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Highmike

The long and winding road ahead

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I was initially a bit apprehensive about trying multiplayer because I thought it may have been like VATSIM which I believe is a very formal organisation. But when I did give it a go I found that it was very relaxed, and that really you could make anything you like out of the sandbox which its designers intended it to be.But after some experience with it I feel that it needs just a little more structure than it presently has. So far it seems that with so few controllers virtual pilots are limited to flying the pattern around the controller's airport, which is a bit lame in the long run. What it really needs is for say three or four controllers to agree to meet in a multiplayer session, and perform tower services at several airports which virtual pilots could then fly between.It's still very early in the game, and I expect that this sort of organisation will eventually develop, but so far I don't think its potential has even nearly been realised.Mike.

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Hi Mike,Glad to see you get it! The idea was not to replace Vatsim, but to give ALL users the tools they need to set up and join their own small multiplayer sessions to do whatever they want in. That part, I think we succeeded with.The missing ingredient is the social networking component to let like-minded people find each other. The lobbies only work for matchmaking when a session is active, and as as Peter Wilding says in his post, it's sort of like the wild west in the Free Flight lobby at the moment.Part of the reason I asked Tom from Avsim to open this forum is to give folks a place to gather to talk about what's going on in the world of multiplayer, to find like-minded people, schedule sessions, etc.Ideally, this would all be handled in the sim itself, and if we find that people are using multiplayer a lot, then we'll certainly explore ways of integrating this sort of functionality in the future. For now, the community needs to find its own ways to get together.This forum is a start. There are existing and new multiplayer sites/organizations out there. I hope people will share their knowledge of these as they come across them. And, I'll be hosting a "Missions and Multiplayer" section of FSInsider which we'll roll out with a site update in a month or two.Agreed, it's early in the game. FSX just hit the shelves in Japan on Friday. So, let's see what happens. And if you have ideas, I encourage you to write about them here and help make things happen!Best,Mike

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Using multiplayer a lot? I think I can count the number of times I've flown without it since october on one hand. ;)Flying solo these days is so...well...dull really. Thanks very much for posting here Mike, that's much appreciated. Having played a lot of MMO's before, I think it's kind of cute in a way to see you guys try your first real kick at the multiplayer can. Little but important things like a "boot player" function being overlooked actually make me smile. Seems you guys approached this area at first with something of a childlike honesty, versus the usual multiplayer setups of grizzled and jaded veterans in the field. :)There are several bugs many people have run across with it of course, beyond the very common connection and lobby issues and I'll post some of my weirder findings and ideas here later, but I'm overall very happy with the experience and it's certainly made producing my FS films easier, and a TON more fun.I do have one big request though. The SDK is completely lacking in any information on how multiplayer actually works. It's currently some seriously dark voodoo. The aircraft substitution logic for instance would be really nice to see on paper. It definitely isn't random, but neither does it make any sense without some sort of reference. As well there's no infomation on shared cockpit functionality either. Through a lot of testing I've been able to determine that the only "safe" aircraft for it are those which use XML gauges exclusively, and that some fs9 GAU gauge based aircraft can be tricked into shared cockpit compatibility by renaming the gauges to DLLs, but with bugs, and that does heavily restrict the choices. Aircraft designers need to know these aspects of the sim as some aircraft literally scream for shared cockpit use. I feel that this aspect will come to be one of the most important in the sim in the long run, especially for the heavy iron guys (of which I am not a member :)).I do feel that your contract with Gamespy for hosting was a mistake though, as they really are going to strangle the potential of this aspect of the sim. They bring an "everyone cheats" first person shooter mentality to their hosting/matchmaking which is totally unwarranted with this community (since there's no way to "win"), ie: no simconnect in multi. I do hope you are able to migrate away from them in FS11 and either host the matchmaking yourselves again, or find a less restrictive partner.On the whole though, I am so pleased to see this functionality finally come into its own in FSX. A friend and I did an around the world trip in FS9 multi (took us three months, 76 legs, flying spitfires), but we can't wait to get started on another in FSX, and with all our other friends along for the ride.Cheers, and please keep in touch here when you can!

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I'm not quite sure how using our own matchmaking service would be any different than what you see now. You can't get to our lobbies from any "generic" GameSpy interface (Arcade or similar), and if we didn't have the GameSpy logo and Name listed in a few places in the UI, there would be no way for you to tell this is being hosted by GameSpy.Boot player will be there when SP1 comes out (basically I forgot to add this to the in-game UI to match what was available in the pre-game UI where you can boot players, sorry about that).Also, the "SoAndSo has Entered/Left" messages in the main lobbies will be gone when SP1 comes out, so you should actually be able to chat in the main lobbies eventually also :->(Those are the only 2 SP1 fixes I know of though, mainly because I fixed those 2, so don't ask what else has been fixed cause I have no idea :-> )I think the substitution logic attempts to find another aircraft of roughly the same size and with the same number/type of engines, but I'm not sure what weighting is given to how it matches things (at least everyone doesn't get a Cessna as the substitute like in previous versions :-> )

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In connection with some of the XBOX Live concepts of profiles and things like that, I think it would be cool to have a system of scheduling your flights in the interface. It would be like hosting a server, but in advance, where people could go through an interface and search for certain types of flights, see when they are happening, and "sign up" in a way.I know, in many cases, this isn't feasible for me, as I just find some free time and hop on, but it doesn't hurt to brainstorm some.

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Guest 6722c

Mike,Great to see you here in the Avsim Forums.FSX is a great improvement on FS2004, in many areas -- great job ACES ...However--- in Multiplayer, it seems to have more than it's fair share of FUNCTIONAL problems.Not to be negative, I would like to list some of the problems I have encountered, in the hope that a few more of them can be addressed before SP1 is released.(1) GAMESPY -- contant disconnects, and false pop-up, informing that connection to GS is lost. (most are false ??) (a) Why is there not a way to RE-CONNECT back to GS from within the session ?? (:( Why is there not a way to RE-Connect to a MP Session after a disconnect, and continue flying from where you currently are in Free Flying. ??(2) GAMESPY UI. I think we all know what wrong here. DESIGN. Did not SCALE up beyond a few sessions etc etc.(3) No Host Ban/boot ( Good to hear you fixed this for SP1)(4) No DO NOT DISTRUB for PMs or Friend Invites, leaving players open to constant harrassment, and Floods of "be my Friend" disconnecting HOST from Gamespy. Really NEEDS a "Do Not Disturb".ACTUALLY -- WE REALLY MUST have a "Do not disturb", as at the moment, sending "Friend Requests" is the #1 disruptive, session destroying HACK, that Hosts and pilots are facing.(5) COM1 radio dose not remain in sync in Shared Cockpit. MAJOR problem to any realistic training in Shared Cockpit -- shame, as "Shared Cockpit" is perhaps the BEST new feature in FSX.(6) Reverse thrust problem in shared cockpit. (EASY Fix -- Hint "signed / unsigned integers)(7) Radar Session info shows COM1 freq for each aircraft, NOT the current active Freq.(8) Squawk Codes do not update in Tower for some Aircraft, but do for others. (dependant on Transponder Guage). YES -- we want to use Squawk Codes.(9) Flight Plans do NOT show in Tower Session View.(10) Shared Cockpit screens need to show who the other pilot is, on each screen.(11) Shared Cockpit plane OWNER needs to be able to FORCE control back to himself.(12) Text Chat windows has a Scroll / update problem.AS FAR AS HOSTING IS CONCERNED==============================Host has virtually NO options to alter the session after it starts, he does not even have the options he grants to other players. !!Host should be able to:(1) Change session Time/ date / weather while session is running.(if it can't be added to the UI, at least supply some SimCOnnect functions to do this).??? Why are so many options so limited, and turned off in MP mode. Host should have ALL options available to them.(2) Host should be able to change Internet Packet Rate, (ie to reduce it to allow more players on a given Bandwidth....).HOSTs want to run BIGGER Session -- they are severly limited by the unnecessatly high packet rate -- was the same problem in Fs2002 & Fs2004.. would have hoped it was not in FSX --- but it still is.In a large RADAR MP session, update rates of as low as 1 /sec, or even less, are totally acceptable, especially, when it reduces bandwidth.(3) At least the Host should be able to send MESSAGES onto players screens (like in FS2004).. or at least with SimConnect.=========================================================We accept the fact you "can't" release a full SDK for Multiplayer.maybe if you had not used Gamespy, you could have done -- one VERY GOOD reason for not to have used Gamespy. -- and Nobody is going to write an alternative Multiplayer System in the HOPE it become a Standard -- the Standard SHOULD have been the MS MP System, which should have been OPEN for developers to add to.So, at least, how about some SimConnect control and monitoring of FS Multiplayer, and at least a SDK for SHARED COCKPIT. -- we all want to fly 3rd party Aircaft in Shared Cockpit, and share their additional functions. The developers need an SDK and a way to ADD their gauges to the Shared Cockpit system.====================================================OK, so a lot of Problems, but still, like so many others, I am trying to make FSX Multiplayer "work" in the ways that the FS MP Community need, and have been used to in FS2002 & FS2004.I have no idea what you guys have been doing since RTM, but one assumes you have been working hard, doing something. (Trains ??) Unfortunatly, by the time you tell us, with the release of SP1, it may well be too late to get feedback from us.Please therefore accept the feedback above, in the hope that some of the above MP issues may get addressed before SP1 is released.HopefullyGeoff(FS-MP.com)

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>(6) Reverse thrust problem in shared cockpit.>(EASY Fix -- Hint "signed / unsigned integers)>That was pretty funny. :(

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Guest DogOne

>I was initially a bit apprehensive about trying multiplayer>because I thought it may have been like VATSIM which I believe>is a very formal organisation. But when I did give it a go I>found that it was very relaxed, and that really you could make>anything you like out of the sandbox which its designers>intended it to be.>>But after some experience with it I feel that it needs just a>little more structure than it presently has. So far it seems>that with so few controllers virtual pilots are limited to>flying the pattern around the controller's airport, which is a>bit lame in the long run. What it really needs is for say>three or four controllers to agree to meet in a multiplayer>session, and perform tower services at several airports which>virtual pilots could then fly between.>>It's still very early in the game, and I expect that this sort>of organisation will eventually develop, but so far I don't>think its potential has even nearly been realised.>>Mike.Stop by www.fs-mp.com they have built a nice informal community where the flying is real-world, and the sense of community is like no other!

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Totally agree with the last post. FS-MP is developing into a really great place to experience multiplayer in FSX. They have recently linked through Teamspeak to give you an opportunity to chat with the folks that you fly with but don't have a chance to develop the friendship whilst flying.Visit their forum to get a feel for the place...I think you will like what you find and will see the professionalism that goes into all that they do. They have a multi-aspect approach to the 'game' and although it is still early days in the scale of things you will find a Flight School, ATC training for those who want to go that route and special events such as a very recent re-creation of approx 30 DC3s doing a D-Day flight from England to France.Go and see for yourselves and make up your own minds. http://fs-mp.com/

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Guest Shalomar

When I host and a controller is available; I set hops and the controller "jumps" to the next airport after we leave his airspace. So the controller say is with us for departure from KABE till 30-40 miles out; then is there to direct us to KIPT. Works great!!!Best Regards, Donny :-waveFLYing? It's cool. Trillions of birds and insects can't be wrong.

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Guest Shalomar

I really wish there was a way for the tower controller to look up the ILS frequencies for the airport he is controlling. Can that be in SP1?Best Regards, Donny :-waveFLYing? It's cool. Trillions of birds and insects can't be wrong.

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Well, a copy of the approach plates (either dead-tree or computer screen version) would help with that (and would seem to be needed for most controller duties :-> ) - that's what we used internally during playtesting.

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Guest 6722c

One 6 weeks later, and we have come a long way. We how have almost 1000 active members.We have many more Controllers, and they now follow a comprehensive training process, managed by real world controllers, with an enphasis on phraseology. We have opened up other airports on the East Coast and have regular fly-in or group trips at other location in the USA & Canada.Check us out at http://fs-mp.com (This is not your Grandfather's Multiplayer Server)

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Guest Crusty

6722c, all this is fine and dandy, but dont you think there are more pressing matters to deal with first,...namely Gamespy, why on earth this was chosen as the multiplayer interface is beyond me, it is causing so many problems to so many people, yet I see little disscusion hereI assume it will fall to the community to come up with something workable

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Guest N6722c

>6722c, all this is fine and dandy, but dont you think there>are more pressing matters to deal with first,...namely>Gamespy, why on earth this >was chosen as the multiplayer interface is beyond me, it is>causing so many problems to so many people, yet I see little>disscusion here>>>I assume it will fall to the community to come up with>something workableCorrect -- all is "fine and dandy" at FS-MP.We all know there is a MAJOR Gamespy connection problem. So Major that there is not a lot of point in labouring it, until we see what measures MS take to fix the problem in SP1.In the meanwhile, life goes on. You do not HAVE to allow the Gamespy issue to dominate your enjoyment of FSX Multiplayer.We have come up with something workable -- FS-MP.com.When (if) Micrososft fix the Gamespy issues, we will obviously be pleased, but if that does not happen, then there are alternatives.The market will decide if FSX Gamespy is workable, and if it is not, then alternatives direct IP solutions will be found. You do not NEED Gamespy to run a Multiplayer session.... it is just a convenient (or at the moment, inconvenient), method to listimg your session to the FS Community.Geoff_Dfs-mp.com

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"6722c, all this is fine and dandy, but dont you think there are more pressing matters to deal with first,...namely Gamespy, why on earth this was chosen as the multiplayer interface is beyond me, it is causing so many problems to so many people, yet I see little disscusion here"The alternatives which you may not have considered yet Crusty are either hosting your own multiplayer session with FSHost or locating other FS multiplayer hosts with FSHostSpy. Both of these ingenious utilities are available for free at:http://www.chocolatesoftware.com/fshost/I just had a quick look at FSHostSpy and there were 191 servers online hosting MP sessions none of which had anything to do with Gamespy.Mike.

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Guest N6722c
"6722c, all this is fine and dandy, but dont you think there are more pressing matters to deal with first,...namely Gamespy, why on earth this was chosen as the multiplayer interface is beyond me, it is causing so many problems to so many people, yet I see little disscusion here" Mike.
OMG == I thought this topic post was long dead . Good point -- Gamespy has alsmost KILLED FSX MP :( The Gamespy problem was there from day 1. Gamespy said it was a Microsoft issue, Microsoft said it was a Gamespy issue, and nobody stepped up to find the cause of the problem and fix it. SP1 came & went. SP2 came & went ... and now, with no SP3, it looks like FSX is stuck with a Defective Gamespy Interface for ever. However, DIRECT CONNECT works great. The problem using Direct Connect is in letting people know you have a session up and open. What is needed is universally available, announcement system for FSX Direct Connect MP sessions, kind of like FSHOST's FSHOSTSPY. Nice project is anyone was interested. Add Lobby and Game Chat rooms to it and you would have a winner. ( ie The old Zone Software that FS2004 use to use ) In the meanwhile, check out http://fs-mp.com/promo :( Geoff

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Guest Alphahawk3
"6722c, all this is fine and dandy, but dont you think there are more pressing matters to deal with first,...namely Gamespy, why on earth this was chosen as the multiplayer interface is beyond me, it is causing so many problems to so many people, yet I see little disscusion here"The alternatives which you may not have considered yet Crusty are either hosting your own multiplayer session with FSHost or locating other FS multiplayer hosts with FSHostSpy. Both of these ingenious utilities are available for free at:http://www.chocolatesoftware.com/fshost/I just had a quick look at FSHostSpy and there were 191 servers online hosting MP sessions none of which had anything to do with Gamespy.Mike.
First let me say I am not a good pilot but I can read and follow rules. I first tried multi-player a few days ago. It was not a connection problem for me. It was the people. I would ask...through the chat....if I could join a session and no one would respond at all. I did find one guy hosting a session at an airport in KY and he answered back and I joined in. I sat on the apron watching him do touch and go for a while and we chatted a little bit. I wish I had paid more attention to which airport we were at becasue it was a nice looking place. I am getting a headset this week and have signed up for VatSim...I don't know how this will work out. I know I am not going to jump into some big airport to start messing things up for people. I only fly small GA and will sit back quietly and learn. I have owned every version of this sim and I have to say I am quite excited about mulit-player or VA flying. Regards

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