General FreeSpace > Multiplayer

Multi FAQ 2021 -- Bug Reports Wanted!


If you haven't yet heard, FSO multi has suffered from a lack of experienced network coders and from a lack of interest.  However, multi is still available and playable, even though it's not perfect.  So let me answer some quick questions and then get into some of the major issues still holding us back.

How do I get to multiplayer in FSO?

You need to switch to multiplayer mode in the pilot selection or barracks screen*.  The toggle is on the top right of the pilot list.

Once you are in the mainhall, in multiplayer mode, just select the ready room, like you are about to continue a campaign, and you should see the PXO or mulitplayer game selection screen.

*Some Mainhalls have dedicated multiplayer doors instead.  If this is available, no switch to multiplayer mode is required.

What is the easiest way to play *right now*? 

PXO has been resurrected!
1. Go to and register for an account.  Validate the account via email.  If you do not see the email, send a message on the #PXO channel on the HLP discord, or reply here.
2. Go to the profile page on pxo to look for the login info to enter into FSO. 
3. Enter the username and password the website provide s(not the one you used to create the account) in the Multiplayer settings tab of FSO's in-game settings. (Copy-paste is now enabled, thank you Taylor!!)
4. Click on the ready room to go to the PXO lobby. The PXO (or fsnet) icon should be in the top left corner.
5. When you're ready to play click on the Games Icon and look for games to choose from.  If there are none present, you can start one, and depending on Firewall and Port Forwarding settings, it may or may not become visible to other players.

What mod is everyone playing on? 
There are 3 "coop up" mods on knossos for the retail FS1 and FS2 campaigns, and a multi version of Silent Threat: Reborn.

Do I need a pilot just for multi, like in retail?

No. With the new pilot code, single and multi pilots are merged. You just need to switch modes.  :cool:

What's actually wrong with multi?

Previously, the main issue with multi was an inability for clients to hit with primaries.  The fix for this is now in master, as is missile interception.

Other issues are stability and functionality related: some SEXPs which are now multi-allowed are not well tested and could lead to crashes.  Also mysterious bugs, like wings disappearing, reinforcements appearing too early, or rearming not being possible are still occurring and are being fixed as quickly as possible.

So, the most stable way to play Multi is to use the beta build and make sure that everyone is using the same, and most stable build possible.

How can I optimize my multi experience??

* Make sure you set the update rate to LAN in the multi settings screen, unless your connection speed is extremely limited. FS caps the bandwidth it uses based on these settings, but they were designed for connections from 1999. LAN has the least restrictive limits.

* Be aware of the lock button on the far right of the load out screen that allows you to pick your own ship and load out.  Before hitting lock you can can switch your wing position but it keeps you from altering your starting loadout. After hitting lock, you can no longer change positions, but you are able to change ships and loadout.
* Remember that missiles may have lost their lock on your machine, but can still be tracking you on the server. Be more cautious as a multi client about dodging missiles than normal.
* Again, make sure the host is the player with the highest internet upload speed.  This will ensure that object update packets get to you the quickest and you have the smoothest experience, even in busy scenes.
Is Squadwar going to come back?

Squadwar is currently Taylor's top priority.  We owe him a debt of gratitude for resurrecting it and PXO!

Is anyone actively working on the actual guts of FSO multi?

Work has slowed down, but progress is still being made for now.

Is there anything still wrong with Multi?

It's really all about stability now.  How long can we play without encountering a crash or experiencing a breaking bug (like the support ship being carried around like a football on clients)

What are the major things that were fixed.?

* At least a dozen crash sources
* Inaccurate primary weapons and dumbfire missiles
* Support ship carrying other ships off or getting dragged by other ships
* Instant Collision death bug
* Bomb interception
* Directives not behaving correctly on clients

What are standalones and how do i use them?

Standalones are servers that handle the simulation for clients.  They are nice because they are guaranteed to be discoverable.  However, we have not had the time to keep them up to date to master, or upload the mods that are most likely to be played.

What can I do to help?

Play using at least 21.2 and submit crash/bug reports and applicable debug logs and minidumps.

This post will be updated and improved as time goes on.[/list]

Multi Beta:

There is currently not a multi beta.  One will not be required until we are testing changes that require a multi bump.

Just updating here (thanks taylor and Cyborg for all your work and info!!):

Make sure your firewall allows the FSO executable for both public and private networks.

PXO will usually take care of auto-port forwarding so you will usually not need to setup port forwarding.

If you want to know if port forwarding is working then log into PXO, create a game then view the multi.log file in a text editor to check for the line:
--- Code: ---Port forward => Initialized successfully
--- End code ---

Also make sure that the following line is not present, because that means the port forwarding failed.

--- Code: ---Port forward => PCP server <whatever the IP address is> failed to respond. Disabling sending of PCP messages to this server for 60 minutes.
--- End code ---

To connect without using PXO:
1) Both the host and all clients need to determine their public IP address. You can Google `My Public IP Address` if you are unsure.
2) The clients need to open FSO and then go to Options->Multi and then add the host's IP addresses there. Make sure PXO is not selected, and that LAN is selected. Click Accept.
3) Once the client has done that the host should open FSO and then add all client IP addresses. Make sure PXO is not selected, and that LAN is selected. Click Accept.
4) Have the host make a game. The host should only make a game once everyone has entered their respective IP addresses and clicked Accept.
5) Once the host makes a game it should now be findable and joinable for the clients. 

If you are having issues not seeing PXO games then do the following steps above, but just ensure that the PXO button is on.

There are now some minor updates to the first post, and a short description for how to get to the multi coop up mods.  If you need assistance, reply here or on the #PXO channel of the HLP discord.


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