[RESOLVED] MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Any issues, problems or troubleshooting topics related to the additional features present in the Prepar3D Professional Plus client application.
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pierrevw
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[RESOLVED] MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby pierrevw » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:24 pm

Hi flying friends,

I just bought a Pro Plus license to be able to run a multiple computer system (3 PC for 3 projectors).

I'm a bit disappointed because I'm unable to make this (expensive) solution work. Maybe I'm too mindless... I followed the short "manual" in the Learning Center and tried a lot of different settings without success. I was expecting a more complete manual, because I know nothing about multichannel, but I can't found such a documentation.

The only thing I get is a waiting message on the client machines : "Trying to find simulation for AutoStart", but it never connects.

This is my host Network file :
[MULTICHANNEL]
AutoStart=2
AutoSignOn=1
AccountLogin=0
LanUsername=B737FRONTC
PublicOnWEB=0
PublicOnLAN=1
MaxPlayers=64
ReservedForFriends=0
EnableFrameSync=1
FrameSyncRate=30
EnableShare=1
PasswordForSharingAircraft=""
AllowSharedAircraft=1
AllowJoinInFly=1
ConnectionLostTimeOut=600

This is one of my clients Network.CFG file:
[MULTICHANNEL]
AutoStart=1
AutoSignOn=1
AccountLogin=0
LanUsername=B737FRONTL
AutoStartHostId=B737FRONTC
AutoStartJoinAircraft=B737FRONTC
EnableFrameSync=1
ClientEnabledVoice=0
ConnectionLostTimeOut=600

I also set (and checked) a shortcut to launch P3D :
"C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\Prepar3D.exe" /MULTICHANNEL:"C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\Network.CFG"

I'm certainly wrong somewhere, but... Could anyone help me, maybe with a kind of "step by step guide" ?

Thanks a lot !

Kind regards,

Pierre
Pierre Van Walleghem
Brussels Flight Simulators
"where computers fly"

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pierrevw
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Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby pierrevw » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:10 pm

Okay, now client computers can see the host. Just a mistyping in the parameters to launch P3D on the host. :$

Nevertheless I don't close this topic yet, because I'm still wondering if there is somewhere a kind of guide to understand all these marvellous and weird multichannel things... For sure I can continue to make a lot of 'trial and error', but some tutorial or manual would greatly accelerate my progression.

Thanks. :)
Pierre Van Walleghem
Brussels Flight Simulators
"where computers fly"

Clifton Crane
Lockheed Martin
Posts: 953
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:34 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby Clifton Crane » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:53 pm

Hello Pierre,

Glad to hear you have it working. Currently, we do not have a complete setup guide, however the Multichannel section of the Learning Center contains documentation regarding items such as network and view group configuration.
Clifton Crane
Prepar3D® Software Engineer

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pierrevw
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Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby pierrevw » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:17 pm

Thanks Clifton. I checked the Learning Center but I needed more explanations...

Anyway, after some time to install/uninstall/coffee/config/change config/reinstall/coffee again/new parameters/pizza/computers hangs/sleep/do it again/etc, I finally got it.

Maybe it can be useful for someone else here, so I will briefly explain my full procedure.

MY COCPKIT DISPLAY SYSTEM:
The outside view of my cockpit is a 3 projector system, to achieve a 210° outside view on a cylindrical screen.

My P3D config runs on a 4 computer system : 3 client computers for the outside view (each one is driving 1 partial view on 1 projector) and 1 host computer for the P3D "main core" (and also ProSIm etc.).

The host computer has no view to render. It is important to understand that the multichannel system, by design, will only synchronize the views on the client computers. If you render a view from the host computer along with client views, they will not be in sync because the host PC computes as fast as possible, to serve the clients in the shortest delay, disregarding the image sync and clients speed. But clients "wait" for each other to render the same image at the same time (or nearly - another question/topic might be: what about GEN-LOCK cards?).

So for a 3 display system (3 computers screens, 3 TV or 3 projectors), you have to use 3 client computers and 1 host - this means 4 computers.

MY PC CONFIG (IN SHORT):
- All computers are on the same network (192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0) and run Win10 x64.
- They all use the same local user credentials (same name and same password) with full admin rights (I don't use "Microsoft accounts" for the users, just local accounts).
- the 4 computers are named B737-FRONT-L, B737-FRONT-C, B737-FRONT-R and B737-SYSTEM, respectively for the left view client, center view client, right view client and system host.

INSTALLING P3D ON THE 4 COMPUTERS
note: I use the same directories and trees on all computers.
A root install directory on C:\ is named "B737 SIMULATOR"; inside, a sub-directory named "\P3D" where Prepar3d will be installed. So the complete path of my P3D install will be the same on the 4 computers :
C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\

Now, we launch the full P3D PROFESSIONAL PLUS installer (currently v3.3.5.17625) on the host "B737-SYSTEM", and select the custom path "C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\" as an option at the beginning of the install process.
Then after, we can run Scenery.msi and Content.msi to install these packs.
At the first normal launch of P3D on this computer, you will be asked to activate your license.

Then, we install the client application on the 3 client computers. Do not run the full installer. Just run the Client.msi found in the main installer directory. In my case, as said earlier, I also chose to install the P3D client application in "C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\" on each client computer. After that, we will also need to install Scenery.msi and Content.msi.
Notice that client installation will not require any activation, they will connect to the host application on the host computer, which is already activated.

NETWORK.CFG
This is the first very important file that we have to CREATE (it doesn't exist at the beginning). There are a lot of mean to create such a file, on my side I use Notepad ++ to create or edit this kind of stuff.

> ON THE HOST COMPUTER:
Create a new text file and (re)name it "Network.cfg" ; copy the host sample text provided on P3D Learning Center (see here below) and save the file in your P3D root installation folder (C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\ for me).

[MULTICHANNEL]
AutoStart=2
AutoSignOn=1
AccountLogin=0
LanUsername=B737-SYSTEM
PublicOnWEB=0
PublicOnLAN=1
MaxPlayers=64
ReservedForFriends=0
EnableFrameSync=1
FrameSyncRate=30
EnableShare=1
PasswordForSharingAircraft=""
AllowSharedAircraft=1
AllowJoinInFly=1
ConnectionLostTimeOut=600

Note: As you can see, the LanUsername is set to my current host computer name, which is B737-SYSTEM (you have to choose the same name as Windows computer name). Other settings are left with their default values.

> ON THE CLIENT COMPUTERS:
Also create a new text file and (re)name it "Network.cfg"; copy the client sample text provided on P3D Learning Center (see here below) and save the file in your P3D root installation folder (C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\ for me).

[MULTICHANNEL]
AutoStart=1
AutoSignOn=1
AccountLogin=0
LanUsername=B737-FRONT-L
AutoStartHostId=B737-SYSTEM
AutoStartJoinAircraft=B737-SYSTEM
EnableFrameSync=1
ClientEnabledVoice=0
ConnectionLostTimeOut=600

Note: this is the file for my first client computer which is named "B737-FRONT-L". Therefore you will see the parameter "LanUsername=B737-FRONT-L". As this "B737-FRONT-L" client must connect to the "B737-SYSTEM" host computer, both parameters "AutoStartHostId" and "AutoStartJoinAircraft" are set to "B737-SYSTEM".

Proceed in the same way on the other client computers, and change the "AutoStartHostId" and "AutoStartJoinAircraft" parameters to indicate the correct machine (computer) name.

LAUNCHING P3D HOST AND CLIENT APPLICATIONS
During the installation process, you probably let a shortcut to be placed on your Windows desktop as I did. But we cannot start P3D just by double clicking on it. We need to say to the application that it should use the Network.cfg file when loading!

Right click on the shortcut icon, select "Properties" and edit the target like this:
"C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\Prepar3D.exe" /MULTICHANNEL:"C:\B737 SIMULATOR\P3D\Network.CFG"
(Caution: this is my shortcut reflecting my installation folder and path; adapt it to your situation if you need it). Save the edited shortcut.
Do the same on each computer, clients and host.

Now you can start all applications and - wonderful - they will display the same thing as the host, and move in sync with it!

NOW LET'S SET THE VIEWS ON THE CLIENT MACHINES
Well, my config is not the same as yours, so read this, then read the "Display And View Group Configuration" document in the Learning Center, then... try! It is not a piece of cake and you will need time to tune the views, angles, PBH, warping, blending, etc. I just explain the minimum as far as I can understand for the moment.

The easiest way for me was to use the "View Group Management" tool in P3D (you will find it under the Views menu). Please open it from the host application / computer.
The default values that you will find there might be confusing because your situation will probably not match the preset. Just remember that the concept is based on 3 elements:
- Displays
- View Groups
- Multichannel

Before we go, we need to attribute a specific number to each computer, beginning by "1" for the host, then (to keep it logical) from "2" to "x", "x" being the number of displays + 1.
This specific number will be called "MachineID" in P3D settings.
Here is my config:
B737-SYSTEM => MachineID 1
B737-FRONT-L => MachineID 2
B737-FRONT-C => MachineID 3
B737-FRONT-R => MachineID 4

We also need to attribute a number to each display device (PC screen, TV screen, projector...).
Here is my config:
PC screen on host computer => DisplayID 1
Left projector => DisplayID 2
Center projector => DisplayID 3
Right projector => DisplayID 4


ITEM 1: "Displays"
This item will define the display devices and match them with the graphic cards and computers. It means: "which device (DisplayID) is connected to which graphic card (AdapterIndex) on which computer (MachineID)".

=> Under "Displays" in the "View Group Management" window, you will see "Configuration 1".

=> Click on "Configuration 1" and give it a friendly name in the "Name" field. I called it "B737 DISPLAY DEVICES"

=> Under this config title you will probably find a least one entry with one adapter, with the name of the graphic card that has been grabbed in your Windows config on the current (host) computer. We will not use the host computer display device for the multichannel display purpose (see why above), but we have to keep this entry. Click on it and edit it if you like, giving it a friendly name in the Name field. In my config it is set to:
Name = MASTER MONITOR
DisplayID = 1 (see above for DisplayID attribution)
AdapterIndex = 1 (it is the only adapter on the computer, so it's number 1)
MachineID = 1 (see above for MachineID attribution)

=> Still in this category, we will add 3 more displays (left, center and right projectors). To achieve this, click on the "Configuration 1" item in the left column (or any other new name that you gave to this configuration, remember that I renamed it "B737 DISPLAY DEVICES" in my config); then click on the big green "ADD" on the right pane. I clicked three times in my configuration, so now I have 4 sub-items (the first that we just set as "MASTER MONITOR" and 3 new blank display that we will set the same way).
Left projector will be set to:
Name = LEFT PROJO
DisplayID = 2 (see above for DisplayID attribution)
AdapterIndex = 1 (it is the only adapter on my computer, so it's number 1)
MachineID = 2 (see above for MachineID attribution)
Center projector will be set to:
Name = CENTER PROJO
DisplayID = 3 (see above for DisplayID attribution)
AdapterIndex = 1 (it is the only adapter on my computer, so it's number 1)
MachineID = 3 (see above for MachineID attribution)
Right View will be set to:
Name = RIGHT PROJO
DisplayID = 4 (see above for DisplayID attribution)
AdapterIndex = 1 (it is the only adapter on my computer, so it's number 1)
MachineID = 4 (see above for MachineID attribution)

ITEM 2: "View Groups"
A "View Group" is a group of display devices, associated with a specific view, which will compose a global view. Here above we have set 3 different projector devices (DisplayID 2, 3 and 4), now we will group them and define a partial view for each one.
When you click on "View Groups", you will maybe see a first automatic entry called "Auto-Fill Desktop" or something like that. Delete it and create a new one from scratch - I find it easier. To do so, select the "View Group" item in the left column, then click the big red "REMOVE" in the right pane. Now click "ADD". You have an empty entry called "ViewGroup 1". Click on it and give it a name in the "Name" field.
Some parameters here.

=> SideAngles let you set the global view angles. In my situation, as a first test setting I chose:
Left: -105
Right: 105
Top: 25
Bottom: -25
This means that I can "look" 105° left and right (so 210°) and 25° up and down (so 50°). There are no standard values and you should try to find what is suitable for your multi-display configuration.

=> ViewGroupShape is the shape of your final display. I chose Cylindrical beacause my 3 projectors display on a cylindrical screen.

=> AllowZoom = your choice for this group. I will not zoom so I set it on "NO"

=> GridSetup = is a tool to automatically map the display devices (I didn't use it)

=> View = the place to set your different views and frustums (i.e. what part of the ViewGroup image will be shown by each display device, and how) ; I set 3 views there (3 clicks on "ADD") and set a first simple Viewport parameters for each one - the fine tuning of this is out of scope here - I use the warping software "Immersive Display" and work now to integrate the frustums from it in the multichannel setup. Still in progress.

For example, I set these 3 basic views:
Name: LEFT VIEW
DisplayID: 2
Viewport: Left: 0,000; Right: 0,333; Top: 1,000; Bottom: 0,000;
EdgeOverlap: all 0,000;
ViewFrustum: none (yet)

Name: CENTER VIEW
DisplayID: 3
Viewport: Left: 0,333; Right: 0,667; Top: 1,000; Bottom: 0,000;
EdgeOverlap: all 0,000;
ViewFrustum: none (yet)

Name: RIGHT VIEW
DisplayID: 4
Viewport: Left: 0,667; Right: 1,000; Top: 1,000; Bottom: 0,000;
EdgeOverlap: all 0,000;
ViewFrustum: none (yet)

ITEM 3: "Multichannel"
Maybe it's agood idea to remove the automatic default entry, and create a new one from scratch. In my case I added a configuration called "B737 MACHINES" and add my 4 computers in the list. This is easy to complete, but it is very important because it is here that can be defined the MachineID (see earlier in my post).

For your remembering, I use:
B737-SYSTEM => MachineID 1
B737-FRONT-L => MachineID 2
B737-FRONT-C => MachineID 3
B737-FRONT-R => MachineID 4


All these explanations are a bit raw but maybe they will help someone some day... It has to be read along with the topics "Display and View Group Configuration" and "Multichannel Overview" in the Learning Center document.

Happy multi-channelling ! :)
Pierre Van Walleghem
Brussels Flight Simulators
"where computers fly"

ridgenj
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:09 am

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby ridgenj » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:03 am

Pierre, many thanks for taking the time to write and share this nice instructions.
You are saving us a lot of err and learn.
Cheers
Luis aka Ridgenj

JohnBacon
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:26 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby JohnBacon » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:22 am

Thanks for the very detailed and easy to understand account.

Shame that the expensive software instructions aren't a patch on your instructions.

Thanks again

JohnBacon
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:26 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby JohnBacon » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:22 am

Hi Pierre,

I've read your instructions, they're great.

You mention that when installing Client.msi only, no activation is required.
I can't manage that. It's demanding activation after installing.

As the Server PC has already been activated the licence for the Client is not valid and has been suspended by P3D.

We are developing Server plus 5 Clients and I'm having trouble connecting the first one.
No help from P3D documentation.

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks
John

Clifton Crane
Lockheed Martin
Posts: 953
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:34 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby Clifton Crane » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:14 pm

John,

Are the client machines correctly set up using the "/MULTICHANNEL" command line argument? If not, the client machines will prompt for activation.
Clifton Crane
Prepar3D® Software Engineer

JohnBacon
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:26 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby JohnBacon » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:46 pm

Hi Clifton,

Thanks for the reply. The Client machine was loaded using the Client.msi exe file in the P3D folder.
It didn't give an option to load using the Multichannel argument.

After loading it wouldn't get past the activation window. I then uninstalled via Control Panel.

I created a shortcut to the link and amended it, as per advice seen in this forum, using :

C:\Program Files(x86)\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v3 Prepar3D.exe" "/MULTICHANNEL:C\Program Files (x86)\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v3 \Client1

It returned that Multichannel can only be set up once P3D is loaded. I can't load it because it states license applications exceeded.

I'm obviously doing something wrong.

Clifton Crane
Lockheed Martin
Posts: 953
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:34 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby Clifton Crane » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:12 pm

John,

Multichannel client machines still require the full Setup.exe installation. Was this performed?

Also, in your command line argument, you should be pointing to a valid network .cfg file for the client machine. Here is the sample from the SDK's Multichannel Overview:

Code: Select all

[MULTICHANNEL]
AutoStart=1
AutoSignOn=1
AccountLogin=0
LanUsername=ClientMachineName
AutoStartHostId=HostMachineName
AutoStartJoinAircraft=HostMachineName
EnableFrameSync=1
ClientEnabledVoice=0
ConnectionLostTimeOut=600
Clifton Crane
Prepar3D® Software Engineer

JohnBacon
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:26 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby JohnBacon » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:56 pm

Hi Clifton.

I did the following -

1. Loaded P3D to the server and activated it online - ok. ( this is my laptop installation i.e. 2nd activation of dev license)

2. Loaded P3D to Client 1 using Client.msi & Content.msi & Scenery.msi applications in the P3D folder.

3. Started P3D in the Client machine - it immediately requires Activation - attempted this and have had the license suspended.

Clearly I'm missing something in the loading of the Client machine P3D software.

Should I be loading the Client machine exactly as the Server was loaded - then when starting P3D on Client1 modifying the shortcut to include a link to the config file?

P3D on our machines is located at :
C:\Program Files (x86)\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3d v3\Prepar3D.exe

Could you possibly give me the shortcut target address for the config file for the Client pc and where to locate the file?

I've spent a few days on this and realise that i'm missing something basic.

JohnBacon
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:26 pm

Re: MULTICHANNEL - any setup guide ?

Postby JohnBacon » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:13 pm

Problem solved.

It was license activation problem. Couldn't load anything.

Had license reset - thanks P3D.


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