looks like a good start, I don't see the reason to post it in it's unfinished form. You could just have this is a text document on your computer and work on it there until it's complete.

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Guest   
Guest

Might wanna include an example of some kind.


*Carib sits by the fire, watching it dance with the wind as the cool breeze brushed it ever so calmly. He looks down at his radio and sighs, opening the contents, he finds his small, worn radio. He sets the channel to 116.8 and takes a deep breath before conveying his message.*

"This is an example text."

*Carib places the radio back in his bag neatly. He grabs a cigarette from his front pocket and carefully lights it using the fire in front of him.*

[align=left]


[align=left]I'm also not an expert when it comes to radios, but I don't think "ALL FREQUENCIES" is a thing so....

[align=left]Good on you for making this thread! I saw a lot of radio threads that look like it could use some work. I hope I showed off a proper way how to use color and spacing in a radio thread.

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Guest   
Guest

tbh I kind of like reading messages with semi bad grammar. bare in mind that we are in a country where most of us aren't suppose to be that well educated and English would be a mother tongue to most of us except for foreigners from the UK and USA.

I personally like the narrative tone in radio chatter, sends a secondary message through actions.

either way nice guide 10/10

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RedSky    123

Hehe, pls insert a spoiler with the text xD oh my god I remember when I put up that AM radio message there was just too much improvisation there and the responses needed to go fast ..... Didnt have the time to write it all down. Other than that I tend to agree with that ;P nice read keep it up Oliv

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Nolan    0

If you're listening to someone speak over the radio, you can't see every action that they're doing, so I don't think you have to go overboard with that. Really, just give something at the start to set the scene and if there's any sound coming through the radio then add that in too.

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RedSky    123

If you're listening to someone speak over the radio, you can't see every action that they're doing, so I don't think you have to go overboard with that. Really, just give something at the start to set the scene and if there's any sound coming through the radio then add that in too.

Well , you still have to look at it like this Michael, Those scenes are often described because it sets the mood for a radio message a written piece of text can be interpretted hostile or friendly depending on the surrounding context now IN real life with a radio message you can easily distinguish what somebodys intensions are by there way of speaking and voice but thats what lacks in text written messages for example

-Clicks on the radio-

Im coming for you

-Clicks off the radio-

OR

Finnr sits down next to the fire while hearing his friend over the radio, he cant help but chuckle and smile a bit at the mans empty threat to yet another idiot he will never catch he playfully says over the radio after clicking it on.

Im coming for you

Finnr than clicks off the radio and laughs out loud because he hopes his friend doesnt realise it was him

It changes alot of the context in a big way

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DerrickStorm    34

[align=justify]Nice guide - I like the tip about giving a written down spoiler if you make a recording. Never thought about it, thanks!

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Oliv    1888

Looks like a good start, I don't see the reason to post it in it's unfinished form. You could just have this is a text document on your computer and work on it there until it's complete.

I go through life like a Dragonball Z episode, nothing just shows up in its final form.

I actually posted it up as a work in progress to steal, er, borrow peoples responses and feedback to add to the guide.

Some of the responses I've been getting so far have been very good and will be appropriated. Keep up the good work everyone else, your comments will be plagerized :)

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Ravenwing    0

Thanks for the guide man, interesting for a new player like me, ill have to read it better.

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Oliv    1888

I've edited this guide slightly. Not adding much if any new content, but I have added some great examples to back up things in the guide. Many people learn from example, so I felt adding examples to it was a very important thing that was missing.

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Oliv - thank you so much for the shoutout! I'm so glad I could inspire!

A lot of people are commenting on 'fluff' or 'setting' text. I think there are a couple of great points here:

1. It can provide a great setting and create a tone for the radio chatter, but

2. It can tempt people into accidentally metagaming.

When deciding on setting text, I tend to try to keep it concise, since - to my mind - the point of the radio chatter is what I actually say; that being the only thing that one could legitimately use. But, for the short text, I try to make sure that it's something that reflects the sound of my voice, or legitimizes me being on whatever frequency I'm listening to. So something along the lines of:

*Alyssa flips through the radio stations until she hears a jaunty tune. A smile creeps across her face, and you can hear the amusement in her voice when she presses the button down*

Just a couple of lines, but it sets the scene, and even the mood that Alyssa's about to speak with.

To comment on the idea that people hate "All Frequencies": I prefer the "Common Frequency" method - although there isn't a single, defined 'common frequency', it seems more believable to me that there would be just one for these communications that most people could/would tune into regularly.

Just my two cents!

Once again, Oliv - really great guide!

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Oliv    1888

Oliv - thank you so much for the shoutout! I'm so glad I could inspire!

A lot of people are commenting on 'fluff' or 'setting' text. I think there are a couple of great points here:

1. It can provide a great setting and create a tone for the radio chatter, but

2. It can tempt people into accidentally metagaming.

When deciding on setting text, I tend to try to keep it concise, since - to my mind - the point of the radio chatter is what I actually say; that being the only thing that one could legitimately use. But, for the short text, I try to make sure that it's something that reflects the sound of my voice, or legitimizes me being on whatever frequency I'm listening to. So something along the lines of:

*Alyssa flips through the radio stations until she hears a jaunty tune. A smile creeps across her face, and you can hear the amusement in her voice when she presses the button down*

Just a couple of lines, but it sets the scene, and even the mood that Alyssa's about to speak with.

To comment on the idea that people hate "All Frequencies": I prefer the "Common Frequency" method - although there isn't a single, defined 'common frequency', it seems more believable to me that there would be just one for these communications that most people could/would tune into regularly.

Just my two cents!

Once again, Oliv - really great guide!

I agree, great points.

I have seen people metagame info from radio chatter before, and I was planning on doing a little section in regards to that soon as well.

I'm sure the next day I'm bored at work I will update this guide again. In the meantime, I wanted to just put down some points that I think people and their chatter would benefit from.

Thanks again for the praise and the motivation to add even more shit to this guide :)

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zoyo    70

Nice job with this guide. I dont use radio chatter much but who knows, maybe I'll use some of these tips in the future. :)

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   48

I know this is an old thread, but I was having a quick look at it before I wrote my last post in Radio Chatter and I just wanted to say thank you! Helped me a great deal and my post looks a lot more professional and accessible :)

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Oliv    1888

I know this is an old thread, but I was having a quick look at it before I wrote my last post in Radio Chatter and I just wanted to say thank you! Helped me a great deal and my post looks a lot more professional and accessible :)

Feed back like this is why I did it. Thanks very much!

I've been tossing ideas around in my head on new stuff to add. This guide is alive and will grow.

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Oliv    1888

Rev 3! Check the changelog and the new sections for all the wicked awesomeness!

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