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HarryO

What is happening in the multiplayer soaring world these days?

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Hi there

I have stumbled across this forum by accident.

Could I ask the question, what is the status of the online multiplayer soaring community these days in terms of numbers and server quality? I am clueless as it has never really occurred to me before to try it out. The motivation is that the quality of the soaring experience in FSX these days is so good with the after market scenery, weather, better hardware, better sailplane models and of course because of CumulusX and WinchX.

Is there a thriving community of virtual multiplayer sailplane pilots that I am missing out on or is it dead in the water? If it is dead, what killed it? Peter says that some servers hate glider pilots because of the phantom tow planes they leave behind on the server.....

The reason why I am curious is that I have been in a real soaring club in the past. The kind of activities we did there should be enjoyable in the virtual world. One amazing feature would be to train CumulusX pilots with the native ability of FSX to share one plane across the network, between teacher and trainee. That has to be a superb feature don't you think?

CumulusX is so good and there is so much to learn and experience, a thriving multiplayer community you would think is a foregone conclusion. Perhaps it is already! Could you fill me in on what is going on in the virtual multiplayer soaring community?

Cheers

Harry

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we've always struggled with multi-player soaring - ukvga.org are giving it a go on VATSIM. Soaring doesn't work well with 'real-world' weather and timezones while the power flying is fine with this. And FSX multiplayer as *standard* was just deeply and fundamentally broken when it was delivered - it assumed some desktop user would 'share' their world and other flyers would connect to their machine, but in practice this means you can never rely on a robust server. VATSIM seeks to address this with a reliable server setup (it completely bypasses the FSX multiplayer system) but the time/weather makes things difficult for soaring. **edit** oh yeah I forgot there's always the soaring contingent from FS2004 who are keen not to upgrade so the multi-player stuff generally ends up being FS9/FSX compatible but in truth it's the lowest common denominator of both, e.g. the FS9 guys install the old BGL static thermal scenery (thermals in the same places 24 hours a day) while FSX users will have CumulusX so there's no point in soaring together, and FS9 pilots don't really care about the weather or time because the thermals are unaffected anyway. ukvga.org are trying really hard to get a multi-player soaring community together but they are keen to be equally supportive of FS9 which hurts if you have FSX.

What we've always needed is a reliable known FSX server that you can connect to without installing additional software that operates in the hours of daylight with weather suitable for soaring so everyone is flying at the same 'sim' time in the same weather, and we've never achieved that although we've modded CumulusX to try and make it possible (connect to VATSIM, use 'local' weather agreed with your soaring buddies, reset the 'sim' clock using the CumulusX menu to push the time into the soaring hours using an agreed formula.). If you do all those things then FSX really is quite good - some of us have managed to hook up in ones and twos on the occasional flight but it is a bit of a pain in the ass and with no agreed server you can't fly and hope to find others on there.

But Condor is designed from the ground up for the multi-player experience. I don't have it, and its 3D scenery can't compete with FSX (although photo-scenery is similar I think but I don't like that), but it's probably the best (only?) option for multi-player soaring.

In FSX what we've settled upon is flying agreed tasks *offline* but accumulating IGC logs in sim_logger, and we can later re-play those and you see your soaring buddies flying around the same task (and can fly with them) in the same time and weather as you so conditions are the same - this is more fun than it sounds but doesn't quite capture the real-time multiplayer experience! If you want to see what it's like try my 'Schuylkill County Ridge Run' mission and you see all the other gliders ahead of you.

B21

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What we've always needed is a reliable known FSX server that you can connect to without installing additional software that operates in the hours of daylight with weather suitable for soaring so everyone is flying at the same 'sim' time in the same weather, and we've never achieved that although we've modded CumulusX to try and make it possible (connect to VATSIM, use 'local' weather agreed with your soaring buddies, reset the 'sim' clock using the CumulusX menu to push the time into the soaring hours using an agreed formula.). If you do all those things then FSX really is quite good - some of us have managed to hook up in ones and twos on the occasional flight but it is a bit of a pain in the ass and with no agreed server you can't fly and hope to find others on there.

Thanks for taking the time to respond B21. I get a better picture now. The FSX/FS9 phenomenon is not pretty either. I really like your idea about a dedicated server for virtual soaring in CumulusX. What bandwidth would be needed to support 25-100 simultaneous pilots? What software base to start from that can be customised to supply the functions that would be needed?

I am posting over at CumulusX but might as well do it here too:

Just as a hypothetical ideal situation, let's imagine we obtained decent server hardware on the fastest possible broadband non-commercial link that we restricted to 100 simultaneous registered CumulusX pilots and could run 24/7.

1) How would FSHOST server go under that hardware? Would multiplayer pilots still get serious stuttering (answer yes because of the network infrastructure bottle necks?)

2) Could the accessory software needed to connect and supply consistent glider friendly data be written to wrap up the FSHOST client software into a nice package that is easy to use and easy to connect? (yes but clumsy?)

3) How much bandwidth would the server link need minimum?

Cheers

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