Posted 13 May 2007 - 02:27 PM
On the topic of disconnects, I've been doing some experimenting lately as FSX multiplayer for me has always been and remains to this day a bitter-sweet experience; it's really, really sweet when it works, but unfortunately those occations are few and far between. I started out from the same conclusion as you guys seem to have come to - it's all or in large part Gamespy's fault. I came to this conclusion for a number of reasons:1) Disconnections from hosts due to "Host closing the session" - which is more often than not utter BS, since the host is very much alive when I check the server list again and never went anywhere according to other users (if I manage to reconnect afterwards)2) The server list being hyperactive and fidgety to put it mildly. There seems to be no end to the updates it does - it just keeps on going and going and I wouldn't be surprised if it kept updating the list even while you're already connecting to a host, causing unnecessary traffic3) Getting disconnected (often) from the master server with the message "You've been disconnected, possibly because you connected from another computer" (or something to that effect). Which, of course, is nothing but hogwash4) Once I managed to connect to a host, it was USUALLY smooth sailing. Sure, I still occasionally ran into trouble, but it was rare. The real hurdle was to actually get this far without the lobby tripping all over youSo, with this in mind, I got to testing a theory - the lobby is supposed to be a central list of all hosts currently available, but once you get past that all communication SHOULD in theory be between your computer and the host's (this doesn't seem to be how it works in FSX - hence all the trouble). The plan was to cut Gamespy out of the loop as soon as it wasn't required, and I already had the tool to get this done - a program called PeerGuardian 2, a security software that keeps tabs on all net traffic in and out of your computer and blocks that which originates from or is sent to... well, "undesireable" companies or computers. I'm sure I don't have to tell you about the security and privacy risks on the internet. As luck would have it, IGN Entertainment's servers are already included in the program's blacklist so no fiddling about was required from me.Turning the program on gave me instant results - I was unable to log on to the multiplayer lobby, as the gamespy server was "unreachable". That, of course, was a problem, so I temporarely disabled PG2 and logged in. After the server list had populated itself with a handful of hosts I located a suitable server, selected it and clicked on the button to connect to it. As soon as the connection popup appeared, I re-enabled PG2. Great success! The connection completed without an incident and I was able to set myself up for some multiplayer fun. PG2's log window showed several blocked attempts to connect to IGN's server, which was proof of FSX still trying to talk with the master server. A few moments later FSX even popped up an error message that connection to the master server had been lost, but that I could continue with my session if I wanted to. How nice of them!Of course, considering the way ACES and Gamespy have set up the whole multiplayer deal, there ARE some definite downsides to this approach. Since Gamespy's server is what maintains knowledge of every player's presence, when you use PG2 (or some other similar program) your friends list won't work. Assuming each client takes care of informing the master server of their status I suspect that you won't show up on your friends' lists either. Another (somewhat surprising) issue is that you won't have access to text chat; you can see the userlist and enter a message, but it never appears in the chat box nor do messages from other users. I was fully expecting to be unable to monitor the lobby while connected to a host's briefing room, but apparently ACES decided to run ALL text chat through Gamespy's servers. Instead of your client sending your in-game chat message to the host for redistribution to other players, the message APPEARS to go to Gamespy's lobby server which then transmits it to those who are in the same session with you. A de-centralized approach would have been better in my opinion, as then hosts would not have to rely on Gamespy for ANYTHING. But I'm sure someone had a REALLY good reason to do it this way. Pretty sure.You will also experience strange behavior when exiting a session. The few times I've tried this, pressing ESC and choosing "End flight" while in-game sends you to the multiplayer log-in screen (obviously, since you're no longer logged in to the master server), but you're STILL connected to the host! You can hear people talking in the background if they're using voice comms. When you log back in, you're sent to the host's briefing room, from where you can select "Leave session" to get back to the host list.Despite these abnormalities I'm personally very excited with the prospect that I am actually ABLE to use the multiplayer feature, instead of banging my head to the wall whenever Gamespy's servers decide that I logged out, logged in or the host dropped (when nothing of the sort happened). I'm still experimenting though and can't promise the same results for everyone and absolutely can not take responsibility for any mishaps; there might be other issues I haven't ran into yet. After all, I've seen some people claim they have NO problems with the lobby, as amazing as that sounds, so "your mileage might vary" in regards to this workaround, too. Should someone here decide to try this method I would be happy to hear about your results in this thread! If SP1 doesn't fix the multiplayer component (fingers crossed!), atleast there's SOMETHING I can do about it myself.EDIT:Oh, and while I'm at it, there IS of course the theoretical possibility that you might be able to get the multiplayer to work through VPN software such as Hamachi. That would of course mean more work for everyone involved, as you would not have access to a central list of hosts but would rather have to organize games on discussion boards or a special "FSX Hamachi Community" website. I haven't tried this yet myself; I'd definitely be interested in hearing if someone has succesfully participated in a "Local Network" game ran through Hamachi.