Hardware Compatibility    Prerequisites    Downloads    Compiling     Voice Comms    FAQ    HowTo
         

LINUX AIR COMBAT
Current version: 5.02, released for beta testing 01Oct2017
 

Lac 5.01 imageAnother screenshot

(Click the images above to see a larger version)

LINUX AIR COMBAT is a free, open-source combat flight simulator developed by AskMisterWizard.com for the LINUX community. Its roots came from the well-known "classic" flight game known as "GL-117", but this new incarnation has been extensively re-written and improved.

LINUX AIR COMBAT is also known as "LAC", and this is the home page for everything about LAC.

CLICK HERE for our YouTube Playlist with a large collection of video clips about LAC.

Now undergoing final beta testing in our development laboratories and via free Internet download, this high-performance flight simulator already supports all of the basics demanded by today's LINUX flight sim users, including all of these features:
People have been asking to have this included in mainstream LINUX distributions and repositories. We're flattered to have that attention. It's ALMOST time for that, but not quite yet. This software is still under active development, and our alpha testers are receiving new versions almost every week. New beta test versions are published on this web page almost every month. We expect all of this to settle down later on this year (2017) and we'll use this space to declare when it's ready for prime-time distribution. At that point it would be appropriate for LINUX users to ask their own distribution managers and packagers to include it. Then, if those people need help, they can contact us through the webmaster@AskMisterWizard.com email address and we will be glad to assist.

Linux Air Combat really is free software that we donate to the world. We are writing this stuff because we love to do so. However, there are real-world limits on the amount of time we can spend writing and preparing this software. You can help! Our development efforts are funded by the modest advertising revenue we receive from our web site AskMisterWizard.com. All we ask is that you give our web site a chance. It's loaded with very high quality instructional videos about technology, flight simulation, and networking. Please be fair with our advertisers. We keep scripting to an absolute minimum, and we don't clutter up the site with excessive ads. If you see an ad that you don't like, please DON'T click on it. That will help our advertisers figure out the kinds of ads that please our viewers. On the other hand, if you see an ad that shows something of real interest to you, please consider exploring it in detail and giving the advertiser a fair share of your honest attention. When you do that, everybody wins, and we can spend more time improving LINUX AIR COMBAT.  Thanks!


Linux Air Combat V03.42 online screenshot
A screen shot from January of 2017 (Version 3.42) in an online skirmish.  Note
the enhanced instrument panel with "Router" lights, status messages, and target
identified by name. (Click image to see a larger, more detailed version.)

Default Flight Controls   Standard Keyboard Layout
Default flight controls for LINUX AIR COMBAT. The default configuration is set
up for a numeric keypad, standard keyboard, and the popular, inexpensive
Logitech Extreme 3dPro joystick as illustrated above. It is possible to reconfigure
for a different joystick or to use a generic "mouse pointer" instead of a joystick.
Keyboard keys are also reconfigurable and/or interchangeable with joystick
buttons. In general it is possible to assign almost any keyboard key to any
arbitrary flight or view function. It is also easy to reconfigure a typical joystick
"hat switch" to configure view directions, etc. Further instruction is available in
video tutorials below.



Linux Air Combat screenshot 1   Linux Air Combat screenshot 2 
Two screenshots showing LINUX AIR COMBAT in action

01 Oct 2017

Multiplayer online beta testing is now in process, based on new Linux Air Combat V5.02

In December of 2015, AskMisterWizard.com announced availability of our new, free, open source flight simulator for LINUX,  now known as "LINUX AIR COMBAT".

The first published version was alpha test number 1.99. Soon thereafter we published updates 2.00 and 2.01, fixing a few bugs that were discovered as a result of public testing. During the intervening months, we've continued to add features, fix bugs, and enhance the flight models. In November 2016, we advanced to version 2.98.  In early December of 2016, we released beta test version 3.18. In January 2017 we released version 3.42 for beta testing.  Interim version 3.51, with full "Mumble voice integration", completed alpha testing in early February 2017. As of this writing in October of 2017 the current beta-test version is 5.02 (download link below).

Video summaries of new features can be seen in the following brief YouTube clips: 

Major improvements from Spring 2016 were:

Major improvements in the October 2016 release were:

Major improvements in the December 2016 release were:

Major features of the January 2017 version were:

Major new features from February 2017 include:
Major new features from March 2017  (Version Lac03p72) include:
Major improvements from June 2017 (Version Lac04p16)  include: Major improvements from August 2017 (Version Lac04p53) include:

Major improvements from September 2017 (Version Lac04p77) include:

            1 of 5: USA's B25 "Mitchell" medium bomber.
            2 of 5: USA's B26 "Marauder" medium bomber
            3 of 5: Japan's G4m "Betty" medium bomber.
            4 of 5: US Navy's F4F "Wildcat" fighter.
            5 of 5: USA's P39 "Airacobra" fighter.     

Major improvements from October 2017 (Version Lac05p01) include:

This sim is incomplete, still under active development. There are still a few bugs and areas needing work. You will need to use a text editor to modify configuration files in order to customize some of the details. The high altitude flight models do not yet accurately model mechanical superchargers that change gear ratios at different altitudes.  Landing and takeoff simulations and low-speed flight models are still a little sloppy. Additional WW2 aircraft are needed. Most of the aircraft artwork is primitive.

As a result of feedback from our beta testers, new features in the recent version focus on strategic missions, better support for "mouse" flight controls, strategic bombing, bomber and airfield defenses, improved landings, improved takeoffs,  and a better default keyboard layout.  The prior set of releases concentrated on bombs and rockets, smoother network play, better user management, and improved voice communication within online, multiplayer missions. We are proud to declare that LAC offers truly world-class multi-user player management and voice comms.

While we've been making all of these improvements, we've also developed a "Linux Air Combat Server" that is now undergoing public beta testing in our laboratories. As of late June 2017, that server has completed the first phase of beta testing, and a high performance hosting service now has it available at LacServer2.LinuxAirCombat.com. (Please have patience with us if that server isn't always available. We're working on it....) Everything is still rather primitive, but everybody with an up-to-date copy of Linux Air Combat can now participate with us in the ten-player  missions that we have been using during our development. (It's a lot of fun.)  This October 2017 release uses a more advanced version of our server. Accordingly, older versions of LAC MUST be upgraded to version 5.02 or later in order to user our servers and participate in any of the three online, multiplayer missions. Watch this space for more updates!

Here are some YouTube video clips showing LINUX AIR COMBAT in action:
(Let's use YouTube comments as a "discussion forum" about LINUX AIR COMBAT. We monitor our YouTube comments energetically and you can expect lively dialog and responses when you comment on any of these video clips.)

   
 


Development is proceeding rapidly, and we are now testing beta version 5.02, supporting 25 different aircraft. Beautiful terrains feature seascapes, deserts, and mountainous areas. Look for the link below to download your own copy. 

       
Prerequisites for running a compiled, binary version of LINUX AIR COMBAT

This flight simulator is distributed in both source code and binary executable formats for various LINUX distributions. (Most people will need to compile it.) For compatibility with a binary version, it requires each of these well-known, popular LINUX libraries and tools, which are generally preinstalled in most major LINUX desktop distributions:
If LINUX is new to you, CLICK HERE to go to our YouTube playlist loaded with introductory information that can get you started.

Additional Prerequisites for compiling your own version from the LINUX AIR COMBAT source code


If your LINUX system is typical, you will need to compile LINUX AIR COMBAT from the free source code (the well-organized source code makes this very easy, even for non-programmers). In addition to the prerequisites listed above, you will also need gcc (almost always present),  and all of these tools and libraries, which are generally NOT preinstalled in most major LINUX desktop distributions:
Experienced LINUX users will recognize all of these as well-known LINUX components. For most of the popular LINUX desktop distributions, every one of these components will be freely available through the usual and customary means, using free package managers. If you have a good Internet connection, you should be able to get everything within 5 or 10 minutes and with just a few mouse clicks. For a YouTube video showing how we obtained tools to compile a very similar project, CLICK HERE.

Hardware Compatibility

LINUX AIR COMBAT hardware requirements are modest. At the minimum, two gigabytes of RAM and an old Celeron or Pentium processor should suffice. Five levels of graphic detail are available from a prominent configuration menu. When configured to display in a small window with the simplest available graphics, almost any desktop or laptop PC built since about 2006 should be able to run it with acceptable frame rates on any of the popular LINUX distributions. Full-screen, high definition video using the higher graphical levels (levels 3, 4, and 5) will require an accelerated graphic card of the type made popular by nVidia, Intel, or ATi, but you won't need a really expensive card. I've had great success with cards that cost U.S. $50.00 or less.

LINUX AIR COMBAT is intended for joystick flight controls. Joystick axes, joystick buttons, and keyboard keys can be mapped to any of 45 different flight functions and 16 comms functions, so you will be able to set up your controls to your liking. A joystick (like the popular, inexpensive Logitech Extreme 3dPro) is HIGHLY recommended, but it is possible to control LINUX AIR COMBAT with just a keyboard and mouse.


Tutorial 1: Downloading


New since 05Apr2016! LINUX AIR COMBAT can be downloaded for beta testing!

CLICK HERE for the compressed archive of the latest public version, containing:
Note that you must install some configuration files in specific filesystem locations before the compiled, executable program will run without errors. See LAC Tutorial 2 below for a video clip showing how we do this on PcLinuxOs2016. Also note that if you are upgrading from a previous version, you will need to copy the newest version of the "LacControls.txt" file into your ~/home/.LAC folder. The easiest way to do this is just to run the "install.sh" script again.

Use the "CLICK HERE" link above to download the compressed tar.tar.gz archive file. Decompress the tar.tar.gz file to produce the associated .tar file according to established unix/Linux customs. Then de-archive the tar file. You can store the resulting, new directory tree structure anywhere you want it within your home filesystem (so long as you can remember where you put it). Once you've de-archived the tar and tar.tar.gz archives, it's OK to delete them.

Please note that although a compiled, executable copy of LINUX AIR COMBAT is included in your download, it was compiled on a 64-bit PcLinuxOs system and may not work on other distributions (we just confirmed that it DOES work with 64-bit Ubuntu V16.04.1). Since most people are using different LINUX versions, most will need to compile the source code to produce an appropriate executable version. Unlike other flight simulators, it is easy to compile LINUX AIR COMBAT, and you will be able to do it all from within a friendly, graphical environment without arcane text commands. Look for the section of this page entitled "Compiling from Source Code" (below) for detailed instructions and video clips showing exactly how we did it.

Within the top-level de-archived folder, you should find an executable shell script named "install.sh". You are ready to run that shell script after you compile the sourcecode  or otherwise obtain the appropriate executable version of LAC.

Running that shell script from a command window like /bin/bash will copy all of the required files into the appropriate locations and configure the appropriate binary executable program to run on your computer. You can see a YouTube video below ("LAC Tutorial 2: Installation") that illustrates the way we used that shell script on our PcLinuxOs2016 system.


Watch the two video tutorials above to see exactly how I used the link [above] to download and de-archive the required, free installation file.


Also within that top-level de-archived folder, you should find full source code and an associated ".cbp" file to configure the free, well-known "CodeBlocks" Integrated Development Environment, making it easy for you to compile and/or modify your own version of this software.

Compiling from Source Code

Linux Air Combat is FAR EASIER to compile and modify than any comparable flight simulator. The source code is exceptionally well organized for easy compilation on almost any PC running a desktop version of Linux.

CLICK HERE for our easy, detailed compilation instructions and video examples.


LAC Tutorial 2: Installation





LAC Tutorial 3: Video Optimization






LAC Tutorial 4: Advanced LAC Configuration with the LacConfig.txt file
(Note that the IP address and DNS name of our LacServer was changed in late June of 2017, so the example in this video clip is out of date. The best IP address to access our newest Linux Air Combat Server is "LacServer2.LinuxAirCombat.com". If that server is not running, you could try our old server at BoseNet.no-ip.biz)





LAC Tutorial 5: Configuring Joystick, Keyboard, and Mouse for flight






At the time of this writing in October of 2017, only a very few people know about Linux Air Combat's new online server. Please help us pass the word. Invite your friends to join you online as we build up this community from its tiny state. At first, everybody will have trouble finding others with whom we can fly. This will only succeed if we all bring friends into the emerging new "LAC Community".

If you were using our initial beta-test server at BoseNet.no-ip.biz, you will need to edit your LacConfig.txt file and change the three fields referencing that old server to these three new fields: "LacServer2", "LinuxAirCombat", "com".


Voice Communication with other LAC players


For your convenience communicating with others in the LAC Community, AskMisterWizard.com sponsors a Mumble server, so you will
benefit greatly from the free, well-known "Mumble" Internet voice client application. Mumble clients are available for all popular operating systems including LINUX, Android, Apple/IOS, and Windows. Use Mumble to communicate with other LAC users during flight, or just to chat about LAC with other users or developers. Because LAC is new and the server is undergoing beta test from a small community of users, you will naturally want to know if anybody else is flying, and the realms and missions in use. We intend for our Mumble Server to serve as your "home base" for these activities. You and your friends can connect to our Mumble server at LinuxAirCombat.com. Configure your Mumble server connection with a simple username that is unique to yourself. We use Mumble's standard Public Key Infrastructure to authenticate users the easy way, so you won't need a password. Our server has dedicated channels for general discussion of LAC, for technical support, and for each of our online missions and their teams. Furthermore, LAC now comes preconfigured with a set of powerful macros and status messages that fully integrate Mumble into your LAC controls and cockpit! (You will need to create 26 new Mumble "Shortcuts" to synchronize Mumble's interpretation of your LAC keyboard macros. CLICK HERE for a YouTube video clip showing how we did that.)

New! The Linux Air Combat Video HowTo!

We are building a new series of short, highly focused YouTube video clips to help you download, install, configure, and enjoy Linux Air Combat. Most of these video clips are less than 5 minutes in length, and many are less than two minutes long, because each covers just a single topic. Organized as a YouTube "playlist", you can quickly scan the many separate titles to focus in on a specific problem or area of interest. We are adding titles to this playlist frequently, so if you don't see what you need right now you might find it later. Please use YouTube comments associated with each clip to ask or answer related questions for the LAC community. This advertising-supported effort helps to fund our development, so we appreciate your participation and support.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the Linux Air Combat Video HowTo on YouTube


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q01: Is LAC compatible with Microsoft Windows?

A:  No. With a lot of work, it ought to be possible to modify the source code and compile it on a Windows machine, but this will require a fair amount of skill, and we don't have the resources to help.

Q02: Do I really need to compile LAC?

A: Probably. At the time of this writing in October of 2017, we do all of our development work on Intel-based, PC-compatible desktop and laptop computers running current, 64-bit versions of PcLinuxOs. If that describes your environment, then you can use the binary file that's always distributed in the installation kit once you've downloaded the initial set of prerequisites. As of June 2017 we have confirmed that the binary version we are now publishing also works on 64-bit Ubuntu version 16.04.1 once all of the prerequisite components are installed. If you are NOT running 64-bit PcLinuxOs or a recent 64-bit Ubuntu, you could give it a try, but success is unlikely.  The good news is that it is far easier to compile LAC than most other free, open-source projects, and many people without any prior compiling experience have reported success with it. Usually the entire process requires only half an hour or so, even for beginners, and all of the required tools and resources are available absolutely free of charge on most LINUX platforms. 32-bit systems are fully interoperable with 64-bit systems, so you can compile it for your preferred architecture and operating system.

Q03: Do I really need a joystick?

A: No. It flies fairly well with just a mouse and a standard keyboard. However, flight with mouse controls is less precise. Furthermore, if you want to fly online, in competition with other players, you will be at a very serious disadvantage unless you have a joystick too, because it is measurably quicker and easier to maneuver with a joystick.

Q04: Do I really need the "Mumble" VOIP application?

A: No. The offline missions don't benefit from Mumble at all. You can even fly all of the online missions without Mumble, but you will have absolutely no way of communicating with other players. Online LAC is a lot more fun when you can join in conversation with partners and opponents. Mumble is completely free, and even during our beta test period, our dedicated Mumble server is generally available at LinuxAirCombat.com, with preconfigured channels ready for your use in all of the missions and accessible by LAC's preconfigured "Hot Keys". Hundreds of thousands of people use Mumble, all over the world, with a wide variety of computers, headsets, microphones, speakers, and even through Android and IOS phones and tablets. You should have little trouble getting it to work, and its integration with LAC is better than any other comparable application. The intent is that people interested in a LAC session will just "hang out" on our Mumble server's "root" channel until other players show up, whereupon they can use Mumble to talk with one another and negotiate realms and missions of their liking.

Q06: Will it run on a Raspberry Pi?

A: Not well enough to enjoy. It's easy to compile it on the Pi, but the Pi's hardware just doesn't have enough power for smooth flight. It's really, really, really cumbersome on the Pi. You won't like it.

Q07: Which is the best airplane for beginners?

A: The Spitfire is easy to fly and quick to turn. Most beginners love it. The F6F is similar. The P51 is a little faster, and still fairly easy to control. Avoid the P38 unless you are a Lightning fan, because you really need to understand use of flaps and dive brakes to fly it safely.

Q08: Is it OK to "Vulch"

A: Yes. "Vulching" (the practice of diving on helpless, low-flying aircraft that have just entered a mission to shoot them down before they reach escaping or maneuovering speed) is allowed in all of our missions. If you can set up a "vulching" opportunity, you are encouraged to take full advantage of it. If you are being "vulched" a lot, you need to take off from different airfields, or change the way you fly! "Vulching" has been a real part of every air war. The mission named "MissionNetworkBattle01" is specifically designed to model the extensive use of "vulching" that characterized many World War II air battles.

Q09: Are jets allowed?

A: Yes, but in many situations it isn't polite to use the jet. If you see other jets participating in a mission, feel free to join them with another jet. However, it would be very rude to drive a jet into a well-organized group of WW2 aircraft that are trying to mimic historic flight. It's a good idea to use Mumble to ask about this.

Q10: How do I defend against missiles?

A: That's a good question. The missiles in LAC aren't very smart, and most of the time they don't lock on to their targets very well, so you may not need to worry about them unless your opponent has a lot of practice flying into optimal range before using them. However, LAC provides NO advanced warning of a missile shot in the online, multiplayer missions. You can't see or hear missiles in flight, and the RADAR doesn't see them either. Firing flares and chaff works offline, but in online missions, they aren't seen by opposing aircraft so they can't help you. It's considered "good form" and good etiquette to get on the radio, in the main mission channel, and broadcast a "Missile Away" message when you fire a missile. If you ever hear a message like that from a nearby, hostile player, you can often beat the missile with a sudden, violent maneuver.

Q11: How do I land my airplane?

A: Almost every mission has airfields. They are very simple, straight, flat, black strips on the terrain. They are fairly easy to spot from the air, and generally they are even easier to spot from "Map Mode". You will need to throttle back, slow down to about 170 MPH or lower (it will help to enter a shallow climb for awhile as you slow down), and drop flaps and undercarriage. Then, being careful to keep your speed low enough to keep your flaps and undercarriage from automatically retracting, turn toward one end of one of the runways and adjust throttle, elevator, and aileron so that your speed diminishes to the point of stalling as your aircraft flies over the near end of the runway, just a few feet up. If you time everything right, you will hear a satisfying "squeak" as your tires brush the pavement, and your cockpit status panel will show no damage. In strategic missions, if your aircraft has been damaged, it is automatically repaired a few seconds after you come to a complete stop on a runway. (Just wait awhile on the runway until your instruments settle down to indicate a "slow enough" speed.)  Your aircraft is also re-fueled and re-armed automatically while you are on the ground.

After landing, a quirk in the current version requires you to pay extra attention to your elevators if you will want to take back off.  If left unattended, your elevator will drift off-center. If you try to take off while your elevators are stuck way too high or way too low, you will crash.

Q12: How do I take off?

A: All of the current missions spawn you in the air. Most of the online ones spawn you at low altitude, at low speed, almost out of fuel, fairly close to an airfield. Before you can ever take off, you must land as described above. While you are on the ground, your elevators may try to drift outside of the normal zone near their center point. Don't let that happen, or you may crash when you try to take off. Taxi into a corner at one end of the runway, and use your rudder to turn around. Use "short field" techniques to take off. Retract your flaps all the way to minimize air resistance as your speed builds up.  You will need all the power you can get in order to take off in a WW2 aircraft.  Throttle all the way up. Use "War Emergency Power" if your airplane allows it. After your airspeed builds up above about 70 MPH, extend your flaps all the way, and, if necessary to lift off, gently pull back on your joystick. Most of the runways are slightly elevated above adjacent terrain, so if you run out of runway before reaching sustainable flight speed, you may be able to dip down a bit as you fly off the end of the field to pick up enough speed. Your aircraft will take off safely if you get the timing right. Retract your undercarriage right away. Keep your climb angle very shallow until your speed exceeds about 130 MPH, and then begin retracting your flaps. Once your airspeed exceeds about 200 MPH, your aircraft should be able to maneuver nicely.

Q13: How do I find other players?

A: Before you start flying, it's best to check in on our Mumble server at LinuxAirCombat.com. Just "hanging out" in the "Root" channel there will let you know when somebody else joins to do the same, and from there members of the LAC community can talk with one another to arrange missions, schedules, and team affiliations. Because our LAC community is just getting started, upon joining our Mumble server, you might find that you are the only one there. With patience, you can just wait for somebody else, and we usually have one or two people checking in for at least one or two hours daily, but you will definitely need to be patient until our community grows. (It is commonplace to see several "inactive" or nonresponsive players hanging out in the various channels of our Mumble Server. Those are computers used in our development laboratories, and they are unattended most of the time.) You will probably have a better experience if you encourage one of your own friends to join you on a mutually agreeable schedule.

At the time of this writing, we are beta-testing two different LAC servers. The development server is at BoseNet.no-ip.biz, and the primary beta-test server is at LacServer2.LinuxAirCombat.com. Edit your LacConfig.txt file (in your ~home/.LAC folder) to specify one of those servers and give it a try.

Once you start flying within a multi-player mission, your RADAR is your best tool for finding other players. Make sure it is "ON". Zoom RADAR range out far enough to see little "dots" marking the positions of mission "bots", or big, bright dots representing online players. The RADAR screen is oriented so that your own position is at the center. Dots above that point are generally in front of you. Dots below that point are generally behind you. Dots to the left of that center point represent aircraft to your left, etc. The distance between your position in the center of the RADAR display and any dot is proportional to their distance from you in the simulated world. Zoom your RADAR range in and out as necessary to see dots representing aircraft. You can use the "Target Next" and "Target Previous" commands to select one of the target blips displayed on the RADAR. The selected blip will have a bright, white dot in its center. Each bot or network player is associated with a numeric player designator within the mission (typically between 1 and 10).  As you select a target, the corresponding player number is displayed in your cockpit's system message panel, and you will hear a vocalization of the associated number and team affiliation (like "Red Three") if LAC has determined that the selected player is a sentient, network-connected human instead of a bot. In online missions with human players, you should just ignore the "bots" and pay attention to the other human players. When your RADAR system is sure a blip represents a human player, it will make the corresponding RADAR blip much bigger and much brighter than the blips representing bots. After selecting a target, you can get additional help locating them by using the "TARGETVOCALIZE" command, which will speak to you with a sentence like "Target Six is at Three O'clock, Angel's five". This means that you have selected target six within this mission, which is located to your right, flying at about five thousand feet altitude.

Q14: How does it perform WITHOUT an nVidia or ATI accelerated graphics card?

A: It can run pretty well with a simple, very low-cost Intel graphics card and celeron CPU, especially if you are willing to diminish the video quality settings and/or run it in a smaller window. Here is a YouTube video clip by Stefano Peris, who decided to set up a torture test. Using a very low-cost computer with only Intel graphics, he ran LAC at the highest possible graphic detail and got "good enough" performance. CLICK HERE to see it on YouTube.

Q15: How are online teams and missions organized?

In the online, multiplayer missions, all players are automatically assigned to one of two teams, named "BLUE" and "RED", respectively. This assignment is based upon your player number within the mission. This, in turn, comes from the "MyNetworkId" parameter that you have configured within your ~home/.LAC/LacConfig.txt file. If you have an odd number there, you will be assigned to the "RED" team, and players with even numbers are assigned to the "BLUE" team. (If two players both try to use the same number, LAC will automatically change one of them within a few seconds.) You will see your player number displayed along the left edge of your cockpit instrument panel, and you will hear an audio message that will welcome you into the mission, referring to you by that number.

These missions ALWAYS show 10 aircraft, even if there are fewer than 10 human players participating. In that case, the other aircraft are "bots", flown automatically by your own computer. RADAR dots, HUD target frames, Mumble channel designators and messages are colored red or blue according to their team affiliation just as one might expect (Mumble "Broadcast" messages that are sent to both teams are colored purple). The blue and red colors used to represent bots are pale and subdued, but the colors used to represent network-connected  humans (also known as "Sentients") are bold and bright.  When flying with or against other sentient players in these missions, you really should just ignore the "bots", because the bot positions you see on your computer do NOT correspond with bot positions seen by the other players on their computers; only the positions and actions of Sentient players are transmitted on the network.

In all three of the current online, multiplayer missions, BLUE team members will find their HQ at airfield 28, and RED team members will find their HQ at airfield 29. Defend your own HQ airfield from hostile aircraft while you and your team-mates attack the hostile HQ airfield. Airfield damage is retained between sorties, so long as at least one player remains active in the mission. The missions all end when the last player exits, or when one of the HQ airfields is destroyed. When either HQ airfield is destroyed, all players hear a declaration of victory for one of the teams, accompanied by a dramatic musical bulletin and 15-second countdown with a warning that the mission is about to end. Any players that are still flying when those 15 seconds expire are immediately destroyed and returned to LAC's menus.  Restart the mission to re-establish the expected competition.

Q16: How does the new Norden bombsight work?

In any of the current online, multiplayer missions, use the keyboard key configured within your ~home/.LAC/LacControls.txt file as "key_WEAPONSELECT" to cycle through your aircraft's available weapons (usually this is the asterisk key of your numeric keypad). If your aircraft is lugging any bombs, an indicator will illuminate near the extreme lower-right corner of your cockpit to indicate the number of available "BOMB 500 LB" weapons. If at least one bomb is available and selected, then you can activate your Norden Bombsight. Use the keyboard key configured within your ~home/.LAC/LacControls.txt file as "key_MapViewOnOff" to toggle your view system into "Map Mode" (usually this is "m"). An aerial map of the vicinity beneath your aircraft will appear. Unless you have "scrolled" your map away from its center point, your aircraft is in the exact center of that map. If you have armed at least one bomb, then helpful, white text will appear at the bottom of the map alerting you of the other conditions necessary to activate the Norden bombsight. That text will tell you that you must "zoom" the map all the way out (use the keyboard keys configured within your ~home/.LAC/LacControls.txt file as "key_MapZoomOut"  and "key_MapZoomIn" to do that), and you must make sure the map is centered (use the keyboard keys configured within your ~home/.LAC/LacControls.txt file as "key_MapScrollEast", "key_MapScrollWest", "key_MapScrollNorth", and "key_MapScrollSouth" to do that). Under those conditions, a new set of helpful, green text will appear that will instruct you in the use of the two "pippers" that will also appear. That text will inform you that the small white circle pipper, always located at the center of the Norden bombsight map, represents your aircraft as the map scrolls beneath you according to the direction of your travel. The small round green pipper, known as a "CCIP" or "Continuously Computed Impact Point", marks the approximate place on the map where an immediately dropped bomb is likely to strike the ground. Fly your aircraft so that the green pipper is centered over your target, and then release your bomb with the joystick button or keyboard key configured within your ~home/.LAC/LacControls.txt file as "joystick_FIRESECONDARY" or "key_SECONDARY". If your aircraft is stable and your hand steady, a hit on or near the target is fairly likely, and damage will accumulate after the bomb has had enough time to fall all the way to the ground.