FSXAssist 1.20G a SkyPilot Performance Product
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Welcome to FSXAssist
FSXAssist is a fun / flexible FSX tweaking and configuration tool that is designed to help novice and advance users to get the best performance out of FSX.  In a nutshell FSXAssist provides 5 core functions.   First and foremost FSXAssist is an FSX loader program providing for a flexible way to run FSX and any Addon applications. Second, FSXAssist provides a way to dynamically set Affinity Masks (core usage) and OS priorities between FSX and any Addon applications.  Third, with FSXAssist you have a simple way to assign the most common FSX settings that have the most effect on performance and finally, FSXAssist includes extras like autosave, flight device connect protection and crash recovery.  The best part is when you have found your best settings they can be used every time you run FSX!

In order to run FSXAssist you must have the following: Getting Started
Download the FSXAssist installer program from FSXAssist_Setup.exe.  Run it as Administrator and confirm all installer prompts.  After installation you will have 2 shortcuts - one to run FSXAssist as configurator and loader or to just run FSX (FSXAssist_Run).

Addon Applications
FSXAssist knows about 2 classes of Addon applications - those in the FSX registered exe.xml file and those that you add manually through the UI.  Both types are treated the same during the FSXAssist loading process as far as Affinity Mask and OS Priority goes.  The main difference is when you remove an application in the UI.  The exe.xml apps are marked as disabled while the manually added apps are simply removed.  Note that the applications are not deleted but just removed from the list of applications to run.

Now the thing to remember is if you removed an exe.xml application and want to get it back you have 3 options. 1) edit the exe.xml file and set the disabled attribute to 'False', 2) add it maually with the FSXAssist UI add Addon button or 3) restore your original FSX configuration files using the restore original configuration button.  

Controller Dropout Fix
FSXAssist will use Simconnect to restablish the startup controller at 1 second intervals. This has worked well on Windows 8+ in testing. While we cannot gaurantee that this fix will work for you we suggest that you enable the SimConnect and Messaging options and check your power axis movement to confirm.

FSXAssist will determine if FSX is no longer responding and will initiate a restart with the following: 1) all Addon applications will be terminated, 2) FSX will be terminated, 3) all FSX crash messages will be suppressed, and 4) an FSX restart will occur with the last saved flight and with a subsequent reload of any Addon applications.

AutoSave was added to FSXassist to facilitate the AutoRestart feature but is a nice thing to have in most situations. To enable make sure that the SimConnect option is selected and then set the number of minutes that your want to use for AutoSaving. The default / recommended setting is 3 minutes. When a save occurs you may notice a 1 sec bump in external view but usually nothing in cockpit view. The importent thing is to set Enroute.flt as your default flight in FSX.

Running FSX Realtime
Months of testing has shown that a nice FPS increase is possible when using a Realtime Priority for FSX.  We sometimes hear the SoundBlaster driver break up with Realtime but we can fix by 1) toggleing FSX sound off / on or by 2) setting FSX priority down to HIGH but that setting can cause ground blurries to start showing up. Setting FSX priority back to Realtime fixes the blurries given a bit of time.

Features (see image below)

Running FSXAssist Realtime
After you click 'Run FSXAssist' and if SimmConnect is enabled then you can ALT TAB back to FSXAssist (or any app). If after up to 3 minutes elapse and you do not click on 'Run FSXAssist', then FSXAssist will automatically set focus back to FSX. This is handy if you (like me) forget that you are running FSX or (like me) you have to click on the taskbar several times to get back to FSX. Always click 'Run FSXAssist' to get back to FSX cleanly. That will also restart what we call the 3 Minute Timer (3MT). The 3MT is also used for the Controller Dropout Fix so it is important.

Running FSX Realtime Revisted
The theme here is time and mostly timings. Time and time again we at SkyPilot have proven that a Realtime FSX Priority will prevent blurries and generally improve FPS. The reason is that a Realtime Priority tightens the FSX processing loop simply because the OS will favor FSX for clock cycles and I'm pretty sure that this is done at the micro-code level. IOW, FSX can get things done faster and that includes all of the FSX threads like the one that renders scenery tiles. You will want to set the Frame Limit setting to 0 and the Level Of Detail setting to 7.5 to get this to work. This configuration funnels more clock cycles to the tile rendering engine for sharper textures.

Real Life Results
SkyPilot computers are generally considered high-end systems running at 4.8ghz.  Since we are avid FSX'ers running all the best stuff like RealAir planes and ORBX scenery you may be interested in how we use FSXassist.  To be honest, FSXassist was created mainly because I wasn't happy that EZDOK was running at a higher priority than FSX.  My discovery was that EZDOK runs perfectly well at Normal priority while FSX is Realtime.

As far as Affinity Masks, I'm still a fan of keeping all Addons on their separate core so I force all Addons to core 1 (Affinity Mask = 1) and leave all other cores to FSX. This lead me to another discovery to use HyperThreading with an LOD of 7.5 (with unlimited for testing) which eliminated any blurries. 

Otherwise everything works great using the settings in the FSXassist screen shot in this help.

If for some reason you find that your Affinity Mask, Priority settings or even your registration key are not saving then make sure that the FSXAssist.exe properties are set to 'Run As Administrator' for all users.

I hope that FSXAssist turns out to be a great tool for you!  It has been a fun project for the team.

Please direct all comments to support@skypilot.biz

Jim Allen
SkyPilot Software

Change Log
    Build 1.20G AKA FSXAssist Gold
    1) Chg - FSX crash detection revisited and updated.
    2) Chg - Many timing changes with better signaling.
    3) Add - New config parameter called "SYSTEM_INDEX". Determines how many seconds to give FSX to load to a responsive UI.
    4) Chg - Version branding updated to 1.20G (Gold)

    Build 1.20 Final
    1) Chg - Load timing changes for Addon and XML Apps.
    2) Chg - More workflow updates / timing changes for Addon and EXE.XML Apps.
    3) Fix - EZDOK now loads correctly with the new load timings.
    4) Chg - Version branding updated to 1.20
    5) Chg - Build 1.20 WorkFlow implementation completed.

    Build 1.11
    1) Chg - Gold version of 1.10 with improved work flow.

    Build 1.10
    1) Fix - FSX AutoRestart prompts are now eliminated. When an FSX restart is incurred you will only see FSX reloading. (requires SimmConnect option to be checked.)
    2) Add - Added an Optimize checkbox. Check to ensure that published FSX optimizations are applied. Currently these include HIGHMEMFIX=0 and BufferPools=0.
    3) Add - Added a SYSCLOCK setting. When checked FSX will use the current local time. Uncheck to load FSX with the last saved flight time.
    4) Add - Added a Messages checkbox. Check to view FSXAssist AutoSave and Controller reconnect messages in FSX.
    5) Fix - Fixes the new version available prompt when running FSXAssist. This was due to the 1.09B beta build.
    6) Fix - Fixes the ability to show / use FSXAssist when FSX is already running due to the FSXAssist autosave and recovery timers.
    7) Fix - Fixed the SkyPilot website which could block user input during registration.
    8) Fix - Fixed the new version update email issue for users not running FSXAssit 1.10.
    9) Fix - Fixed the issue for users updating to build 1.10 to reenter their registration key.
    10) Fix - Fixed the uninstall error message for FSXAssist Desktop icons in Windows 8+.
    11) Fix - Fixed error when removing a non exe.xml Addon app.
    12) Fix - Fixed load / restart timing with exe.xml apps.
    13) Fix - Fixed issues when reloading FSXAssist or switching to Maximized mode when FSX is already running.

    Build 1.09B
    1) Add - Adds an autosave feature to save the current flight to ENROUTE.FLT every 3 minutes. Note: set this as your default flight to assist with FSX restarts.
    2) Bug - Fixed the error when changing back to Safe Priorities mode.
    3) Add - Restarted FSX flights now start with an SYSCLOCK setting of 0 and STARTUP WINDOW off to facilitate smoother FSX restarts.

    Build 1.08B
    1) Bug - Fixed the looping FSX restart issues reported by some users.
    2) Chg - Less intrusive FSX crash restarts.
    3) Chg - FSX restarts now load without the start menu regardless of the FSXAssist Start Menu setting for smoother restarts.

    Build 1.08A
    1) Add - Improves FSX controller connectivity when running under Windows 8.

    Build 1.08
    1) Chg - Removes the FSX stop sign error message during an FSX crash recovery.
    2) Add - Adds functionality to retain FSX controller connectivity to prevent the infamous Windows 8 controller dropout behavior.

    Build 1.07A
    1) Chg - Adds special timings for EZCA to ensure its OS Priority setting.

    Build 1.07
    1) Bug - HOTFIX Addon application load timings were changed to ensure corrrect Affinity Mask and OS Priority settings.
    2) Chg - NORMAL is now the default Addon application OS Priority setting.

    Build 1.06
    1) Bug - Fixed FSX configuration path and button tooltips.
    2) Bug - Fixed registration issues when Internet Explorer is not the default browser.
    3) Bug - Fixed issue with FSX crash recovery and EXE.xml apps.

    Build 1.05
    1) Chg - Enhanced crash recovery timing to prevent FSX restart error messages.
    2) Chg - Updated help to reflect FSX.cfg path UI option.
    3) Chg - Duplicated file errors are no longer logged during a session.
    4) Add - Added AVSIM FSXAssist Forum link to SkyPilot site links.
    5) Bug - Loading of FSX modules with no interface was corrected.

    Build 1.04
    1) Add - Added FSX.cfg path UI option
    2) Add - Added support for FSX module apps
    3) Add - Added timeout for apps that fail to load

    Build 1.03
    1) Chg - Changed FSX settings path detection code to work with non-standard user paths.

    Build 1.02
    1) Add - Added auto version updater. (requires always-on internet connection.)
    2) Bug - Fix for FSX crash detection when FSX is shutdown normally.

    Build 1.01
    1) Add - Added FSX crash cleanup recovery with restart option.

    Build 1.00
    1) Add - Added FSX running notification (blinking FSX.exe path).
    2) Add - Added FSX auto restart functionality when FSX options are changed and FSX is running.
    3) Add - Added Addon app options to change load order using drag and drop and a button to set Addon to load before or after FSX.
    4) Chg - Setup file name changed to FSXAssist_Setup.exe.
    5) Bug - Fixed Realtime Priority setting issue.

    Build 1.04B
    1) Bug - Fixed issue for settings not being applied after initialization (first startup).
    2) Add - Added DX10 mode, Autogen Density and Show FSX Startup to FSX settings.
    3) Bug - Fixed user selected Addons not saving issue.
    4) Add - Added ability to remove Addon applications and executables.
    5) Chg - Affinity mask settings now default to Above Normal.
    6) Chg - Fixed visibility of select FSX path and Addon application buttons.
    7) Add - Added auto backup of FSX.cfg prior to initialization.
    8) Add - Added auto backup of EXE.xml prior to initialization.
    9) Add - Added restore original FSX files button with verification prompt.
  10) Add - Added InstallShield installer and auto updater.
  11) Add - Added FSXAssist application icon.
  12) Bug - Fixed failed initialization notification.
  13) Bug - Help button now displays main FSXAssist help web page.
  14) Bug - Fixed bug with user selected FSX.exe not saving.
  15) Add - Updated FSX.exe search.
  16) Bug - Added error handling for empty exe.xml elements.
  16) Bug - Fixed auto run functionality.
  17) Chg - Moved EULA to setup prompt.

    Build 1.03B
    1) Chg - Defaulted the FSX Affinity Mask to the Max core limit - 1.
    2) Add - Added the Frame Rate Lock setting to the FSX settings. Defaults to 30.
    3) Bug - Fixed some screen sizing issues with non 1080p screens.
    4) Add - Added the EULA text and accept check box.

    Build 1.02B
    1) Bug - Fixed the FSX load 'FSX was not shutdown properly' error.
    2) ToDo - Add ability to set AffinityMask / Priorities by application.
    3) ToDo - Fix reported bug AffinityMask / Priorities not taking after initialization.

    Build 1.01B
    1) Bug - Fixed an issue when loading Addon apps.
    2) Bug - Target .Net Framework was set to 4.0 as documented.

    Build 1.00B
    1) ToDo - Create an installer
    2) ToDo - Allow remove and reorder (load order) of Addon apps.
    3) ToDo - Create an app icon.