Our D&D group is notoriously bad at consistently meeting.
It is something that happens when you grow up; schedules are incompatible, real life issues interfere, and it just has to take lower priority.
Throughout the last few years, we've struggled to meet once every 3 or 4 months on a Sunday night.
Due to this and other concerns, we decided to give it a try to use an online video chat service for one person to be remotely available. Our first guinea pig was not Mike (our friend who moved away), but me. Circumstances had me needing to stay home, but available for gaming.
We first tried Google Hangout, but the video was a little bit choppy (over wifi, at least) and it was wreaking havoc on my poor netbook's system resources.
I suggested we use Skype instead.
From my perspective, Skype was generating a clearer smoother picture and better audio... but for whatever reason it ended up crashing the machine on the other side.
So we went back to Google Hangout, and I resorted to getting out my incredibly-long-cat5-cable to plug the netbook into the wired network.
Had to work out some audio issues, but eventually it started working better, and we got used to it.. so, technologically, it was working OK.
Whether it will hold up with a 3rd or 4th person in conference is a whole other question, but we'll see.
As for the experience itself, I know I was fooling around with zooming in on random objects and making funny faces for a lot of the time, but that was just to make sure people still knew I was there. (It was also weird because my view of myself was mirror-flipped.. whooaaaa)
I also felt a little bit like I was watching a live event, and not participating, so there were times that I completely zoned out, did stuff in another window, and waited to hear my name.
But when I did hear my name, and when I was included, then I did feel like we accomplished something. I was more-or-less able to see the BattleMat and my character actually did kill some goblins and stuff. :)
So, conceptually, I approve. I think this can work.
Technically, I think we still have to figure out what the ideal setup is.
Hopefully, next time, I will be one of the people in the physical room, though.