HOWTO:Use ISBoxer With Multiple Computers

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Please note that configuring multiple PCs is a little more confusing than configuring for a single PC. If you have the luxury of trying a team of 2 or more characters on one PC first, it is advised that you try this to get a basic understanding of ISBoxer. This guide in particular is more focused on configuring the parts that have to do with multiple computers, and not so much with how to create a team -- which is covered in numerous other guides. For creating your first team, please start with the Quick Start!

Overview of multiple PC usage

The first thing you will need to do is decide which PC will handle which Characters. The Characters you pick for each PC will be placed into their own Character Sets as you follow this guide. When properly completed, each PC will run its own Character Set (if you have two PCs, then you will have two Character Sets that each have a portion of your team). They will be linked together from the Character Set on your main PC. When you launch the Character Set on your main PC, the linked Character Sets will automatically launch.

To accomplish this, the same configuration will be kept on all PCs -- maintained from your main PC, and then copied to each of the others.

Any broadcast to "all windows" (or "all w/o current", etc) will include all linked PCs. Action Target Groups will also work across linked PCs. When using Mouse Repeater, make sure not to enable Repeater from All Windows -- this will cause all PCs to enable Repeater and, since they all have an active foreground window, will result in each of them broadcasting their mouse cursor, therefore causing jittering.

Configuring your firewall

ISBoxer's Multiple Computer Helper requires TCP port 10102 to be open for incoming connections on the PC or PCs that will be connected to from your main PC.

Inner Space requires TCP port 10101 (configurable per PC) to be open for incoming connections on the PC or PCs that will be connected to from your main PC.

Configuring Multiple PCs using the Multiple Computer Helper

  1. Launch Inner Space on each PC
  2. On each "other" PCs (as in, all but your main PC), you will need to enable incoming connections in Inner Space, so that the PCs can communicate
    1. Right click on the Inner Space icon in the system tray, and select Configuration
    2. In the General tab of the Configuration window, about halfway down is Uplink Networking. You will need to check the Enable incoming connections on port box, and if you like, you can also change the port number. You may need to open this port (incoming TCP) in your firewall -- there may be a pop-up from the firewall the next time Inner Space is launched.
    3. Click Apply
    4. Close and re-start Inner Space
  3. Launch ISBoxer Toolkit on each PC
  4. Right click on Computers at the top in ISBoxer, and select Start Multiple Computer Helper, on each PC. This will allow other computers running ISBoxer on your local network to detect and communicate with each other.
  5. You are done interacting with your other PCs (just leave them running ISBoxer with Multiple Computer Helper enabled), now focus on your main PC for the remainder of the process. You will not be doing any further ISBoxer configuration on the other PCs.
  6. Create a Computer in ISBoxer for each of your PCs. If you forgot to do so in Step 4, right click on Computers at the top in ISBoxer, and select Start Multiple Computer Helper on the main PC. Then right click on Computers, and under the New Computer from remote sub-menu, select a PC to create a Computer for it. Do this for (not on) each of the other PCs. If you rename the Computer through ISBoxer, you will need to fill in the "IP address or hostname" field.
  7. Create the Character Set for the main PC, using the Quick Setup Wizard
  8. Create a Character Set for each additional PC as follows:
    1. In the top pane, select a Computer to create a Character Set for
    2. In the bottom left pane, right click on Character Sets and select Quick Setup Wizard. This will set up a new Character Set specifically for the selected Computer/
  9. In the top pane, select the main PC's Character Set (from step 7). Then drag each additional Character Set (from step 8) from the top pane, into the bottom left pane so that they appear under Also Launch.
  10. Right click on Computers and select <All Computers> in the Copy + Export all to remote Inner Space sub-menu. This step may take a moment. This will automatically copy the configuration to the other Computers and Export it to Inner Space.
  11. Launch the Character Set on the main PC. When you do this, the other PCs should launch their Character Sets at the same time. Broadcasting will now work between the linked Character Sets.

Troubleshooting

If launching the Character Set on the main PC does not launch all of the other Character Sets correctly, and you have followed the above steps, you can troubleshoot the problem using the Inner Space Console. See HOWTO: Troubleshoot Multi-PC Launch Issues.

... if Multiple Computer Helper will not work

  1. Perform all configuration from the main PC.
  2. Set up everything that will be on your main PC (Character Set, Window Layout, etc)
  3. Set up each other PC (in ISBoxer on the main PC as instructed by #1), starting with creating a Computer for each other PC. If you will be using Window Layouts on the other PCs, you will need to set up the Screens per PC, each with the proper boundaries. To get the correct information to put for each screen, you can launch ISBoxer on each PC (you'll need it on each anyway), and on that PC, right click on Computers and click New Computer. It will fill in information on the Computer it is run on. You will need to make sure that either a) you name the Computer the same as the actual Computer name (see #5 for how to find it), or b) fill in the Uplink Name (see #5 for how to find it) and the IP address fields.
  4. Create everything that will be run on each other PC, as if you were going to play only on that PC (Character Set, Window Layout, etc). To create a Character Set assigned to a specific PC, select the Computer in the top pane, then right click on Character Sets in the bottom left pane (under the Computer!) and select Quick Setup Wizard -- this will link the Character Set to your PC, and will also generate Window Layouts for that PC for you to choose from.
  5. Enable Uplink Networking in Inner Space on each PC that is not the main PC. To do so, open the Configuration window in Inner Space (via its menu), and on the General tab, roughly in the middle is a checkbox to "Enable incoming connections on port" with a port number by it. Check the box to enable incoming connections. You may need to allow the given port (incoming, TCP) in your firewall. Directly above that box is "Unique name for this uplink" which defaults to the name of your PC (this is where to find the actual computer name or the Uplink Name for #3). If it's not the name of your PC, you will need to set the IP Address field in ISBoxer for the Computer.
  6. To link the Character Sets together, go back to the Character Set for the main PC. You will notice an "Also Launch" at the bottom of it. Click and drag each of the other Character Sets (the ones to be played at the same time on the other Computers) to this Character Set (you have to drag it from the top part, to the bottom part, just like all of the other click+drag you do in ISBoxer). This will make it so that when you launch the main Set, it will "Also Launch" the others on the appropriate Computers. If you are using Repeater, everything will then repeat to ALL windows, not just the ones on your main PC. If you are using Key Maps, "All" will also include the other PCs, but you will notice that per-Slot is only available on the *current* PC. Action Target Groups work across all PCs (and therefore if you need per-Slot, create an Action Target Group for any given Character).
  7. Once the configuration is complete, Save and Export it on the main PC. You will then need to get it to each of the other PCs, which will also need it Exported to Inner Space via ISBoxer. You can either copy ISBoxerToolkitProfile.XML across, (found where ISBoxer is installed, which is hopefully the Inner Space folder) or you can use the Copy to Clipboard feature from the File Menu in ISBoxer, then the Paste feature from the same menu on the other PC. If you do not have a shared clipboard (e.g. Synergy), you can use a paste site like pastebin.com to copy it on the other PC.
  8. Launch Character Set on main PC, which should not show the additional Character Sets in the IS menu. If it does not launch on the other PCs, check the Console window in the uplink (main program) for error messages (it will be obvious, and colored red). You may need to check it on the other PCs as well. The uplink Console window can be opened via the Console item in the IS menu.

See Also

The Getting started and Using ISBoxer Toolkit pages may provide you with other helpful information.