OpusFSI Flight Simulator Interface for and

opusfsi_v5_Overview  opusfsi_v5_User_Guide  opusfsi_v5_Getting_Started_Single_PC  opusfsi_v5_Getting_Started_Networked_PCs  opusfsi_v5_Live_Weather  opusfsi_v5_Live_Camera  opusfsi_v5_ButtKicker

 




 

 

 

OpusFSI Flight Simulator Interface for FSX & Prepar3D

Getting Started - Networked PCs

 Live View Multi-Screen Display  

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

14 June 2017

Opus Software Limited

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


 

Contents  

Software Installation. 2  

Installing the Beta version of OpusFSI

Upgrading OpusFSI

Create Desktop Shortcuts

Setting up the Network

General Operation

Recommended Start Up Procedure

Set Up and Configuration

Live Weather Assistant

Client Side LWE Control

Full Operation

Live View Offsets

FSX Computer System Settings

Performance

Live View Test

FAQ and Troubleshooting

 

Software Installation

The first stage is to install and set up the OpusFSI software on your server PC in accordance with the OpusFSI_v5_Getting_Started_Single_PC guide. When you have tested out the single PC standalone operation then you are ready to set up the OpusFSI 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 (for FSX and P3Dv3.2 or earlier) you will find a Microsoft.FlightSimulator.SimConnect.msi in the OpusFSI_v5 folder or use the FSICLIENT.EXE program argument P3D2 (or P3D30, P3D31, P3D32). For P3D v3.3 onwards use the program arguments P3D (or P3D4, P3D3, P3D34, P3D33). 

You don't need to install FSX/P3D or FSUIPC on the clients unless you are using Live View.

Installing the Beta version of OpusFSI

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

Simply copy the OpusFSI_v5.msi installation file onto your client systems and double-click on the file. Alternatively you can create an OpusFSI_v5 folder on each of your client PCs and simply copy the files and sub-folders across from the server's OpusFSI_v5 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 OpusFSI_v5 with the exception that you must not install OpusFSI in the Opus Software, FSX, P3D or Program Files folders, and don't install in more than one folder on your PC.

Upgrading OpusFSI

Click on the OpusFSI_v5 Beta link on the Opus downloads webpage to download the OpusFSI_v5.msi 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 OpusFSI_v5 folder containing your camera and system configuration files. Double click on the OpusFSI_v5.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 OpusFSI_v5 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 OpusFSI_v5.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 OpusFSI_v5 folder containing your camera and system configuration files.

Alternatively you can simply create a c:\OpusFSI_v5 folder on each of your client PCs and copy the files and sub-folders across from the server's c:\OpusFSI_v5 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 and camera 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 FSX/P3D system without too much fuss.

On each of your client systems ...

In Windows Explorer, navigate to your installation folder (c:\OpusFSI_v5) 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, rename to OpusFSI_v5 CLIENT and check the program is configured to Start In: your installation folder (c:\OpusFSI_v5). Select the compatibility tab (if available) and Run as Administrator.

Automatically Selecting the Simulator Type

The FSICLIENT program will accept a NONE argument to select No Connection To The Simulator mode. 

So if you have FSX, FSX Steam Edition and/or P3D you can create desktop shortcuts, one running 'c:\OpusFSI_v5\FSICLIENT.EXE FSX' for Microsoft FSX, one running 'c:\OpusFSI_v5\FSICLIENT.EXE STEAM' for FSX Steam Edition, one running 'c:\OpusFSI_v5\FSICLIENT.EXE P3D2' for  version 2 of Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, and the other running 'c:\OpusFSI_v5\FSICLIENT.EXE P3D' for the latest version of the Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, and 'c:\OpusFSI_v5\FSICLIENT.EXE NONE' for no simulator when using just the Live Weather Assistant or Client Side LWE Control. You can select specific older versions of P3D using the argument P3D30, P3D31, P3D32, P3D33, or P3D34.

 

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 OpusFSI 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 OpusFSI 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 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:           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 OpusFSI.

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 OpusFSI 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/P3DSERVER (or FSXCLIENT/P3DCLIENT on a client PC) in the OpusFSI_v5 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 OpusFSI_v5 and your FSX (or Prepar3D) folder in order for OpusFSI to write the necessary weather files into the FSX\Weather\themes (or Prepar3D\Weather\themes) folder.

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 OpusFSI 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. OpusFSI 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.

To ensure optimum performance, the settings within FSX/Prepar3D on each client sim 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. We recommend loading a default flight with nil wind.

         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 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 SERVER 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 SERVER program.

3.      Run all CLIENT 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 OpusFSI 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 OpusFSI_v5.

Run the SERVER 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

If you are using a networked client only for displaying weather maps via Live Weather Assistant then NO license, SIM, or FSUIPC is needed on the client, they are only required if you are using Live View. If you wish to see traffic on the LWA Map then enable Live Traffic on the Client.

Client Side LWE Control

If you are using the client only for Live Weather Assistant and/or Live Weather Control (i.e. entering weather or flight plan data via the client dialogs) then NO license, SIM, or FSUIPC is needed on the client.  

If you receive TypeInitialisation errors when trying to run the CLIENT program then for FSX (or P3Dv3.2 or earlier) either use the program argument FSX or P3D2 (or P3D30, P3D31, P3D32), or navigate to the OpusFSI_v5 installation folder on your client and install the SimConnect libraries using the supplied Microsoft.FlightSimulator.SimConnect.msi file in the OpusFSI_v5 folder. For P3Dv3.3 onwards use the program arguments P3D (or P3D4, P3D3, P3D34, P3D33) to select the .NETv4 variant of SimConnect and SlimDX.

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

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 CLIENT program on your client (assuming you have installed or copied your OpusFSI_v5 folder across onto there).

Open the clients Configuration dialog.

Specify your server's computer name or IP address.

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 sim 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.  

The CLIENT Live Weather Control Display Weather Report'options will control the first OpusFSI Weather Report as opposed to the 'in sim' weather report window.

In this mode of operation Live Camera is disabled.  

Full Operation (Views and/or weather on client PCs)

OpusFSI Server Form

Figure 1 - FSI Server's Main Form

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

 OpusFSI Server Configure dialog

Figure 2 - FSI Server's Configuration Dialog

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

Enable Live Traffic will currently display traffic information on the LWA Assistant map. Live Traffic has not yet been implemented for Live View.

Enable Live Weather Engine if required. 

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 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 Browse button and locate your simulator installation folder. Any time you change this folder location you must restart the SERVER program. If you fail to do this you will be unable to select and activate any dynamic weather or weather themes and OpusFSI will not be able to determine your available aircraft names (for camera control).  

If you are using P3D then select the Prepar3D Version from the dropdown box and enable the PDK Interface to provide a more efficient Live Camera, Live Camera Control, and DHM eye point control. Refer to the OPUSPDK_SETUP text file to set up the Prepar3D OpusPDK interface. If you encounter problems (errors in the Spy window) then you can disable it.

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 - FSI Server Waiting For Client Connections

On Each Client sim System ...

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

OpusFSI Client Form

Figure 4 - FSI Client's Main Form

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

OpusFSI Client Configure dialog

Figure 5 - FSI 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. 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 Browse button and locate your Client's simulator installation folder on the client PC. Any time you change this folder location you must restart the CLIENT program. If you fail to do this correctly you will be unable to activate any dynamic weather or select themes on the client systems.  

If you are using P3D then then choose the Prepar3D Version number from the dropdown box and enable the PDK Interface to provide a more efficient Live Camera, Live Camera Control, and DHM eye point control. Refer to the OPUSPDK_SETUP text file to set up the Prepar3D OpusPDK interface. If you encounter problems (errors in the Spy window) then you can disable it.

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 - FSI 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.

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

Live View Offsets

The SERVER Config dialog includes an option to manage and edit server side 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. These Lateral/Longitudinal/Vertical aircraft axis offsets supplement the client side Config options and can be associated with a specific aircraft type or group of aircraft types. 

Use the Offsets button in the Config dialog to open the Live View Offsets Management dialog. This dialog allows you to Create, Clone, Edit, Delete, or order your server side Live View Offsets. You can also Edit by double-clicking on any entry in the displayed list.

The Live View Offset Editing dialog allows you to specify the required Lateral, Longitudinal and Vertical aircraft axis offset values, 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. You also have the option to Assign Aircraft Types to the Offsets (similar to assigning aircraft types to camera views).

Separate configuration files are stored for each simulator type P3DSERVER.LVO for Prepar3D, FSXSERVER.LVO for FSX, and FSESERVER.LVO for FSX Steam. If you wish when you have configured the offsets for one simulator you can copy and rename your LVO file for use with the other simulator.

Recommended Procedure

The recommended procedure for setting offsets is,

On a Client System ...

Run the CLIENT program on a client FSX/Prepar3D system. You will also need to run FSX/Prepar3D.

OpusFSI Client Form

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

OpusFSI Client Configure dialog

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

When happy with the offsets, create a server side set of offsets and assign them to the loaded aircraft type or types. 

On the OpusFSI Server System ...

Run the SERVER program on the server FSX/Prepar3D system.

OpusFSI Client Form

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

OpusFSI Client Configure dialog

Click on the Offsets button to display the 'Opus FSI - Live View Offsets Management' dialog.

This dialog allows you to Create, Clone, Edit, Delete, or order your server side Live View  offsets. You can also Edit by double-clicking on any entry in the displayed list.

Creating a Live View Offset

Click on the Create button to display the 'Opus FSI Server - Live View Offset Editing' dialog. Enter the offset values you obtained earlier from the client's configuration.

You have the option to associate the offsets with a specific aircraft type or group of aircraft types by clicking on the Assign Aircraft Types to the Offsets button. Click on the aircraft type to select it or use the shift key or control key to select multiple types.

 

To Clone an offset select the desired offset from the 'Opus FSI - Live View Offsets Management' dialog and then click on the Clone button. The new clone will appear at the bottom of the list.

To Delete an offset record click on the desired offset within the list and then click on the Delete button.

To Edit an offset either double click the mouse over the entry in the list, or click on the entry to select it and then click on the Edit button.

You may move records up or down in the list using the green arrow keys.

Finally, reset the client side offsets back to zero, if you don't then they will be added to the server offsets.

On the Client System ...

Run the CLIENT program on the client FSX/Prepar3D system.

OpusFSI Client Form

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

OpusFSI Client Configure dialog

Reset the client side offsets back to zero.

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