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NEW: FSHost 2.2 - Multiplayer Server for FS2002

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FSHost 2.2 is now available for download.FSHost is a free 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. [li]Kick players from the game. [li]Ban players by name or IP address, for a specific time or "forever". [li]Banned Words list for rejecting player names. [li]Web Interface. View players and session status in a web browser. Three access levels: Public (for viewing current session status, players, aircraft, etc.), Admin (with a username and password, to change specific settings remotely), and Owner (full control of your server via the web). [li]Custom User Web Pages. Create your own HTML pages to show info about your server. [li]Flight Plans for ATC sessions. Players enter plans from the chat window, and controllers can open (approve), close, edit, and delete. All event times are shown, including total Flight

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Wow! Sounds like it has a lot of features. I;ll have to try it out :)Jason

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Just for my knowledge: Can I compare this application with Squawkbox or is it something totally different?Thanks for your information!Regards, Ferry>Wow! Sounds like it has a lot of features. I;ll have to try >it out :) >>>Jason

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Hi Ferry,When you connect SB to FS2002, SB relays all of your aircraft location data up to the VATSIM server, and then relays down from the server all the players in your area. SB then creates "fake" planes for each of those players, so you can see them in your game. But your machine doesn't actually connect directly to the other players -- only to the server via SB.On the other hand, FSHost operates more like FS2002 does when you use it to run a normal IP game. Everyone connects directly to the host via an IP address, and all players then connect automatically to each other, and begin sending data to each other. The server (FSHost or FS2002) does not relay the data, it's sent directly between all the players. FSHost can then do a lot of things FS2002 can't, such as allowing unlimited players, special chat commands, a web interface for viewing the pilot status, and all the other features it has.Technically, it should be possible to connect both FS2002 and SB to FSHost, and then let FSHost be the server, but SB would still relay all the data up to VATSIM. But actually, most of the new features in FSHost wouldn't be of much use to you when flying on VATSIM, since each pilot has to be connected with their own copy of SB (you can't have your friends join your FSHost game, they need to connect directly to VATSIM on their own). The only real benefit would be if you could see more than 16 players in the game. But even then, I don't think VATSIM and SB are setup to show more than that, even if FSHost can handle it.And unfortunately, there's a problem with SquawkBox. When it connects to any server other than FS2002 (i.e. when you connect it to FSHost), it doesn't send all of the proper messages according to the Microsoft spec., which causes FS2002 to not display the players in the game. You can see their names in the chat list, but you can't see the actual planes. The problem has been identified and reported to the current maintainer of SB, but won't be fixed until the next version of SB is released, most likely around the end of this year.So you're probably better off just using FS2002 and SB when you want to connect to VATSIM, and use FSHost for running public games where everyone connects directly to each other. It's very common now to see FSHost being used for public games on the MSN Zone (http://zone.msn.com), and a lot of large public servers like fscenters.com, fscenters.us, and fstower.com are all using it as well. When the next version of SB is released, it might be interesting to try it with FSHost, to see if you could have more than 16 (actually 14) VATSIM players in your area at once.Russell (OzzieYank)

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Hi Russel,You have made good improvements in this new release !!!Thanks.Longbow(Allain)

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Hi Russell,Thanks very much for your information. It was very helpfull to me!Regards, Ferry

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Russell - have you contacted VATSIM's development group about possibly interfacing the new SB3.0 that's in development with this?? I would love to be able to see more than 16 planes at big flyins (imagine being told to follow an aircraft to the runway that you can't see... ;) ) and see smooth motion from other aircraft...Ryan

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Hi Ryan,Yep, I've been talking quite a lot with the current SB maintainer actually. He recently "inherited" the code, and he's doing a complete rewrite for version 3.0. He wants to be sure that the next version works better with FSHost, and also change the rate at which data is sent back and forth to the server, so that the motion is smoother.BTW, the reason you see planes jumping around in the sky sometimes is because SB only updates the fake planes in your game once every 5 seconds. FS2002 normally does updates 4 times *per second*, so SB is running 20 times slower than normal. This allows it to use far less bandwidth, but obviously at some cost. But when it does work correctly with FSHost, hopefully there will be a way to throttle the bandwidth, and have a lot more than 14 fake planes in the game, but still have smooth motion.Russell (OzzieYank)

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Russell:Any luck with the connection problems when players connect with an older version of DirectX (older than 8.1)?

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Hi panzerschiffe,That problem is what I've started referring to as the "mass disconnect" problem. This is where all (or most) of the players are disconnected within a few seconds of each other -- often they drop all at the same time.This is a problem in DirectPlay, which is part of Microsoft's DirectX. Both FS2002 and FSHost use DirectPlay for all the player connections in the game. Although it's harder to spot in FS2002 because there's no log file, it happens when you host a game with FS2002 as well. If you've ever been hosting a game with FS2002, and had FSNavigator connected to the game, and suddenly everyone was dropped including your own FSNav, then you know what I'm talking about. This has to be a software problem, not just an internet connectivity problem, because even your local FSNav was affected by it.My suspicion is that the problem is more prevalent in FS2002 than it is in other DirectPlay games because of the huge amount of data being transferred by the game. This problem seems to be much more common when you've got more than 10 players in the game, and you've been playing for at least an hour. Usually I see about one disconnect per hour, on average. But if you typically host smaller games (such as with a 56k modem), you may not see the problem at all (thankfully).Microsoft put a fix in DirectX 8.1 for a very similar problem, where everyone was being dropped when someone was behind a NAT or misconfigured router connected to the game. I don't know for sure yet, but I suspect that the fix they added takes care of the problem we're seeing as well, which seems to happen sometimes even if the person isn't behind a router.I've posted lots of info about this problem to one of the Microsoft developer newsgroups, and I even got a reply back from the lead DirectPlay developer. I haven't been completely successful in getting him to see the problem yet, but I'm working on that :-)In the mean time, some of us have been watching when this happens, and then immediately talking to the last person that connected (often that person is the only one not dropped) to see what version of DX he/she has. Every time we've been able to find out, the person has had version 8.0. So it appears as though the problem is local to 8.0, but I can't say absolutely yet.Another problem is that there's no way to detect a player's DirectX version remotely, so I can't make FSHost ban them from the game.My only suggestion is to try to get all of your players using DirectX version 8.1, since things seem to work much better with that version. Windows XP comes with 8.1, so if you're on XP, you don't even need to check your version. But if you're on Win95, there's no way to upgrade to 8.1. Version 8.0a is the highest version you can go to, and you already have that, because it comes with FS2002. :-(If you're on Win98 or WinME, here's how to check your version of DirectX. Just go to the Start menu, select "Run", and enter "dxdiag" and click OK. That'll start the DirectX Diagnostics program, which will show you your version number. If you don't have 8.1 or higher, you can download it from Microsoft:http://www.microsoft.com/directx/More info when I know it...Russell (OzzieYank)

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Russel,Thanks for your efforts and it's good to hear that you're talking with the SB people! That is gonna be really cool when it all comes together.Ryan

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