OpusMSFS Flight Simulator Interface for

OpusMSFS_Overview  OpusMSFS_User_Guide  OpusMSFS_Getting_Started_Single_PC  OpusMSFS_Getting_Started_Networked_PCs  OpusMSFS_ButtKicker

 




 

 

 

OpusMSFS Flight Simulator Interface for MSFS

Getting Started - Networked PCs

 Live View Multi-Screen Display  

Photo courtesy of the Human-Centered Design Institute, Florida Institute of Technology

14 Feb 2021

Opus Software Limited

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


 

Contents  

Software Installation. 2  

Installing the Beta version of OpusMSFS

Updating OpusMSFS

Create Desktop Shortcuts

Setting up the Network

General Operation

Recommended Start Up Procedure

Set Up and Configuration

Live View Operation

Auto Height Adjustment

Live View Offsets

Performance

Live View Test

FAQ and Troubleshooting

 

Software Installation

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

Installing the Beta version of OpusMSFS

The OpusMSFS software must be installed on your server and each of your client MSFS systems.

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

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

Updating OpusMSFS

Download the latest Release or Beta version from the downloads page on our website.

Uninstall the old software on your server before installing the upgrade via Control Panel, Uninstall a Program, do not delete your OpusMSFS folder. Double click on the Opus msi file and follow the instructions to install the software upgrade. 

All your original configuration (DAT and CMD) files will remain intact in the OpusMSFS folder but it is a good idea to take a backup of your files.

If you wish you can copy new OpusMSFS 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 OpusMSFS folder containing your system configuration files.

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

 

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 MSFS system without too much fuss.

On each of your client systems ...

In Windows Explorer, navigate to your installation folder (c:\OpusMSFS) and right-click on the FSICLIENT.EXE program.  Select the Send to - Desktop (create shortcut) option. Right-click on the new desktop icon, select Properties, in the Shortcut tab check the program is configured to Start In: your installation folder (c:\OpusMSFS). Select the Compatibility tab (if available) and tick the checkbox to Run this program as an Administrator. Click OK. Left click on the icon once to select it and then left click again to select the icon name, type in OpusMSFS CLIENT to rename the icon.

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 OpusMSFS network is created by running the SERVER program on the main (host) Flight Simulator PC, and running the CLIENT program on each of the client PCs.

There is no need to run the sim to carry out the initial set up and configuration of your SERVER and CLIENT programs. On the final system setup you will just run SERVER on your main 'flying' computer. You may need to set up your network first, see below.

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 OpusMSFS 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 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 SERVER and CLIENT 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 CLIENT 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:           MSFSGROUP      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 OpusMSFS.

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 OpusMSFS 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 FSISERVER (or FSICLIENT on a client PC) in the OpusMSFS 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 sim install folder must be shared and accessible. You may need to set sharing and security permissions on both your OpusMSFS and your MSFS folder in order for OpusMSFS to write the necessary files.

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 OpusMSFS 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. Also ensure the folders are not set to 'read only'.

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. OpusMSFS 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 SERVER and CLIENT programs are detailed below. You can monitor the connection status on the main form displays of the SERVER program and each of the CLIENT 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.

 

Recommended Start Up Procedure For Live View Operation

         Run MSFS on all systems and wait for them initialize. Wait for your flight to fully load and initialize on all systems.

         Run the FSISERVER  program on your main SERVER system.

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

         When all the MSFS systems have settled and fully initialized, decide on your chosen Weather option for the flight and load it.

         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 MSFS on all systems and FLY NOW or Load flight.

2.      Run the SERVER program.

3.      Run all CLIENT programs.

4.      Check/reload weather or Choose Weather Theme.

5.      Start Flying.

 

Set Up and Configuration

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

The SERVER and CLIENT programs MUST be started in their local installation folders, in other words they MUST be started in OpusMSFS.

Run the SERVER program on your main MSFS 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 View Operation (Views on client PCs)

OpusMSFS Server Form

Figure 1 - MSFS Server's Main Form

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

 OpusMSFS Server Configure dialog

Figure 2 - MSFS Server's Configuration Dialog

Specify the number of Client Computers you intend connecting to the server.

The Live View Scan Rate (0 to 60ms) adjustment 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 OK. 

Select View Client App Links from the server's main form and you will notice that the appropriate number of client links have been created. These will be indicated in yellow until a connection is made.  

OpusFSI Server Form

Figure 3 - Server Waiting For Client Connections

On Each Client sim System ...

Run the CLIENT program on the client MSFS system. Once again you do not need to run MSFS at the moment.

OpusFSI Client Form

Figure 4 - Client's Main Form

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

OpusFSI Client Configure dialog

Figure 5 - Client's Configuration Dialog

Specify the network identity (name or IP address) of your main sim 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 (e.g. -).

Enable the required options for the client system.

Enable Run in High Priority if required on your system, this helps some Live View networked systems operate more smoothly.

Click OK. 

Select View Client App Links from the client's main form and 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 SERVER program running on the main sim server select View Client App Links from the server's main form, you should notice the links turning green on both the client and server systems as the network connections are made.  

OpusFSI Client Form

Figure 6 - Client Connected To Server

OpusFSI Server Form

Figure 7 - FSI Server with single client connected

After you have successfully established a connection with each of your client systems, shut down the server and clients and use the Recommended Start Up Procedure described above to enjoy your networked flight simulator system.  

Auto Height Adjustment

The Enable Auto Height Adjustment option in combination with the Live View Vertical Axis Offset can accommodate any scenery differences between the installed sim types.

Live View Offsets

The CLIENT Config dialog includes an option to edit Live View Offsets. The offsets (in meters) adjust the reference point for the aircraft axis on the client system(s). The aircraft's current heading and global position is factored in to determine the current axis offset in latitude and longitude.

The required Lateral, Longitudinal and Vertical aircraft axis offset values are entered as double precision floating point numbers in meters. A decimal place must be used to enter a fraction of a meter e.g. 0.3.

Recommended Procedure

The recommended procedure for setting offsets is,

On a Client System ...

Run the CLIENT program on a client MSFS system. You will also need to run MSFS.

OpusFSI Client Form

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

OpusFSI Client Configure dialog

Manually enter and fine tune your offsets. The altitude is in meters.

 

Recommended Settings for CLIENT Systems using Live View

The Flight Simulator program on all client 'Live View' PCs is going to be used to provide nothing more than a scenic display. It is therefore highly recommended that you to turn off or down all SIM settings that are likely to have an adverse effect on the client system's display performance (e.g. flight realism).

Read More ...


Home  About Us  Products  Downloads  FAQ  Gallery  Testimonials  Contact  Links