Flight Simulator Multiplayer Tips

This page summarizes guidelines of etiquette for multiplayer events and is only written to make the events enjoyable for all participants.  Much of this information has been collected from various flight simulator websites.  I have attempted to put the best information available into one source to make multiplayer flight simulator more enjoyable.  Many of these websites have been added to the links section.

 

TeamSpeak Setup

TeamSpeak Troubleshooting

Radio Etiquette

Flying Etiquette - Air Traffic Controller (ATC) Sessions

How To Interact With ATC

Required Network Ports for Multiplayer Flight Simulator 2004

Routers and Home Networks - Configure them!

Connecting To The Session Server

How Do I See The Plane Liveries or Textures Other Pilots Are Using?

 

Other Performance Tips

Troubleshooting Multiplayer Issues

Display Settings

Speeding it Up

How come I can't see the correct add-on planes that other people have?

How come I get a good frame rate until I join a Multiplayer game, then it goes way down?

I can't see other pilots.

 

Appendix A - Guide to Setting Up and Using TeamSpeak 2

 

Appendix B - Common Multiplayer Error Messages

            The Host (or Server) has removed you from the session

            Not all players could connect to the session

 

Appendix C - Helpful Flight Simulator Articles

 

Team Speak Setup

TeamSpeak is a application that enables people to speak with one another over the Internet.   All pilots should adjust their Team Speak settings for sound quality before entering any session.  Be sure your volume level (what you hear) is turned all the way up before setting your transmit volume (what you sound like).

 

Refer to Appendix A at the end of this manual for step-by-step client setup instructions.

Team Speak Troubleshooting

Microphone works, green light turns on, but they cant hear me.

(Microsoft Windows XP Professional)

1. In the 'Control Panel', click on 'Sounds and Audio Devices'.

2. Click on the 'Voice' tab.

3. Choose 'Test Hardware'.

4. Walk through the tests.

 

You may also try this…double click the speaker icon in the system tray to bring up the volume controls.  Then select Options, then Properties.  Click the "Recording" radio button then under that, put check mark in the microphone box.  Click OK and you'll return to what appears to be the volume controls but it’s the recording controls.  Make sure there is a check mark in "microphone" and that the slider is at least half way up for the "microphone".  Click the Advanced Button and select Microphone Boost if necessary.

 

Now open TeamSpeak and test.

Radio Etiquette

Now that TeamSpeak is installed and adjusted properly, here are a few tips to make your radio conversations with other pilots a bit easier on yourself and others.

 

DO NOT use a voice-activated microphone.  Use a “Press To Talk” key.  The “~” key might be a good key choice since it does not have any function in multiplayer mode in Flight Simulator.  When not connected to a multiplayer server, this key activates the ATC screen in Flight Simulator.

 

USE A HEADSET if possible.  If not using a headset, turn your speakers down because when you talk, the sound coming from the speakers is also being transmitted.

 

DO NOT continually talk over other pilots in the session.  Try not to step on other pilots. When a pilot transmits a message to another pilots, don't talk until he answers.  When you are answering a pilot, try not to wait more than 5 seconds to transmit a response.  Because of server latency issues, there will be some delay in transmissions, especially with dial-up connections. 

 

DO use a push to talk microphone and/or push to talk key setup in Team Speak.

 

DO start your session with a Radio Check. It's a great way to let others know you are on, and to check that your equipment is working.

 

DO use proper radio etiquette and wait for an opportunity to key the microphone.

 

DO keep your responses as short as possible.

 

ALWAYS announce your intentions when close to other aircraft, taking a position on the runway or flying over the runway.   Announce when you have cleared the runway.

 

When the session is just getting started, please allow the moderator(s) the courtesy of the microphone to get things organized and started.  Once we are all in the air, we usually have plenty of time for chatting to each other.

Required Network Ports for Multiplayer Flight Simulator 2004

This article describes the ports that you must open to play and host a Flight Simulator 2004.  Flight Simulator 2004 requires that the following DirectPlay ports be open to play a Local Area Network (LAN) or Direct Internet multiplayer game:

 

Port                Protocol        Inbound / Outbound 

23456             UDP               Both 

6073               UDP               Both

 

Also check out Troubleshooting Multiplayer Issues and Common Multiplayer Error Messages.

 

Routers and Home Networks - Configure them!

If you're on a home network where more than one computer connects to the Internet through a router or hub using the XP connection share you must have UDP port 23456 allowed for both inbound and outbound traffic.  You must also make sure that UDP port 23456 is forwarded correctly to the machine you use to connect to our session.  If more than one machine is connecting, each machine must be port forwarded and opened.  A nice reference site that offers help setting up port forwarding on your router or firewall is Port Forward.

Connecting To The Session Server

These instructions are for joining multiplayer events on the Flightsim.com multiplayer server. You will need a full working copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 / Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, and TeamSpeak (www.goteamspeak.com) is preferred and is freeware.  If you don’t have TeamSpeak, you may use the Flight Simulator chat box.  But it is a lot easier to fly and talk than fly and type.  Even if you don’t have a microphone, you can still listen to other pilots talking and respond back to them in the Flight Simulator chat box.

 

Another nice add-on is FS Navigator (www.fsnavigator.com).

 

Always join multiplayer sessions clear of all runways.  Join parked at a designated parking assigned area.  Be sure all crash detection is turned off in Flight Simulator.  If there is no parking area, ramp or gate at the airport to join, get on TeamSpeak first and announce your intentions of joining on the runway or even better, before connecting to the server, move to the airport and then “slew” off of the runway to the side and then join the server.

 

Start Team Speak and join with your call sign (and name behind your call sign, ex. N3306TX_Mike).  Only sanctioned events have a dedicated TeamSpeak server, however many of our pilots have Team Speak servers and are more than happy to have you join in on their server.  Always be sure your flight sim callsign matches all other applications (i.e. FSNavigator and TeamSpeak).

 

Start Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 or 2004. Click "Multiplayer". Click "Open Multiplayer Session" Enter your call sign in the player name area.  Use the same call sign for both Flight Simulator and Team Speak (with the exception of your name behind your call sign in Teamspeak).

 

Click in the "IP Address" box, and enter the IP of the Flightsim.com Multiplayer server.  Verify you are joining the correct IP and click "Search". After a few seconds you should see the session show up in the "Sessions" box of the multiplayer screen.

 

Click Join and for sanctioned events (which you must pre-register) enter the password you were previously given for the registered session.  At other times when a sanctioned event is not scheduled, there is no password for the server.

 

If you are using Flight Simulator 2004, it will help you and us to “make your connection multi-player friendly by locking your Frame Rate at 20 Frames per Second. To do this, click on “Settings > Display >Hardware” and move the slider to, "Target Frame Rate: 20". This helps reduce the traffic between our servers and your system.

 

How Do I See The Plane Liveries or Textures Other Pilots Are Using?

The only aircraft or liveries or anything beyond default, that you will see in multiplayer, will be equal to whatever you have loaded on the computer that you are using to connect to whatever session it may be.  If you don't have the other person's plane/livery loaded then you will not be able to see it.  You won't be able to share it either. You must be in exactly the same plane.  Likewise other pilots will not be able to see your livery/textures if they don't have your aircraft and textures loaded.

 

Flight Simulator finds the nearest textures it can (with what it has loaded) to what is in the session. It cannot draw what it can't see. If the texture files of the other person's plane aren't loaded then flight simulator can't see the other person's aircraft as it is and finds some other texture/livery it thinks is close.

 

If you have entered the multiplayer session in other than default aircraft and if other pilots in the session have other than default aircraft (that you don't have loaded up) then you will see other pilots with textures/liveries the same as whatever you are flying. This is a real big problem for those pilots recording multiplayer sessions to compile video later.

 

What Flightsim.com Multiplayer Adventures have found works well is to announce before each event who'll be flying in what plane and livery/texture and each of the rest of the pilots will go and download that aircraft and texture (assuming it's freeware) so we can all see each other in our individual liveries.   Everyone should join a multiplayer session in a default aircraft and then after connection is complete, switch to whatever plane you want to fly.  This texture/livery situation is true of all simulators.

Other Performance Tips

Troubleshooting Multiplayer Issues

Check out the following Knowledge Base articles from Microsoft.

 

How to troubleshoot multiplayer issues in Microsoft games

DirectX: Ports required to play on a network

Required Network Ports for Multiplayer Flight Simulator 2004

Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2

Troubleshooting Windows Firewall settings in Windows XP Service Pack 2

DirectX 9: Multiplayer Games, MSN Messenger Do Not Work After You Upgrade to DirectX 9.0

Display Settings

SimTeam (formerly Skytack Flight Adventures)has a nice document on display settings in Microsoft Flight Simulator and how to maximize performance in Multiplayer Mode located here.

Speeding it Up

Reboot your computer -- As you might guess, running Flight Simulator with no other programs open keeps the maximum amount of resources available to your system.  You should also remember that if your computer has been on for awhile, it's quite possible your machine is running with less than the maximum amount of resources, as some applications use up system resources and don't give them all back when you close the program.  If you are running a really fast, powerful machine it may not matter much, but if you are looking for a painless way to squeeze out a bit more performance, this could be one way.

 

Shut down any programs such as screen savers, etc that might be running in the background on your system and taking up system resources.

 

Flight Simulator settings -- It may seem obvious, but if you find that Multiplayer slows down your computer, you may have to play with the Flight Simulator settings to try and reclaim some speed.  Try turning off aircraft shadows to start.  Turning down the scenery complexity may also help.  In the Multiplayer settings you can also deselect "Send / Receive Detailed Aircraft Model."  This will make your plane look funny when taxiing though, as the landing gear will not show up.  Bringing down the Scenery Complexity is also a good way to speed up Flight Simulator.

How come I can't see the correct add-on planes that other people have?

The ONLY way to see correct add-on planes that other people are using is to have the exact same plane installed.  There is a very good reason Microsoft did this.  Just think about how much bandwidth would be wasted if everyone had to send 300k of textures to everyone else in a Multiplayer game.  Therefore, it is best to join a multiplayer session with a default plane first similar to your preferred plane and then change to your preferred plane.

 

How come I get a good frame rate until I join a Multiplayer game, then it goes way down?

Un-checking the "Send Detailed Aircraft Information" and "Receive Detailed Aircraft Information" may help the frame rate a bit.  Another good way to improve your frame rate in multiplayer is to make sure and turn OFF the "see aircraft shadows" in the Preferences menu.  To see the current frame rate in Flight Simulator, press Shift-Z a couple of times.  By observing the frame rate with various settings you can optimize your system for highest frame rate, for optimally realistic images, or for a setting in between that best suits you.

 

I can't see other pilots.

If there are other pilots in your vicinity but you can't see them, check the following:

- Make sure you are connected to the server.

- Check that you have DirectX 9 or higher installed

- In FS Multiplayer settings select 'Display player names'

- Other players must be within 10 miles of your plane.

- Make sure the other players have not joined as an “observer”.

 

Now you should be able to see other traffic.

Appendix A

Guide to Using TeamSpeak 2

Introduction

TeamSpeak 2 is a voice communications (voice comms) tool for real time voice chat over the Internet. This is sometimes referred to as voice over IP.

 

It is designed for flight simmers and gamers to be able to chat with each other while playing a game. This takes flight simulator to a whole new level, as you are able to discuss and report you intentions without having to stop and type your message.

 

This guide will cover:

     • Getting the TeamSpeak software.

     • Setting up and connecting to a server.

 

This guide is not meant to be a complete guide to using TeamSpeak. If you want more information, then look at the FAQ section of the TeamSpeak website: www.goteamspeak.com

Step 1 – Getting the Software

Visit http://www.goteamspeak.com/ and follow the download link on the far right of the page.

Assuming you are running a version of Microsoft Windows, you will want the TS2 Client (Win) link. TeamSpeak is freeware.

 

Once the software has downloaded, run the executable and follow the installation instructions. Once it is installed it might be useful to place a shortcut on the desktop (if it hasn’t already) or even on the ‘Quick Launch’ bar. This is entirely up to you.

 

Step 2 – Setting Up and Connecting to a Server

Text Box:

 

 

When you start TeamSpeak client, the window at the left will appear:

 

Right now you are not connected to a server, nor do you have any servers set up, so let’s do this now.

 

Click on Connection and select Connect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

The following window (left) appears:

 

Again, there is nothing much to see here. We need to add a new server.

 

Right click anywhere in the white space below where it says Servers, and select Add Server.

 

Type in a name for the server.  Call it anything you want.

 

As soon as you press ENTER, the right hand side of the window will change, and you will see the window below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the details are empty just now.

 

In Server Address, enter the Teamspeak IP address you are given.

 

In Nickname, enter your nickname.  Good etiquette is to use the same name as you use as your flight sim call sign and then put your first name behind that (example – CS-99_Geoff).

 

For now, make sure the Anonymous button is selected.

 

Members of the flight sim community usually run Teamspeak servers used on flightsim.com multiplayer.  The servers do not usually require a login name or password, so leave these blank.

 

Leave the remaining fields blank.  Now click on the Connect button at the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voila! You should now be connected to a TeamSpeak server and should see something similar to this:

 

If you are not connected, double-check to ensure Port 8767 is opened in the firewall or router.

 

Before we do connect however, let go through some common settings that should be checked prior to connecting to a TeamSpeak server.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box:

Click on Settings in the menu and select Sound Input/Output Settings.

 

 

The output volume slider should only be set to 1 or 2 notches above normal. If you set it too high, some of your fellow flight simmers may sound very crackly while others do not.

 

Also, select Push to Talk and choose a key by clicking the Set button then pressing the key on your keyboard you want to be your talk button.  (The right CTRL key works good).

 

While voice activation works well enough, people either set the threshold too low or it activates because of ambient sound causing constant transmission (aka “open Mic”). This is especially true if you are using speakers rather than headphones when you play your game.

 

Constant transmission is bad, because it means you usually can’t hear other people talking.

 

That’s it. Now have fun!

 

 

Appendix B

Common Multiplayer Error Messages

Message "The Host (or Server) has removed you from the session”

Popular belief is that Microsoft had every good intention with this message, as they probably didn't realize that multiplayer would be used as it's used today.  The server doesn't control whether you stay in a session or leave a session.  The flight simulator software running on your machine does.  What this message should say is "Flight Simulator was unable to maintain a connection and has removed itself."  Flight Simulator's multiplayer is similar to a big chat room.  In fact it is a big chat room, and in that chat room your chat messages and aircraft position reports are passed.  Try to imagine a chat room you've been in before where there are thirty or so people chatting.  The room flies by at an unbelievable pace.  Now's the time to remember that each member in this chat room is sending position reports equal to their frame rates.  Basically everyone is flooding the chat room with messages and somewhere in there are the actual text messages the pilots are typing and sending.  It's a miracle any of us stay connected when you think about it.

 

Here's what we can do to slow down the messages being sent by each player.   Lock your display frame rates to 20 frames per second.

Message "Not all players could connect to the session”

This is sometimes known as “I connect fine to multiplayer, it's everyone else that has the problem.”  This message could also read something like "could not connect to all players in the session".  If you're connecting to a multiplayer session you may be connecting through what's considered the direct play method.  This means that instead of using the default port for Microsoft Flight Simulator (UDP Port 23456) you're likely using the direct play UDP Port 6073 to receive on and you're sending information on port numbers 2302-2400. Confusing? You bet it is.  Do you know which method you use to connect to multiplayer sessions?  Probably not, there's really no easy way to tell. 

 

Here's the fix.  Make sure that your machine is, without fail, able to send and receive information on UDP Port 23456. You only need to worry about port 23456.  If everyone were using this port, you would likely be able to connect to each player easier.  This is the most likely reason why you may get this message.  You or one of your fellow aviators in the session is blocking traffic directed at their machine.

 

Update: I have discovered that many times the problem may be with a DSL user that is using a DSL modem/router combination and doesn’t realize that the modem also acts as a router.  If you are running a separate router, the problem may be the DSL router is blocking the connections. To fix the problem, either configure the DSL router properly or “bypass” the router function of the DSL modem/router.  Good information regarding DSL modem/router combinations may be found here. 

Appendix C

Helpful Flight Simulator Articles

 

How To Improve FS2004

How To install FS2004 Aircraft Textures

How To install FS2004 Panels

How To Find and Install FS2004 Aircraft

 

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