RealBridge

We will be running the Autumn Congress online on RealBridge, a new platform with the unique feature of having integrated video and audio, so that you can see and hear your partner and opponents, just as in face-to-face bridge.

In the lead up to this we are running a number of short, free trial games.

This thread is to give an opportunity to those who have experienced it to give their feedback.

Comments

  • Very polished for such a new platform. Especially liked the video/audio integration. The user interface was fine and easy to use. Perhaps tries a bit too hard to simulate face to face bridge, e.g. the realistic looking bidding cards. I'm used to BBO and its bidding panel, so perhaps my opinion is influenced by that. I do prefer the BBO alert mechanism - i.e. self alerting rather than alerting opponents bids. Also, on RealBridge the explanations of alerts can only be given verbally or via chat, so they are not recorded and do not appear in the bidding/play data exported in the XML file. By contrast BBO does record the explanations, so it's possible to view these later in Bridge Solver Online on Bridgewebs.

    Would be nice to be able to see makeable contracts after a board is played, but I gather that feature is coming soon.

    Overall, very impressive.

  • I also liked the fact that you can choose the table you sit at when you log in, so you can choose to sit with your friends or keep out of the way of the strong players :)

  • Generally, impressed with the layout, perhaps more info on how to select the way one sees dummy might help (as defender). Nice to chat to people that we hadn't seen for sometime. Agree John's comments, but prefer BCL bidding box.

    We were waiting for a pair and it wasn't clear if someone was coming. Perhaps the message on screen should be reviewed to show "waiting for next pair" did wonder if a pair was missing!

    Perhaps a reminder to everyone that they are visible to partner and opponents and that eating at the table isn't exactly the "done thing".

    Thanks for the chance to participate

  • Further to CMT Dibbler's comments above, Richmond BC have produced the following set of etiquette suggestions for their members which might be useful for other clubs:

    1. Play in the quietest setting available to you where you won’t be disturbed by other
      people, animals or noisy machines.
    2. In order to reduce any background noise, consider muting your microphone except when you are in conversation with others or announcing or explaining bids.
    3. Ensure that any phones in the room are on silent or answerphone. It is not acceptable to use a phone during play unless there is an emergency.
    4. If you need to eat or drink, please do so as quietly as possible with the same consideration to others as you would use at the club.
    5. It is not acceptable to conduct another activity when playing on this platform.
    6. If you need to leave the room, inform the other players, turn off your camera and mute your microphone until your return
  • Thank you for the comments. To respond in particular to @jgoacher about alerts - RealBridge has the option to use self-alerts and written explanations, which then appear in the XML records. (It's a configuration option for the whole session.) This is intended for "serious" competitions, while we think verbal explanations are more appropriate for club duplicates - but of course it's up to the individual organisers. I don't know which option the EBU intend to use for the Autumn Congress...

  • Thanks Graham. I didn't realise it was a configuration option. I can imagine a lot of clubs will turn it off because obviously it's easier and quicker to give a verbal explanation that to type in the explanation. I think that would be a pity though because one of the advantages of online bridge is that it's easy to capture all aspects of the bidding and play. I play at club level, and am just an average player, but even so I like to be able to look through hands after a session and see how others bid them, including the explanations of their bids.

  • I'd be interested to hear views about self-alerting. I personally like it, but I think the case for it might be weaker in this setup where we are trying to duplicate the live playing experience. I think those who are not good at typing would just blurt out the meaning of their own bids. For events with screens, alerting will follow normal screen practice, with players alerting and explaining the calls of both players to the screen-mate.

  • Although there are aspects of the face to face experience we do want to replicate, I do not believe the mission should be to replicate the flaws and compromises we have had to make over the years in face to face to support the true game. Where online can do better (as in disclosure) then it should do so.

  • The issue is though that although I prefer self-alerting, not everyone does and some of the advantages would be reduced when you can see your partner and tell that they are alerting (although not what they are saying unless, as I suspect would happen, they start speaking instead of typing).

  • edited October 2020

    I have taken part in three of the five EBU trials of Realbridge. It was absolutely fantastic and if you haven’t yet tried it I strongly recommend you do so in the “extra free game” tonight (Mon 5th Oct). See the EBU web site for details.

    Clearly this is the future of online bridge and the sooner it goes live the better for us all.
    BBO has so badly needed serious competition and in Realbridge they have got it in spades.
    I lot of work by a lot of volunteers must have gone into this project and they deserved great credit.

    As well as having nearly all the facilities of BBO, Realbridge has other huge advantages…….

    It was great to be able to really see and talk to others at the table - so much better than my inaccurate and slow typing. This will surely encourage more people to play bridge online who miss the social dimension of F2F bridge. I found that everyone was sooo willing to help each other learn how to use the platform.

    If you call the director his picture appears almost immediately on the top right of the screen. (In BBO you don’t know if the director is at the table unless he is actually chatting to you and you might miss that). It’s so much easier to talk with a director than type to him.
    There were several TDs who were all very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.

    The STOP sign is quite clever innovation and next player can't call till it disappears.

    Another huge advantage is that you see people's real names. So much better than the cryptic and meaningless user names on BBO.

    You can also talk to people when the session was over. (In BBO everything disappears seconds after the last card is played). At the end of the session we chatted for some time to our final opponents then after they left the table my partner and I went over our bidding and play for ages afterwards.

    The information from the trials will make this platform even better. Things have moved so quickly that they haven’t had time to put full instructions on their website. Hence I have made up my own which you may find useful if you are playing to tonight.

    {Remainder of post deleted at poster's request}

  • Sounds interesting - regarding the use of real names, this is always okay on a new system, but as takeup gets bigger, how may John Smiths can you have? I also like the use of pseudonyms generally, along with the option to logon invisibly - I don't always wish to chat!

    As for seeing people, I can see an advantage to this, but also disadvantages for multiple reasons.

    I started to play online bridge before I played in real life - we started in classes about 9 years ago in September and by December I was playing every day on BBO, for 40 minutes in my lunch break, for hours in the evenings and weekends. It was the online experience that taught me so much about bridge - people used to ask me how I got so good so quickly (I was never that good, but good for a beginner), I used to reply that I gained about 4 years of playing experience in 1 year because of the amount of online bridge I played.

    I very much like the separation of face-to-face bridge and the online bridge world. I would certainly not wish to play with webcams and so on every time I play online.

  • I played one RealBridge session and felt after wards that I actually prefer BBO. I have played online bridge off and on for over 20 years (back to OKbridge on a character display) and with increased amounts on BBO in recent months have become very comfortable there. What I found disconcerting on RealBridge was the distractions encouraged by the video. [Yes, I can switch it off] In particular partner's face was much more visible that it is (to me) on face to face bridge. I had to struggle not to make encouraging or discouraging faces when partner was declarer (my partner was good at this). I feel some of the attempt to emulate the (unfortunate compromises of) the face to face game are not necessary or appropriate online.

    But I do welcome RealBridge, as I would welcome any alternatives, as there will always be some people for whom it gives a better experience.

  • I recently played in a taster session. I used an ipad which is about 2 years old and tested it beforehand using the testing facilities. Both the camera and the sound seemed to be working as they passed the tests. However although I could see my partner and opponents they could not see me. They could only hear me. Several fixes were suggested but these were not for ipads. It was suggest that I had blocked the camera but that could not be the case as the test took a picture of me. Whilst I enjoyed the game of bridge and feel that seeing the opponents and partner is a step forward I do not think the all the technical issues have all been resolved. I am not sure whether my partner and opponents felt the same as they could not see me.

    I understand from my club chair that his wife had a similar issue when they tested it and she used an ipad. Many of the people currently playing on BBO may not be able to move across to using realbridge. I know for example that there are some player who only have access to the internet through their mobile phone and so play this way. The specification required means that you must have for example and ipad that is 2015 or newer and similar restrictions were placed on other platforms.

  • @ClareB said:
    I recently played in a taster session. I used an ipad which is about 2 years old and tested it beforehand using the testing facilities. Both the camera and the sound seemed to be working as they passed the tests. However although I could see my partner and opponents they could not see me. They could only hear me. Several fixes were suggested but these were not for ipads. It was suggest that I had blocked the camera but that could not be the case as the test took a picture of me. Whilst I enjoyed the game of bridge and feel that seeing the opponents and partner is a step forward I do not think the all the technical issues have all been resolved. I am not sure whether my partner and opponents felt the same as they could not see me.

    I understand from my club chair that his wife had a similar issue when they tested it and she used an ipad. Many of the people currently playing on BBO may not be able to move across to using realbridge. I know for example that there are some player who only have access to the internet through their mobile phone and so play this way. The specification required means that you must have for example and ipad that is 2015 or newer and similar restrictions were placed on other platforms.

    Similar problems, I was using a laptop so no problem, however my partner was using an ipad, the first evening he couldn't see the opponents on one round but the biggest problem he encountered was that on both evenings he couldn't see the chat box on the right hand side of the screen. When the "director" enquired if everything was ok he basically said there is too much to fit onto the screen of an ipad !

  • I come across a number of players on BBO that experience similar issues with the chat and history etc. not being easily visible on screen. iPad users also seem to have all of the technical issues that I come across with connections closing and pop-ups on screen that people can't get rid of.
    So, I don't think that it is unique to Realbridge but rather a problem with using a tablet with limited screen space.

  • BBO has an app which is intended for the smaller screens of tablets and smart phones. I have used it once successfully on a Samsung tablet.

    https://www.bridgebase.com/intro/app.php

    Some people may prefer to 'touch' the cards than mouse click them, the disadvantage of course is the smaller screen. I prefer to use my desktop but it's good to know I have my tablet and phone available if my desktop crashes. If you lose your broadband signal or even have a power cut you can continue on your phone using your mobile signal.

    As far as I know Realbridge doesn't have an app but they probably have plans to do so in the future.

    I'm told there is a very good article in the Nov issue of BRIDGE mag called "The 70 advantages of online bridge". This was written about BBO bridge so when you add the extra social dimension of Realbridge, the case for online bridge becomes even more compelling. Is this the death of the playing cards and the bridge table?

  • @naturalman said: Is this the death of the playing cards and the bridge table?

    No :)

  • I have a strange issue with sound when playing on line. Basically I can play without sound issues unless I am playing with one specific partner. When we are at the table together there is no one at the table who can hear me: I apparently just break up. All I hear is a loud crackling so I have to resort to text chat.
    Oddly my partner and I played together at the Tollemache. I had the problems I describe but as soon as partner went behind the screen the problem disappeared and I could happily chat to my oppo - until he came back on. I could talk to team mates at the break without partner but as soon as he returned the problem resumed.
    He does not have these problems with others.
    Anyone else had this problem and if so how did you resolve it?

  • Can anyone explain a problem one of our members is having with Realbridge? She is using Chrome and she has a camera on her p.c. as she uses it for Zoom. But she cannot get the camera to connect for Realbridge. The audio is fine. Any suggestions would be welcome
    Thank you

  • Chrome requires the user to grant permission for a particular website to use the camera. The first time the website is accessed Chrome will prompt the user to "Allow" or "Block" access to the camera. It could be that the user has accidentally or deliberately blocked permission to use the camera when this prompt originally appeared. Chrome remembers the setting and will not ask again when the website is subsequently accessed. There are instructions for fixing the issue at this link

  • Many thanks John - I suggested she uploaded Firefox and that worked fine.

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