Hardware Compatibility    Prerequisites    Downloads    Compiling     Voice Comms    FAQ   HowTo
               

LINUX AIR COMBAT
Current version: 5.09, released for beta testing 27Oct2017
 

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:
CLICK HERE for the latest YouTube Video Review of LAC

Linux Air Combat 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! LAC Development is advertising-supported. Our development efforts are funded by the modest advertising revenue we receive from these LAC pages, and 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!

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 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

27 Oct 2017

Multiplayer online beta testing is now in process, based on new Linux Air Combat V5.09

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 anticipation of November of 2017 the current beta-test version is 5.09 (download link below).

Click HERE to see the Linux Air Combat ChangeLog, with text and video summaries documenting all of the changes that have been implemented in each published version.

Most of our development work has been done on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the well-known "PcLinuxOs" Linux distribution. Testing has confirmed that the resulting PcLinuxOs binaries are compatible with some other, popular LINUX distributions, including Ubuntu LINUX.

Full source code is available for download so that users of other LINUX versions can compile it for their use too (See the "Compiling" section below.)


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.)  Since October 2017, LAC 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 use 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 5.09, supporting 28 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:
As of October 2017, two of those prerequisites are NOT pre-installed on Ubuntu desktop Linux, but it is very easy to obtain them using the well-known "apt-get" command. The commands to install those two libraries, issued into a bash command shell, are:

sudo apt-get install freeglut3
sudo apt-get install libsdl-mixer1.2

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:

Click HERE for a YouTube playlist entitled "Linux Air Combat on Ubuntu Linux" showing exactly how I downloaded, installed, and tested Linux Air Combat Version 5.02 on a brand new, 64-bit Ubuntu installation in late October of 2017. In an additional exercise, that playlist also shows how I compiled Linux Air combat on that Ubuntu system.

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 version prior to 4.16, 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

CLICK HERE to go directly to the Linux Air Combat FAQ page