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Guest russell

ANNOUNCE: New Multiplayer Server for FS2002 -- FSHost

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Hi guys! I've written a new multiplayer server for FS2002, and it's finally released!FSHost is a Windows-based server program for FS2002 multiplayer games that can be used in place of the server built into the game itself. It adds lots of new features,and since it uses very few system resources, it's perfect for unattended public servers as well as individuals hosting a game that they're also playing in.Features:[ul][li]Unlimited pilots and observers (as opposed to a limit of 16 in FS2002). Specific limits can also be set, if desired. [/li] [li] Kick players from the game.[/li] [li]Ban players by name or IP address, for a specific time or "forever".[/li] [li]Reject player names that contain words from your "banned words" list.[/li] [li]Automatic announcements to the chat window when a player changes aircraft. ("OzzieYank is flying the Cessna Skyhawk 172SP"). Works for default and 3rd-party aircraft.[/li] [li]Automatic private welcome message sent to players when they first connect. This message also tells the player about the special chat commands they can issue from their own chat window: [/li][/ul][blockquote][ul][li] Type "?planes" to get a private msg listing all players and their aircraft. [/li] [li] Type "?info" to get a private msg showing the session comments (Roger Wilcoaddress, starting airport, web site address, etc.). [/li] [li] Type "?start" to get a private msg telling new players how to get started in amultiplayer game. [/li][/ul][/blockquote][ul][li] Change all session settings (name, comments, password, player limits) while the game is in progress. Unlike in FS2002, all changes take effect immediately. [/li] [li] Set all players to the same date and time.[/li] [li]Log window showing all server activity, such as players being added and removed, ban rejections, etc. This allows the host to run an unattended server, and periodically check in to see what's been happening, how many players have been connected, etc. Log messages can also be sent automatically to a file.[/li] [li]Chat window showing the same chat messages that players see inside FS2002. The host can send messages to all players, or a private message to one player. [/li] [li] Player list showing player names, player types (pilot/observer), aircraft names, and time connected. [/li] [li] Configurable sounds when players are added, removed, rejected, or when new chat messages arrive.[/li][/ul]Requirements:[ul][li]Windows 95 and up. [li]DirectX 6 and up. [li]Does NOT require FS2002 to be installed if you just want to host without playing. [li]Very low server resources required. Uses about 5MB of memory, and about 5-10% CPU.[/ul]Price:[ul][li]Free![li]FSHost is PostcardWare! (see included Readme.txt file)[/ul]Download from AVSIM:[blockquote]http://205.252.89.41/library/esearch.php?CatID=Root&DLID=16938[/blockquote]The Readme.txt file has more info, including very easy installation and startup instructions.Enjoy!Russell ("OzzieYank" online)

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Russell,I didn't download it yet so please excuse my ignorance ;-) Is it possible to use this instead of the FS2002 default multiplayer connection in conjunction with Squawkbox?It sounds like an awsome upgrade to the multiplayer function. I personally love the "unlimited players/observers" option. Cheers,Petehttp://home.neo.rr.com/zaehringer/pipersignature.jpgPIII600,512MB,Win98SE,DirectX8.1,Geforce32DDR(Det.22.80),SBlive(4.06.703)

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Sounds Kool Ozzie! I've flown with you before, how do we find multi-player games using this? Are you hosting now, i'll come join! ;-))Lance"tooohip"

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Hi Pete,To tell you the truth, I'm not very familiar with Squawkbox, so I'm really not sure. My gut feeling, based on the little I know about how SB works, tells me that it probably won't do what you want. I think SB relays information from the VATSIM server to your game, so all that info about other players probably needs to go into your game, rather than into FSHost. I think FSHost is more like the server that SB is connecting to, rather than how you're using FS2002 with SB.It does make me wonder about the possibilities though, and what might be possible as far as chaining together servers, etc.The main use for FSHost is as a direct-IP game server. If you've ever flown at the Microsoft Zone (http://zone.msn.com), you've probably seen people hosting IP games. That's where the host starts a server, and then gives out his IP address so everyone else can connect to him. Up until now, you've had to use the server built into FS2002 to host a game. Now you can use FSHost instead, and then everyone connects to FSHost, including you. It gives you, as the host, lots of new features, and it gives the people that connect to you lots of features as well, such as the ability to get a list of what everyone else is flying, etc.There are also some people that want to run a 24/7 public server for FS2002, and FSHost will work great for that as well. You just start up the program, give out your IP address, and everyone connects to it. Similar to the public server at fstower.com, if you've seen that. One of my beta testers has been running a server at the Zone called "24/7 KJFK" for a while now, and it's the same idea. The server is always up, and anyone can connect to it. He also has ATC people that connect to it to run structured games at specific times.Let me know if you have any other questions...Russell (OzzieYank)

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Hey tooohop!You'd use this just like you host games with FS2002 now. Just start this program up, announce your IP at the Zone, and everyone connects to you just like before. They won't even see a difference really, except the new commands they can type in the chat window, and things like the server telling them what people are flying, etc. They'll know they're connected to an FSHost game because they'll see "FSHost" in the chat window (and it'll start talking to them when they connect :-)After you start FSHost, just connect your own FS2002 to it. Go to Flights / Multiplayer / Connect, leave the IP address field blank (to search your own machine), and click Search. It should find the session you started with FSHost, and then you can connect to it. Similar to how you connect FSNav to your own game.See ya online...Russell (OzzieYank)

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Greetings Russell,I have also downloaded and did all of the required reading. Sent you a webhsot ecard and also have one for snail mail for the frig door. Thanks!Any chance of the host generating AI traffic so all of the clients could be seeing the same AI aircraft at the same time. Yes, I know that the AI and multiplayer doesn't work together, NOW that is. But it appears that if the host used these AI as added clients in the session, then a lot of traffic would be available for any session. Say an "AVSIM type" sets up a 24/7 host and have it broadcasting 40 AI aircraft/traffic in a 40 mm circle around the JFK area. Then when I signed on, I would have 40 othe aircraft in the sky with room for many more "real pilots" to join. When five more people joined we then would have, 40 + me + the five. This would allow us to have traffic at all times regardless of what time/what flyin is going on and still have a "few/several/many" real people to talk with. We could even publish a schedule for the AI aircraft arrival times so we could fit into a time slot. Then, I would never have to think about SB and controllers and pilot ratings and ... again.I even think it would be okay if the "AVSIM type" host sent out a "paid public announcement" every 10 minutes to everyone connected.Sorry to challenge you with a "want" so soon after your victory. Please, Savor the victory and then take a moment to respond.Thanks again!Bob We are rsam@mtco.com

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Hi Bob, thanks for the e-card (and being the first person to send me a postcard)! It's already printed, and on my fridge -- but I'll look forward to the paper copy as well. :-)Your idea about AI aircraft is a great one, and one I've thought about myself. The main problem I see at the moment is that the only way to get FS2002 to generate AI traffic is when you're not in multiplayer mode. And I can't figure out how to tie-in to the game itself, and have it tell me about all the traffic, so I can re-broadcast it to FSHost.From what little I know about Squawkbox, I think it's doing something similar to what you're thinking. I think the basic idea is that you start FS2002 in host mode, and then connect SB to your game. Then you connect SB to a server somewhere, like at VATSIM. Then SB relays information from the server to your game, so that your game then knows about where all the other players are. As I understand it, it only relays the planes that are within the same region as you, so that you don't get swamped with data about planes all over the world.What I'd love to do, is figure out how to tie into the game itself, and grab all that AI traffic. Then I'd write a program sort of like SB, that would relay it into FSHost (or even the server in FS2002). I thought about something like FSUIPC, but it doesn't seem to have that information, or anything related to multiplayer connections either. If anyone has any ideas on this, I'm all ears.Thanks again for the postcard!Russell (OzzieYank)

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Now this is getting exciting!What if we trap all of the AI traffic movements into a file? We can do that by using "Traffic Look" by Peter Downson. In recalling the reading of his documents for WideFs, I think I recall that we can log any parameter within FS2002 into a log file. I think/hope the sample interval is even adjustable.Doing that little trick we could set at "JFK" and trap all of the AI movements for 12 hours, and then use that file for the traffic being broadcast by FSHost. When we tired of that, we could just change to a different file.AND -- The raw data feed that "ServoInfo" uses is available. ServInfo can save the entire activity of VATSIM/IVAO into an ascII file. The public version can only save at a frequency of once every two minutes at the fastest. The data can be had as often as we would like by calling the server that is providing it to Servinfo. His documents even makes mention of it. In the past when it was still SATCO, I was able to use Excel and trap/save the data directly into a spreadsheet. So, when the big flyins take place, Calif Screaming V, we could make that available for days and days via FSHost. FANTASTIC!Thanks for you time and consideration.Bob

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Your FSHost sounds great!Since you obviously know a lot about FS2002 would you happen to know how I can write text to the external view in FS2002.You may have seen the AVSIM headline today about EZLandmark by Abacus. (http://www.avsim.com/pages/press_releases/abacus-landmark/landmark.html)Well I have a FREEWARE program I am completing that's basically a moving map for FS2002.My moving map uses publicly available gazetteer data (ie names of towns, roads, rivers, mountains, oceans, and other landmarks) to display placenames as you are flying along in FS2002. I have data for about 100 countries. Theres a lot of placename data here, Australia alone has 20,000 placenames. It's very nice to see what your flying over.What I really want to do is display these placenames in the external view just like EzLandmark does.Anyone have any ideas on how to do this?BTW my program will be released FREEWARE, I will be uploading it to AVSIM soon along with gazetteer data on a country by country basis. Matthew.

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Sounds really nice Ozzie, will try it out when I wake up tomorrow "afternoon" ;-))) I've been doing a lot of hours on VATSIM lately, but this sounds like a nice diversion. Hopefully I'll catch one of your sessions or you can catch one of mine.tooohip

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Oz,Is it possible to see strobe and landing lights on other players' aircraft in multiplayer?In other words, if the other multiplayer has his strobes on, will I see them?

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Hi Matthew,Sorry, I'm afraid I don't know much about what you're trying to do. Most of the work I've done with FS2002 has been related to the multiplayer part of the game, as opposed to how the game itself works.Sorry -- good luck,Russell

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Hi Vitesse,From what I've seen, you can see the lights, but not the strobes, while you're in multiplayer. This seems to be the case regardless of whether you have "send and receive detailed aircraft information" turned on (in Multiplayer Settings).As a matter of fact, I'm not sure if the detailed information does much of anything at all. I've tried several tests with it on and off, and I've never seen a difference. Some people say that if you don't have it on, you won't see the landing gear of the other planes -- apparently they get that sunken look where the landing gear appears to be underground. But I've never been able to duplicate that in my tests.While I was working on FSHost, I found another odd thing related to detailed aircraft info. There seems to be a bug with FS2002, because if someone in your game has "send info" turned on, then you'll get it no matter what, regardless of whether or not you have "receive info" enabled. FS2002 sends this info 4 times a second, and it comes out to 112 bytes per second total. So if you're on a 56k modem, that's about 2% of your connection. So if you're connected to 5 people, about 10% of your connection is just receiving that data. And if you have "send info" turned on as well, then you're sending another 10% out to those same 5 players.So if it really doesn't do anything useful, then it's best to have everyone turn it off, to save bandwidth. And because of the bug, *everyone* has to turn it off, or you'll get it whether you want it or not.Russell

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Well, it almost works with Squawkbox. Problem is, it doesn't like AIbridge or Squawkboxes appearance so it boots them out and bans you from the local host. If there were a way to turn off all of those checks (since all members of the MP session are effectively controlled, they aren't necessary), it'd work great with Squawkbox.cz

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Hi rcritz,Yes, you're absolutely right. When I was beta testing FSHost, one of my beta testers had trouble with a guy on the Zone that had apparently created a program to connect to any game, and then start sending stupid messages to everyone, without actually joining the game. I modified FSHost to take care of that problem, but it unfortunately also blocks SB.I've done a lot of research into SB lately, figuring out how it works and how FSHost might work with it. I tried removing the blocks, and SB will connect ok, and it'll even send all the planes in from the VATSIM server. Then you can connect FS2002 to FSHost, and you can see all those VATSIM players in your chat list. The problem is that you can't actually see the planes inside FS2002. I'm not sure why this is, because both FSHost and FSNavigator see them just fine. And if FSNav can see them, it must be receiving the same location data packets that FS2002 is receiving, so I don't know why FS2002 isn't showing them.I've contacted the SB guys, and hopefully we'll find the solution, and I'll release a new version of FSHost with SB support.I haven't used AIBridge, so I'm not very familiar with it. I think it's supposed to relay the data within the game somehow? Maybe you can enlighten me on what it's doing exactly.More info soon...Russell (OzzieYank)

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