Flight Simulator Multiplayer Tutorial
This tutorial is designed to help you get started flying in multiplayer games. It
focuses primarily on Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2002 (FS2002),
Flight Simulator 2004 (FS2004), Flight Simulator X (FSX), and
Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D, and explains how to connect to a multiplayer session on an FSHost server.
Connecting to an FSHost server
FSHost is a free server program for hosting multiplayer
sessions with FS2002, FS2004, FSX, and Prepar3D. Any
user can run the program on their PC to host a session, and
players from all four simulator versions can connect to the
same session and see each other inside the game. Some of the
features include unlimited players, a web interface, flight
plans for ATC sessions, pilot logs, the ability to kick and
ban players, Chat Commands, Hop Lists, custom weather,
multiple language support, and lots more. If you want to host your own session, you can download it for free from
the FSHost web site.
If you just
want to join someone else's session, the easiest way to find a game is to use my FSHostSpy
you can download for free from the FSHostSpy web
site. It'll show you all the sessions currently
running (there are usually more than 150 at any given time), as well as which players are already
connected, what they're flying, where they are, etc. Once you find a game to join,
double-click the session name, and the host's IP address will be copied to your clipboard. (An
IP address is the unique address of the host's computer on the internet -- something like
If you're using FSX or Prepar3D, skip the rest of this section and jump down to
A note about FSX and Prepar3D.
To connect to the game in FS2002 or FS2004, start FS yourself and click "Multiplayer" on the left
side of the start screen (or if you're already in the plane, click the Flights menu, then
Multiplayer, and then Connect -- press the Alt key if you don't see the Flights menu at the top
left). Enter your player name, select TCP/IP (if you're using FS2002), and enter the IP address
listed for that game, by clicking in the IP address box and typing Ctrl-v to paste it in (or you can
just type it in manually). Click Search and wait a couple seconds, then you should see a session
name listed. Click Join to connect to the session.
After connecting, you'll be back at the same Multiplayer
start page again. Click the "Chat" button to open the Chat
window (or if you're already in the plane, press the Enter
key to open the chat window). Ask the other players for a starting airport "ID". This is usually a 3- or 4-letter code,
such as KLAX for Los Angeles.
Then click "Create A Flight" on the left side of the Multiplayer start page, and setup your flight.
You'll probably want to change the airport to whatever airport ID the other players told you. To do
that, click the "Change" button under "Current Location", and then enter the ID in the "Airport ID"
box. Note that the ID box is the second box, not the first. If you know the name, you can use the
first box instead, but many people find it easier to refer to airports by ID. After you type in the
airport ID, it should show the name of the airport at the top of the "Search Results" list -- this
is how you know you've typed it in correctly. If it doesn't find it, make sure you don't have a
particular region or country specified (you want it to use all regions and all countries as you type
in the airport ID). If the airport is a large one, it may have gates you can start at. This is
always a good idea to check, because it means you don't have to start on the runway, where someone
might be in the middle of taking off! :-) In the bottom left of the window, there's a box called
"Runway / Starting Position". Click the arrow next to that box, and see if there are any gates or
ramps you can start at. You may need to scroll down a bit to get past the runways, which usually
look like "25" or "18R", etc.
After you've set the airport ID, and possibly a gate or ramp to start on, click OK, and you'll be
back at the Multiplayer start page. You can also change your aircraft, weather, and date/time. You
may want to be sure that the time is during the day, unless you specifically want to fly at night.
When everything's setup, click "Fly Now" to go to the plane. Once there, if there are other planes
nearby, you should see them, with the pilot's name over the top of the plane. If the airport wasn't
big enough to have gates or ramps, then you'll now be sitting on the runway, and you should attempt
to clear it as soon as possible, in case someone's waiting to take off or land. Once you see who's
in the area, you can taxi back onto the runway and take off.
It's very bad form to just jump onto a runway and sit there while other people are waiting to take
off -- and even worse if they're about to land. If you're not sure, use the chat window to ask if
it's ok to join on the runway. To open the chat window from inside the plane, just press the Enter
A note about FSX and Prepar3D...
If you're using FSX or Prepar3D, you'll need my
program to be able to connect to an FSHost server. FS2002 and FS2004
are able to connect to FSHost with their built-in
multiplayer systems, so users of those programs don't need
Firewalls, Routers, and Port Forwarding...
If you're using a router on your network, or you have a firewall
enabled (including the one built into Windows), you'll need to
configure your PC to allow incoming data from the internet.
Otherwise you'll have problems with people getting disconnected
from the session or not being able to connect. See the FSHost
Firewalls, Routers, and Port Forwarding for more info. Also
note that anyone connecting to your session will need to
configure their router and firewall the same way.
- To find your own IP address, go to:
- There's a bug in the FS2002 chat window that causes it to not automatically scroll to the
bottom when new text is displayed. Also, the window keeps disappearing unless you turn
off "Full Screen" from the View menu in FS2002. I made a little program called
FSChatScroll that fixes both problems.
- You can use a voice program to talk to the ATC controllers,
although some ATC sessions do allow you to just use the chat
window. Many ATC sessions use the voice program
You'll want to set it up for "push to talk" mode, which means you
press a key on the keyboard to talk to the controller. Check
the session's rules for details of what program they use and how
to connect to their voice server. A headset with a built-in
microphone works best, because you don't get the echo that's
generally a problem with a microphone and separate speakers.
Happy multiplayer flying...