How will Joe Multiboxer work with multiple computers?

Multiple computer use is one of the areas that Joe Multiboxer will really shine when compared to ISBoxer. While ISBoxer does work with multiple computers, there is a lot of room for improvement all the way down the line, from configuration to the feature set itself.

The most important difference from ISBoxer was briefly alluded to in my last post. With ISBoxer, each “Character Set” defines everything that will happen on one computer. To form a team that plays on multiple computers in ISBoxer, multiple Character Sets have to be created and linked together. A Joe Multiboxer “Team”, however, is not tied to a particular computer. (From here on out, when I refer to a capitalized Team, it means a Team in JMB.) Instead, each character can be instructed to launch on whichever computer you like. If you want a certain character to launch on a different computer than usual, it should take only seconds to set that instead of having to configure an additional team. So, configuring Joe Multiboxer for multiple computers should be pretty painless, with almost no extra work required.

For World of Warcraft in particular, the move to JMB Teams from Character Sets will help eliminate other issues as well. One major problem with the way Character Sets are linked together is that Character Sets are designed and intended to be reused. To generate the right macros for each character in the ISBoxer Addon for WoW, ISBoxer needs to be able to determine which characters make up the entire team; Linking one “child” Character Set to multiple “parents” prevents ISBoxer from being able to do that, because it creates conflicting lists of characters. Working around that involves either not letting ISBoxer fill in Character names in WoW macros, or duplicating the child Character Set for each parent. Since with Joe Multiboxer a Team is the entire team, including the ones on other PCs, these issues disappear altogether.

There’s also many improvements¬† that are more behind the scenes, but will be noticeable. For example, one thing that will affect a majority of multiple computer users is an improvement to mouse broadcasting. With ISBoxer, if multiple computers are mouse broadcasting at the same time, the cursor will appear jittery and feel sluggish. That has to be worked around by not broadcasting from multiple computers simultaneously. Joe Multiboxer eliminates this issue.

Another issue multiple computer users sometimes run into with ISBoxer is due to how ISBoxer interacts with Inner Space, the platform it runs on. Inner Space, not ISBoxer, keeps a list of installed games, and where they are run from — but only on the current PC. If the name of the game as configured in Inner Space does not match on each PC (for example, if one is manually added to set up an additional game folder), it wont be available for selection in ISBoxer when configuring your characters for other PCs, and it may fail to launch when a PC doesn’t have a Game with the configured name. Joe Multiboxer, on the other hand, directly configures all of your game installs on all of your PCs; That means it will just work, instead of “hey my game windows didn’t come up on my other computer.”

Finally, with ISBoxer there are two separate and incompatible types of communications that happen between the two computers — one TCP port for Inner Space, and one for ISBoxer. New users are sometimes confused by one working, but not the other. It isn’t particularly obvious that they use separate lines of communication, let alone why they would have to anyway. Joe Multiboxer eliminates this issue, and should also improve Windows Firewall compatibility.

In short, it should be almost as easy to use multiple computers as it is to use one computer.

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