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Multiplayer in Flight Simulator
FSInn and FSX Steam Edition
By Jordan Moore
Jan 31, 2015, 16:37

If you are a user that ONLY has FSX Steam Edition installed. It is recommended that you follow the standard installation instructions for FSCopilot and FSInn. The best instructions can probably be found here:

http://forums.vatsim.net/viewtopic.php?t=20466

As the above topic explains, it is very important to follow the instructions closely and accurately. Take your time and do it right. If you rush, or blast through mouse clicks, you will get it wrong. Making it only harder to troubleshoot issues later.

If you are an existing FSX (boxed edition) user with FSInn already installed and working. You will not need to go through the installation of FSInn again. It is already installed on your system. The installation of FSCopilot/FSInn is not dependent on your FSX installation. So it can work for both FSX and FSX:SE at the same time.

Though take note that just like your original FSX (boxed) installation of FSInn, it is important that the FSX.exe in the steam FSX folder be set with the appropriate permissions using the file properties->compatibility tab - see the vatsim FSInn installation instructions linked at the top of this article for more information. Failure to set this permission on the steam FSX.exe will result in having everything working - and connected - in FSInn, but not seeing other players on the player list, on the radar screen, or out your cockpit window!

The only component referenced by the Flight Simulator software is the FSCopilot.dll file. This file is executed by the flight simulator and is responsible for registering itself in the menu of your flight simulator (The "Add-Ons" menu). It is also responsible for communicating with the rest of the FSCopilot/FSInn software which resides where ever you might have installed it (outside of flight simulator).

A difference between FSX and FSX:SE when it comes to DLL module files

FS9 and FSX by default has a folder under the main flight simulator folder called "Modules". Many flight simulator users are used to placing modules such as FSCopilot.dll, FSUIPC.dll, and others in this location and then having them automatically being recognized by Flight Simulator.

HOWEVER...

What is really happening is that FSX is looking for new entries in the "Modules" folder, and when it finds one it adds a reference to it in 2 other important configuration files. Both of which reside outside of the main flight simulator installation. Typically in a folder like:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX

This is where the important fsx.cfg file can be found, which is the main configuration file for flight simulator.

For steam, it is similar but slightly different:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX-SE

The steam edition does this as not to cause conflicts with existing installations of FSX. Though the contents of the folders are largely similar. The steam edition calls its main configuration file "fsx_se.cfg"

When a DLL module was added to the "Modules" folder in FSX (boxed edition). A reference to that DLL file was added to 2 files in this important configuration folder.

1 reference added to dll.xml
1 reference added to fsx.cfg

The first (dll.xml) is responsible for letting flight simulator know which additional DLL files need to be loaded when starting up flight simulator.

The first time one of these DLL files is loaded, the simulator asks the user for permission to let the DLL file execute.

The permission granting/denial provided by the user is then stored in the main configuration file. This was done to help assure that executable code could not be ran in flight simulator without the user's permission. As it creates an effective pathway for executing undesired software.

FSX:SE differs starting here...

FSX Steam edition does not come with a "Modules" folder, and even if you create one manually, it does not do any automatic handling of the DLLs you happen to place into it.

The major difference with FSX Steam Edition, is that you must add additional DLL's to the dll.xml file (path referenced above) manually.

One complication is that FSX Steam Edition does not necessarily come with a dll.xml file in the folder:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX-SE

If you happen to use the installers for other modules, you may find that one of them has already created a dll.xml file for you, but if FSInn is the first module you are attempting to add, you will likely find that you have to add it yourself.

FSX Steam Edition comes with a sample of this file that can be copied and edited. It is found in a rather obscure location within the steam flight simulator main folder:

D:\steam\steamapps\common\FSX\SDK\Core Utilities Kit\SimConnect SDK\config\DLL.xml

Which can then be copied to:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX-SE

In this sample file, the following 2 items will need to be edited:

Name: Change to "FSCopilot"
Path: Change to the path where FSX (steam) can find FSCopilot.dll on disk

The path element for users that already have FSX (boxed) installed can simply be pointed to where the FSCopilot.dll file resides within the boxed FSX installation. For example:

D:\FSX\Modules\FSCopilot.dll

This means that the FSCopilot.dll path entry for FSX Steam Edition can simply point to the FSCopilot.dll that is ALREADY in the FSX boxed installation.

If you were installing FSCopilot/FSInn from scratch, your path for the DLL will need to point to where ever the FSCopilot/FSInn put it, or where ever you choose to copy it to. For example, if the FSCopilot created a "Modules" folder for you, and placed the FSCopilot.dll in that folder your path entry would like like "Modules/FSCopilot.dll" or you could even use the entire path if you wanted to such as "D:\steam\steamapps\common\FSX\Modules\FSCopilot.dll"


If you have followed the above steps carefully to add FSCopilot.dll to the FSX Steam Edition, you will know FSX:SE has found the FSCopilot.dll successfully when it starts up the next time. Because it will ask you for permission to execute and "trust" the FSCopilot.dll


At this point you would expect to have an "Add-Ons" menu in the main FSX (steam) menu bar during flight. However, many people are complaining that at this point, they still have no Add-Ons menu. Or if they already had an Add-Ons menu (from the installation of some other module), that the FSCopilot module is not present in that menu

What if you do NOT see the "Add-Ons" Menu..,

This likely because the FSCopilot.dll file has not found a reference to the FSX Steam Edition Simconnect libraries that it normally knows how to use. This is how FSInn retrieves information from flight simulator, and it is ALSO how FSCopilot registers itself to show up in the "Add-Ons" menu of flight simulator.

If you have done everything right, as discussed above, and still do not see an "Add-Ons" menu, or FSCopilot is not showing up in the "Add-Ons" menu, then we will proceed to the next step...

Using the start menu in windows, execute the following command:

regedit

(Note: It is imperative that you do not make any edits in this tool unless you entirely understand what you are doing, for this exercise we will be limiting our edits only to WITHIN some of the configuration for FSCopilot/FSInn - We will NOT be touching anything related to Windows or other software applications).

To be extra safe, when first opening regedit, you can use the File->Export option in order to save a copy of your entire registry, prior to doing anything else. This same file can be imported should you get yourself into trouble. Though, during this process we will not be messing with much within the regedit tool.

Using the navigation tree on the left, we want to navigate (carefully) to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\FSFDT\FSCopilot\SimConnect\1.7

After selecting this key on the left hand side of the tree, the right hand side should show a list of obscure numbers (like 10.0.60905.0) with some associated values off to the right such as "0x00000001 (1)".

These are Simconnect versions and you will notice on the right hand side, that they follow a sequence. Starting at "(1)" and going down through perhaps 5 or 6.

If any of the simconnects torwards the bottom of this list have a right side value of "0x00000000 (0)" you will need to edit this value to match up with the sequence of simconnects in the list. You can edit this value by double clicking the Simconnect version on the left colum, which will bring up an edit window in which you will change the numeric value to the next number in the sequence.

When you are done, the Simconnects at the end should not have values like "0x0000000 (0)" but instead will have a value such as "0x00000006 (6)" (or whatever the sequence may be).

This appears to be a case where FSCopilot is aware of the Simconnects that are available, but has not been able to reference them correctly. Fixing the sequence will help correct that.

After making these changes, you may exit regedit. You do not need to "save" as the changes happen when you edit the registry keys

You can restart FSX Steam Edition at this point and test to see if the "Add-Ons" menu is available, and that FSCopilot is present in that menu.

If the "Add-Ons" menu does not exist, or you find that FSCopilot is not on the list, OR while reviewing the registery with the regedit tool you found that none of the Simconnect values looked like "0x0000000 (0)" then continue to the next step by running the following installation file:

D:\steam\steamapps\common\FSX\SDK\Core Utilities Kit\SimConnect SDK\LegacyInterfaces\FSX-XPACK\SimConnect.msi (Your drive letter and steam folder location may vary).

After this has installed. Restart Flight Simulator and check the Add-Ons menu again. It will probably have the same problem, but we need to give FSCopilot a chance to detect the new Simconnect interface that was just added.

If the menu items are still not present..then exit Flight Simulator and repeat the Registery steps mentioned above (using regedit.exe). Double check that all of the Simconnect version entries have values that are not like "0x0000000 (0)" and if they do, then correct them to follow the existing sequence. You might see an additional entry on the list because of the Simconnect installation we just did.

Exit regedit, and restart Flight Simulator

If at this point you still do not see FSCopilot or an Add-Ons menu, you most likely have an installation or permissions problem that is outside of the scope of this article. Things to double check would be:

1. If you were installing FSCopilot/FSInn from scratch (did not have FSX boxed version already using FSInn) then did you follow the instructions linked at the top of this article precisely?

2. If you already had FSX Boxed working with FSCopilot/FSInn, did you get prompted to give permission to execute FSCopilot.dll when starting up FSX Steam edition after adding FSCopilot.dll to the dll.xml file? IF YOU DID, there would be evidence of this in the following file:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX-SE\fsx_se.cfg

As there should be an entry in that file that lets Flight Simulator know that you have previously given FSCopilot.dll permission to execute.

SUMMARY

Though this article may make it appear that it is very complicated to get FSCopilot/FSInn working in FSX:SE the actual steps to follow were actually quite short. Mostly it is complicated because the article attempts to address the various differences that can occur between FSX boxed and FSX Steam edition, as well as some of the differences as to how these two FSX installations handle DLL modules.

Once these instructions were followed, we were able to use FSCopilot/FSInn in FSX Steam edition for several hours with no instability, and no difference in behavior between FSX boxed and FSX Steam edition.

For those simply pointing to their already configured FSX (boxed) installation of FSCopilot/FSInn, it is not even necessary to reconfigure networks, or FSInn connection settings, as all of these are already in place from your use of the software with FSX (boxed). You are actually using the same FSCopilot/FSInn installation from 2 different Flight Simulator installations. For example, a change in the FSInn configuration with one, would be reflected the next time you used the other.

Good Luck

IMPORTANT: If you desire to you use FSCopilot/FSInn in FSX boxed edition, FSX:SE, and P3D. You will need to make sure during regedit steps that your last non-zero entry for Simconnect is set to version 10.0.61259.0 - It would appear that FSCopilot attempts to use whichever Simconnect version is highest in that list based on the numbers on the right hand side, and 10.0.61259.0 appears to be a Simconnect version that all 3 sims have available.




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