LINUX AIR COMBAT
Current version: 5.02, released for beta testing 01Oct2017
(Click the images above to see a larger version)
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
Free and open source distribution. The clean source code compiles without modification on major LINUX distros
Very smooth, simple, high-performance graphics yield high frame rates
even on modest computer hardware
45 flight/view functions can be mapped to any detected joystick
axis, button, or keyboard key
Modern, multi-axis analog/digital joysticks support precision control of elevators, ailerons, rudder, throttle, etc.
Mouse control of elevators, ailerons, and weapons for those lacking a joystick
A growing list of World War II aircraft (now 25 different flyable
A theoretical Jet fighter with performance similar to the General
Industry-standard "Air Warrior" style viewsystem is easily
configurable for other view options
Sophisticated flight model with stalls, high-speed compressibility, high-G blackouts, and redouts
Realistic high-altitude degredation of engine performance
Fuel consumption is proportional to engine load including
Flight performance is degraded when lugging heavy bombs, missiles, or rockets
Flight performance is degraded when aircraft are damaged
Simulated RADAR to help locate opponents
Simulated IFF to help Identify Friend verses Foe
WW2-era Air-to-Ground rockets
Missile combat (only when flying jets)
Flares and Chaff operable as missile countermeasures
Free flight mission
Four tutorial missions with detailed audio narration to help
beginners get a quick start
Five Offline combat missions
Online "Head to Head" mission suitable for air racing or combat
(2 players only. No server required.)
Free, high performance Linux Air Combat Server is now available at LacServer2.LinuxAirCombat.com
distinct, ten-player Internet missions in various terrains, with
strategic airfield combat (Internet and access to LAC Server required)
User-loadable graphic aircraft models support the free, open,
well-known ".3ds" format
User-loadable background music, sound effects, and narration
files support industry-standard ".wav" format
"Talking Cockpit" can verbalize target location so you can hear
it without diverting your eyes
Innovative "Network Router Panel" on cockpit shows network
telemetry and comms data flow from other players
Best-of-breed network user management with interplayer status
messages on the cockpit panel
Powerful integration with "Mumble" for world-class voice
communication between players
Dedicated Mumble server manages a rich heirarchy of voice radio
channels and online help
16 Comms-related functions can be mapped to any keyboard key
Airfields with defensive guns challenge nearby opponents and protect nearby allied aircraft
Airfield defenses can be damaged and degraded with bombs, rockets, missiles, and/or machine guns
Damaged airfield defenses are gradually repaired by surviving airfield maintenance personnel
Bombers have autogunners that take shots at nearby hostile fighters
"Norden" bombsight emulation makes precision, medium or high altitude bombing possible
Realistic bomber climb rates: Heavily loaded bombers need a long time to climb to altitudes high enough to avoid fighters
Realistic bomb-run tactics make heavy bombers vulnerable to opposing fighters during critical mission segments
Heavy bombers can destroy an airfield in a single sortie if well flown and undamaged by opposing fighters
In active development and subject to frequent improvements
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
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! A screen shot from January of 2017
(Version 3.42) in an online skirmish. Note
instrument panel with "Router" lights, status messages, and target
identified by name. (Click image to see a larger, more detailed
version.) 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
different joystick or to use a generic "mouse pointer" instead of a
Keyboard keys are also reconfigurable and/or
interchangeable with joystick
buttons. In general
it is possible to assign almost any keyboard key to any
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
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
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
Video summaries of new features can be seen in the following brief
Version 1.23 Initial features and general summary Click
Multiplayer mission supporting six players (beta test).
Improved compatibility with NAT routers.
Fixed bugs in the interpretation of IP addresses. (The few IP
address ranges that failed are now working.)
Improved network diagnostics.
Improved network architecture. In addition to the original "Peer
to Peer" mode, we've added "Client/Server" mode in support of
Major improvements in the October 2016 release were:
Improved hardware compatibility
Improved program stability and cleaner source code
Improved use of "Mouse" flight controls for players without a
Improved sound effects
Improved flight models
Prettier cockpit graphics with fewer "jaggies".
Performance is more uniform across the spectrum of fast vs. slow.
vs. medium-power CPUs.
Major improvements in the December 2016 release were:
More Aircraft. We now support P38, P40, P47, P51, F6F, F4U,
Spitfire, Hurricane, A6M, Ki-43, Fiat G-55, Me109, JU87, FW190, a
whimsical jet fighter, and Polykarpov
Bigger Network Missions: As many as 10 alpha testers have
simultaneously flown on our new, free, test server at LacServer2.LinuxAirCombat.com.
Three different types of
New Desert Terrain in addition to the prior Island and Mountain
New "High Definition" aircraft image models. New A6M "Zero", Fiat
JU87 "Stuka" take visual detail to a new level. (Work in process.
Special thanks to Stefano Peris.)
Airstrips, landings, and takeoffs are now possible in all
terrains and in all missions.
"Talking Cockpit" can verbalize information about the selected
target so you can hear it ("Target
two is at five O'clock, angel's twelve").
Improved User Interface during network missions to aid in
identification of participating players.
Major features of the January 2017 version were:
Persistent missions that you can join in process at your
pleasure, on your schedule.
Team affiliations within the multiplayer, online missions. All
three of the online missions now divide players into "Blue" and "Red"
RADAR now displays Blue team members with blue icons, and Red
team members are displayed with red icons.
RADAR range. Although RADAR's accuracy and timeliness
diminish as range increases, it is now highly effective out to 100 km,
and even tracks the general location of targets as far as 400 km away.
Improved cockpit user interface for better support of online,
Innovative new cockpit "Mission Router Panel" features blinking
LEDs that act like your home router to reveal telemetry and
communication packets from other network players. A glance at the
router panel can tell you how many other players are participating in
the current online mission, their numeric IDs, and a general indication
of their proximity and resultant telemetry vigor.
Audio prompts call out numeric identity and team affiliation of
selected RADAR targets within about 50 miles.
World-class Voice communications. We now offer a free server for
the well-known, free, open-source "Mumble" voice application. Our
Mumble server is optimized to support a future LAC community, with
channels for all of LAC's missions and teams. This server is now
available at LinuxAirCombat.com, and each of its channels displays a
prominent link to online help associated with related details of LAC
through our website.
Mumble integration. LAC and Mumble work hand-in-hand. Ten of LAC's keyboard "hot keys" switch your Mumble voice comms
channel instantly among missions and teams, and cockpit messages
immediately announce the resulting channel name to all networked
mission players within reasonable radio range. Mumble pop-ups inform
all players whenever anybody enters or leaves their current Mumble
channel. Two more keyboard "hot keys" can be dedicated to "Channel
Push-To-Talk" and "MultiChannel Push-To-Talk" functions. When any
network player presses either of those "Talk" keys, the cockpit comms
panels of all nearby mission participants announce the identity of the
transmitting player, and his network comms packets light up
corresponding LEDs on the new Mission Router panel.
communication heirarchy. Each mission has a Mumble "Main
Channel", a "BlueTeam" sub-channel, and a "Red-Team" sub-channel. Voice
communication sent to a single channel via "TeamCast" within "Red" and
"Blue" sub-channels is always private,
but multi-channel "MissionCast" transmissions can be heard by both
teams. Jumping back and forth between channels is instantaneously
triggered by single hot-keys, whereupon your cockpit display
confirms your channel settings, and networked players flying nearby in
your mission see a cockpit instrument panel message alerting them of
the results of your Mumble channel change.
Mumble usernames can be coordinated with LAC usernames for
consistent display on LAC's cockpit panel and in Mumble's "Popups".
Mumble's well-known, optional "Overlay" is fully compatible with
LAC, so you can see the names of all channel users even when they are
Expanded standard keyboard layout is now conveniently arranged to
add sixteen new, comms-related hot-keys in addition to the 45
flight-related hot keys that have long been offered.
Major new features from February 2017 include:
New network "smoothing" code significantly decreases network
jitter. Maneouvers performed by remote, network-connected aircraft are
now displayed much more clearly, more smoothly, and more immediately.
Network ID configuration is now automatic. If a mission is full,
an appropriate SystemStatus message declares "THIS MISSION IS FULL. TRY
ANOTHER" within about 60 seconds.
Flight models are significantly improved. They still need more
work, and although climb speeds and dive speeds still accelerate too
quickly, they are much closer now. Performance at extremely high speeds
is greatly improved so that the onset of "control heaviness" and/or
"compressibility" is much smoother and less shocking. Compressibility
effects now model roll rate degredation too.
Added the Russian Yak 9 fighter.
Added the Japanese N1K1 (Nakajima George) fighter.
Added a new "Mumble Panel" to the cockpit in network missions,
immediately below the "Mission Router Panel", significantly improving
voice comms and essentially perfecting our Mumble integration. It
constantly displays the name of any standard Mumble channel that is
selected with any of the standard Mumble Hot Keys. It also dynamically
displays "TRANSMITTING" or "RECEIVING" as appropriate to Mumble voice
Improved Mumble event notifications. When used with our standard
keyboard macros and with our free Mumble server, our Mumble integration
is now so good that there is little need for Mumble's standard
"pop-ups" or the "Mumble Overlay". We have the best voice comms and the
best Mumble integration in the industry.
Acoustic volume of sound effects, background music, radio banter, and training narration files have been balanced optimally.
The "SystemStatus" message area of the cockpit has been expanded
from a single line to three scrolling lines so that the pilots have
more time to read messages during online missions.
Cockpit target identification has been made more consistent with
the team affiliation logic described in our January 2017 release, so
that targets are now labeled with strings like "RED-1" or "BLUE-2", etc.
Players flying with a "Mouse" now experience proper stall and compressibility effects.
Major new features from March 2017 (Version Lac03p72) include:
Added the B24 Heavy Bomber.
Improved the aircraft selection menu for all missions.
Players without a joystick, using a mouse for
primary flight controls, now experience the same realistic stall and
compressibility effects as joystick users.
Improved the Flight Model math and coding for
all aircraft. In particular, the old logic that was responsible for
excessive climb and excess dive rates has been rewritten, and now
aircraft climb and dive at appropriate rates.
All Flight Model parameters for all WW2
aircraft have been carefully adjusted so that their flight
characteristics are now much more accurate. (Above 25,000 feet flight
characteristics are less accurate than below those levels, but are
still close enough to the recorded performance of the simulated
aircraft to support immersive, credible fun and to appropriately
represent the relative combat strengths.)
Major improvements from June 2017 (Version Lac04p16) include:
Bombers now have "autogunners" that shoot at hostile fighter aircraft within gunnery range
Airfields are prettier, longer, and wider to facilitate easier landings and takeoffs.
Some airfields are now equipped with defensive guns that shoot at hostile aircraft within gunnery range
A new 10-player, networked, strategic combat mission arranges
players in two mutually hostile teams, each with three airbases. Win
the battle by destroying the opposing team's HQ airbase while defending
your own HQ airbase! Land at any of your three airbases to re-fuel,
repair, and re-arm your aircraft, but beware of "vulchers" while you're
on the ground....
After each network mission sortie, aircraft are re-fueled, re-armed, and repaired when landed on a friendly airfield.
Major improvements from August 2017 (Version Lac04p53) include:
Improved support for players using a mouse instead of a joystick for primary flight controls
Improved rudder responsiveness for users that rely on keyboard keys for rudder control
Improved throttle responsiveness for users that rely on keyboard keys for throttle control
WW2-era unguided Air-to-Ground rockets
Two additional 10-player, online, strategic combat missions with various terrains and starting conditions
All three multiplayer, online missions now feature strategic airfield-based combat.
Improved explosion sound effects are louder with proximity, and the volume fades with distance
Take-off logic is improved. It's now a lot easier to take off.
"Norden" bombsight makes precision bombing practical from medium and high altitudes
Aircraft flight performance is degraded while lugging heavy bombs, rockets, or missiles
Aircraft flight performance is degraded by airframe or engine damage
Airfield defenses have been significantly strengthened. Beware when flying near an undamaged, hostile airfield!
Airfield defenses are degraded by damage from hostile bombs, rockets, missiles, and machine gun fire.
Damaged airfield defenses are gradually repaired by surviving ground personnel.
Airfield damage is persistent between sorties (so long as at least one player remains active in the mission).
Major improvements from September 2017 (Version Lac04p77) include:
Improved visual appearance of the Yak9 to better resemble the
general shape of the historic aircraft. Also found better data on the
Yak9T's flight performance and tweaked the flight model's engine power
and maxgamma accordingly. It now flies much faster and climbs much
better than before, and flight at medium and low altitudes is now
fairly close to that represented by the best available historic data.
Now it is NOT WEP-capable.
Increased the number of supported aircraft from 20 to 25 with the following five new additions:
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.
Bomber autogunnery logic is now more intelligent. Opposing
players will need to approach bombers from tactically advantageous
angles and/or they will need to "jink" to avoid the dangerous firepower
with which bombers now defend themselves. Trying to attack a bomber
with a simple tail chase is now a very risky
Tuned up the lethality and durability of bombers and airfields
for better balance when airfields are attacked and for when bombers are
Aircraft engines can now absorb more bullet hits before they begin to fail.
Airfield and bomber autogunners now target all enemy aircraft
within gunnery range instead of just targetting the nearest enemy
aircraft. As a result, teams of allied aircraft attacking an enemy
bomber or airfield now share gunnery risk appropriately, and they
benefit from dividing the opposing firepower. For example, if an
attacker has a nearby ally, both will suffer only half of the damage
that would be likely if either was attacking alone, etc.
It is no longer possible to land upside-down or sideways without sustaining extensive damage.
Fixed a bug in the joystick's "hat switch" logic that was
triggered by changes in 64-bit joystick drivers (versus the old 32-bit
joystick drivers). Now joystick "hat switch" mapping works correctly in
both 32 and 64-bit Linux installations.
Fixed longstanding bugs in the logic of the "SETUP
OPTIONS"->"GAME" menu so that it is now impossible to use those
menus to misconfigure the values for "DIFFICULTY" and "PRECISION",
which are now permanently hard-coded for "REALISTIC" and "SIMULATOR",
Fixed a longstanding bug that was ignoring important differences
in the firepower of the guns in various aircraft. Now, the guns of some
aircraft are far more fearsome than other aircraft.
Added an explosion sound effect to accompany the impact of bombs
and rockets when they hit airfield facilities. The acoustic volume of
these explosions is proportional to their distance from the player.
Added new logic to the Norden Bombsight so that Bombsight icons
are supressed unless bombs are available and unless the displayed
tactical map is zoomed and centered appropriately. If bombs are
available but the tactical map is not properly zoomed and centered,
helpful prompts are displayed to inform the player of the need to zoom
it all the way out and to center it in order to activate the bombsight.
Added more new logic to the Norden Bombsight for players whose
machines are not powerful enough to set "fog distance" to the longest
possible range without losing frame rate. Experience has shown that fog
distance must sometimes be set all the way out (to 200) in order to see
the ground from bombing altitudes. Accordingly, this new logic sets fog
distance all the way out to 200 temporarily, while using the bomb
sight, and then resets it to the player's configured "fog distance"
value two seconds after the view exits from map mode. Sometimes this
logic does not work properly: If you cannot see the ground while using
the bomb sight, try pressing <ESC> twice to toggle out to the
menus and then back into the mission. After that you should be able to
see the ground from bombsight mode.
Found and fixed some bugs that had been preventing the immediate
propogation of airfield damage from rockets and bombs within the same
realm and mission.
Fixed a bug in almost all of the missions that was needlessly
resetting camera mode to "0" every time a bot was respawned. This has
long been a minor irritation, responsible for changing camera mode to
"forward" at inconvenient intervals when it ought to have remained
looking at map mode or looking to the left, right, rear, down, up, etc.
Improved the ending conditions for MissionNetworkBattle01,
MissionNetworkBattle02, and MissionNetworkBattle03. Now, when either HQ
airfield is destroyed, all participants hear dramatic music and a voice
declaring victory for the appropriate team (Red or Blue), followed by a
"countdown" message warning that the mission will end in 15 seconds.
Every player then hears a count going down, second by second, until it
gets to zero, whereupon all mission aircraft simultaneously explode.
Improved logging of tactical events so that players wishing to
research battle details during the prior mission can consult the
"~/.LAC/logfile.txt" file to learn exactly how much damage was
inflicted by or upon them at every moment throughout the entire
mission, along with the source of the damage and an explanation of the
contributing circumstances. (Note that this level of detail may be
diminished in the future as this software stabilizes).
Major improvements from October 2017 (Version Lac05p01) include:
Fixed bugs that were preventing easy configuration and mapping of keyboard keys to flight functions in the configuration menus.
Increased intelligence of defensive bomber autoguns.
Increased intelligence of defensive airfield guns.
Fixed bugs that were preventing display of smoke trails behind rockets and missiles.
Damaged airfield repairs are accelerated when friendly aircraft
dominate nearby airspace, and those repairs are decelerated when enemy
aircraft dominate nearby airspace.
Better balance of strategic offensive versus defensive weapons.
Strategic bombing missions are now more complex and last a lot
longer. Opposing fighters are forced to choose from among richer and
more complex options to defeat them.
Fixed many bugs in offline missions that interfered with proper allocation of aircraft and weapons.
Updated audio narration in all of the offline training missions.
Added a "Gun Camera Film Request" key and a corresponding "Gum
Camera Services Requested" indicator on the cockpit (note that although
gun camera films can now be requested, the server must be updated
before they become available).
Enhanced network protocol so that player use of speed brakes and
flaps is transmitted to network peers, resulting in better "smoothing"
and further diminishing network "jitter". (Note
that this change makes older versions of LAC incompatible with the
latest server. If you try to connect an older version of LAC with one
of our latest servers, you will see error messages and logfile guidance
urging you to upgrade to the latest version.)
Decreased the violence of aircraft shaking when damage is sustained. Now it's at a more realistic level.
Optimized standard keyboard layout to make the controls even more intuitive. (See the updated keyboard illustration above.)
This sim is incomplete, still under
active development. There
a few bugs and areas needing work. You will need to use a text editor
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.
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
and improved voice communication within online, multiplayer missions.
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
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
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
graphic card of the type made popular by nVidia, Intel, or ATi, but you
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!
HERE for the compressed archive of the latest public version, containing:
-- A compiled version of Linux Air combat in the bin/Release
subfolder (this version was compiled for 64-bit PcLinuxOs and may not
other LINUX distributions)
-- An installation script named "install.sh" that will install
and configure Linux Air Combat.
-- All of the source code necessary to compile or customize your
own version of Linux Air Combat
-- A "Codeblocks Project File" to make it easy to use the
free, well-known "Codeblocks" compiler GUI
-- A set of additional subfolders containing all other necessary
Note that you must install some
configuration files in specific filesystem locations before the
compiled, executable program will run without errors. See LAC Tutorial
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.
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
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
required, free installation file.
Also within that top-level de-archived folder, you should find
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
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.
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
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
For your convenience communicating with others in the LAC
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
your airspeed exceeds about 200 MPH, your aircraft should be able to
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
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
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.