OpusFSX Flight Simulator Interface for and

OpusFSX_Overview  OpusFSX_User_Guide  OpusFSX_Getting_Started_Single_PC  OpusFSX_Getting_Started_Networked_PCs  OpusFSX_Live_Weather  OpusFSX_Live_Camera  OpusFSX_ButtKicker




 

 

OpusFSX Flight Simulator Interface for FSX & Prepar3D

Getting Started - Networked PCs

 Live View Multi-Screen Display with CPFlight MCP and EFIS Panels

24 May, 2014

Opus Software Limited

Email: opusfsi@opussoftware.co.uk  Website: www.opussoftware.co.uk/opusfsi.htm


 

Contents  

Software Installation. 2  

Installing the Demo version of OpusFSX

Purchased OpusFSX

Upgrading OpusFSX

Create Desktop Shortcuts

Setting up the Network

General Operation

Recommended Start Up Procedure

Set Up and Configuration

Live Weather Assistant and Client Side LWE Control  

Full Operation

FSX Computer System Settings

Performance

Live View Test

FAQ and Troubleshooting

 

Software Installation

The first stage is to install and set up the OpusFSX software on your server PC in accordance with the OpusFSX_Getting_Started_Single_PC guide. When you have tested out the single PC standalone operation then you are ready to set up the OpusFSX network with your client PCs.

If you are using the client only for Live Weather Assistant and/or Client Side LWE Control then ensure SimConnect is installed on your clients (you will find a SimConnect.msi in the OpusFSX folder). You don't need to install FSX or FSUIPC4 on the clients unless you are using Live View.

Installing the Demo version of OpusFSX

The OpusFSX software must be installed on your server and each of your client FSX/P3D systems.

Simply copy the OpusFSX.msi installation file onto your client systems and double-click on the file. Alternatively you can create an OpusFSX folder on each of your client PCs and simply copy the files and sub-folders across from the server's OpusFSX folder. You only need to copy the DLL and EXE files across from the main folder, along with all sub-folders (e.g. the Themes sub-folder).

You may install the software onto any drive and subfolder provided its folder name is OpusFSX with the exception that you must not install OpusFSX in the Opus Software, FSX or Program Files folders, and don't install in more than one folder on your PC.

Purchased OpusFSX

The client systems are unlicensed and do not require license or key files. Do NOT unwrap the purchased 'exe' file on your client systems, it is not required. Neither do you need to create, or copy, the c:\Opus Software folder onto your client systems. This folder contains the license and key files which are ONLY needed on the server system.

The OpusFSX software must be installed on each of your client FSX systems. You may install the software onto any drive and subfolder provided its folder name is OpusFSX with the exception that you must not install OpusFSX in the Opus Software, FSX or Program Files folders, and don't install in more than one folder on your PC.

Simply copy the OpusFSX.msi installation file onto your client systems and double-click on the file,  but you must uninstall the old software first via Control Panel, Uninstall a program, do not delete your OpusFSX folder containing your camera and system configuration files.

Alternatively you can create a OpusFSX folder on each of your client PCs and copy the files and sub-folders across from the server's OpusFSX folder. You only need to copy the DLL and EXE files across from the main folder, along with all sub-folders (e.g. the Themes sub-folder).

Upgrading OpusFSX

Upgrade to latest Release

Download the upgrade OpusFSX.msi installation file onto your server system. Uninstall the existing version on your server prior to upgrading via Control Panel, Uninstall a Program, do not delete your OpusFSX folder containing your camera and system configuration files. Double click on the OpusFSX.msi file and follow the instructions to install the software.  All your original configuration (DAT and CMD) and camera definition (CAM, LIM and CDF) files will remain intact (in your OpusFSX folder) but it is a good idea to take a backup of your camera files anyway in case they get corrupted (this may happen when you revert to a previous version with a different CAM format).

If you wish you can copy new OpusFSX.msi installation file onto your client systems and double-click on the file to install the software, but you must uninstall the old software first via Control Panel, Uninstall a program , do not delete your OpusFSX folder containing your camera and system configuration files.

Alternatively you can simply create a c:\OpusFSX folder on each of your client PCs and copy the files and sub-folders across from the server's c:\OpusFSX folder. You only need to copy the DLL and EXE files across from the main folder, along with all sub-folders (e.g. the Themes sub-folder). Take care not to corrupt your DAT, CMD and camera files on the client PCs which contain your client's current configuration and operational data.

Upgrade to latest Beta

Click on the Beta button and download the OpusFSX.msi file and follow the upgrade procedure above.

 

Create Desktop Shortcuts

After installing the software we recommend you create shortcuts on your client desktops for the client programs. These shortcuts will allow you to manually start your networked FSX system without too much fuss.

On each of your client systems ...

In Windows Explorer, navigate to your installation folder (c:\OpusFSX) and right-click on the FSXCLIENT.EXE program.  Select the Send to - Desktop (create shortcut) option. Right-click on the new desktop icon, select Properties, rename to OpusFSX CLIENT and check the program is configured to Start In: your installation folder (c:\OpusFSX). Select the compatibility tab (if available) and "Run as Administrator".

Automatically Selecting the Simulator Type

The FSXSERVER and FSXCLIENT programs will accept an optional FSX or P3D argument to automatically select the simulator type when they are run. The FSXCLIENT program will also accept a NONE argument to select 'No Connection To The Simulator' mode. 

FSXSERVER FSX ... will select the Microsoft FSX simulator type on the server.
FSXSERVER P3D ... will select the Lockheed Martin Prepar3D simulator type on the server.
FSXCLIENT FSX ... will select the Microsoft FSX simulator type on the client.
FSXCLIENT P3D ... will select the Lockheed Martin Prepar3D simulator type on the client.
FSXCLIENT NONE ... will select the 'No Connection To The Simulator' mode of operation on the client.

So if you have both FSX and P3D on the server you can create two desktop shortcuts, one running 'c:\OpusFSX\FSXSERVER.EXE FSX' for Microsoft FSX, the other running 'c:\OpusFSX\FSXSERVER.EXE P3D' for Lockheed Martin Prepar3D.

On the client you can have c:\OpusFSX\FSXCLIENT.EXE FSX' for Microsoft FSX,  'c:\OpusFSX\FSXCLIENT.EXE P3D' for Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, and c:\OpusFSX\FSXCLIENT.EXE NONE' for no simulator when using just the Live Weather Assistant or Client Side LWE Control.

 

Setting up the Network

If you are using Live View you will need to install the simulator and scenery onto your client systems, although some users share their scenery over the network successfully.

The OpusFSX network is created by running the FSXSERVER program on the main (host) Microsoft Flight Simulator X PC, and running the FSXCLIENT program on each of the client PCs.

There is no need to run FSX to carry out the initial set up and configuration of your FSXSERVER and FSXCLIENT programs. We recommend you start off by running both the FSXSERVER and FSXCLIENT programs together on your main 'flying' computer. This will check that they both work fine on the server and that there are no missing library files etc. However on the final system setup you will just run FSXSERVER on your main 'flying' computer.

Next try to copy a file onto your first client computer via your LAN. If you can do this then there should be no problem in getting the system operational. You may need to set up your network first, see below.

Finally, run the FSXSERVER program on your main 'flying' server and run the FSXCLIENT program on your client computer.

Network Set Up ...

These set up requirements and guidelines apply to your main 'flying' server and each client computer you intend to connect. Make sure you set the advanced sharing settings on the server and all client machines!

The OpusFSX software uses IPC (Inter Process Communications). Multiple IPC connections provide the fastest possible links because they allow process-to-process communications without all the usual networking and routing overheads. In order to allow IPC between your Win 7 computer systems your Advanced Sharing and Windows Firewall settings must be set in accordance with the following.

Control Panel - Network and Internet - Network Sharing Center - Advanced sharing settings,

 

Turn on network discovery

Turn on file and printer sharing

Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read and write ...

Use 128-bit encryption ...

Turn off password protected sharing

Allow Windows to manage Homegroup connections

 

Do this for both Public and Home and Work profiles. If you are using a LAN via a Public network to communicate then you can just change the settings for your Public network.

At the very least you should have 'FILE AND PRINTER SHARING' turned ON and 'PASSWORD PROTECTED SHARING' turned OFF for your network.

Remember to click 'Save Changes' after modifying each profile, you will also have to restart the FSXSERVER and FSXCLIENT program afterwards. It might also take a minute for the changes to come into effect and the client and server programs to connect.

After changing the Network Advanced Sharing above you must also enable certain features through your Windows Firewall, assuming that Windows Firewall is enabled that is, but it is best to enable the features just in case you enable the Firewall later.

Control Panel - System and Security - Windows Firewall - Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall

Enable both Home/Work(Private) and Public options for the following features,

Core Networking

File and Printer Sharing

Network Discovery

Once again, at the very least you should have 'FILE AND PRINTER SHARING' enabled through the Firewall on your server and all client systems.

Also make sure all the computer systems have the same Workgroup set,

Control Panel - System and Security - System - Change Settings - Change...

and configure the main server's computer name or IP Address into the FSXCLIENT programs. You will probably have to use the computer name over a Wi-Fi link.

If you are using LAN cable then make sure you configure compatible Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) IP Addresses into all of your LAN adapters. You will also need to use a crossover cable for PC to PC connections.

Control Panel - Network and Internet - Network Sharing Center - Change Adapter Settings

Right-click on your local area network device, select Properties, highlight 'Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)', click Properties and edit the assigned IP Address and Subnet masks within either your General or Alternate Configuration tabs,

 For example,

 

Workgroup:                 FSXGROUP       on all computers.

 

IP v4 Addresses:          192.168.1.11   on the server.

                                    192.168.1.21   on the 1st client,

                                    192.168.1.22   on the 2nd client etc.

 

                                    All Subnet masks must be set to 255.255.255.0

On some networks you may have to configure the IP v4 Address as an 'Alternate Configuration'. Generally though, if you can 'see' the computers within Windows Explorer 'Network' then you should be able to connect and communicate using OpusFSX.

On some systems you may actually have to go as far as setting up the drive's Sharing and Security Permissions, or enter a password, so that you can access the other computer's folders and files.

To check if you need to enter a password run Windows Explorer and try to view folders on the networked PC. You will be prompted for a password if necessary.  

Firewall

You may need to allow OpusFSX through your firewall. In Control Panel select System and Security, Windows Firewall, Allow a Program or feature through Windows Firewall. Click on Allow another program and browse to FSXSERVER (or FSXCLIENT on a client PC) in the OpusFSX installation folder.

Sharing and Security Permissions

Set up your sharing and security permissions for Everyone on your server and client systems. Both the drive and the FSX install folder must be shared and accessible.

Sharing

To set up Sharing on a drive run Windows Explorer, right click on the drive you wish to share, select Properties, select the Sharing tab, select Advanced Sharing, tick the checkbox to share the drive and enter a share name. Make sure the share name is a single letter code, e.g. C, not 'Drive C' for instance, otherwise OpusFSX will not be able to find the drive. Click on Permissions, enter Everyone in the Group or user names box and tick the checkboxes to allow Full Control for Everyone. Some users find it is not enough to share folders, the whole drive must be shared.

Security Permissions

To set up Security Permissions run Windows Explorer, right click on the drive you wish to set Security settings for, select Properties, select the Security tab, select Everyone in the Group or user names box and ensure the Permissions are Full Control, if not click on the Edit button and tick the Permissions checkboxes to allow Full Control for Everyone. If Everyone does not exist click Advanced, click Change Permissions, click Add, type in the name Everyone and click OK. Then specify Full Control for your newly created Everyone group. Click OK.

Also select Authenticated Users in the Group or user names box and tick the checkboxes to allow Full Control.

If you are connecting more than two machines together over the network then we recommend the following options,

         Bridge LAN connections through machines equipped with two LAN adapters.

         Install a Gigabit LAN hub (better).

         Install a Gigabit LAN switch (best).

If your network relies on other devices (routers, bridges, servers etc.) then I'm afraid we can offer very little advice or assistance, the set up to allow IPC connections will be your responsibility. OpusFSX utilizes multiple IPC connections to achieve optimum performance, it does not use socket based TCP/IP or similar links which are considered far too slow. You will therefore have to configure your network accordingly with adequate sharing, permissions and security settings assigned to all of the networked computer systems.

Win7 and XP Networked Systems

You may (or may not) experience problems if you have both Win7 and XP systems on your network. Removing the homegroup and reverting to standard networking may help. See these websites,

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Networking-home-computers-running-different-versions-of-Windows

and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRY4_POp9zA  

 

General Operation

The recommended start up procedures for the FSXSERVER and FSXCLIENT programs are detailed below. You can monitor the connection status on the main form displays of the FSXSERVER program and each of the FSXCLIENT programs. In each case, the Application Links will turn green when a connection is made. Note, the server will allocate two or three links for each 'Live View' client, one link for each of the possible 'Live View' Position & Attitude, Weather and Traffic connections.

To ensure optimum performance, the settings within FSX/Prepar3D on each client FSX system should be configured in accordance with the instructions in FSX Computer System Settings section at the end of this guide. Please adjust your settings before using Live View.

 

Recommended Start Up Procedure For Live View and Live Camera Operation

         Run FSX/Prepar3D on all systems and wait for them initialize with the FSX Free Flight dialog on display. Click either the FLY NOW button or Load your chosen flight and wait for your flight to fully load and initialize on all systems.

         Run the FSXSERVER program on your main SERVER system.

         Run the FSXCLIENT programs on each of the client systems and watch them connect to the server.

         When all the FSX/Prepar3D systems have settled and fully initialized, decide on your chosen Weather option for the flight and load it through the Weather option of your FSXSERVER program.

         One final check that all your cloud formations are in synch and all desired zoom settings are set then you are ready to fly.

Checklist:

1.      Run FSX/Prepar3D on all systems and FLY NOW or Load flight.

2.      Run the FSXSERVER program.

3.      Run all FSXCLIENT programs.

4.      Check/reload Dynamic weather or Choose Weather Theme.

5.      Start Flying.

 

Set Up and Configuration

This section assumes you have already installed the OpusFSX software, created your desktop shortcuts, and set up your network.  This section uses a pictorial guide to configuring your networked system.

The FSXSERVER and FSXCLIENT programs MUST be started in their local installation folders, in other words they MUST be started in \OpusFSX.

Run the FSXSERVER program on your main FSX/Prepar3D system. You do not need to run the flight simulator (if installed) at this time since we are just going to configure the system.  

Live Weather Assistant and Client Side LWE Control

If you are using a networked client only for Live Weather Assistant (displaying weather maps) and/or Client Side Live Weather Engine Control (i.e. entering weather or flight plan data via the client dialogs) then NO license, FSX, or FSUIPC4 is needed on the client.  If you receive TypeInitialisation errors when trying to run the FSXCLIENT program then navigate to the OpusFSX installation folder on your client and install the SimConnect libraries using the supplied SimConnect.msi file in the OpusFSX folder.

Set up your server's sharing, sharing permissions, and security permissions as per the instructions in this guide.  

For Client Side LWE Control ...

Configure a 1 in the Number of Live View Client Computers field on your server. This should open two Application Links ready for the client to connect.

Run the FSXCLIENT program on your client (assuming you have installed or copied your OpusFSX folder across onto there).

Open the clients Configuration dialog.

Specify your server's computer name or IP address.

Tick Enable Live View Updates.

Select the No Connection to the Simulator option.

Click OK and restart.

The client will open two communications links and attempt to connect to the server. After it connects the links will turn green. You can now open the Live Weather Control dialog and control the server's LWE.

After the links are connected, showing green banners, then with FSX running on the server you will see 1 second position updates coming from the server (Spy on the Live View - Position & Attitude link). All LWE control messages will be communicated over the Live View - Weather link, again you can use the link's Spy window to monitor the communications.

In this mode of operation Live Camera is disabled.  

Full Operation

Figure 1 - FSX Server's Main Form

Click on the Configure button to display the 'Opus FSX Server - Configuration' dialog.

 

Figure 2 - FSX Server's Configuration Dialog

Specify the number of Live View Client Computer systems you intend connecting to the server.

Live Traffic has not been implemented yet.

Enable Live Weather Engine and Weather Maps if required. This option is available in limited form on the free demonstration software. The LWE is restricted to 160km (100 miles) in all directions and the weather is updated only whilst your aircraft is on the ground.  

Enable Live Camera unless you want to control the views manually with Live Camera Control and use General DHM Options.  

Enable TrackIR and the CPFlight driver if required on your system. The Run TrackIR High Priority option will affect the priority of the Opus FSXTRACKIR program as well as any active Natural Point TrackIR4 or TrackIR5 programs and is only required if your TrackIR operation is not smooth.

The Live View Scan Rate (0 to 60ms) adjustment is for networked systems and controls the position update rate communicated to the server enabling you to match the preferred rate found using the Live View Test. This should be tuned on fast systems to limit the position update rate of transmission to an acceptable level.

Click on the appropriate radio button to select a flight simulator type, and click on the Browse button and locate your simulator installation folder. Any time you change this folder location you must restart the FSXSERVER program. If you fail to do this you will be unable to select and activate any dynamic weather or weather themes and OpusFSX will not be able to determine your available aircraft names (for camera control).

Click OK. You will notice that the appropriate number of client links have been created. These will be indicated in yellow until a connection is made.  

Figure 3 - FSX Server Waiting For Client Connections

On Each Client FSX System ...

Run the FSXCLIENT program on the client FSX/Prepar3D system. Once again you do not need to run FSX/Prepar3D at the moment.

Figure 4 - FSX Client's Main Form

Click on the Configure button to display the 'Opus FSX Client - Configuration' dialog.

Figure 5 - FSX Client's Configuration Dialog

Specify the network identity (name or IP address) of your main FSX server machine. If you have problems on the network and are using Computer Names in the configuration then try using IP addresses and vice versa. Do not use non alphanumeric characters in the computer name.

Enable the required options for the client system. If you select Enable Live View you should also set Enable Live Camera unless you intend controlling the views manually.

Set Enable Live Weather if you wish to update weather on the client.

Enable Run in High Priority if required on your system, this helps some Live View networked systems operate more smoothly. This option is set automatically if you enable No Connection to the Simulator when the client is used solely for client side LWE Control and Live View, Live Weather and Live Camera are disabled.

Click on the appropriate radio button to select your Client's flight simulator type, and click on the Browse button and locate your Client's simulator installation folder. Any time you change this folder location you must restart the FSXCLIENT program. If you fail to do this correctly you will be unable to activate any dynamic weather or select themes on the client systems.

Click OK. You will notice that the appropriate number of application links have been created. These will be indicated in yellow until a network connection is made. With the FSXSERVER program running on the main FSX server you should notice the links turning green on both the client and server systems as the network connections are made.

 

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