Multiplayer Along the South Coast of the UK

Last Friday was the first of what I hope to be a regular multiplayer session exploring the world in FSX:Steam Edition but before I talk about that I thought it might be useful to supply a little background!

I’m normally known for being a train simmer, i’m currently here at Dovetail Games designing the next generation of the Train Simulator franchise and leading the amazing team that’s actually building it… but I started out long before that as an avid Flight Sim enthusiast.

I think my first Flight Sim was FS4 and i’ve had most of the releases since then, and even did some light reskinning work for my own personal virtual airline so that I could fly my favourite planes (both free and commercial) in a consistent livery.

Some years ago, a friend and I used to spend the odd evening doing a round the world flight, the goal wasn’t to get there quickly, it was to enjoy the journey. For us that meant doing it in something like a Cessna 172 or a Piper Cherokee.

I get the most out of flying when i’m actually feeling more like i’m having to control the aircraft, which for me means take off and landing. Once it’s in the air it gets a lot easier and I tend to be less interested with longer airtime in flights. For the round the world flight, this meant we were landing every 20-60 minutes which meant we weren’t going to get there any time quickly!

We didn’t end up getting even close to finishing, but travelling from Finland via Scandinavia, Northern Europe and travelling south to north through England to Inverness where we ended up stopping was a tremendous journey that we both thoroughly enjoyed… so with the recent re-release of FSX on Steam as FSX:Steam Edition and the superbly simple multiplayer implementation, I’ve been wanting to get back to something like this.

Every weekday evening I host a show on Twitch called TrainSimLive, where I run some Train Simulator scenarios or go through tutorials etc trying to help people see more of the game and get more out of their Train Sim hobby.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to expand it to include FSX:SE because there has always been a lot of overlap between the two simulators and because of my own interest in FSX:SE. I have now dedicated Friday’s just for that, and the reaction has been tremendous!

Last Friday was the first of our more organised flights having had a successful trial run the week before.

A Flight Plan was set up for both Plan-G and FSX:SE and made available via DropBox to anyone who wanted to participate, and Team Speak was provided for communication. Those that wanted to simply watch could do so by watching the live stream on Twitch.

Our plan saw us starting at my local airport, EGTO (Rochester, Kent), flying east to EGMH (Manston), south to the Dover VOR, then west along the southern coast line of the UK with some touch-and-go’s along the way at places like EGKA (Shoreham).

There were probably a dozen or more pilots taking part in the flight, most starting from EGTO but some starting from their home airfields and flying in to join the flight plan later on. I think most used similar aircraft to my Carenado Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, such as the Beech B58. One pilot used the F16 giving everyone a bit of an air show the whole way while others used a variety including birds like the Spitfire.

Just as I expect the next few flights will be, it was something of a learning experience for everyone. I learned that i’d planned way too long of a journey and particularly hadn’t allowed for a head wind that slowed us down so we ended up cutting the flight plan in half and taking in a hotel after returning to the mainland from the Isle of Wight, at EGHH (Bournemouth). We’ll be continuing from EGHH towards EGHC – Land’s End Airport near St. Just, this Friday. Others I think learned that they burned way too much fuel in planes not meant for longer journeys combined with lots of stunt flying 🙂 I think one of the pilots ran out of fuel twice!

Overall it was a great flight with some nice group flying, I picked up some great screenshots with scores of orange multiplayer tags in the background as well as as some great flyby’s from the F16. Some pilots joined me in doing the touch-and-go’s while others opted to simply use it to catch up or to circuit the airfield before continuing on to the next waypoint.

We take a pretty relaxed view on the whole thing, anyone of any skill level is welcome to join in and follow along and we’ll help newcomers. I hope to come up with some interesting flight plan’s for the next few weeks and then I want to actually begin another round the world flight!

Coming up soon i’ve got an interesting flight planned from Calgary to Vancouver, which is aimed at following the railway line and should give some spectacular scenery in the mountains. We’re also going to be looking at some island hopping in the Carribean and we’ll definitely be visiting Grand Canyon and the Pyramids at some point.

You can catch the Twitch stream (weekday nights from 9.30PM UK time) at http://twitch.tv/mattpeddlesden and the on-demand’s via YouTube at http://youtube.com/c/mattpeddlesden. You’ll find the TrainSimLive multiplayer server available via the Steam Multiplayer server listing in FSX:SE and if the server is there then you’re more than welcome to log in and use it. We also have a Steam Group – http://steamcommunity.com/groups/tslive – there’s a dedicated discussion section in there for the FSX:SE streams and it contains information on flight plans, teamspeak servers and so forth, everything you need to join in. You’re also more than welcome to suggest interesting flights!

You can watch the video of this flight on YouTube now too! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhFE3JAjToo

I hope to see you in the skies with us soon!

DTG Matt