|F4 Tactical Engagement
by Glenn "Sleepdoc" Kletzky, MD
"Sleepdoc" welcomes your input and response. You can mail him at the link above.
Tonight, Crash of the 209th Deltahawks in California, and myself, sleepdoc of the 303rd Sidewinders of Denver (one day I will be enough of a veteran to permit the capitalization of my call sign), worked out the definitive procedures for making 2 Player TE missions work on the internet with the public release of Patch 1.04 for Falcon 4.0.
I will present these rules here in an orderly, non-ambiguous format. Do not skip any step and do all steps in order. They are not complicated, and will soon become second nature for those who play TE Internet missions.
The first rule is so important it does not even have a number.
THE FIRST RULE:
Make sure you edit the takeoff times for all your flights to be ATLEAST (read: No less than) 2 minutes apart. You can use your old TE missions from any prior version, but edit the takeoff times in your packages and the enemy packages to be at least 2 minutes apart. In a future patch, I think this will be automated into the package building part of the TE mission builder, but for now, it can be done manually with little effort (if you are already a TE mission builder type person) .I recommend 2 minutes and 30 seconds separation between the takeoff times of each flight in a package to be safe.
(The fact is that you only need 30 seconds per plane in each flight, but that's a little more difficult to make into a simple rule. For those who care, the real rule is this: the programmers allowed 30 seconds for each aircraft in a flight, so a flight of 2 needs 1 full minute ahead of the next flight in his package for take off. A flight of 3 needs 90 seconds. A flight of 4 needs a full 2 minutes advanced takeoff time from the flight after it. Since the most a flight can have is 4 planes, I figured 2 minutes and 30 seconds would cover things nicely, and keep people from throwing tomatoes at me.)
1. One person must decide to HOST THE CONNECTION. He will be referred to as the C-Host.
2. One person will connect to the C-Host. He will be referred to as the C-Guest.
The C-guest enters the IP address of the C-host into his comms screen to connect to the C-host. The C-Host sets up his comms screen by entering nothing into the IP field, and simply presses connect. Obviously, both the C-host and the C-guest must have the "Internet" box selected and must have an appropriate modem connection speed selected.
SELECTING THE APPROPRIATE MODEM SPEED is not a random act. This means that BOTH PLAYERS must select the SAME modem speed, and it should be that speed which is equal to the slowest modem speed of the two (for example, if 1 guy has a cable modem and the the second player has a 33.6 modem, then BOTH players must select "33.6" as their modem speed).
Also, you must be careful to be sure that the C-Host has the opportunity to connect his machine to the internet first, before the C-Guest attempts to conncect to the C-Host's IP. Sometimes, not waiting and connecting to the C-host's IP even before the C-Host is connected to the internet will work fine, but this is often the cause of a poorly functioning chat window. So, if the chat window appears to be dropping some of what you are reading, and the conversation appears to be missing text that has been written, and you cant figure out why, you probably violated this rule. This one is not a hard and fast one, but here is your heads up. Be fore warned.
These last 2 rules (the "connect speed rule" and the "dysfunctioning chat window" rule), hereto referred to as the "SU-27-Angie rules" were an addendum to this original article by SU-27 angie and told to me, by her, right after she had a chance to play with the 1.04 patch. They have tested out to be spot on. Thanks Angie.
Remember. The "C" in C-host and C-guest means "Connection". The importance of this distinction will become clear in the next rule.
3. Whoever is the Connection-Host (the C-host) MUST NOT BE the Mission host (hereto referred to as the M-host). For now, just accept it. In other words, If you host the Connection, then the other guy (your C-guest) must host the mission (he must be the M-host). The M-host is the guy who goes to the "saved" tab of the TE window, selects the TE custom mission to be flown and starts the mission. Therefor, the C-host is the guy who must always go to the "Online" tab of the TE window, and choose to join the mission that the M-host (who is also the C-guest) has chosen for play.
(As an aside, if anyone enjoys testing things, please email me with what you see happen in your missions when you are both the C-host and the M-host. I want to see if your game behavior is like ours. my email is Sleepdoc.
I don't think I can be any more clear on this. If you Host the connection, then you CANNOT host the mission. I am plum out of paraphrases !!!
4. Once both players enter the TE user interface, and they have selected the aircraft they wish to fly, BOTH PLAYERS MUST set their clocks to STOP (the clock in the upper right hand corner of the screen can be changed to "stop" mode by popping down the menu which always is initially set to "x1"), Then both players must wait until the clocks are stopped and synchronized. You may notice that initially, the sync for a normal internet connection starts at about 4 to 5 seconds off. ALLOWING THE CLOCKS TO SYNC IN "STOP" MODE IS CRITICAL.
5. Both players must pull their throttles back to minimal power settings before pressing the fly button. PULL YOUR THROTTLES BACK.
6. Do not start your clocks again before pressing the fly buttons. Just press the fly button (the airplanes icon at the bottom right of the screen) while the clock is stopped. It's ok.....really.
7. As soon as you press the "Fly" button, you will see the thing we like to call "The big green clock". Make sure that both players decide IN ADVANCE whether you BOTH are going to be in the taxi mode or you BOTH are going to be in the takeoff mode. DO NOT have different modes. This is actually not as hard a rule as the others, but it may cause problems. I recommend taxi.
8. If your TE custom mission followed THE FIRST RULE, and you properly spaced the takeoff times of flights by at least 2 minutes, get ready to rumble. Remember the dumbed down AI? They just finished postgraduate work. Remember the mean ol' ATC lady with "the snakes in her hair"? She gave up her crack habit. (Actually, she still sometimes thinks that Gangnueng airbase has a runway 10, and it doesn't, but her rehab program isn't totally completed yet).
I, for one, am very impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication the Falcon 4 team has put into this patch. It is not perfect, and the product has a long way to go, but if this patch cycle is any indication of their support, we can start having a lot more fun now, and we can look forward to even better things in the near future.
Many people have said many things, both good and bad about this product. All remarks in the extreme are a marker of how important this level of simulation is to us. Let's all try to remember that the people who are working to make this thing what we want are real people. They want a great product too. If we want to see this high level of simulation become the product that we all want, then lets try to keep a cool head through the ongoing patch process, and do our part to give constructive assistance. These guys listen.
I am not paid to say these things. My only reward in beta testing is knowing that I am helping to clarify problems that need fixing in a hobby that I love. I am a guy just like you (let's not forget Angie, Sally, and LadyWS... hi ladies) who wants a sim greater than the "light" sims that seem to be dominating the market.
If you want this level of simulation to exist and prosper, then you have to be patient and do your part. Enjoy the product. Let the beta testers that you know, know what still needs fixing. Give the ladies and gentlemen at MPS time to fix it. But for now, I highly recommend you watch your ass. apparently, the SAM operators in version 1.04 have a bullseye painted bright red on it. : )
© 1997 - 2000 COMBATSIM.COM, INC. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated February 4th, 1999