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Author Topic: FSXHost?  (Read 40940 times)

Corrupthawk

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FSXHost?
« on: October 10, 2006, 04:02:38 PM »

Will there be an FSXHost, and if so, is there an approximate date on a release?
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2006, 08:54:04 PM »

Hi there,

Yep, absolutely.  I'm working on it now actually, making progress, but I don't have anything ready to show yet.  As soon as I do, I'll release a beta here on the site for anyone to try, and I'll post in the announcement forum.  Microsoft changed the whole multiplayer system in this version, developer-wise anyway, so there are a lot of changes on my end.  On your end, you'll have to download a new program that will run alongside FSX, and will enable your FSX to connect to an FSHost session.  It's this new client program that's where all the work is actually, the changes to FSHost will be fairly minimal.

I'm hoping to have something ASAP, because I know the official release date is coming up fast, and some people are starting to have it already.  Don't have a date for you, but I'm working on it :-)

Russell
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Corrupthawk

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2006, 08:08:06 AM »

Thx for the quick reply.  Yeah, I know it goes thru Gamespy now, so I know it's gonna be a little bit more difficult to code as the host has to somehow connect too Gamespy for the game to be shown for others to see it. 

So what your saying is that FSX will have to be able to be started on the server machine?
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Corrupthawk

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2006, 08:11:03 AM »

nevermind, I re-read it now.  The client is going to have to download a program that works with FSX too be able too connect to the FSXHost machine.
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2006, 09:10:17 AM »

Yep, that's right, you don't have to use GameSpy at all, it'll be just like before except the person running FSX will need a new program from me in order to connect to an FSHost server.  And the person running FSHost can still run it standalone, without even having Flight Simulator installed if they want.

Russell
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Corrupthawk

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2006, 09:53:04 AM »

yikes,  would there be anyway that you could make it to where the FSHost server will be able too show up in the Gamespy menu with the other servers?
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2006, 01:42:49 PM »

Nope, probably not, Microsoft has pretty much locked us developers out of all the multiplayer stuff this time, which is why I have to write a client-side application.

Russell
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-sam-

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2006, 02:35:57 AM »

Hello Russel,

These are great news.
Now that you obviously allready have your hands on FSX Multiplayer
I have some questions noone else could answer me so far.
1. Does FSX still use Direct Play or another proprietary protocoll ?
2. Has there anything been done regarding the open port "problems" ?
3. Are there any advantages (with or without FSHost) like smoother display (motion)
    of other users aircraft ?
    Do smokesystems work now in Multiplayer Sessions ?
4. If there are any advantages like this. Will FSHost support them ? Are there any features FSHost
    will not support because it´s backward compatible with FS9  ?
5. Would a pure FSHost for FSX be able run as Linux Software ?
6. Will FSHost support the Pilot/Co-Pilot and ATC ability that FSX has ?

So many questions  :)
Maybe you can answer some
Thank You,

sam




« Last Edit: October 12, 2006, 02:48:39 AM by -sam- »
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2006, 07:48:39 AM »

Hi Sam, good questions...

Quote
1. Does FSX still use Direct Play or another proprietary protocoll ?

Microsoft declared DirectPlay "deprecated" a year or two ago, and is no longer using it in any of their games.  FSX uses a completely new system for exchanging multiplayer data, but this new system will not be available to developers.  They've built a new system called SimConnect that allows developers to connect directly into the FSX program, sort of like the way FSUIPC works, if you're familiar with that program.  This is good because we have more access to the internals of the program, but bad because we can't connect directly with FSX using multiplayer packets.  We have to write a client-side program that essentially talks to FSX in single-player mode, and then relays the data up to a server like FSHost (or Vatsim, IVAO, FPI, etc.).  This is similar to programs like Vatsim's Squawkbox, but it's new for FSHost because in previous versions anyone could connect to an FSHost server without downloading special software.

Quote
2. Has there anything been done regarding the open port "problems" ?

Since they're not using DirectPlay anymore, some of the port problems should be gone now.  However...  my new client-side program will still be using DirectPlay to connect FSX with FSHost, so I'm afraid we're not finished with DirectPlay yet  :(.  This may sound like a bad idea, but given the fact that FSHost currently supports FS2002 and FS2004, both of which use DirectPlay, it's actually better to keep using DirectPlay in this situation because it means that FSX can join FSHost sessions with those previous versions without me having to completely rewrite all of the communication parts of FSHost.  The new client program will make FSX look like another FS2004 program, and that greatly simplifies things on both the client and server sides.  (I can go into more technical detail if you're interested)

Quote
3. Are there any advantages (with or without FSHost) like smoother display (motion) of other users aircraft ?

Since we developers don't have access to the multiplayer system in FSX, my new client program has to create all of the remote planes in your FSX session itself.  So your FSX will be in single-player mode, but you'll be able to connect to an FSHost session, and then the client program will create fake planes in your FSX so you can see all of the other players.  In previous versions, you just connected your FS to a session and it created all the fake planes automatically.  Now I have to do it manually, so I also have to move the planes myself.  My plan is to move the planes at least 20 or 30 times per second so it should hopefully be at least as smooth as it was in previous versions.  I have some of this working now and I'm quite happy with how it looks so far, and even moving the planes that often does not seem to use much CPU at all because the client is talking directly with FSX and it's very quick.

Quote
Do smokesystems work now in Multiplayer Sessions ?

This is an interesting one.  Remember I said that your FSX will be in single-player mode, even when connected to a session like FSHost, Vatsim, IVAO, and FPI?  Well, this also means that features like smoke and AI aircraft (planes generated by the sim to give you some fake traffic) will  work now while you're connected to a multiplayer session.  For things like smoke, I believe it should be possible for my new client program to read the status of the smoke system in your FSX plane and send that info out to all the other FSXs in the session (or I should say, all the other FSHost client programs that are connected to FSXs), and then those client programs can turn on the smoke system for the fake plane representing you so they can see your smoke.  I haven't tested this yet though, but I'll definitely check it out.  And of course, this would only work with other FSXs, because FS2002 and FS2004 will still use the old multiplayer packets like they always have, and those packets didn't support the smoke system.

Now, what about those AI aircraft that your FSX is generating for you...  well, they're a problem because you can see them but nobody else in the multiplayer session can.  So I'll be recommending that people turn off the AI aircraft when connecting to a multiplayer session.  Otherwise it'd be very confusing (for you) because you wouldn't know which aircraft were remote players and which were fake traffic generated by your sim.

Quote
4. If there are any advantages like this. Will FSHost support them ? Are there any features FSHost will not support because it´s backward compatible with FS9  ?

Now that my client program will have direct access into FSX, it opens up some interesting possibilities like with the smoke system.  I could theoretically also read values like fuel level, on-ground status, com frequencies, and lots of other things that I didn't have access to before, because before all I had was whatever Microsoft put into the multiplayer packets.  Now I can read whatever data I want and send that out to the other FSX client programs, or to FSHost so it can report the information somehow.  I definitely want to look into these things, but first I'll be concentrating on just getting FSX connected to existing FSHost sessions with the same features you had in previous versions.  Then I'll try some of these fancier things.   :)

Quote
5. Would a pure FSHost for FSX be able run as Linux Software ?

This was something I thought about, but I decided there were great advantages to keeping FSHost basically the same as it is now and just creating a new client program for FSX.  So I'm afraid we still have the same problems running it under Linux, because of the DirectPlay requirements.  I believe someone has been successful at running FSHost on Linux under VMWare though.

Quote
6. Will FSHost support the Pilot/Co-Pilot and ATC ability that FSX has ?

Another interesting possibility here...  Imagine this.  You connect your FSX to an FSHost session, and you can see all the other pilots and they can see you.  Remember that your FSX is in single-player mode now.  So what happens if you and your friend are both in the same FSHost session, and then you connect to each other directly (not using GameSpy, but just a simple direct IP-to-IP connection) using FSX's built-in multiplayer system, while you're still connected to FSHost?  Well, I believe all the new multiplayer features like shared cockpit should work, and everyone else in the session will probably just see your plane and your friend's plane at the same location, on top of each other.  I haven't tested this either though, but that's my theory on how it might work.  :)  I think it should be the same for FSX's new ATC and voice as well, although for things like voice you'd obviously only be able to talk to your friend.  If you wanted to talk to other people in the session, you'd need to connect to whatever voice program they were using.  For ATC, I believe you should be able to see the other remote players on your radar screen, but I'm not sure yet.

Let me know if I can answer other questions...

Russell
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mark957

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2006, 12:00:52 PM »

Will the client program work with multiple FSHost running on the same server ?

Also will there be a noticeable increase in network traffic on the server side ?

as compaired with the existing FSHost and client FS2004 frame rates locked at 20fps.

Regards,
N957MW
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2006, 01:13:44 PM »

Will the client program work with multiple FSHost running on the same server ?

Yep, absolutely.  When you connect the client program to a session, it'll be very similar to how you connect to a session in FS2004.  You'll enter an IP address and a connect port (default = 23456, but could be different if multiple FSHosts are on the same IP), it'll then show you the sessions it found along with the session comments (but it'll show you all  of the comments, not just the first 30 characters like FS2004 does), and then you'll enter a password if required and click the Connect button to join the session.

Quote
Also will there be a noticeable increase in network traffic on the server side ?  as compaired with the existing FSHost and client FS2004 frame rates locked at 20fps.

It should be far less network traffic actually.  This is because the client program will send the FSX data to FSHost (and the other players in the session) at whatever rate I want it to be, and most likely I'll want it to be 4 times per second (although I could make it adjustable).  That's the speed FS2002 used, and it gives nice smoothe movement.  As you probably know, FS2004 has a bug in it that causes it to send the data at the same rate as the visual frame rate, which is why I started suggesting that people lock their frame rates at 20 or so.  So this means that any FS2004 players in the session will still send their data at whatever rate they have it locked at, but FS2002 and FSX players will send it 4 times per second.  This means that if you're running an FSX-only session (or even FSX and FS2002), it's possible that you could have more players in the session than you can have today, before DirectPlay becomes unstable -- we'll see  :)

Russell
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N6722c

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2006, 02:55:19 PM »

Looking forward to seeing FSX  running on FsHost,   with all the features that FsHost  & FsSpy give.

FSX in Multiplayer Mode,  Gamespy, and FSX's Audio Communication are, IMHO, a compolete waste of time, so it will be great to be able to "add" FSX in it's "Free Flying" mode  to existing FsHost servers, and fly with Fs2004 & Fs2002 aircraft.

As for Audio, I believe that Teampspeak  will continue to be the way to go, as most have already discovered  with Fs2004, and those who try FSX's  "Audio Communications",  will quickly also come to appreciate.

FsSpy will continue to be a far better  entry point, to find Multiplayer Session,  than the Gamespy Interface,  that I predict will quicky become total chaos  --   and you thought the MS ZONE was bad !!!

Unless you fly on Vatsim, or a similar service, I think it will become obvious that FsHost will be the ONLY viable way to run any significant FSX Multiplayer session....  from what I have seen .. most   Micrsoft FSX Multiplayer sessons  using FSX's  MP,  only last a short time before the Host  either Crashes,  or has other problems, that result in the whole session closing down.

Also  the FsHost  support for ATC via its Web Interface, and the ability to run FsNav (under at least Fs2004 / Fs2002  in a MP mode),  provides far better ATC features than  FSX's "Tower ATC".

Once again, Russell  "bails out"  another Microsoft's  FS version  ....  great Job Russell   :)

N6722c
 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2006, 11:46:05 PM by N6722c »
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-sam-

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2006, 03:49:53 AM »

Thank You Russel for this detailed answer !!
These are great news.

I don´t have any other questions at the moment
But when you say it will work similar to the Vatsim Software
I have an idea for the future. Well a very vague idea for the very far future :)
 
When flying Vatsim you get all the different planes people are flying as
Low Poly automatically downloaded from their server (at least I think it works like that).
Would something similar be possible with FSHost, too ?
I could imagine it works like this.

Inside a specific aircraft folder there is another folder... something like "proxy_aircraft".
This folder contains a lowpoly or "light" Version of the actuall aircraft. This must be
done either by the developer or also can be made by a user. Like this
even payware developer could include a light version of their planes.
So everyone in a MP Session is able to see the actuall payware plane. But it´s useless
for them because it´s just a non- flyable "light version". (No problems with piracy that way)
If some plane does not ship with such a proxy folder, users could make addons themselfes to support
this feature. For example.. you own the payware "Realair Spitfire". Someone could make an addon
out of a freeware Spitfire (presuming he got the rights to do this) that is copied into the Realair folder
and all users of a MP Session can see a Spitfire instead of the Cessna.
(Probabely the aircraft name and contact points must be edited in the aircraft.cfg)
In some cases it even might not be neccessary to make a proxy plane. Some freeware planes are small
enough to download them completely. In that case something like a "pointer" in the proxy folder that
points to the original aircraft folder could do the job.
Depending on the connection speed Users would be able to activate or deactivate this download feature.
Maybe there would also be an option to activate deactivate this feature in case
someone allready got the full plane installed.. to get a better performance in MP Session
(Flying with 3 fully modeled Captainsim Aircraft in a Formation can drastically drop your framerate for example)
Of course this would only work if that way would be accepted by the community
and the Developers.. especially Payware Devolpers. This would require some "research" in advance
if people are willing to do this. I could imagine they like the idea cause FSHost is the only serious
way to setup a Multiplay Server anyway (next to VATSIM/IVAO wich is very special)

But it would be a great feature. No more trouble with aircraft in our airshows.
No more frame drops when approaching an airport where some people are allready waiting.
No more heavies that appear as a chessna.. an so on.. and so on.

Well... just a curious idea :)

cheers,

sam


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xabbu

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2006, 06:31:43 AM »

Hi there,

I am one of sams fellows and I would like to add some more questions / remarcks to this:


Quote
Quote
4. If there are any advantages like this. Will FSHost support them ? Are there any features FSHost will not support because it´s backward compatible with FS9  ?

Now that my client program will have direct access into FSX, it opens up some interesting possibilities like with the smoke system.  I could theoretically also read values like fuel level, on-ground status, com frequencies, and lots of other things that I didn't have access to before, because before all I had was whatever Microsoft put into the multiplayer packets.  Now I can read whatever data I want and send that out to the other FSX client programs, or to FSHost so it can report the information somehow.  I definitely want to look into these things, but first I'll be concentrating on just getting FSX connected to existing FSHost sessions with the same features you had in previous versions.  Then I'll try some of these fancier things.   :)

It would be also awesome to have some similar feature as the pilot logs in the old fshost, but with all the additional information. Also it would be cool to optimize the logging format for machine reading (maybe introduce xml ? ), as we are allready fideling around on having real time flight display in conjunction with for example google earth and stuff like that. This would open up a new world to people who are running a server.

Quote
Quote
5. Would a pure FSHost for FSX be able run as Linux Software ?

This was something I thought about, but I decided there were great advantages to keeping FSHost basically the same as it is now and just creating a new client program for FSX.  So I'm afraid we still have the same problems running it under Linux, because of the DirectPlay requirements.  I believe someone has been successful at running FSHost on Linux under VMWare though.

Yeah that is the Simviation/NFo server we are running. Its really stable but for a small application like fshost does use way too much resources. But if you have these resources at hands then its running great.

xabbu
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N4JT

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2006, 01:20:07 PM »

Great news, information, and explanations!

Thank you for all your work. You make online flying a great thing! I, for one, am excited at the possibilities you have mentioned.

*I gotta go get a postcard!*

 ;D ;D
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