Most simulations can be played by several players over a network or the internet. When in operation, the simulation runs on the lines of a real control centre, with the Host/Box manager running the simulation, and one or more Clients/signallers setting the routes.
One user, the 'Host' runs a master version of the simulation, and one or more 'Clients' can join in by linking via a network/internet connection. Usually the Clients are allocated particular panel(s) to control/manage, while the host (box manger) retains overall control of the simulation.
Only the Host has control and viewing rights over certain aspects, particularly the F2 Train list, editing of timetables if required and depending on the simulation, some aspects of train control.
Clients have the ability to operate any part of the simulations. However, they will normally be allocated an area by the Host and should only work that area. The Host may ask a Client to cover additional area(s) if necessary to cover a short-term gap as for example a Personal Needs Break (PNB). A Client may also be asked to cover more than one screen or area where there are not enough players to give one-to-one coverage.
A Host sets up a multiplayer game by starting the appropriate simulation (using the correct version as noted on the posting) and running the simulation as a server. See the Starting a Simulation page for more details.
You can set an already-running simulation as a server by clicking Menu-> Multiplayer-> Network control. The server can be stopped in the same way.
Use the Add a Game form in the Games Section of the website to advertise your game. Games should have a meaningful title (normally the name(s) of the simulations being played), and the notes section should contain the timetable being played, along with any other information. There are dedicated boxes for the simulation date and start time, and for the simulations in use. For each simulation, the ip address of the host, and the port in use, must be specified. The game can then be created. If necessary, you can alter any of the game details at a later date.
When you're ready to accept clients, find the game in the Games list , and click 'Start'; this will add a notice next to the game for potential clients to see.
If the game is being paused for a PNB break, and you're away from your PC, you can click 'pause' (next to the game listing, as above), and a 'Paused' notice will be shown next to the game to advise potential players that connections can't be accepted for a short period. Click 'Restart' to remove the notice.
At the end of the game, click 'Terminate' to remove the listing from the 'Upcoming Games' list; you can then click 'Delete' to remove the listing entirely. If you're planning to continue the session from a save at a later date, please create a new game for the continuation; games shouldn't be left in the 'Paused' state overnight, for example.
When a client clicks 'connect' on their computer, the Multiplayer Control Panel will open automatically in the host's simulation. Once you click the 'accept' button, the state of the simulation will be sent to their computer and you can use the message facility to communicate.
In the unlikely event that a client is not welcome, they can be removed from the simulation from this panel.
The Host will need to manage the allocation of Clients to the various panels, taking into consideration their abilities and experience. It is also desirable to rotate clients around at regular intervals, and accommodate players joining and leaving.
It is important that Clients insert their ID into the duty box(es), this will ensure that certain telephone calls will be directed to them rather than coming to you as host, and to let other players know who is in control of each area.
Whilst there is no requirement to do so, it is good practice to rotate duties, a rotation every 1 - 1½ hours is typical. (too frequent changeovers can be just as annoying as not often enough).
When rotating, it's preferable that one person isn't on a quiet panel each time (unless of course that client advises otherwise). It can be helpful to ask clients say 15 minutes before an advertised changeover who will be staying on, when asking this it is helpful to indicate how long the rotation and the sim will run for, this will allow Clients to be able to commit themselves to staying or not, and thus not leaving the simulation suddenly short staffed half-way through.
It may also appropriate in longer simulations to pause at this time for say 10 minutes for T&P breaks.
Clients do not have access to to following:
F2 Train List (non loader simulations only), and associated option/functions
F4 Timetable Editor , and train control therein
Any changes to timetables or control of trains *has* to be done by the host alone.
On all but the oldest simulations, once a player takes control of a workstation via the 'workstation control' box, all phone calls for that panel will be routed to them. If no client has taken control of a workstation, the calls will go to the host.
Clients will receive telephone calls from trains waiting at red, and on answering the call have access to the same options as in single player mode. On some of these sims, Clients will also receive calls from shunters etc for trains entering via sidings.
Reports of failures appear in the message box as usual, as well as to the host, and working of trains around or through the failures is dependent as per the preceding section.
On those simulations with level crossings, any calls for exceptional crossings should go to the client as shown in the duty box, and be dealt with accordingly (see Level crossings ).
See the Multiplayer etiquette for general guidance.
Remember that clients do not get to see all the information you receive, some messages need to be repeated via the F10 messages.
It may be prudent to save the simulation at regular intervals in case of problems; auto-saves are usually easier.
Be aware that during the Client acceptance process, while the client is awaiting acceptance, and logging in, the simulation may appear to pause and/or 'hang'.
Last edited by Steamer on 27/06/2020 at 18:35