Thursday, December 12, 2013

Device Link

In the last weeks I've been a bit away from my simulator project as I was busy with education and certification activities. Anyway, I've finished the implementation of the device link support for the simulation interconnect bus (see last blog post). The device link protocol is rather simple, as it consists only of request and response messages with a set of key-value pairs. If its just a key, it marks a request for a value - usually sent in a request message - and if it contains a value, it denotes either a set request or a response to a value request. The protocol runs over UDP and I tested it with the Commserver of Enemy Engaged.
With Device Link API that I've implemented, it should be relatively easy to create a DeviceLink Client (or even Server) that is capable of sending or responding to requests. The API basically consist of two main interfaces:
  • DeviceLinkPacket - which could be a request or a response and may carry a list of parameters
  • DeviceLinkParameter - carrying the numerical id of the parameter and marks the parameter as either a getter or a setter parameter and may carry a value of the parameter's type
and a couple of supplemental interfaces (DeviceLinkParameterDefinition, DeviceLinkParameterSet and DeviceLinkPacketListener) and some default implmentations for the interfaces.
A central utility class (DeviceLink) provides methods for creating request and response packets of the API types as well as parse a string into a DeviceLinkParameterSet. The DeviceLinkClient allows to connect to a DeviceLinkServer, such as the Enemy Engaged CommServer. With the listener interface, functionality can be added to the client to react upon incoming packets.

For Enemy Engaged I defined an implementation of the DeviceLinkParameterSet (HelicopterType) and for the according DeviceLinkParameterDefinitions (EECHParameter) carrying the various parameters for the helicopters. Connecting to Enemy Engaged is rather simple and I implemented an example client (for my testing purposes).

try (DeviceLinkClient client = 
new DeviceLinkClient(HelicopterType.Any)){ 

  //eechhost is mapped to localhost in hosts file, port is 10000
  client.connect("eechhost", 10000);

  //output all packets to console
  client.addPacketListener(new DeviceLinkPacketListener(){

    public void onReceive(DeviceLinkPacket incoming) {
      for(DeviceLinkParameter p : incoming.getParameters()){


  //poll the server periodically for values
    DeviceLinkPacket packet;
    final List params = new ArrayList<>();

    //request all telemetry parameters
    for(EECHParameter.Common c : EECHParameter.Common.values()){
    packet = DeviceLink.createRequest(params);

    System.out.printf("\t --> (%s)\n", packet);


} catch (IOException e) {


To test and play with API you may download the source code from (Simulation Interconnect Bus) - its not packaged yet.
I'd be happy to know what you think of it.
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