TheFiddler

Copilot stops responding (but *no* crash or freeze)

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Hello All,

my setup: classic FSX "Gold" (i.e. not Steam); under Win7 "Home Premium" 64bit ,

Today I decided to give the MCE demo a go.
Installation, microphone calibration, and speech training all went perfectly smoothly.
But during the tutorial flight (LFMN-LSGG) I ran into a problem.

  • Initially all went very well. Copilot (CP) listened and responded to commands exactly as advertised and expected
    (except for some minor newbie blunders caused by myself :blush:).
    Which proves that the setup as such is OK, mic calibration and speech training have been done properly, etc.
    "Monitoring" was switched off, though (but appropriate comments were still made, e.g. when I deviated from the checklist, or wrongly confirmed items which were not yet OK.)
  • So far all very well, thus.
  • But then in mid-flight the CP suddenly stopped responding to and executing any commands, or making any comments at all.
    (This was in a normal cruise situation, nothing special going on with the flight; and ATC not "crowded" or unusual in any way. VAS memory was also monitored and was more than sufficient.)
  • Important: (because it's different from many other problem reports)
    There was no crash and no "freezing" either of MCE or of FSX. Both kept running OK.
  • In particular, speech recognition continued to work properly
    (as proven by the red text in the MCE window).
  • Just that the CP did no longer react to anything; he neither did nor said anything any more.
    The problem is thus not with speech recognition or badly calibrated mic etc.
  • This situation could be "solved" by exiting and restarting MCE.
  • After that the CP worked fine again for a while.
  • Then he stopped responding again, for no apparent reason..

Obviously, I tried (and am still trying) to look through this forum for hints, but it is difficult to find the right search terms, and most people with problems seem to struggle with more "low-level" issues which I do not have (so far).
Besides, the demo period is very short, hence my hasty asking for tips and pointers in which direction to look with this "higher-level" problem.

Thanks in advance for any tips!

Cheers,
The Fiddler

 

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I can confirm I have just has the same with a flight from LIML to LFLB, all was going well and then no response from my FO, text was being seen as it was displayed in the red text. Like wise VAS was fine and everything else was fine PF3 Atc was still using audio.

I am not sure whats causing it, I have checked the windows event log and it shows nothing, as far as its concerned nothing has crashed etc

Rob

Edit: I just uninstalled and the re-installed MCE (Latest version) and now I have lost the ability to change ATC, it seems to be stuck on Pro Flight ATC and no option to change it! I use PF3!

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2 hours ago, TheFiddler said:

Hello All,

my setup: classic FSX "Gold" (i.e. not Steam); under Win7 "Home Premium" 64bit ,

Today I decided to give the MCE demo a go.
Installation, microphone calibration, and speech training all went perfectly smoothly.
But during the tutorial flight (LFMN-LSGG) I ran into a problem.

  • Initially all went very well. Copilot (CP) listened and responded to commands exactly as advertised and expected
    (except for some minor newbie blunders caused by myself :blush:).
    Which proves that the setup as such is OK, mic calibration and speech training have been done properly, etc.
    "Monitoring" was switched off, though (but appropriate comments were still made, e.g. when I deviated from the checklist, or wrongly confirmed items which were not yet OK.)
  • So far all very well, thus.
  • But then in mid-flight the CP suddenly stopped responding to and executing any commands, or making any comments at all.
    (This was in a normal cruise situation, nothing special going on with the flight; and ATC not "crowded" or unusual in any way. VAS memory was also monitored and was more than sufficient.)
  • Important: (because it's different from many other problem reports)
    There was no crash and no "freezing" either of MCE or of FSX. Both kept running OK.
  • In particular, speech recognition continued to work properly
    (as proven by the red text in the MCE window).
  • Just that the CP did no longer react to anything; he neither did nor said anything any more.
    The problem is thus not with speech recognition or badly calibrated mic etc.
  • This situation could be "solved" by exiting and restarting MCE.
  • After that the CP worked fine again for a while.
  • Then he stopped responding again, for no apparent reason..

Obviously, I tried (and am still trying) to look through this forum for hints, but it is difficult to find the right search terms, and most people with problems seem to struggle with more "low-level" issues which I do not have (so far).
Besides, the demo period is very short, hence my hasty asking for tips and pointers in which direction to look with this "higher-level" problem.

Thanks in advance for any tips!

Cheers,
The Fiddler

 

Since Vista, Windows uses separate volume levels for each running application.

Microsoft also added a Windows feature called "auto attenuation of volume for tasks that are deemed as background. It could apply to MCE, PFE, Radar Contact or any FS add-on that outputs audio.

Luckily, since Windows 7, it's possible to disable that behaviour.

Go to Windows Control Panel and start the "Sound" app.

Go to <Compatibility> tab and select option "Do nothing" and apply.

After that, shouldn't experience volume loss.

Under Windows 7, you can even set volume levels relative to each other.

Look at the system tray (right bottom of the screen).

With FSX and other add-ons including MCE,  click the audio icon. then click "mixer".

Adjust various sliders (one per running application) and Windows should remember that.

As for VAS monitoring, I assume you're aware MCE let's you check remaining VAS, every time you speak a command (it's appended between parenthesis).

I mean, there is no need to run a separate app for that. And for better performance, MCE doesn't compute VAS continuously. You only get it when you make a request.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Helix1250 said:

Edit: I just uninstalled and the re-installed MCE (Latest version) and now I have lost the ability to change ATC, it seems to be stuck on Pro Flight ATC and no option to change it! I use PF3!

Suggest you reset MCE to factory settings.

Start->All apps->Multi Crew Experience->Tools->Restore factory settings

 

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3 hours ago, TheFiddler said:
  • But then in mid-flight the CP suddenly stopped responding to and executing any commands, or making any comments at all.

 

Lol, that's as real as it gets.

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Thanks for the impressively prompt reply!

7 hours ago, FS++ said:

Microsoft also added a Windows feature called "auto attenuation of volume for tasks that are deemed as background. It could apply to MCE, PFE, Radar Contact or any FS add-on that outputs audio.

Luckily, since Windows 7, it's possible to disable that behaviour.

I never knew that. Sounds like another case where Microsoft knows best what's good for the user... That may also explain why the problem occurred in midsession and not from the very beginning.

But I found that I had this option already set to "Do nothing", so no luck there.

[BTW, just for the benefit of people reading this thread later: In my Win7 Home Premium, the tab in question, on the Control Panel > Sound applet is called "Communication", not "Compatibility".]

More importantly: This option (and also the volume level) might only explain why I could not hear the CP; but the problem is not just about volume loss:

  • Even when "muted" for some reason, shouldn't the CP still have operated buttons and switches?
    As reported, not only did he become quiet, but he also ceased to do anything at all.
Quote

As for VAS monitoring, I assume you're aware MCE let's you check remaining VAS, every time you speak a command (it's appended between parenthesis). [...] And for better performance, MCE doesn't compute VAS continuously. You only get it when you make a request.

Yes, I had noticed; it is a very good idea. That other monitor was still running only from old habit. :-)

Cheers,

The Fiddler

 

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Some additional info:

I just tried again to do the tutorial flight (LFML-LSGG), this time using the default LearJet 45.
Same thing happened as described above: For some time (long into the climb phase), all running perfectly, then CP for no apparent reason stopped to respond and react to any command, while speech recognition was still working fine.

Two additional observations:

1. I had been wondering if MCE had perhaps somehow slipped silently into Dialog Mode (even though I did not hear the voice-over which was otherwise active).
However, in the MCE context menu it was not possible to have "Force Flight Mode" checked, presumably because MCE was already in Flight Mode (as it should be).
So, not an issue of accidental switch to Dialog Mode.

2. Another strange detail: I noticed that the destination airport (LSGG) was no longer displayed in the MCE window; it had been replaced by "????".
After I had reloaded the flightplan (in MCE, not in FSX), "LSGG" was duly shown again, but a minute or two later it was lost and replaced by "????" again.

Not sure what this means; my impression (!) is that MCE has in fact lost the connection to FSX (while the speech recognition side is still working fine).

What I forgot to mention (in view of other posts here): I am so far using only the default FSX ATC. The only "extra-FSX" add-on running is the AivlaSoft EFB.
(But as MCE uses neither SimConnect nor FSUIPC; any external add-ons shouldn't be relevant anyway, I suppose.)

Cheers,
The Fiddler

UPDATE

As a final report: I tried the same flight again, but now skipped all ATC communications. This time, all went well and the destination was reached with fully co-operating CP.

I don't quite see why using ATC comm.s might incapacitate the CP (and lose the flightplan in MCE), but who knows. Maybe things got just mixed up somehow, possibly due to user error, or perhaps due to some (mis)behaviour of the FSX ATC itself (it seems to get out of sync sometimes).

 

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3 hours ago, TheFiddler said:

UPDATE

As a final report: I tried the same flight again, but now skipped all ATC communications. This time, all went well and the destination was reached with fully co-operating CP.

I don't quite see why using ATC comm.s might incapacitate the CP (and lose the flightplan in MCE), but who knows. Maybe things got just mixed up somehow, possibly due to user error, or perhaps due to some (mis)behaviour of the FSX ATC itself (it seems to get out of sync sometimes).

 

This points to some possible PTT malfunction.

PTT operation is very critical. For instance, when you hold it down MCE will have to suspend all commands for interaction with FO and enable those for ATC.

The opposite happens when you release it.

When you suspend all reco using "NumLock", no command will be recognised either because Fo commands would need to be active.

MCE also listens to the <END> keyboard key. It is assumed used for Vatsim, and MCE would suspend all reco when the key is seen down.

Therefore, suggest you check your FSUIPC assignment, to make sure ...

Nothing triggers END key accidentally

You haven't assigned a joystick button that emulates DEL key, since MCE gets notified by fsInsider.dll when that key is down.

Do not emulate DEL key via joystick either as MCE monitors the joystick directly, and you could end-up with double notifications.

If you can transmit to ATC with confidence, I mean comfortable speaking jargon and such, there is one option in mce.ini you can disable.

It is enabled by default.

Suggest you reset MCE to factory settings.

Add this option if not there to the ATC section.

[ATC]

UseSpeechPaceTweak=0

This option is relatively new (only a few months old).

Its purpose is to help novice ATC users, those who struggle with NATO alphabet by making the speech engine wait longer before it assumes user has finished speaking.

Example: Ground (hesitation time) Cessna November Mike (hesitation time) Tango (hesitation time) requesting (hesitation time) taxi.

Without the option, should the user hesitate for more than a second and a half, the speech engine will assume he's done with his speech. This will result in failure as no sentence is complete enough to match one of the numerous MCE speech rules submitted to the speech engine.

The new option dynamically adjusts the "patience time", to make it shorter for FO interaction (you want a very responsive FO) and slightly longer for ATC.

But this has a downside, because you need to perform a more complex operation on the speech engine.

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Thanks again for the prompt response!

2 hours ago, FS++ said:

When you suspend all reco using "NumLock", no command will be recognised either because Fo commands would need to be active.

There could actually be a problem here, and if so, it has nothing to do with MCE: My keyboard is not connected directly to the computer, but is part of a "KMV switch" setup (to be used with more than one box).
As a side effect of that, the NumLock indicator LED on the keyboard and the actual state of the key occasionally get out of sync, and perhaps something similar confuses MCE, too.

I'll do some more testing, and will also check the other items you advise, before the demo time runs out.

Thanks again for your help!

Cheers,
The Fiddler

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On ‎4‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 11:46 PM, FS++ said:

Suggest you reset MCE to factory settings.

Start->All apps->Multi Crew Experience->Tools->Restore factory settings

 

Hi Gerald,

I have done a restore to default settings and I am still not getting the option to switch ATC programs, see the linked picture. I do not get the window at the bottom allowing me to select which ATC I want, also I notice PF3 no longer picks up a flight plan in the flight info section!

FkkwS3i.jpg

Regards Rob

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3 hours ago, Helix1250 said:

Hi Gerald,

I have done a restore to default settings and I am still not getting the option to switch ATC programs, see the linked picture. I do not get the window at the bottom allowing me to select which ATC I want, also I notice PF3 no longer picks up a flight plan in the flight info section!

FkkwS3i.jpg

Regards Rob

You will only get the window at the bottom for switching ATC systems, when MCE detects RC4 and/or PF3/PFE installation.

If it can't see any of these installed, you'll have to use a workaround.

 

Open "mce.ini" and scroll down to [ATC] section. Make sure

IgnorePFERegistry=1

Next time you start MCE it will prompt you for the PF3 installation path. Just provide it and it will be saved for next sessions.

Same applies to RC4 installation. If somehow not detected, use IgnoreRC4Registry=1 instead

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Hi,

So I ran multiple times into the same issue as the original Poster. I also use FSX Gold but under Win 10 64bit. I also have PF3 as my ATC. and I have Monitoring and Sim disabled the remaining three enabled. In the last 4 flights with different aircrafts, 3 times the CP stopped responding after 20-30 minutes. I don't use the DEL key for PTT. I do use JoyToKey for my assigned PTT joystick button but to TAB. So there should be no problem.

A couple of things I observed:

  1. I can't reliably reproduce it, often it happens, sometimes it doesn't (at least on the short flights I've tried)
  2. When it happens I can still interact with ATC. Also if I don't use ATC it may also happen. (by not use, I mean not use but still have it enabled.)
  3. It still shows the appropriate recognized text and also if I request a checklist the corresponding checklist gets highlighted in the MCE window. (So there is some communication, what is missing is any audible or visible action by the CP, regardless of whether it's for a checklist or a normal command)
  4. Changing voices/options/enabled features cannot recover the situation, only stopping and starting MCE restores the CP functionality.
  5. The option to mute comms is disabled for me and pressing num lock did not change anything. Neither did the Ini option for disabling the speech pace tweak.
  6. The weirdest thing that happened when I played around with the settings while flying is that I said "say again" and he actually answered after he had gone silent. But after that he was right back to  being silent and not doing anything I tell him too. I also couldn't reproduce that again while playing with the settings.

Anyways, maybe it will solve itself when I play with some more settings, but right now it's a bit annoying, especially because it doesn't appear all the time and only after flying quite some time. So reproduction is difficult and time-consuming.

Nevertheless, Thank you for creating an amazing program. It definitely adds a lot to my flight sim experience.

Best,

David

 

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I have had all the issues others have listed while trying to use PTT with PF3, multiple occurrences of FO not responding even though verbiage is correctly picked up.

i have currently reverted back to using option 2 on the VCP and using my voxkey commands to make the appropriate ATC requests.

So far my first flight was trouble free, I will try this method for a few flights then go back to the other method and see if the freezing returns.

Rob

thought! Maybe the people affected should all agree to use one specific key in PF3 for PTT (not  DEL) and see if we all can find the cause of this issue together! At least then we should all have the same system configuration! Just a thought :)

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1 hour ago, Helix1250 said:

thought! Maybe the people affected should all agree to use one specific key in PF3 for PTT (not  DEL) and see if we all can find the cause of this issue together! At least then we should all have the same system configuration! Just a thought :)

Hey Rob,

Okay, Just to make sure I'll fly a bit with ATC disabled in MCE to see whether I can also reproduce the behavior (and that would indicate it has nothing to do with PTT). 
I'm also gonna then switch PTT around a bit to see whether I can assure that it makes a difference, but of course there's no guarantees. 
Then we can still agree on a key. I suspect that the particular key doesn't make a difference but maybe the overall setup.

Best,

David

 

 

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update

So I've tried pretty much all day to reproduce it, doing the same flights again and it didn't happen again. I'm sure there must have been some differences. But the only things I know were consistently different are that I only started MCE after starting the flight and I set the option NotifyPTTstate to 1 but I think that just enables some additional info about when PTT is pressed.

So I'll just assume it works now, but might come back to this thread if it happens again.

 

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