Fly with panoramic views using multiple monitors on a LAN
for FS2020 | Flight Simulator X | FSX Steam | Prepar3D | ESP | FS2004
January 18th, 2021 - Widetraffic 2021 v.1.1 available: Widetraffic 1.1 for Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) is now available. It now supports also the synchronization of airport vehicles. Please be sure to read important information about how it works (the user's guide can be instead found in the same folder where the application is installed into). Go to downloads.
November 26th, 2020 - WidevieW 2021 v.1.05 available: WidevieW for Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020). Contains some bug fixes and automated start-up of clients. Please be sure to read important information about how WidevieW 2021 works. To know what's new, please download WidevieW User's Guide or go to downloads to get the full installation package.
WidevieW is a Flight Simulator add-on that can be used to create virtual cockpit with panoramic scenery view, up to 360°, using multiple monitors on networked (LAN) computer. There is no limit on how many PCs can be linked together, and each of them can be configured to show scenery, maps, Spot Plane or Tower view. View angles and zoom factors can be easily customized, to get images merging perfectly between the monitors or video projectors.
Widetraffic is an optional module for WidevieW which ensures AI and multiplayer traffic synchronization throughout the local area network (LAN), so the same airplanes fly at the same time and place on every computer. Since version 1.2, Widetraffic synchronizes also the airport vehicles and, thanks to a distrubuted client and server processing, improves the performance of Flight Simulator when lot of AI Aircrafts are displayed.
Get rid now of the limitations of multiple monitors connected on the same computer and use your LAN to expand your cockpit until space and budget allows! Compatible with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, Flight Simulator X, FSX Steam Edition, Prepar3D (both 32 and 64bit releases), Microsoft ESP and FS2004.
What is the best way to use multiple monitors with Flight Simulator?
Why use Flight Simulator on multiple computers in a LAN, when any modern video card supports multiple monitors on the same computer, is one of the most frequently asked question. This can be easily explained with a single picture that summarizes all:
As you can easily see from this picture, there are mainly two very important reasons to use Flight Simulator on multiple monitors in a LAN, rather than installing multiple monitors on the same computer.
- First reason: performance. When multiple monitors are connected to the same computer, the total size of the image to render is much higher compared to a single monitor. If the base resolution of a single monitor is 1920x1080 (full HD) and you connect 3 of them to the same computer (which is the very basic requirement to get a panoramic view in Flight Simulator), the total image size to render will be 5760x1080. This will cause the computer to sit down, no matter of what CPU or GPU you use: now, try to think what happens with three monitors in 4K resolution.
Instead, if the three monitors are connected to three computers, each computer will have to render just a 1920x1080 (or a single 4K) image, meaning that you may use a cheaper CPU and much cheaper GPU. Yes, purchasing three "average" computers will be likely less expensive than a single high-end computer and the overall performance will be much better, simulating a true multiple channel environment where multiple computers in a LAN help each other to accomplish the final task.
As you can see, with multiple monitors on same computer, the frame rate is only 15.4 on a powerfull Geforce GTX 1080Ti. Instead, in a WidevieW system based on multiple monitors on multiple computer via LAN, exactly on same spot and same conditions, the frame rate is 50.9 using just a middle-end GeForce RTX 2060 Super.
- Second reason: visual quality. When multiple monitors are connected to the same computer, the image is just "stretched" over their surface, causing washed-out textures and perspective deformations that becomes worser and worser on side monitors. Just see what happens to the control tower in the picture above: in a non WidevieW system, the control tower appears like stretched in one direction, while in the WidevieW system, it's shape is perfectly natural. This is possible because on a WidevieW system, the side-image is NOT actually a strectched front-view, but is a REAL side view having an its own view angle and zoom.
This is particularly true with Flight Simulator 2020, which doesn't allow to open multiple windows on a single computer yet, but only to stretch the front view. FSX and Prepar3D allows instead to open multiple windows even on the same computer, therefore with a specific view angle each, but this will cause even more serious impact on performance, no matter what GPU you use.
Sample WidevieW cockpit
Built by users, using WidevieW to get a panoramic scenery view through multiple monitors on a LAN. More WidevieW pictures here.
|Turnkey Flight Simulator by FSC||My own cockpit | Hardware specs|
|Courtesy of Steve Ferris.||CBT Flight Simulator by Flight Simulator Center|
|Courtesy of Peter Koller.||Courtesy of Jaap Both.|
|Courtesy of the Wingspan team.||Courtesy of Gerard Salden.|
WIDEVIEW MAIN FEATURES
- Adds multi monitor support to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, Flight Simulator X including Steam Edition, Flight Simulator 2004 - 2002, Microsoft ESP and Prepar 3D (both 32 and 64 bit releases), through networked computers for panoramic scenery views in the LAN
- Compatible with Flight Simulator 2004, Flight Simulator X, FSX Steam Edition, Prepar3D 32bit versions, Prepar3D 64bit versions, Microsoft ESP, Flight Simulator (2020)
- Mixed configuration supported (for example, server Prepar3D for instrument panel, clients FSX for cheaper licenses or FS2020 for best visuals)
- WidevieW Control Center provided to configure Flight Simulator and WidevieW easily and quickly (external program for 2002 and 2004 version; integrated into Flight Simulator for Flight Simulator X and Prepar3D version)
- Works with map view (one of the clients in the LAN may show a permanent view from top)
- Can be used to display spot plane or tower views permanently on one or more LAN computer
- Spot plane views can be spanned onto multiple networked monitors, having for example the wings on lateral monitors and keeping the animations, like landing gear, flaps, etc., synchronized with the entire LAN (FSX / ESP / P3D only, not guaranteed to work with every add-on aircrafts)
- Compatible with computers having dual head video cards or multiple video outputs (to reduce the total number of PCs required)
- Remote hat switch function (reorient remote views throughout the cockpit with a single mouse click or , in FSX / ESP / P3D only, by keyboard and joystick / yoke hat / POV switch)
- Works with 3Dconnexion 3D mice through optional fs6DOFware module, to add full 6DOF (degrees of freedom) camera movement, synchronized throughout the LAN (FSX, ESP, P3D 32bit only);
- Aircraft profiles to customize view alignment for each aircraft installed in your system
- Works with custom cameras, to switch the view simulataneously on all the clients and to get multi monitor Spot Plane view (FSX / ESP / P3D only)
- Works with TPC/IP or IPX protocol, supporting multiple network adapters on the same computer
- Low bandwidth required: works also on older 10mbits networks based on coax cable. Compatible with 100 and 1Gb networks
- Works in any release and edition of Microsoft Windows, 32bit and 64bit, including very old Windows XP to latest editions. LAN computers may have different editions of the operative system.
- Supports multi-core / multi-processor platforms (FSX / ESP / P3D only) to distrubute load on different user's selectable cores
- Configurable joystick / yoke buttons to provide simultaneous camera switching on the computers and to re-orient the view interactively (FSX / ESP / P3D only)
- "Intellismooth" option provided to let the clients to always run at their maximum possible speed, even if the server is very slow. This option builds missing frames dynamically, letting to get smoothest clients regardless of network and server's speed (FSX / ESP / P3D only)
- AI and multiplayer aircraft traffic synchronization throughout the LAN provided via optional Widetraffic module (FSX / ESP / P3D only)
- Supports Level-D 767 custom lights on clients (FS2004 only)
- Trial mode available
- User's friendly interface to configure all the options
- Compherensive user's guide (more than 70 pages)
WIDETRAFFIC MAIN FEATURES
- Synchronizes most airport vehicles, AI and Multiplayer aircrafts throughout the LAN, the perfect complement for any WidevieW based cockpit, see the AI aircrafts and the airport vehicles moving from a monitor to the next, as they would come from a single computer
- Compatible with Flight Simulator (2020), Flight Simulator X, FSX Steam Edition, Prepar3D 32bit versions, Prepar3D 64bit versions, Microsoft ESP
- May improve the overall system performance, due to client / server distributed tasks (server handles path and flight dynamics, clients handle just the aircraft's shape and rendering)
- AI traffic update frequency can be decreased in favor of own aircraft and global scenery smoothness
- Can use the same network cable used by WidevieW or can be configured to use a secondary network card for additional performance
- Compatible with most third parties AI aircraft packages, including custom schedules, aircraft models and textures
- Supports mixed FSX / ESP / P3D / FSX Steam configurations as long as aircraft library is the same
- Supports multi-core / multi-processor platforms, users may select on which core the load should be applied
- Dozens of user's configurable settings to fine tune aircraft quantity, performance and behaviour
- Synchronizes most AI aircraft external animations (landing lights, landing gear, flaps and more)
- Trial mode available
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