I've played with myself... and I liked it!
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Thread: I've played with myself... and I liked it!

  1. #1
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    I've played with myself... and I liked it!

    Don't get any ideas, you perverts.

    I'm talking here of multiplayer sessions with a TCP/IP connection between two home computers actually standing side-by-side.

    Apart from the fun of seeing yourself from a perspective that recall FS98 "Tower View", it can be very useful for designers like some of us.

    But a word first on how I did it. A year or two ago, I bought a few tools for crimping cables. The crimper itself can do the job on phone RJ-11 jacks and on RJ-45 Ethernet cables. At the time, this was to be useful in my "build a workplace" project that had to be put on standby due to uncontrollable circumstances. I did used the crimper on a few phone lines that had broken jacks and, to practice on Ethernet cables, I did a 6-8 inches long crossover cable with a cheap cable bought in a dollar shop.

    All that stuff (crimper, jacks, cables, wire cutter and stripper) went into a plastic bag when I had no time for it. My PC (W7 home 64 bits) fried its power supply, one of my brother gave me his old laptop to get by (a W7 home 64 bits machine), I bought a second hand PC from a classified adds site (a W7 professional 32 bits) and had my first PC PS repaired. Then, not long ago, the laptop quietly died without warning and without any chance of saving what was worth saving - which was, fortunately, very little.

    Up until the laptop demise, I had only enough place left for one monitor/mouse/kb on my tiny desk. My only option was to switch them once a day from one PC to the other to make updates. The silver lining of the laptop sudden death was that both PC could now have their own dedicated peripherals.

    My two desktop PC are almost identical. Both are Dell Dimension towers and, as I could now have a more permanent installation, the crimping tool was out of the bag to make shorter phone lines going from the wall to the surge protection bar to the 32 bits machine to the 64 bits machine to the phone itself in a serial connection network.

    And while at it, why not install that crossover? The idea was to create my own little LAN, a work still in progress as I have difficulties having both machines recognize the other.

    But CFS had no problem creating a multiplayer session like in the good old days of AAF. Don't even have to stop the firewall or create exception!

    Ivan had once told me that I could use a NULL-modem cable, but they are rare and pricey, for my budget anyway. I could have made my own using some left behind printers' cables, but I'm lazy. The crossover was a cheaper, solder-less solution. It connects both PC through a TCP/IP mode, just like multiplayer games over the internet.


    For those interested in crimping their own, I've included a pinning diagram. In most modern PC, a straight cable would do OK as they have auto-sensing that detects the wiring but, not knowing for sure the age og my second-hand machines, why take the risk of frying them?

    For years, the only way I could experiment was by asking someone to enter into a multiplayer session and perform some tedious and repetitive tests. I had a few good fellows to do that but, by a very large margin, smilo was my most willing guinea pig. Thanks again and again smilo!

    Apart from having fun with this mini-LAN, you can do useful things. For starter; ever wonder what the numbers in brackets, on the right of the label, really means in term of distance?

    To figure out, I placed a jeep at sea level (+ 3 feet exactly), saved that flight and, in slew mode, went a thousand feet high (+1003 feet to be precise) and saved the second flight. I transferred the second flight (.FLT file) to the other PC and placed it in the "Pilots" sub-folder.

    Starting a multiplayer game and having both PC load the two previously saved flights, I simply had to look up to see that the number in brackets was 305. Note here that, in multiplayer mode, you can't enter in slew mode but you can load a flight that was saved in that mode, practical!


    Taking any half-decent distance converter, you will note that 1000ft = 304.8m. So meter it is!

    In a game that constantly uses foot, yards, miles and knots, it is a bit of a surprise, don't you think?

    In future posts, here or in different threads, I will report the results of my little experiments.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails untitled2.jpg   crosspinning.jpg  
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  2. #2
    The cheaper version of making yourself a LAN party, but hey, everything that cuts costs is helpful!

    Priller

  3. #3

    Cost is Relative

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubbabubba
    Ivan had once told me that I could use a NULL-modem cable, but they are rare and pricey, for my budget anyway. I could have made my own using some left behind printers' cables, but I'm lazy. The crossover was a cheaper, solder-less solution. It connects both PC through a TCP/IP mode, just like multiplayer games over the internet.
    Hello Hubbabubba,
    The Null Modem Serial adapter that fits onto the end of a normal serial cable actually isn't expensive. I figure it was about $3 or so and definitely under $5. The reason I went that way was because at the time, the computers I was assembling tended to use serial ports for the Mouse and there were typically a second serial port that was not used.
    A Serial Port was a pretty common thing to find on a Motherboard but an Ethernet adapter was not, so I would have to buy and additional adapter if I wanted to go that way. These days I have lots of spare Ethernet adapters, so that should no longer be a problem.... except that some machines don't have extra expansion slots.

    The second Game Machine had a hard drive failure years back and I recently repurposed it as my new Development Machine.
    The first Game Machine also had a hard drive failure but the drive was replaced a while back and it works again.
    This was the setup I was using to test Collision Bubbles many years ago to figure out what the numbers inside the MDL file meant.
    My kids still remember the setup because sometimes they would try to fly against each other but that was many years ago.

    We have been crimping our own CAT-5 UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) cables for a couple decades now.
    I bought the tool to use about the time when we were trying to make custom length cables for a computer lab at work back about 1995 or so.
    My Son actually made his own Crossover Cable to use so that he could share his Laptop wireless to his Xbox 360.
    Most of the cables and spares got lost when the basement had a water leak a couple years ago.
    These days, for a straight through cable, we just buy them because you can get a nice CAT-6 cable for pretty cheap from Walmart and the ends are moulded in place so they don't snag on anything.

    Your idea for a head-to-head gaming setup sounds possible again for us too because there is a spare Windows XP machine that isn't really doing anything at the moment. I also picked up another copy of CFS which hasn't been installed on any machine yet.

    Nice Setup you have there!
    - Ivan.

  4. #4
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    Pricing relativity

    When you came with the idea of a null-modem cable, my usual go-to was selling one at ±25$ (Canadian). Soldering one with spares lying around was possible, but, again, laziness and time played against it.

    Today, at Amazon, prices are down to ±10$, but you have shipping and taxes to take into account.

    My crossover is made of cheap aluminum/copper-plated wires that probably does not even fulfill cat3 specs.

    But it cost me around 1$, jacks included. And it works!

    Who could ask for anything more?
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  5. #5
    Hello Hubbabubba,

    The cables I was using were just regular straight through serial cables.
    When doing a lot of experimenting, it helps to have a good selection of gender changers and such.
    The Null modem looked just like another gender changer except that the connections inside were different.
    At computer shows, these items tend to be pretty inexpensive and I just about always had a spare or two or three just sitting around.
    Even today, I still have a break out box for DB 25 connections sitting in my tool box though I have actually never used it.
    It actually didn't cost me anything. A departing employee left it and folks were just going to throw it out, but I advised the manager to keep it because I knew how to use it. It got to be mine because no one else knew what to do with it.

    The Game Machines I had were just sitting next to each other and a serial cable was a reasonable solution, especially since none of the machines had an Ethernet adapter. These days if I had do move the machines further apart, an Ethernet cable would make more sense. I had a LOT of working Ethernet cables at one point, but am not sure if they got thrown out or just packed away.
    In a computer lab, when a cable has a failure, no one bothers trying to repair it. They just throw out the original and replace it, so it is pretty common to find an otherwise perfectly good cable with just a broken clip or one that shows some obvious damage that does not prevent cutting off the damage and re-crimping it.
    When our bunch was making custom length cables for a lab, sometimes they would get the measurement wrong and be short by a couple feet. When that happened, they would just coil up the cable and toss it into the junk pile and just pull another length from the spool. I actually never trusted their work, but there was nothing wrong with the cable if I clipped off both ends and crimped some new ends on.

    I believe you are correct. Just about anything, even phone wires or paper clips are good enough to run 10 MB/s. I have used some really weird cables for the purpose when nothing else was available because all it was costing me was a couple RJ-45 connectors.

    One thing I would suggest about making cables is that if there is something unusual about the cable, mark it.
    I use very small coloured Zip Ties near the ends or use a cable with an odd colour instead of white, black or gray.
    Weird colour Nail Polish from the dollar store would work about as well.
    An unmarked cable of that type getting back into the spares box could cause some serious headaches later.
    The serial Null modem adapter is also marked pretty obviously because at a casual glance, it looks about like another other gender changer.

    - Ivan.

  6. #6
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Using the same method used to determine distance unit being used, I measured Pas de Calais airstrip. The width is 80 m and the length 2000 m. By the way, this is the same length and width as any other custom airstrips.

    I already knew that by other methods but, curiously, the length was giving me 1999 from one side and 2001 from the other. If any one has an idea of how this would happens, feel free to comment here. The width was 80-80 from both sides.

    This is a small discrepancy, but an annoying one for sticklers like me.
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  7. #7

    Frame of Referece

    Hello Hubbabubba,

    Perhaps this might have something to do with the Reference Point used for the MDL?
    Does it make a difference if the MDL you are using has World Coordinates as reference or Aircraft MDL Coordinates?
    (Remember the Cockpit Shaking that was one of the annoying effects removed by moving the POV of the VCockpit?)

    Perhaps it is distance from YOUR viewpoint to the CoG of the other aircraft.
    I can see how that could end up as a mismatch because if two aircraft both are the normal configuration with the Cockpit behind the CoG and one is behind the other and both are headed in the same direction, then the REAR aircraft has a longer distance than the FRONT aircraft. (I believe this to be the most likely explanation.)

    - Ivan.

  8. #8
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    Hello Ivan,

    I don't think this is it. I was using the jeep face-to-face for the length and side-by-side for the width. The jeep being made with SCASM technique, I do remember using MDL coordinates (just watch; no shaking).

    I will try different aircraft and positions just to see. Maybe side-by-side for the length will fare better?
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  9. #9
    Hello Hubbabubba,

    Is it possible that this might have something to do with the Mercator projection maps used in CFS?
    Scaling may be different depending on the Latitude?

    I should set up another game machine when I get the chance but there is too much going on right now.

    - Ivan.

  10. #10

    Duels in the Virtual Skies

    Hello Hubbabubba,

    Recently I have been collecting and posing a few screenshots. I have also been moving files around to the Game Machine to test which means I have been using more than the typical couple of flash drives sitting on my Laptop.

    On one of the older flash drives, I found a couple old screenshots that seem to fit in well with the subject of this thread.
    These screenshots were taken in 2012 and unfortunately the second Game Machine is no more.
    ....Actually, it first had a drive failure which took out the software loaded on it.
    Since then, it has been re-purposed as my "New" Development Machine so it really didn't go to waste.

    There is a Pentium III 866 that is sitting around doing pretty much nothing, so perhaps I should set it up as another Game Machine.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MC205Veltro_Duel1.jpg   MC205Veltro_Duel2.jpg   MC205Veltro_Duel3.jpg  

  11. #11
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    Hello Ivan,

    Yesterday I came to the 21st century; bye-bye dial-up - we are now using fiber optics and WiFi. Our ISP was out of service for a whole week and, as they were telling us to be patient and that it was a major incident, a TV-Phone-Internet package deal was offered to us.

    The lowdown is that my crossover cable had to go for the Ethernet cable. For now I'm switching once a day to keep my secondary machine updated, but I will most certainly buy a splitter box or a LAN box.

    Any idea about a setting that would permit both PC to play together and connect to our optic cable router? I'm also juggling with the idea of installing WiFi "dongle" USB gadget.

    If only I could type as fast as it load!
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  12. #12

    Congratulations!

    Hello Hubbabubba,
    Welcome to modern networking!

    I presume that what you have is some kind of Fiber / Ethernet Modem which gives you one (really fast) Ethernet connection.

    What I believe you need is a Wireless Router which takes that single connection on the outside and gives you multiple connections on the inside.
    It can be a LOT of connections on the inside.

    We are currently using a device that gives us:
    2 x 5 GHz Wireless networks
    1 x 2.4 GHz Wireless network <---- My Laptop is usually on this one because it doesn't have 5GHz capability.
    4 x Ethernet ports <---- Sometimes my Laptop is here.

    This is the third device we have used and the main reason we switched is because it lets Anna Honey implement all kinds of rules to try to keep our Son from playing games all night. Cost for this device was about $80-$90 if I remember correctly but it has been a while since we bought it.

    The first device we used was a Linksys WRT-54G. It worked fine but only had only one 2.4 GHz wireless network.
    It ran out of connections too quickly if everyone was home and using their wireless devices at the same time.
    Cost of that device was about $50 new, but I found a spare in the Thrift Store for about $10-$15.
    It also didn't have the fancy "Firewall" setup that Anna likes.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Always look at customer reviews before buying these devices. Specs are all great, but reliability isn't so obvious and some are not trouble free to operate. We have a device that Anna Honey bought for about $30 and right now it sits as a paper weight because it would drop sessions pretty regularly.

    PM me if you want more details.

    - Ivan.

  13. #13
    Hello Again Hubbabubba,

    What I forgot to mention earlier is that the Wireless Router also acts as a multi port switch which means that for your two game machines that are now plugged into each other with a cross-over cable, if they are both connected to the router, they will have the same connectivity to each other.

    Don't throw away the cross-over cable. They do have other uses. I might have mentioned before that my Son uses a X cable to connect his game console to his laptop to use the laptop as a wireless transceiver.

    - Ivan.

  14. #14
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    I'm thinking of using a switch box, it should connect me to the Ethernet router and let me go in multiplayer mode.

    The setting of our new fiber optics goes like that; fiber optic from the utility lines to the house -> router/WiFi/phone

    -> Two TV connected by WiFi with one main receiver and one secondary, the latter can be plug in any TV.
    -> Phone line connected to the same box by fiber/copper switch box.
    -> Two Ethernet lines (cat5) connected to the same switch box. One goes to my wife PC, the other to my PC.

    I've done a few speed tests and got excellent results. The only bottleneck is my old refurbished machines, they're a bit data-drunk.

    Having no WiFi PC since the untimely death of the laptop, we recharged an old Android tablet and I got 150MB/s connection. That's even better than the copper Ethernet solid line!

    I feel a bit like a Neanderthal watching TV for the first time and trying to switch channels by banging on it.
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  15. #15
    Hello Hubbabubba,

    I would still recommend a Wireless Router.
    Prices might differ in your area, but considering the monthly fee for your service, the cost of the device is really negligible. Check reviews before buying, especially the Negative reviews!

    Perhaps you could also find something at your local Thrift Store.

    - Ivan.

  16. #16
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    Why would I go for a router when a switch will do the job? I fail to see the advantages...

    As for negative critics, the best I ever read was some simpleton on Amazon giving one star... because it was A1! True story. --
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  17. #17
    Get what you think you WILL need. It's your network.

    You need to read a lot more equipment reviews.
    There is seldom a piece of equipment that SOMEONE doesn't like and most of the time it is for a valid reason.
    I was actually about to recommend a device from TP-Link because it was inexpensive and had the features I thought were useful.
    The problem was that even though it rated 4.2 out of 5 points, there were three not so good reviews.

    3* Review - It is not a 5G device. I ignored this one. The description is clear that this is not a dual band device.
    1* Review - Device runs fine for about three weeks and then gradually slows down. Network connection tested and found not to be faulty.
    1* Review - User could not figure out how to set this device up and neither could his tech. If I ran into this situation which I did with one device which had instructions written in broken Chinglish, If this were me doing the setup,I would and did call the company support line. It rang for about 45 minutes each time with no answer. I just left it ringing on speaker phone as I continued to work.

    This was out of 23 reviews but it was enough to discourage me from buying this device. This was only two "Do not recommend" out of 23 reviews.

    The device Anna Honey actually bought had about 1/3 unfavourable reviews and deserved it. Some of them described the dropped connections which became more frequent. At first I didn't even notice them because one generally doesn't notice a few seconds of lost connectivity when browsing. My Son noticed because they would happen in the middle of games and he would lose connection to the game server. After a while the losses of connection became more frequent and I started getting time outs even while browsing.

  18. #18
    SOH-CM-2019 hubbabubba's Avatar
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    For better or worse, here it is; a TP-Link 5 port Gigabit desktop switch connected with cat6 1 foot cables. So far so good. Both machines are connected without the hassle, and risk, of manually switching for updates.

    And TCP-IP games are still possible; I just collided with myself in such a game.

    If it turns into a paperweight, it will be a lousy one; weight about 2-3 oz.

    BTW- the switch had an 85% ***** and 10% ****. The remaining 5% was distributed between "doesn't work" and "doesn't work after a while".

    I've dodge the former and, knock on wood, hope to never experience the latter.
    Torture numbers and they'll say anything.


    Hubbabubba, Touche à tout.

  19. #19
    Good Luck!

    Now let's see some screenshots: Formation flying, Collisions, whatever....

    ;-)
    - Ivan.


    P.S. For what it's worth, I believe the failed wireless router is a "Tenda" brand. From other equipment reviews at the time, I don't think there is anything Tenda makes that is good quality. I found a lone transformer sitting around where the routers sit now. Anna Honey isn't very good about making sure she has all the pieces to something when she puts it away. This gets to be quite frustrating when one finds a piece of equipment and the required accessories may have ended up some place entirely different. I also found a HP mouse that I had been looking for for quite some time. It was put in a zip-lock back with a bunch of unrelated network accessories from a few generations back. The only relationship between the pieces is that they were electronics and fit into a small plastic bag....

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