JoinFS: Manual

An up-to-date guide in PDF format has kindly been written by Dan Sullivan of Elite PremAir Virtual flight club. Click here to download (v1.1.4).

Quick Start

System Requirements

Contents

Indicator Buttons

Activity Indicators

Addresses

Connecting people together in an online session requires an address for each person, server or hub. There are three different types of address formats supported by JoinFS. Any of them can be used to join another person, server or hub.

Encoded Address

This is a propietary JoinFS address in the format 'x-x' where x is a five digit number. This is a useful format in that it hides your actual IP address and provides a level of security when publishing your address, for example, in screenshots and forum posts. When launching JoinFS this is the format of your own address shown in the 'Me:' box on the main window.

IP Address

This is the standard TCP/IP internet address in the format 'x.x.x.x' where x is a number 0-255. If you know the external IP address of another JoinFS client you can join it by specifying this address.

Domain Name Address

This is the standard internet domain name that uses readable text, for example, 'myserver.net'. If someone has set up a domain name for their JoinFS client or hub you can join it by specifying this address.

Example Addresses

All of the following examples are valid addresses.

32242-02397
32242-02397:7000
myserver.net
myserver.net:7000
127.0.0.1
127.0.0.1:7000

Creating A Session

Creating A Session

Unlike FSX multiplayer, JoinFS removes the concept of a host. The original creator of a session can leave at any time and the session will continue as normal for the remaining pilots. New pilots can join the session by specifying the address of any pilots in the session. There are two ways to create a session:

Joining A Session

You can join any existing JoinFS session by connecting to any node in the session (it does not have to be the original creator). You can also join a special JoinFS node called a hub, these are advertised publicly using JoinFS's decentralized hub network. There are three ways to join a session:

JoinFS will remember your last connection so when starting JoinFS you only need to click Join to immediately connect to the previous session.

Suggested Joining Procedure

Where a group of pilots is gathering on a VoIP network (such as TeamSpeak), if you append the 'My IP' from JoinFS to your username in the VoIP interface, then this will allow any new pilots to quickly join your session.

Information About The Session

Model Matching And Substitution

JoinFS allows you to substitute any aircraft model used to represent other pilots in the session. If you have not already done so, before doing any model matching you must select 'File|Scan For Models' from the menu to build a list of available aircraft from your simulator. This list is automatically saved so you only need to scan again when you install or remove aircraft add-ons. If you use Tacpack from VRS Simulations, be sure to include the 'Misc' folder in the scan. If you see an aircraft that is not showing the model that you expect to see, for example, the other pilot has a model that you do not have installed, then you can quickly and easily substitute the model by opening the aircraft list from the menu, 'View|Aircraft'. Select the aircraft and click the Substitute button at the bottom of the window, and you will be presented with the following form.

Substitute Model

This form shows the model that is to be replaced at the top and the substituted model at the bottom. Use the two drop down list boxes in the middle to choose the type and variation of the replacement model. When confirmed by clicking the OK button, the models will be updated instantly in the simulator. JoinFS will save all of your substitutions automatically. At any time you can view and modify the current substitutions from the menu, 'File|Edit Model Matching'. You will be presented with the following form.

Edit Model Matching

A list of all current substitutions will appear in the form window, including the current default substitution which is used when you don't have a particular model installed. You can modify any of the substitutions, including the default model by selecting the model and clicking the Substitute button at the bottom. You can also remove any entries that are no longer needed.

Every time an object is created the following rules are checked, in order, to decide which model is used to represent the object:

Views

Views are a set of openable windows that provide various useful information about what is currently happening in the JoinFS network. There are several views available and they can be opened by selecting from the 'View' menu on the main JoinFS window.

Hubs View

Shows the list of known public hubs that other people are running, usually on a permanent server. The list includes information about the hub, how many clients are connected, how many aircraft and other objects are in the session. Click on a hub in the list and further details are shown in the box below the list. To join the hub, click the Join button below the details.

JoinFS Hub Network
ColumnDescription
NameName of the hub.
StatusOnline status of the hub. A green cell with 'Online' means that the hub is active and can be joined. Orange means the hub is offline or cannot be contacted.
UsersNumber of JoinFS clients connected to the session.
ATCIf ATC is available the main airport code is shown.
PThe total number of planes in the session.
HThe total number of helicopters in the session.
CThe total number of carriers in the session.
VThe total number of vehicles and other objects in the session.
Next EventDetails about an upcoming event. Usually a location and start time.
BookmarkClick this cell to add or remove a local bookmark for this hub.
IgnoreClick this cell if you do not wish to see this hub in the list in future.
Voice ServerDetails about where to connect for voice communications.
AboutA short description about activities at this hub.

Bookmarks View

The bookmarks view is where you can manage your current bookmarks and addresses. This is ideal when you connect to another client or hub on a regular basis. For example, flying with a club or frequently with friends then adding a bookmark allows you to quickly join up at any time. You can join a session, edit, remove or add a bookmark using the buttons below the list.

Bookmarks
ColumnDescription
NameName of the bookmark, for example a hub or friend.
AddressThe join address for connecting to the session. Either an IP number or domain name address.
StatusShows which bookmarks are actively online. A green 'Online' or 'Online Hub' means the remote client is active. Orange means not online or unable to connect.
UsersNumber of JoinFS clients connected to the session.
ATCIf ATC is available the main airport code is shown.
PThe total number of planes in the session.
HThe total number of helicopters in the session.
CThe total number of carriers in the session.
VThe total number of vehicles and other objects in the session.

The shortcut button on the main window shows a drop down list of bookmarks:

Bookmarks

Aircraft View

The aircraft view shows details about all aircraft in the current session. There is also an option at the bottom right of the window to show all aircraft flying on the public hub network. It usually takes a minute or two for those public aircraft to be updated. Aircraft in your current session are updated more frequently and will show extra details.

ColumnDescription
CallsignAircraft callsign.
OwnerThe nickname/callsign of the owner of the aircraft. A JoinFS client can broadcast multiple aircraft over the network. Suffix: '(R)' for recorded aircraft, '(A)' for AI aircraft.
ModelThe title name of the model used to represent the aircraft in the simulator. This can be changed at any time using the Substitute button below the list. Substitution suffix: '(S)' for custom, '(A)' for automatic, '(D)' for default role-type.
DistanceDistance from your aircraft in the simulator.
WeatherClick on the cell to get regular weather updates from that aircraft.
BroadcastClick on the cell for your own aircraft to enable/disable sending that aircraft across the network. If disabled then others will not see your aircraft.
RecordClick on these cells to determine which aircraft will be recorded when you start a recording/overdub.
SquawkTransponder code.
Com 1Com 1 radio frequency.
Com 2Com 2 radio frequency.
RulesFlight rules: IFR or VFR.
FromDeparture airport code.
ToArrival airport code.
BearingWhere the aircraft is in relation to your aircraft.
HeadingAircraft heading.
AltitudeAircraft altitude.
GSGround speed of the aircraft.
WindCurrent wind strength and direction affecting the aircraft. In METAR format.
IgnoreClick this cell if you do not wish to see any aircraft/objects from this owner in future. Aircraft from ignored people will not show in the list or in the simulator.

Objects View

The objects view shows details about all other non-aircraft simulator objects available in the current session. From this window you can choose to broadcast objects across the network, for example, aircraft carriers or service vehicles. You can also see the objects that other people in the network are broadcasting.

ColumnDescription
OwnerThe nickname/callsign of the owner of the object. A JoinFS client can broadcast multiple objects over the network.
ModelThe title name of the model used to represent the object in the simulator. This can be changed at any time using the Substitute button below the list. Substitution suffix: '(S)' for custom, '(A)' for automatic, '(D)' for default role-type.
CountIf the objects are grouped by model type using the box at the bottom right then this column shows the total number of objects of that model type.
BearingWhere the object is in relation to your aircraft.
DistanceDistance from your aircraft in the simulator.
BroadcastClick on the cell for your own objects to enable/disable sending that object or model type across the network. If disabled then others will not see your object.
Ignore OwnerClick this cell if you do not wish to see any aircraft/objects from this owner in future. Objects from ignored people will not show in the list or in the simulator.
Ignore ModelClick this cell if you do not wish to see any objects of this model type. Objects of this model type will not show in the list or in the simulator.

Sometimes the size of the object list can become overwhelming, so you can group them by clicking the option at the bottom right of the window.

Users View

The users view shows details about all users in the current session. There is also an option at the bottom right of the window to show all users flying on the public hub network. It usually takes a minute or two for those public users to be updated. Users in your current session are updated more frequently and will show extra details.

ColumnDescription
NicknameThe chosen nickname of the user.
CallsignThe callsign of the user's aircraft.
AircraftThe total number of aircraft that the user is broadcasting in the session.
ObjectsThe total number of carriers and other objects that the user is broadcasting in the session.
PermissionsShows the current permissions that have been granted by you to this user. 'C' - allow cockpit entry, 'F' - they have flight control of your aircraft, 'E' - engine controls, 'O' - other controls.
IgnoreClick this cell if you do not wish to see any aircraft/objects from this owner in future. Objects from ignored people will not show in the list or in the simulator.
PortShows the remote network port that user is using.
IDA unique number to identify the user.
RouteShows the routing status. 'Direct' - there is a direct connection to the user, otherwise the ID of a user where the connection is being rerouted.
ConnectedIs there an active connection to the user?
LatencyThe total round trip time between your client and the user's client.

To edit the permissions for a user, click the Permissions button below the list.

Recorder View

This window is used to control the play back and recording of aircraft. It is not necessary to be in a network session. You can record, overdub and play back your own aircraft and AI aircraft in free flight. If you are in a network session then you can record other user's aircraft and also broadcast your recordings over the network for other users to see.

Buttons available are record, play, stop, overdub. The slider shows the current time position of the recording and can be dragged to quickly move to another part of the recording. The aircraft will be displayed in the simulator according to current play back time.

Monitor View

The monitor view is for diagnostics and debugging of JoinFS. It shows warnings and error messages and also information about operational events from JoinFS, such and connections being established and so on. There is an option below the output box that allows you to save the output to a file. Click the View Logs button to view the current and previous log files.

Shared Cockpit

JoinFS includes its own method of sharing cockpits with other pilots. There is no restriction on which aircraft type you need to select when joining another cockpit. However, if your aircraft is significantly different then you are likely to experience some odd aircraft behavior. The advantage is that you can choose a similar type or aircraft by a different publisher and still be able to share the cockpit.

To enter the cockpit of another aircraft you must have permission from the owner of that aircraft. The exception is if you are entering a recorded aircraft that you own. The aircraft owner can allow you permission to enter the cockpit and can also hand over different sets of controls to different co-pilots. Controls are divided into three separate groups: 'flight', 'engine' and 'other'. You can decide to hand over any or all of these groups.

JoinFS supports an unlimited number of co-pilots/passengers in one aircraft.

Procedure For Sharing The Cockpit

Pilot A wants to enter the aircraft of pilot B.

Permissions

Recording

JoinFS is able to record the flight data for any aircraft currently in the simulator, including other pilots in the session and AI traffic in the simulator. The Recorder menu has the following options:

You may choose which aircraft you wish to record by opening 'View|Aircraft' and ticking the 'Record' box on the aircraft you wish to record. Your own aircraft and network aircraft are enabled to record by default.

Play back a recording over the network

You can play back a recording over the network to other pilots as well as seeing them on your own simulator. This allows you, as a group, to fly in formation with previously recorded flights. To choose which aircraft are sent over the network, go to 'View|Aircraft' and tick the Broadcast box on the aircraft that you wish to broadcast over the network. By default, recorded aircraft are automatically enabled for broadcast.

Record your own formation

You can use the recorder to assemble your own recorded formation flight. Start by making a new recording with your aircraft. And then use the overdub feature to continually tag aircraft onto the formation.

Save a recording to disk

Once you are happy with your recording you can save it to disk at any time from the menu, 'File|Save Recording'. To load a previous recording choose 'File|Open Recording'.

Command Line Options

The following options can be used when launching from a command line, which provides a way to automate certain features. For example, to create a desktop shortcut that always connects to a favorite server, copy and paste the installed JoinFS shortcut, right-click the shortcut and select properties; in the target box, append the required options, such as 'C:\Program Files (x86)\JoinFS (TEST)\JoinFS.exe -nickname "Bob" -join myhub.com'.

Command Line OptionDescription
-createCreate a new session with this JoinFS client.
-join addressJoin the session at the specified address.
-port numberUse the specified network port number for connection to and from this JoinFS client. The default port is 6112.
-hubEnable hub mode. Hubs are publicly listed connection points. Recommendation is to use router port forwarding when operating a permanent hub server.
-hubaddress addressOptional specific address for this JoinFS hub. For example, this might be a domain name address, 'myserver.com'.
-hubname "name"Friendly name for this hub. This will appear on everyone's hub list.
-hubabout "description"Short description if this hub. For example, "Peter's Flying Club".
-hubvoip "details"Details of a voice server to use. For example, ts3.myserver.com.
-nickname "name"Sets your nickname. Others will be able to see this in the aircraft and user lists.
-play "file"Open a *.jfs file and play back the recording immediately.
-recordImmediately start recording aircraft after launch.
-activitycircle distanceSet the maximum distance in nautical miles for other aircraft to be inserted into the simulator.
-follow distanceSets the follow distance in meters. For use with the follow button on the aircraft list.
-atcEnable ATC mode.
-airport codeSpecifies which airport the ATC is controlling from. For example, '-airport EGKK'.
-lowbandwithUse the low bandwidth setting, designed for slow or restricted bandwidth connections.
-trayLaunch JoinFS on the system tray in quiet mode.

Troubleshooting

Should you have any problems connecting or seeing other pilots, try the following checks: