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Author Topic: FSXHost?  (Read 48807 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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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2006, 04:52:55 PM »

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).

Actually I think all those low-poly aircraft models are installed with Squawkbox, but that doesn't really matter.  Good timing on this question, because I just discovered that FSX has changed the way unknown aircraft are handled.

In FS2002/4, if your friend was flying a plane you didn't have, then you'd see him in whatever plane you were flying at the time.  So if you were in a Cessna, he'd appear to be in a Cessna also, even if he was really flying a 747.  This is all different in FSX, because when my new client program tries to create a fake plane for your friend, FSX rejects it completely if it doesn't recognize the aircraft type.

What I'm thinking about doing is creating a feature similar to the one that's in FSHost.  Although not many people probably know about it, there's a feature in FSHost that lets you "map" one plane to another.  This was created when FS2004 came out, so that if someone was flying a plane that was added in FS2004, and someone else was using FS2002, they'd at least get something similar.  If you look in the "planes.txt" file in your FSHost directory, you'll see that it contains a mapping from one plane to another, such as this:

# FS2002 default planes not in FS2004:

Cessna Skylane 182R RG = Cessna Skylane 182S
F4U-1A Corsair = Beech Baron 58
Sopwith Camel = Curtiss Jenny Military

# FS2004 default planes not in FS2002:

Boeing 737-400 Paint3 = Boeing 737-400
Boeing 777-300 Paint3 = Boeing 777-300 Paint1
Curtiss Jenny = Sopwith Camel
de Havilland Comet Grosvenor House = Beech Baron 58

This is on the server side though, so it affects anyone that connects to that server.  Now that we'll have a new client program, it means that each individual user can customize what they want to see when a certain aircraft isn't recognized.  So I'm thinking that the user that's connecting to a session with this new client program can edit a similar mapping file on his machine to basically say, "whenever someone's flying the Whatzit 9000, show him in the Wright Flyer instead."  And also a default for any other unknown aircraft, so he could say, "and if any other aircraft show up that I don't know about, just always show them in the Piper Cub".

So what I'm thinking is that if you had some low-poly models on your machine, you could do the same and map anything you wanted, even the default aircraft in FS2002, FS2004, and FSX, to low-poly replacements, and then it would just affect what you saw in your sim.

Is that what you were looking for?

Also, I'm happy to hear other ideas for how to solve this problem, if anyone has any.

Thanks,
Russell
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westcoastatc

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2006, 05:08:22 PM »

Repository of sorts might be an option.

Where all FSX clients check the FSHost Server for this list if it's there it gets downloaded and updated in the sim (prior to connecting?). This might also be an opportunity to wherehouse all the models where a given client doesn't have the gizmo700-B if a low-res is available on the server it can grab it. The mapping download would be painless as it's a small file but it would then allow for a standardized list for all clients joining and even if we couldn't or wouldn't want to do a low res repository for aircraft one could be made available as a seperate download. As a safety precaution when a mapping file is downloaded we might rename the original so it can be reverted instead of overwriting.

Just my thoughts on a solution for that.

Sitting here thinking I'm wondering about the local connection for FSX. If we're creating the session locally would we be eliminating connection issues for FS9 and '02 players (read: limits of DX9)  if sims connected locally to the new client then connected up to FSHost as an FSX client? Russell you made mention earlier of porting FSX back to FS9 protocols for ease and I'm sure you considered this.  I'm probably not as confident in DirectPlay as I should or would like to be. Thoughts? (Read: "shut-up and go home" IS an acceptable answer to this question.)

Take care;

Erik
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2006, 06:08:59 PM »

Hi Erik,

Interesting ideas about having a repository, and downloading the latest list to the client.  I can see possibilities there.

You asked about the session being created locally.  A better way of thinking about this might be to say that in FSX, there is  no session.  FS2002 and FS2004 both used DirectPlay to connect to an existing session, and once connected, they were in p2p mode with all the other players, so everyone sent their own data to everyone else directly.  With FSX they still have that model, both when connecting direct from one FSX to another and when connecting to a GameSpy session, but they've locked all of us multiplayer developers out of it completely by not allowing us to use any of the multiplayer data, and not releasing any multiplayer documentation.  So what we're doing now is using this new thing they've created called SimConnect, which allows our client-side program to talk directly to the guts of FSX, to tell it to do things or to read info about what it's doing.  So I opted to keep FSHost basically the same as it was and just make a client program that essentially was a converter, reading data from FSX and sending it into the FS2004 session as though it were another FS2004 player using DirectPlay, and conversely reading the packets from the other FS2002/4 players and creating AI planes in FSX (in single-player mode) via SimConnect.

The other option would have been to do the opposite, and make a client program (or programs) to work with all three sims.  For FSX it would talk SimConnect, and for FS2002/4 it would create a local DirectPlay session for them to connect to.  And in all three cases, it would talk to FSHost through some new protocol that I invented, which had nothing to do with DirectPlay.  The only problem with that approach is that although it would get rid of DirectPlay on the FSHost server, it wouldn't really help the '02 and '04 players because they'd still be using DirectPlay, just locally instead of across the internet, but I can tell you from my experience with SBRelay (which also creates a local DirectPlay session) that you have just as many problems with DirectPlay even if it's just local.  Plus they'd have to start using a new client program, which they don't currently have to do.  It might open up some interesting possibilities with switching from a p2p session to a client-server session though, similar to Vatsim/IVAO/FPI.

But as I mentioned before, sessions with only FSX and/or FS2002 will have slow update times so they hopefully won't suffer from the super-fast updates that FS2004 sends.

Ok, I'm not sure I've actually answered your quesiton now :) but you can tell me if you have more questions.

Russell
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westcoastatc

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2006, 08:51:35 PM »

RG

My underlying thought is "scale". Using the P2P model M$ has given us for '02 and FS9 has always had limitations and frustrations that pilots face when joining busy and robust games. A 16 player limitation, they just had no idea. It has always been a desire of mine, as you know, to move away from the limitations and ease the frustrations of players where M$ fell short on "scale". Maybe FSX will do that if connected through it's networking layer, maybe it won't but that's my curiousity about scale. Players like to be where it's busy and fun and getting to that magical point has been about ease of deployment of aps and connectivity for all players. There's only so much we can do given the options now layed out for developers with FSX but I always wonder from a "pilots / racer / players" perspective what is optimal to keep those players coming back so the draw remains for others. What you've built and done with FSHost has always been terrific and what it actually does besides the "connection" portal is nothing short of amazing. I hope you know this "ONLY" relates to the networking layer in the P2P model which we've all painfully felt in our own ways over the years. If the option to get away from the P2P connectivity all together with FSX is available I'd say most communities would understand that '02 and FS9 would no longer be supported.

I support and most importantly respect your decisions, always.

Erik
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Corrupthawk

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2006, 11:27:50 PM »

Well, I tried to make a post earlier in the day about this, but I believe the forums went down for a little while or maybe it was my connection.  Anyhow, Would it be possible for FSHost to somehow notice that if an aircraft even has the numbers (let's just say) 737 in the aircraft name, no matter if it's the Captain Sims Legendary, or a Flight 1 product; just so it catches the numbers 737 in the name would it not be able to transform any of those aircraft into using the default 737? 

The repository sounds like a good idea, but if someone comes in after you have connected, would you then have to be sent back to the repository to download a low-poly model of that aircraft; or would you download ALL of the low-poly models in a compressed file when you first join the server?
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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2006, 04:23:33 AM »

Interresting ideas !!

I like the idea of a Repository !
But where I still see a problem.. are the low-poly planes itself.
Either you (we) model the planes ourselfes.. or we have to search a suitable
(Low Poly, acceptable looking) plane and get the permission to use it.
I could imagine that maybe "project ai", Mike Stone, freeware section of alphasim would be interresting.
I think we cannot expect from the users to search all the planes by themselfes
and check/edit the aircraft configs to match the mapping in the planes.txt file.

Regardless this problem
I have two ideas how the whole thing could work.
In any case something like a seperat projekt must be started that collects, tests, edits the planes (configs if necessary)
and updates the planes.txt file(s).

1. A central Repository that stores all the plane "maps". An FSHost server would check
this central source from time to time to offer these updates it´s users.
But how does the user get the new/updated low poly aircraft ? 3 Ideas
Those planes are downloaded automatically by your client.
The user has to download each plane individually and install it. (The user also needs to inform himself about updates)
The updates happen in bigger steps, where the user needs to download a "pack"
of new low poly aircrafts.

2. There is also a central source.
But instead of directly updating a server. The server admin
is responsible to do this. In this Central Source there are different
planes.txt files available for example "general_aviation_01_planes.txt" or
PMDG_planes.txt" an so on. For each of these files there would be a
pack of low poly aircraft available. So for example someone has a FSHost
Server running to simulate military operations. The server admin would download
the military01_planes.txt and tells his users (via forum or server message)
to download file "military_MP_Pack_01.zip" from "central source" (some website).
He must also inform his users wich planes are supported with the specific pack. Like this users don´t need to download
everything (wich could be quite a lot after a while).. But only the "packs" supported by his favourite server.
Of course it would be possible to install several *_planes.txt files next to each other to support
warbirds, military, GA.. an so on.. all on just one server. This would of course require
the Users to download and install all the neccesary packs. I could also imagine there
is a special file like "User_planes.txt" that can be edited by the server admin (or users) to support
various planes that are not yet included in.. the project. Of cource he would than be responsible
to offer the correct low-poly planes himselfes. Maybe that file includes a simple value (variable) that can be set to 0 or 1
to set the prority to user or project plane.txt files. (In case he wants to replace a specific aircraft on his server
with a plane allready included in a pack file). That would be a great solution for our Simviation Airshows.
Than there would be a file.. let´s call it default_planes.txt that
contains
1. A mapping to the standard Cessna in case a user doesn´ t has any pack installed at all.
2. A mapping to one of the low poly planes in case a user has the pack installed.... but someone is flying
a plane the is not supported in a specific pack. Like this User "A" could still see User "B" in  fighter plane
instead of the default cessna when User "B" is flying the brand new fighter XY not yet supported by the pack.

This is just an idea of me how this could work. If you decide to do something similar in the future
I´m willing to help !! I´m a 3D Designer myself. I could model the one or other plane. But probabely
not all. So I could also help you contacting the people to get the rights for several low poly planes and so on.
I also could imagine that one of the big download sites could host the packs. I could ask at Simviation
who allready host some bigger projects.. like the freeware SRTM for the whole world.

Sorry for this large amounts of text  ;D

best regards,

sam


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westcoastatc

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2006, 05:09:52 PM »

RG

You're officially allowed to spank me ... I installed FSX this afternoon and now the blind man sees. What multiplayer in FSX ... now what you were talking about makes complete sense. I had heard from sources that FSX had multiplayer and assumed it was like FS9 or '02 and I guess my mind wouldn't jump track and understand.

Sorry I was so thick headed.

::goes and hides back under rock::

Erik
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johannesmueller

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2006, 04:58:11 AM »

Personally, I would "vote" for an "as simple as possible" Multiplayer FSX-Add-on that would allow FSX players to join FSHost sessions. I already have a list of people with FSX who can no longer join the server sessions (unless they revert to their FS9 systems, which some are doing  ;D ;D ).

All the other functions sound really great, and as soon as the basics are working there will be enough time to work out the feature-lists and work on whatever parts are possible. Heck, I'm certain we could even get some people together to help with the coding, if that was ok from your side, Russell. Once they can fly there will be enough time to do all of that :)

Cheers
John
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2006, 11:24:19 AM »

Erik,

No problem -- I still think your comments about scale are definitely valid.  My feeling about the DirectPlay problems is that in large sessions the amount of data being sent around becomes so huge that eventually DP makes a mistake and the session comes crashing down.  My hope is that as more people eventually move to FSX, we could see FSX-only sessions where all of the data flow is controlled by this new client program, so we'd finally be rid of the super-high data rates.  Changing everyone in the session from 20 location updates per second (in FS2004) to 4 location updates per second (in the new client program for FSX) would mean an overall data rate that was 5 times lower.  Does that mean we could have 5 times as many players before DirectPlay crashes?  We'll have to find out.  ;)  The FSX client will for the most part look like another FS2004 player, but one of the things I want to do is to have FSHost be able to detect that it's an FSX client connecting, so that FSHost admins can have FSX-only sessions if they want to.

Quote from: Corrupthawk
Would it be possible for FSHost to somehow notice that if an aircraft even has the numbers (let's just say) 737 in the aircraft name, no matter if it's the Captain Sims Legendary, or a Flight 1 product; just so it catches the numbers 737 in the name would it not be able to transform any of those aircraft into using the default 737? 

The repository sounds like a good idea, but if someone comes in after you have connected, would you then have to be sent back to the repository to download a low-poly model of that aircraft; or would you download ALL of the low-poly models in a compressed file when you first join the server?

Corrupthawk,

Yes, absolutely, I think the aircraft mapping feature should be able to map exact matches as well as partial.  I'm not sure I want to build an entire regular expresion parser for strings like "text*text[abc]text*" but things like "contains 737" should be no problem.  :)  There will also be an option to say what aircraft should be used if nothing else works, such as a Cessna.

As for the repository, I think it would have to be just a list of aircraft for mapping.  I don't see (at the moment) a way to download the low-poly models and make that all work.

Quote from: -sam-
I like the idea of a Repository ! But where I still see a problem.. are the low-poly planes itself.
Either you (we) model the planes ourselfes.. or we have to search a suitable (Low Poly, acceptable looking) plane and get the permission to use it.

Sam,

I agree, there are several problems, and it's all quite complicated.  I don't have access to any low-poly planes, so if they were to be installed with the new client program, they'd have to come from someone willing to donate them.  Without them, the mapping feature would at least allow FSX players to see similar planes for FS2002/4 players that were flying default aircraft.  I'll most likely create a mapping file when the program is first released, to cover the differences I know about.  For example, I've noticed that not all of the aircraft names are exactly the same in FSX.  So even though it has a 737, it doesn't have exactly the same one so it rejects it.  That would be an easy fix in the mapping file.  And as Corrupthawk said, it could map any other unknown "737" plane to the one in FSX.  But the rest of the features for low-poly models are still interesting, just harder. :)  I'm willing to work with anyone that wants to tackle the problem.

Thanks,
Russell
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2006, 11:24:48 AM »

Just as a quick update, I'm still making good progress on the client program.  It's able to connect to FSHost sessions now, and see all the other players.  It can also connect via SimConnect to FSX on the same machine, and create all the fake "AI" planes in FSX and keep them moving at high framerates.  The movement is quite smoothe now, so I'm very happy with that.  I have most of the basics working for the AI planes such as connecting, disconnecting, plane changes, etc.

One thing I've discovered is that there will be a maximum of 11 characters for player names now, so if you have a longer one, better start thinking of a new one. :)

Also, FSX still only shows remote planes if they're within 10 nm, just as it did in FS2004.  That's not something I can do anything about, but usually 10 nm is pretty good.

I've also discovered that I do have the ability to turn on smoke trails for the AI planes, so if two FSX players are in the session together, they should hopefully be able to see each other's smoke.  Getting that to work is still on the low priority list at the moment, along with things like making the flaps, gear, lights, doors, and propellers all show correctly.  But I was curious to see if it was even possible, and it is.

I haven't experimented with failures in FSX but that's an interesting idea for later as well.  Unfortunately the way they wrote it in FS2002/4, it was impossible to have FSHost generate failures for the players in the session.  It would only work with a one-on-one connection.  But with the new client program, more things are possible.

I've still got several things left to do, not least of which is sending the local FSX player's location data out to the other players so they can see you.  Right now I can see everyone else but they can't see me.  Good for testing anyway, when I'm slewing around looking at them from all angles. ;)  As soon as I get all the basics working, I'll post a beta version for you guys to start hammering on.  I'll keep you posted.

Russell
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Bob_8712E

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2006, 05:32:30 PM »

As someone else said.....
Once again, Russell  "bails out"  another Microsoft's  FS version  ....  great Job Russell
 My big concern is that I have not heard from anyone that has gotten FSX to work well even on a P4 3.2ghz ??
I would be interested to know if it really works as mine doesn't and I have warned all my FSHost players to try the demo before they buy and what problems to look for.
njhops.com/notams.htm
« Last Edit: October 18, 2006, 05:36:58 PM by Bob_8712E »
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DS20LA

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2006, 09:14:01 PM »

Keep up the good work Russell, we look forward to the beta(s) !!

Over at WSP, we've made it a very visible point to start throwing you ca$h tips (no dancing necessary) ;). Your efforts are much appreciated.


-Robert
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Bob

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2006, 12:24:57 AM »

Diito,

Great job Russell,  ;)





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-sam-

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2006, 02:20:36 AM »

Sounds great.. especially that flaps, doors and smokesystems will probabely work :)

One question.
If you get disconnected from the session for some reason
will you have to close the Sim or do you just have to reconnect
with your client program ? (A simviation member asked me that question yesterday)

Keep up the good work,

best regrads,

sam
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2006, 05:13:40 AM »

Over at WSP, we've made it a very visible point to start throwing you ca$h tips (no dancing necessary) ;).

Hey, I can dance if necessary!  ;D

I really appreciate the donations from you guys lately!  I woke up the other day thinking I needed to upgrade the hardware in this machine because of FSX and various other programs I'm using for testing at the same time -- by the end of the day, I had donations from three guys in your group, and it was a big help!

Russell
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2006, 05:20:39 AM »

If you get disconnected from the session for some reason will you have to close the Sim or do you just have to reconnect with your client program ?

I'm happy to report that you can just reconnect with the client program, you don't have to restart the sim.  There's a way that the client can detect that the sim's there, regardless of which program was started first, so it shouldn't matter.

Russell
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wealthysoup

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2006, 02:57:33 PM »

would it be possible to get aircraft of a similar size weight and power for the addon aircraft models if a match isnt found (taking data from the aircraft .cfg file)?

I think it would probably be best to have a box to check to automatically download and install these planes from a central server when your not flying (or when your flying but limit the download rate) then when you join a fs session the low poly models show up instead of the default cessna  8)
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Corrupthawk

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2006, 08:15:57 PM »

Let's not overload him guys.  I'm sure he won't dissapoint us with what he brings to our simulation world.   As to the repository, I think, right now, that could be put on the back burner, but I do believe he will give us some sort of mapping system to work with.   The main thing I believe that people will like about FSX is the smoke trails and external lights.  If both of these can be seen using FSX thru FSHost that is what will bring the reality to the game. 

Whenever Russel does come out with an FSHost for FSX it will possibly be a Beta version.  Meaning that he can still work on it while everybody is enjoying being in an FSHost server.
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2006, 10:16:06 PM »

Hi guys, another update.

Got several more pieces working over the last couple of days.  Everyone else can now see the local FSX plane, and you can see them in FSX as well, so it's working in both directions now.  Also got the beginnings of a chat window working.  It does the job, but right now it only works if FSX is in windowed mode -- it can be maximized, just not true "full screen".  More will will be required there, but at least text communication is possible.  I've got it working so if the remote players change planes, it changes them in FSX as well, although not the reverse yet -- if you change your FSX plane, they don't see the change, but that'll be soon.

I'm thinking I can probably get a beta to you guys next week, and then continue working on some of the finer details while you play with it and find bugs.  There aren't enough hours in the day -- it's getting to the fun part!   :)

More soon,

Russell
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GSX

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FSX FSHOST Q's
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2006, 08:22:50 PM »

Russell,

Just a couple of questions and maybe a few comments.

From the preceding comments you stated previously I gather that FSX will be compatible with FS2002 and FS2004 sessions via FSHost. However, DirectPlay has not been a real functional multiplayer layer in that port specifications are very specific. We have seen on our servers that most players have poor configurations and this can have very bad results at times as we all know. We now have software that list every port used to connect to FSHost for the client machines, which helps us to identify problem players configurations. I am not sure at this time what the multiplayer scheme is for FSX, but it is obviously different. I know that the SDK for FSX is on dvd 1 of the deluxe version but I have not checked yet. Would be curious to see if it has any multiplayer sdk info on it. Anyway the point is, do you plan to use (if the information is available) the multiplayer system for FSX, in a FSX FSHost server that would not use DirectPlay (I know this would not let FS2004 and FS2002 and FSX sessions on one server), but I have a feeling that the multiplayer system used in FSX is much more stable from my short experience with it. I know this is kind of a crappy opinion, but if it is better than I would like to see a FSX server using the multiplayer technology built into FSX and not DirectPlay. I would love to see more stable servers out there. The lack of stability is not the fault of FSHost but of DirectPlay. My understanding is that FSX uses a client-to-client methodology unlike the peer-to-peer of direct play. Of course client-server model would be the best, if FSX would support that, of course limiting hosting servers to those with high bandwidth. These are just a couple of thoughts knocking around in my skull. I suppose tonight I will delve into the FSX SDK and see what I can find out about mp implementation for FSX. The client side "pipe" software for FSX sounds great to make it integrate with DirectPlay sessions of FS2002 and FS2004. We do really appreciate FSHost, makes it possible for the flight sim community to host their own servers which is a great gift. To bad when I loaded FSX that we have only two choices for mp sessions, very lame.
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GSX

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FSX Performance
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2006, 08:36:10 PM »

Well I have serveral thoughts about FSX performance, and I am sure someone will tell me if I am wrong.
But here goes....this is a response to a post by Bob.....

I have to admit that all in all FS9 looks a lot better than FSX. The minimum specs for FSX are actually very lenient. But the performance seen out of FSX is very poor even on powerful machines.

Consider this:

I own several reasonably powerful pc's and here is what I get out of FSX

pc 1

P4 HT 3.2 Ghz
2 Gigs of ddr2 Ram
Sata HDD
ATI x1600 Pro (512MB Ram)
.....not going to list all the other addins, but you get the idea
-performance, 7 fps average, with max graphics settings in FSX, and it does not look better than the 50-80 fps I get out of FS9 with full graphics settings

pc 2

AMD Athlon Dual Core x64 3800+
2 Gigs of ddr2 Ram
Sata HDD
ATI x1600 Pro (512MB Ram)
-performance, 10 fps average, with max graphics settings if FSX, and it does not look any better than the 50-80 fps I get out of FS9 with full graphics settings
the best performance I can get out of this machine is 20-24 fps at medium graphics and it looks worse than fs9 at the same graphics settings
this pc performs better than pc 1 I listed above
note: i also checked the processor usage, FSX only uses one core on this dual core machine and it uses only 60% of that processor at maxed out graphics, so the bottleneck lies elsewhere, i have some benchmarking software and will check into this. fsx is memory hungry, i tried it with 1 gig in this machine, and it used all of the available memory, and was actively swapping. With 2 gigs FSX was marginally faster, more to come if you all are interested. even with the maxed out settings, textures still look like crap. in the same pc with 1 gig of ram fs9 with typical background software does not use much more than half a gig, interesting eh. i may buy the ati x1900 xtx for this machine just to see how much it improves the graphics, but i have a feeling it will help only marginally.

of course both machines have fully updated gc drivers, xp updates, and direct x

I believe quite simply that in order to truely appreciate FSX and see what it is capable of we are simply going to have to wait until Vista and Direct X10 come out. There are some MAJOR changes between DX9 family and the DX10 family. I do some Directx 9 programming in C++ and there is some coverage of the new features and changes coming in Direct X10 and it seems to me that Direct X10 is going to really improve the graphics quality, especially its ability to use the abilities of the newer cards coming out on the market. Its hard but I am not trying to judge FSX to harshly because we are all flying on XP machines with the direct x 9 family, with FSX not even being designed/optimized for XP, but rather it being built for Vista and DX10. We are probably lucky to be able to use it with xp. Microsoft should have waited to release it until Vista is released. Anyway that is my observation and opinion. Ok there you go, now someone pick it apart ! lol







« Last Edit: October 21, 2006, 08:53:51 PM by GSX »
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSX FSHOST Q's
« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2006, 08:23:33 PM »

...do you plan to use (if the information is available) the multiplayer system for FSX, in a FSX FSHost server that would not use DirectPlay...

Actually I'm sorry to say that not only is there no multiplayer SDK for FSX, Microsoft has said that there never will be, and they don't want us developers using the multiplayer system in FSX at all.  Hard to believe, but that's what they said.  My guess is that since they've gone to GameSpy for the servers, they're probably doing what other GameSpy-capable games do and are using GameSpy's proprietary multiplayer code.  GameSpy probably also doesn't want anyone connecting to their servers with 3rd party applications.

Microsoft has a new SDK called SimConnect now, which the developers can use to interact with the sim (sort of like FSUIPC), and they want us multiplayer developers to basically build our own multiplayer functionality as a separate add-on.  So FSX will be running in single-player mode, but my new client application will use SimConnect to create fake "AI" planes in FSX to represent the other players in the multiplayer session, and it'll also use SimConnect to get your local "real" FSX plane's position info and pass that up to the FSHost server and the other players in the session so they can see you.  I also have to use SimConnect to make things work like doors, propellers, flaps, lights, smoke, etc., as well as building my own chat window.  In a word, it sucks.  The only good side is that I'll have more access than I had before, so things like smoke are now possible, whereas they weren't before.

Quote
My understanding is that FSX uses a client-to-client methodology unlike the peer-to-peer of direct play.

Actually from my tests, I believe it's still using peer-to-peer mode.  Each player sends their data to all other players in the session, it does not appear to be relaying it through a central server.

And I agree about DirectPlay -- it's unstable, unreliable, and frustrating.  I'd love to get rid of it.  But doing it the way I'm doing will make things go much faster, and I won't have to rewrite major parts of FSHost.  It also means that it'll stay in peer-to-peer mode, which is good and bad, but at least it won't require the host to have enormous bandwidth requirements for large sessions.  And for FSX-only sessions, I'm hoping you'll be able to host far more people before DirectPlay becomes unstable, since the data rate from my client program will be so much lower than FS2004.

Russell
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johannesmueller

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2006, 02:57:32 PM »

Russell - which forms of legal drugs can we send you to help you in your quest to dominate FSX? :)

John

PS just wondering ... would it be legal to reverse-engineer the GameSpy network traffic? If illegal in the US, would it be legal for US players to use foreign code that does something similar? Or is it "just" against the ToS to use "non-certified" code to access the GameSpy servers? If so, perhaps we could set up an alternative ;) or run a local proxy for FSX GameSpy to DirectPlay translation... Just dreaming, ignore me :D. Does anyone remember that job Microsoft/Aces had listed for the FS which required know-how in massive online multiplayer games? Was "use GameSpy" really all that came out of that? Sigh.
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Russell Gilbert

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Re: FSXHost?
« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2006, 03:47:46 PM »

Ok, guys, here's FSHostClient 1.0 beta 1.  Go get it!  ;D

http://chocolatesoftware.com/fshost/?fshostclient.html

Note: let's please move all future dicussions about this beta version to the new Beta Test forum for FSHostClient.  You'll see it if you refresh the front page of the forums.  Thanks!

Russell
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