Three-player improvements

Ben Orenstein

Ben Orenstein · @r00k · December 14, 2020

We’ve taken some big steps toward improving the experience of three-way pairing sessions on Tuple.

Observers can now control the remote machine (and more)!

The increasingly-inaccurately-named observers now have way more abilities:

  • Remote control with keyboard and mouse!
  • Drawing on the screen.
  • Sending text to the host’s clipboard.
  • Triggering the all-important celebration confetti.

There are still a few restrictions that differentiate an observer (the third person to join a call) from a guest (the second person to join), but those are next on the chopping block. Soon enough, we’ll remove those differences entirely, and a call will simply have a host and multiple equally-capable guests.

Dual/multi-cursors work with all pointing devices now

To support our new three-way pairing sessions, we needed a mouse mode that didn’t feel crazy with three participants.

We decided to expand our dual cursor mode into a multi-cursor mode, with one cursor for each participant.

As part of that refactoring, we rewrote the low-level code, fixing some long-standing bugs that prevented some mice/trackpads from using this nifty mode.

Everyone can see who is in a three-way call

All participants can open their Tuple popover and see everyone who’s on the call.

Hosts can kick an observer from the call

Just in case, you know?

Smaller changes:

  • We removed the Highlight click mode. It’s been our least-used mode for a while, and with the new multi-cursor mode, it really felt like it wasn’t pulling its weight. If you really miss the old highlight circles, you can still trigger them by right-clicking when you don’t have cursor control in tag team mode.
  • We eliminated some crashes that could occur when your audio device becomes unavailable.
  • Mouse events are sent to your pair(s) more efficiently.
  • The UI no longer blocks while the webcam starts up.