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svenks

The multiplayer issue (longish)

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Hi all,As you may have seen, over the last couple of days people have begun to report various problems with Bushnet/multiplayer in general. The biggest issue is the inability to join a session. Yesterday evening Gazer75, arrvoo, DarkCharisma, sfoofficer, Jozef and myself joined forces to see if we could identify and hopefully solve the problem. We do have some clues, but unfortunatly, the problem is still there...First, this is not a Bushnet problem. We also had problems on Gazers MP server. Second, it seems to have something to do with peoples setup at home: Router, Firewalls etc (however, there was 1 thing speaking against this! See later).Examples of what happens is: When arrvoo is connected, DarkC and myself can't join. When I'm connected, arrvoo can't join but DarkC can - but only if sfoofficer hasn't joined before him. And sfoofficer had no problem joining when either arvoo or myself had joined first. Gazer had no problems whatsoever, he could join regardless of who and where. There were other variations, but these are the basicsNow, I think that everyone was tinkering with their firewalls, and I believe we all ended up with port forwarding enabled for at least the default port - but we still had the problem.The really strange thing happened when Gazer did something to his MP server: We were all able to join! Alas, not for long: DarkC was kicked off after a couple of minutes. Then we tried the same on Bushnet - and were all able to join! Then the same thing happened: DC got kicked, then I tried to disconnect and rejoin and couldn't! Back to Gazer's MP, but by now we were back to square 1.In conclusion: I still think it has to do with the individual router/firewall settings, however the fact that we were all able to connect at 2 instances points to a router/ISP problem instead.As this is close to being a showstopper for me, I will continue to look into this, and I hope we can set up another session like yesterdays - there are still things that can be tried!And if anyone has any ideas as what to do - let's hear them!Sorry for the length of the post (and for my indiscretion, Gazer!)BRGDSSven Sorensen, EKCH

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Please see my post on this issue on the private forum. Will post back over here once that forum comes back to life.-Chris

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Some issues have come up lately with multiplayer and router configs. The problem is when someone's online with an incorrectly set router, it will block others from connecting. Clearly this will be a major annoyance in the race, so let's fix it now. This thread is meant to provide all the technical details to fix the problem. I learned how to do this last week because even though I thought I had my router set right, it was not. Jeff was not able to connect to multiplayer when I was on. The issue has also been reported in the forum on several occassions with other routers (not just mine). The most frustrating thing about this issue is that the guy causing the problem will not be aware of it. So, if you are behind a router please check the following settings: Port Forwarding This is not as complicated as it sounds. Basically, in order for Flightsim to connect to a multiplayer session, certain ports need to be opened on your firewall. When you are behind a router with a hardware firewall, opening the ports on your computer will not be enough, because the ports are still closed on the router, which is between your computer and the internet. So, port forwarding opens the router ports and makes those connections to your Flightsim computer. Set up port forwarding to open the following ports: 6073 UDP 23456 UDP 2300-2400 TCP 2300-2400 UDP Most routers will open both TCP and UDP. That is fine. You do not need to specify a specific protocol if both are open. Selecting a specific protocol may be more secure because UDP is generally less "attackable." Port forwarding wants to know WHERE to forward the ports. This will be the IP address of your Flightsim computer on your network. In my case it's 192.168.1.2. This is NOT the address of the server you are connecting to. Static IP This is what tripped me up. My ports were forwarded properly, but my Flightsim computer was set up to pull it's IP from the router, which is the default setting. Well, after logging onto my network with my laptop, the IP address on my Flightsim computer changed dynamically. Since the port forwarding was sent to forward to a static IP of 192.168.1.2 but the Flightsim computer's IP was now 192.168.1.4, it wasn't working. I was still able to connect to the multiplayer server, but no one else could connect. What we learned is when you connect to multiplayer your computer pings all of the other players on those ports. If it doesn't get a response from ALL it will not connect to the server. That's what the error message means. SO - solve the IP problem by setting your Flightsim computer to a Static IP! This is accomplished at Start > Control Panel > Network Connections > (right click on Local Area Connection) > Properties > (click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)) > Properties. Where it says "Obtain an IP address automatically," change to "Use the following IP address." Set the IP to the address you used for the port forwarding. Subnet mask is usually 255.255.255.0. Gateway is your router's IP, usually 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. You'll also need to enter the DNS server information, which can be obtained from your router's "status" page. I'll be glad to help if there are any questions. We can fire up teamspeak and walk through it instead of typing. Best- Chris

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Hi again,Just to let you know that I'm still working on this, and we have in fact gotten some people to fly together, where they previously were unable to. Small steps counts too...For info and for the technically minded, here is what happens and what may go wrong when you try to connect:1) When you click "Join", your PC (via your router) contacts the server and basically says: "I am xxx and I am here at address xxx".2) The server responds with a list of people already connected: The list includes their callsign, public IP address, port to use and - Save Us - their private IP address. 3) Your PC then sends a message (Request) to each and every address pair in that list, starting with the last in the list.4) When your PC has received a proper reply from ALL other people (from the public OR private address), you will be connected - not before! And this is the catch, because there are many ways you might end up NOT receiving a reply:1) You are not be sending a proper request <=> Your router might prevent outgoing traffic on that port.2) The guy you are sending to is not receiving the message <=> His router is blocking incoming traffic on that port.3) He is receiving it, but is not sending a proper reply. Same as 1)4) He is sending a reply, but you are not receiving it. Same as 2)5) And finally, any message may be dumped by any router on the Internet, if it doesn't contain a valid IP address, or is deemed otherwise invalid.On top of the router port blocking/forwarding issue, there is also the firewalls. There may be a firewall in your router, WinXP SP2 has one built in, and there are other software firewalls. Many of these has some intelligence (SP2 is dumb as a door): It can see when you have initiated a 'session' with a particular server, and will allow traffic back and forth between you and that server. But as you can see from above, FS MP is different. For example: You are connected to MP, and your PC is happily forwarding traffic back and forth between your PC, the server and the other players. But when another guy tries to connect, the first message coming to you computer comes directly from him - not from the server or any of the guys your firewall 'knows' about: It is unsolicited traffic, and even if the right port is open in the router, your firewall may still kick the message out!What to do then: Well, in this day and age we need routers and (not least) firewalls. But I hope this post will make people see just how important it is that ALL of your router/firewall settings are correct. If they are not, YOU may be able to join, but the next guy may not! Check out Chris' excellent post, and also see the link provided by Jozef. Also, if at all possible use the default port 23456 for connecting to MP, that way we won't have to open so many ports!BRGDSSven Sorensen, EKCH

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I really hope they fix this in FSX. They say that it has a completely reworked multiplayer system, I hope that it takes away the need to open ports and such. So many other games have multiplayer systems that doesn't require that you have to open ports, so why couldn't FS be one of them?However I came to think about something. If you fly on VATSIM you don't have to open any ports, do you? As far as I remember from when I thought about starting to fly there, I didn't need to open ports. Is creating a SquawkBox server much more complicated than creating a regular server? I know it's a bit more complicated to use SquawkBox as a client, but that can be easily overcome with a good tutorial, which there are many of.edit: Just looked through the SquawkBox website, it doesn't say anything on how to create a server using SquawkBox, so I guess it might be very very difficult.edit2: And it also seems like you have to open up ports anyway, so it won't make any real difference.Klas

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Hi KlasThe real problem is the hackers and script-kiddies that force us to use all kinds of protection...That being said, another problem is the peer-to-peer nature of MP. While it is OK when you have connected and is running, I think we would have less problems if joining was 'mediated' though the server. Also, the use of UDP ports is a problem: If there is one thing a firewall doesn't like, it's UDP.We also need to look at your inability to connect when Alex is online (I'm busy tonight, though). This is a project that takes time, but yesterdays successes make me believe we'll get there (We Shall Overcome - some day!)BRGDSSven Sorensen, EKCH

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