kiwiflyer45

Couatl and FSX-SE

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There are a huge number of posts about the program called "Couatl" which is installed to manage a range of sceneries, mostly FSDT but also Sky Beam and others. The posts are a jumble of claims and counter-claims and seem to have attracted an awful lot of hostility. So although I know there are many answers already "out there," they are confusing and probably unreliable. Can I ask a few "sane" members for some guidance on this? What are the disadvantages or pitfalls and how can they be avoided?

I am currently doing an FSX-SE reinstall on a clean hard-drive and trying to avoid a lot of clutter. I have now reinstalled all of my add-on sceneries except those that use Couatl, which I've been putting off. But the thought of not having so many excellent sceneries for which I've paid a lot of money isn't really acceptable to me so it's time to take the plunge.

Please - no trolls, or biased "experts." I've been on AVSIM long enough to know who I can trust on technical issues like this -- so I won't be acting on advice unless it come from someone I know has the needed skills and common sense to give good advice. (Bert, John and others - you know who you are) :biggrin:

Thanks

Ian 

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I don't have any problems with Couatl under FSX:SE, P3DV3 or P3DV4.  I make 4 to 6 regional flights per week, plus software test sessions, and the last time I had a problem with Coutal was about 3 or 4 years ago.  I run an extensive number of addons that use it, including GSX.

I hope this is helpful to you.

 

Best wishes.

 

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1 hour ago, kiwiflyer45 said:

There are a huge number of posts about the program called "Couatl" which is installed to manage a range of sceneries, mostly FSDT but also Sky Beam and others. 

Ian, it's FlightBeam that also uses it, but not in their latest KMSP.

I understand your confusion. Personally I've had FSDT sceneries installed in FSX since 2009 and never had an issue or any of the other oddities you may have read about.

Frankly, there's no way it can screw up a system like some may have complained about. If you want insurance, just make a copy of your exe.xml and dll.xml files before installing your first scenery as those are the only moduls that can "turn on" the couatl module. But even without back up those entries should be removed with an uninstall.

You can look at it this way. If it was that bad and trashing people's system or installs FSDT and FlightBeam would be out of business by now.

It just like any other consumer goods product. No matter how good the prodcut might be, the vocal minority with issues will say it's the worst thing ever.

One thing you can count on with FSDT is that if you have issues, Umberto is one of the best at customer service and will even do Team Viewer sessions with customer if they have issues they can't solve via the forum.

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Thanks guys - that sounds like good advice and gives me more confidence that I'm not going to screw up hundreds of hours of reinstalling and tweaking... Not sure where I got SkyBeam" from -- maybe it was a subliminal Star Trek thing - "beam me up Scotty!" :biggrin:

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1 hour ago, kiwiflyer45 said:

Not sure where I got SkyBeam" from -- maybe it was a subliminal Star Trek thing - "beam me up Scotty!" :biggrin:

Not sure either but SkyBeam would be a good name for a new developer.

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16 hours ago, cmpbellsjc said:

Not sure either but SkyBeam would be a good name for a new developer.

Maybe one that would develop some really good military air bases for the growing number of high quality military aircraft addons that are on the market.... Hint, hint!!!! :cool:

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Hi Ian,

For me it has been a headache, sometimes my FS didn't even get past the first loading screen so I had to uninstall and install back again, and I recently had some problems causing FSX to crash saying that the program stopped interfering with windows...blah blah blah. Tried everything and somehow managed to figure out it was caused by one of those sceneries that use this Couatl program.

  But uninstalled and reinstalled and everything has worked like a charm since then, nothing a re installation can´t do.

 

 

PS. Not a pro, but just info!

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On ‎7‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 10:39 AM, rafikihd said:

Hi Ian,

For me it has been a headache, sometimes my FS didn't even get past the first loading screen so I had to uninstall and install back again, and I recently had some problems causing FSX to crash saying that the program stopped interfering with windows...blah blah blah. Tried everything and somehow managed to figure out it was caused by one of those sceneries that use this Couatl program.

  But uninstalled and reinstalled and everything has worked like a charm since then, nothing a re installation can´t do.

 

 

PS. Not a pro, but just info!

Thanks for the head's up. I'm actually having some CTD problems now but as I made some other changes along with installing the FlightBeam airports (KSFO and KPHX - (both use Couatl) - so I'm not sure what the cause is yet. One of these days I will learn not to make more than ONE change to flight sim at a time so if there's a problem I can isolate it more easily.... But I'm almost as addicted to addons, making new AI files or changing AFCADs as I am to actually flying, so I get carried away sometimes.. Sigh

Ian

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1 hour ago, kiwiflyer45 said:

Thanks for the head's up. I'm actually having some CTD problems now but as I made some other changes along with installing the FlightBeam airports (KSFO and KPHX - (both use Couatl) - so I'm not sure what the cause is yet. One of these days I will learn not to make more than ONE change to flight sim at a time so if there's a problem I can isolate it more easily.... But I'm almost as addicted to addons, making new AI files or changing AFCADs as I am to actually flying, so I get carried away sometimes.. Sigh

Ian

Lol! Join the club buddy.

You could try by first uninstalling the Couatl program, and/or all airports that use it, and then reinstall it.

Its worth a try!

Best Regards,

Rafa

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Well, somehow my NVidia Inspector had vanished from my system, my fsx/cfg file had been changed and since uninstalling the KSFO/KPHX and Couatl things seem to be working... It looks like I'm one of those unlucky ones for whom it causes problem, though we're clearly in the minority as the first two replies make absolute sense....

Is it possible to install any of these airports as ordinary addons without using Couatl? (Yes, I realize I would have to install to a "sandbox.") My guess is that the answer is no but no harm in seeing if somebody has made it work

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12 hours ago, kiwiflyer45 said:

Is it possible to install any of these airports as ordinary addons without using Couatl? (Yes, I realize I would have to install to a "sandbox.") My guess is that the answer is no but no harm in seeing if somebody has made it work

 No, they can't be installed or made to work without the Couatl scripting engine telling the sim what parts of the scenery to render. If you look in the simobjects folder where the models for the sceneries reside you'll find many version of a model at different LODs. Couatl tells the sim what model to render at various distances to save VAS and render higher FPS.

As far as the other issues you mentioned in the first paragraph, not sure how any of those scenarios are possible. The installed only directs what pieces and modules to install and doesn't touch anything else. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to post on their website and seek Umbertos help and perhaps a TeamViewer session with him to see what's happening. I've installed these sceneries on two different systems, one with Win XP and the other with Win 7 and never experienced anything of the nature.

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OK thanks. Talking to Umberto can be a bit like poking a volcano with a stick but I'll try! :cool:

For now I'm just going to leave out my FSDT and FlightBeam sceneries - I have way too many anyway! LOL
Appreciate your help

Ian

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For me (and my two-cents worth), whenever I have problems with any FSDT/Flightbeam product, I just download and run the latest Standalone Addon Manager.   It checks your installation and reinstalls things that might be missing.  On several occasions, when I loaded my FSDT Las Vegas and saw all of the terminal buildings missing and just the jetways, I would click on Addon Manager>Couatl>Restart Couatl and it would restart and all of the buildings would suddenly appear and I could continue on my flight.  It is absolutely a shocker to me whenever someone has problems with FSDT/FlightBeam but I suspect many install things in many different ways.  I make sure my UAC and any anti-virus or anti-malware program is disabled when I install things.  Right now I have my FSX/P3DV4 folders set up so that no anti-virus or anti-malware program can scan the folder and deny a dll or other file from running properly.  I do this by going into my anti-malware program (Malwarebytes) and going to the Exemptions tab and exempting the directories I do not want to have scanned when I run a program.  Windows Defender does this too and you can exempted directories from being scanned there too.  Over the years I have found freeware anti-virus programs are more aggressive than payware programs when looking for viruses or malware.  Still I periodically run into a glitch where Couatl will not be running but I have found the ways to get it fixed and running again.

You have to figure there is something you did wrong on your end (anti-virus/UAC/AdminPrivileges, etc.) that caused you to have major issues with couatl.  If it happened to everyone all of the time then I could say that there definitely is a problem with it but it is not happening to everyone and the majority of users have no issues whatsoever. 

Good luck getting your issue resolved!  I know how frustrating it can be!

Best regards,

Jim

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Thanks Jim. As always, your advice is clear, sensible and I'm more than willing to try it. I definitely have the UAC/admin thing down pat - it's become an ingrained habit for me to right click and run ANY program as "Administrator." LOL But I confess I often forget the advice about turning off anti-virus (in my case Windows Defender) and your information about getting it to exempt certain directories sounds excellent.

In all fairness to the Couatl developers, it's possible that there's something else going on as I've had trouble with some other products which I suspect may be caused by some registry issues with my Windows 10. Fortunately, my daughter-in-law is a Microsoft tech so I'll exert a little fatherly pressure and get her to come and do a diagnostic on it... (She's also a licensed auto mechanic but getting her to fix my car is a little bit more difficult!) :cool:

I'll share anything I learn from all of this. In the meantime, thank you to all who have given advice and helped me. You're right John - it IS frustrating and somehow when there's just one little glitch with my flight sim setup, I seem to OBSESS about it until it's fixed... But I'm talking to fellow FS junkies so you all share my addictive behaviors I'm sure!!!!

Cheers

Ian

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41 minutes ago, kiwiflyer45 said:

it IS frustrating and somehow when there's just one little glitch with my flight sim setup, I seem to OBSESS about it until it's fixed...

Been there done, done that, lol.

I was so obsessed with it being perfect that if I started a flight at night time, maybe 7:30 or 8pm locally and ran into a problem, I'd literally stay up all night until I tracked the issue down and fixed it. It was like I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that I had a glitch in the system that needed to be fixed. Of course, I'd be super tired at work the next day, but at peace that my sim was ok.

Ive since let that go a bit, however I'm still anal about keeping the sim in perfect working order, installing only reputable addons, keeping textures at the right sizes and formats. If an issue crops up before bed, now I'll just wait until the following day.

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2 minutes ago, cmpbellsjc said:

Been there done, done that, lol.

I was so obsessed with it being perfect that if I started a flight at night time, maybe 7:30 or 8pm locally and ran into a problem, I'd literally stay up all night until I tracked the issue down and fixed it. It was like I wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that I had a glitch in the system that needed to be fixed. Of course, I'd be super tired at work the next day, but at peace that my sim was ok.

Ive since let that go a bit, however I'm still anal about keeping the sim in perfect working order, installing only reputable addons, keeping textures at the right sizes and formats. If an issue crops up before bed, now I'll just wait until the following day.

I think we need a new forum ---- the "FIXIT ADDICTION RECOVERY" forum... "Hi, my name is Ian and I'm an FS fixit addict." ...... The problem would be our spouses would never see us again, we wouldn't have time to actually fly in our sims and we would probably all become unemployed because we'd spend all our time obsessing about helping a fellow addict deal with his/her obsession.... :laugh:

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2 minutes ago, kiwiflyer45 said:

I think we need a new forum ---- the "FIXIT ADDICTION RECOVERY" forum... "Hi, my name is Ian and I'm an FS fixit addict." ...... The problem would be our spouses would never see us again, we wouldn't have time to actually fly in our sims and we would probably all become unemployed because we'd spend all our time obsessing about helping a fellow addict deal with his/her obsession.... :laugh:

That's true!

Fortunately for me, issues have been far and few the past few years.

The one thing that I do now when considering a new addon aircraft or airport/scenery is to wait a few weeks after it's released and read all the feedback I can find before making the purchase.

Doing this has help immensely as I've been able to wait out bugs and other issues until they are satisfactorily fixed or patched before I buy and install. I also do the same when products get major updates as I don't want to give up a perfectly good addon that somehow gets worse due to a faulty patch or fix.

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1 hour ago, kiwiflyer45 said:

Fortunately, my daughter-in-law is a Microsoft tech so I'll exert a little fatherly pressure and get her to come and do a diagnostic on it

You do know her family has priorities on any tech support.  I think in most families around the world, the daughter-in-law, although a nice human being, favors her parents over her husband's parents.  So, good luck!  :biggrin:  I was fortunate to have a son and he was raised as an IT Professional and currently employed as a Corporate Vice-President for IT.  Problem with that, his wife, my daughter-in-law, says her parents computer system comes first and then he can help me when I have problems (if they don't need more help building a deck or patio or fixing the car).  I was fortunate to have him in my household long enough to help me learn computers before he left and subsequently brought under the total control of the daughter-in-law....

But, there is still hope for us who have son's with daughter-in-laws!  I found a neat program to repair Windows for free and I put details about it in the AVSIM CTD Guide, page 24.  But, essentially, this Windows Repair utility was developed and is being maintained by Microsoft techs, former and current techs.  I have found the program to be very safe and, in fact, they tell you to put your system into safe mode first before running the repairs.  It also backs up your registry (if you want) in case anything goes amiss.  You are in control.  It does not mess up any currently installed programs and it will not harm FSX or any of your addon's.  It just repairs your Windows installation (Windows 7 and higher - I have Windows 10).  I found it to fix many of the errors I was getting in the Event Viewer and it will turn on Services you might have turned off or another program turned off.  It cleans up your User files and folders too.  The only thing I found wrong was the fact it returned all my programs like my browser back to the default but those are easy to get changed if you want.  The program is called Windows Repair and you can check it out at the following link - http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/windows_repair_all_in_one.html.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Jim

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8 minutes ago, cmpbellsjc said:

That's true!

Fortunately for me, issues have been far and few the past few years.

The one thing that I do now when considering a new addon aircraft or airport/scenery is to wait a few weeks after it's released and read all the feedback I can find before making the purchase.

Doing this has help immensely as I've been able to wait out bugs and other issues until they are satisfactorily fixed or patched before I buy and install. I also do the same when products get major updates as I don't want to give up a perfectly good addon that somehow gets worse due to a faulty patch or fix.

Excellent advice!!! I will try to exercise some uncharacteristic self-discipline in future and follow it

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5 minutes ago, Jim Young said:

You do know her family has priorities on any tech support.  I think in most families around the world, the daughter-in-law, although a nice human being, favors her parents over her husband's parents.  So, good luck!  :biggrin:  I was fortunate to have a son and he was raised as an IT Professional and currently employed as a Corporate Vice-President for IT.  Problem with that, his wife, my daughter-in-law, says her parents computer system comes first and then he can help me when I have problems (if they don't need more help building a deck or patio or fixing the car).  I was fortunate to have him in my household long enough to help me learn computers before he left and subsequently brought under the total control of the daughter-in-law....

But, there is still hope for us who have son's with daughter-in-laws!  I found a neat program to repair Windows for free and I put details about it in the AVSIM CTD Guide, page 24.  But, essentially, this Windows Repair utility was developed and is being maintained by Microsoft techs, former and current techs.  I have found the program to be very safe and, in fact, they tell you to put your system into safe mode first before running the repairs.  It also backs up your registry (if you want) in case anything goes amiss.  You are in control.  It does not mess up any currently installed programs and it will not harm FSX or any of your addon's.  It just repairs your Windows installation (Windows 7 and higher - I have Windows 10).  I found it to fix many of the errors I was getting in the Event Viewer and it will turn on Services you might have turned off or another program turned off.  It cleans up your User files and folders too.  The only thing I found wrong was the fact it returned all my programs like my browser back to the default but those are easy to get changed if you want.  The program is called Windows Repair and you can check it out at the following link - http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/windows_repair_all_in_one.html.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Jim

My daughter-in-law is a bit different to the average. An offer to grill some steaks (on the Barbie) and provide a few cold beers works pretty much every time. As several people have observed, she's "the son I never had." LOL Thanks for the excellent information - as always, you are a fount of wisdom and understandable advice

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Came across this thread today during a lot of forum searching after running into problems last night following installation of an addon manager update for my many FSDT and FlightBeam airports. After almost 9 solid hours spent trying to resolve the issue (and thus far failing), I realise that I definitely fall into the obsessional category of simmer you describe Ian and badly need some FIXIT ADDICTION RECOVERY THERAPY - we won't abbreviate that!

Leaving that aside and getting back to the topic of Coatl in your original post, I have been using FSDT airport scenery since early in my FS9 days and continued using it in FSX, regarding it as visually superb and up there with the best sceneries available. However the Coatl / Addon Manager used with them has probably given me far more headaches than the installers of all my other sceneries combined (and I have a vast amount of addon scenery!) and continues to do so to this very moment although I have taken the advice given earlier in this thread and decided not to stay up all night tonight! I was hoping that your request for some sane guidance and clarity regarding Coatl might have been answered somewhere but sadly it remains mysterious, obscure and frustrating to me despite what I think is a reasonably deep level of knowledge of the 'innards' of FSX. 

Nothing for it but a nice drop of Irish whiskey now and leave the decision on whether to bother re-installing the Coatl dependent scenery until after a good night's sleep!

Bill

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They are not going to get rid of Couatl completely anytime soon.  The only solution I know of for fixing Couatl errors (or any errors involving FSDT products) is to download and install the latest Standalone Addon Manager as I described earlier - https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/516250-couatl-and-fsx-se/?do=findComment&comment=3684124.  I am like many others and have not had any serious issues with it.  I always install their products with Admin Privileges and the installer easily installs them into the FSX directory.  I have had issues with entering the activation codes as the box for entering the data will be behind FSX on the desktop and I don't see it.  That gets my temperature and blood pressure to rise but, once installed, I have had no problems other than having to install the Standalone Addon Manager as that is how they update the products and make sure everything is installed properly.

Best regards,

Jim

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Here´s the deal with the update of the latest standalone Addon Manager.

How am I supposed to know when to update it, what I mean is how am I supposed to know when I am outdated and should run the updater?

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Thanks for the advice Jim! I was aware that you need to download the latest Standalone Addon Manager and that's what I have always done to deal with a Coatl/FSDT error and it has usually worked. On this occasion however it did not appear to be performing as expected and after running the new Standalone Addon Manager I could still only see jetways at my FSDT airports. I then uninstalled the airports and reinstalled a couple of fresh airport downloads from the FSDT site but despite the fact that they are listed as installed and active on the addon manager, the problem persists. As a confirmed fixed addict however no doubt I will eventually get it resolved!

Kind regards,

Bill

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11 hours ago, rafikihd said:

How am I supposed to know when to update it, what I mean is how am I supposed to know when I am outdated and should run the updater?

If you are loading the airport that requires to be updated, it will tell you after you have loaded the product.  GSX is updated frequently and that covers all FSDT/FB airports installed so it will run the updater whenever GSX is updated.  If it is not doing that, then perhaps you did not install the airports with Admin privileges and Windows will not allow access.  When I right click the FSDT/KLAS and select Properties and then Security, I click on User permissions to make sure I have full control.  In my case it is checked as I installed the product properly.  I usually have the Standalone Manager in my Downloads folder so, if I have a problem I will simply rerun the Standalone Manager program in that folder.  But you have to understand the Standalone Manager is updated frequently too.

1 hour ago, scianoir said:

it did not appear to be performing as expected and after running the new Standalone Addon Manager I could still only see jetways at my FSDT airports.

Whenever I load a FSDT airport and I only see the jetways, I go to the Addon Manager menu and select Couatl and select Restart.  The airport then appears.  You should also make sure you (the User) has full control and, like I just posted above for rafikihd, go to the FSDT folder and right click and select Properties and then click on the Security tab and make sure you, as the user, has Full control.  If you are the Administrator of your computer, you should be able to change this to Full Control.  If you are not the big boss over your computer, then you will have to have him/her change the permissions for you. 

You should never uninstall/reinstall a FSDT airport.  Just run the installer again and select Repair (if you get that option or reinstall).

You mentioned the airport was not performing as expected.  I do not know your system specs but you must understand FSDT/FB have a lot of eye-candy and you probably cannot use the same FSX and Display Driver settings as you used with the default airport installed.  If you have a system made after Sandy Bridge (i7, i5, i3 2600MHz or better), it should run very well w/o tweaking.  When you click on the Addon Manager inside FSX and lookup to see if your airport is installed, the developer has tweaks that you can automatically install in FSX.  I strongly recommend you do not use them.  Maybe back in the old duo-Core days but not in today's modern systems.  If you have those tweaks installed, they are most likely causing your performance problems.

Best regards,

Jim

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