Linux Air Combat ChangeLog
Video summaries of new features can be seen in the following brief
Major improvements from Spring 2016 were:
- 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
- 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:
Major new features from February 2017 include:
- 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 500 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 March
2017 (Version Lac03p72) 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
Major improvements from June 2017 (Version Lac04p16) include:
- Added the B24 Heavy Bomber.
- Improved the aircraft selection menu for all
- 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 August 2017 (Version Lac04p53) 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.
- 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 bombs
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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:
1 of 5: USA's
B25 "Mitchell" medium bomber.
- 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:
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
- 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 5.02) include:
Major improvements from November 2017 (Version 5.09) 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.)
1 of 3: The Russian
- Added three new aircraft, taking the total to 28 aircraft. The
new ones are:
2 of 3: The Russian
3: The Russian Ilyushin
Major improvements from January 2018 (Version 5.50) include:
- Improved structure of the comments within the LacConfig.txt file
for better clarity.
- Improved visual effects associated with explosion of bullets,
cannon shells, and rockets.
- Tweaked the "shaking" effect that is seen when flying aircraft
- Added another building near HQ airflields in two of the three of
the online, multiplayer missions (those using the island terrain). It
is on a hilltop and it can be strafed to destruction. Its destruction
does not contribute to the strategic goals of the mission, but its
position has been optimized to show off the new explosions associated
with bullets, cannon fire, and rockets. It's a lot of fun to destroy
- I increased the destructive firepower of WW2-era rockets. Now
five rockets inflict approximately the same destruction as a single
- I fixed a minor bug in the "Mumble Panel" that was not fully
recognizing return to the "Root" Mumble channel after spending some
time in the RedTeam or BlueTeam subchannel of the appropriate mission.
- I improved the pilot's ability to judge optimum sustained climb
angle. Now, when the pilot attempts to climb more steeply than his
aircraft's engine can sustain, the center cross that is projected on
his windscreen switches to a dimmer setting. Accordingly, so long as
that center cross is at the brighter setting, the pilot knows that his
engines can sustain the current climb rate without losing speed.
(Previously those brightness settings were reversed. The new
arrangement is more intuitive.)
- I enhanced the cockpit's "TARGET ID=" prompts to display either
"28 (BLUE HQ)" or "29 (RED HQ)" whenever any participant of an online,
multiplayer mission targets object 28 (the BlueTeam HQ) or object 29
(the RedTeam HQ), respectively. This will help new players to better
understand and manage the strategic goals of these three missions.
- I also found and fixed a series of bugs in MissionNetworkBattle01
and in MissionNetworkBattle02 that were causing run-time diagnostic
messages to log some of their bomb loading activities as if the active
mission were MissionNetworkBattle03.
- The "BETA TEST" notification has been eliminated. This is the first official "Production" version.
- The cockpit "SPEED" indicator is now much more stable in flight, and much more accurate while taxiing on the ground.
- Five new aircraft have been added, taking the total to 33 aircraft. The new ones are:
- The USSR Yak1
- The UK "Lancaster" heavy bomber
- The UK "Mosquito" fast bomber
- The UK "Typhoon" fighter-bomber
- The Italian "Macci C.202 Folgore" fighter
- (The flight model parameters of those new aircraft are not yet
tuned up as accurately as the other aircraft, but they are reasonable,
and will get more accurate as we gain experience.)
- All of the previous flight models are significantly improved as a
result of re-written inertia code and new code that handles "non-level"
flight. Among the resulting improvements: It is no longer possible to
roll an airplane and fly "sideways" without losing altitude
- Seventeen additional, "generic" aircraft are available for test
flight. All of them fly exactly like a Lockheed P38, but the visual
appearance of each can be easily adjusted with "Blender" or replaced
with a custom .3ds model of the player's choosing. This is intended as
the basis for player-created aircraft to be given full support and
accurate flight models in future versions.
- The visual appearance of most of the aircraft have been
significantly improved. (In prior releases, several of the aircraft
suffered from very primitive, silly visual appearance. All of those are
now improved enough to look reasonably good. However, player
participation in improving these .3ds models is still requested. I'm
not very good with "Blender". If you are good with "Blender", your help
would be greatly appreciated as you make these aircraft look better and
- The drag effects of flap and landing gear deployment are now much more accurate.
- Heavy aircraft now accelerate and decelerate more slowly and more accurately.
- Descriptive text in the aircraft selection menus is now more
accurate and includes many additional details, making it a lot more
interesting to select an aircraft that's appropriate to the chosen
mission and tactical situation.
- Armament loadouts of all of the aircraft have been adjusted for improved historic accuracy and better mission play.
- Fixed a bug that had been labeling some mission Player IDs with the wrong team color on cockpit instrument panels.
- Improved the automatic negotiation of "MyNetworkId" to minimize
conflicts and to make it easier to enter an online mission without
network ID conflicts.
- I fixed a bug in all four of the online, multiplayer network
missions that was preventing vocalization of the player's "MyNetworkId"
number for players 7, 8, 9, or 10.
- I removed all visual and vocal references to our old LAC Server
and our old Mumble Server (both of which had been hosted at
BoseNet.no-ip.biz). Now all of those references advertise our free
production LAC server at "LacServer2.LinuxAirCombat.com" and our free
production Mumble server at "LinuxAirCombat.com".
- I enhanced the Mumble Panel's user interface whenever the user is
holding down one of the "Push To Talk" keys so that associated cockpit
labels consistently advertise one of the following four transmission
- "NARROWCASTING" (When
transmitting on a single channel not precisely matching the player's
current mission and team). This label is always displayed with white
- "TEAMCASTING" (When
transmitting to members of just one team of a network mission.) If the
transmitting player is tuned to his own RedTeam mission channel, this
label is displayed with red text. If the transmitting player is tuned
to his own BlueTeam mission channel, this label is displayed with blue
text. Otherwise, when the player is tuned to some other team or
mission, grey text is used.
- "MISSIONCASTING" (When
transmitting to everybody listening on both the "RedTeam" and the
"BlueTeam" subchannels of an online mission). If the transmission is
directed at the player's current mission, then this label is displayed
in purple text (representing the combination of red and blue).
Otherwise, if the transmission is directed at some other mission, then
this label is displayed in grey text.
(When transmitting to everybody participating in every mission of the
current Realm, regardless of their team affiliation). This label is
always displayed with white text.
- A new shell script, named "lac", has been added into the
distribution, and the installation script has been enhanced to store
that new "lac" script in the user's home directory. This new script
starts Linux Air Combat, compensating for differing LAC version names.
Accordingly, after a standard installation of Linux Air Combat, the
user can start the sim by typing "./lac" into a command console,
following long-standing LINUX and Unix conventions.
- The acoustic volume of "beeps" associated with RADAR sweeps has
been adjusted because some of them were painfully loud in prior
- In all three of the online, multiplayer missions, any player that
uses the standardized "hot keys" to tune his or her Mumble Radio to
their appropriate mission and team channel is now rewarded with
automated, acoustic radio messages announcing the damage/repair state
of the enemy HQ airfield, as if a "forward observer" carrying a
handheld radio were within eyesight of the action. This technique has
proven successful in motivating proper and optimal use of "Mumble" for
mission and interplayer communication, making every online, multiplayer
mission a richer community experience.
- Cockpit RADAR performance is diminished or stopped whenever the
player's airfield becomes heavily damaged. RADAR performance is
restored as soon as the corresponding airfield damage is repaired.
Airfield repairs are accelerated when a friendly aircraft is overhead,
offering protection to ground-based repair crews. On the other hand,
airfield repairs are stopped when nearby enemy aircraft dominate the
- After landing an aircraft on a friendly airfield, re-arming, and re-fueling is now much smoother, quicker, and easier.
Major new features of the early Feb2018 version (Lac05.63) include:
The sim has been expanded to support 54 different types of aircraft.
The "DEFAULT AIRCRAFT" menu has now been re-titled "SELECT YOUR
AIRCRAFT", and the available aircraft are now presented in alphabetical
order by country, manufacturer, and model name/number. Grouped by
country, the 54 aircraft break down into 8 national groups as follows:
France: 1 (fighter)
Germany: 9 (5 fighters and 4 bombers)
Italy: 2 (2 fighters)
Japan: 9 (6 fighters and 3 bombers)
UK: 7 (2 bombers and 5 fighters)
USA: 19 (11 fighters and 8 bombers)
USSR: 6 (1 bomber and 5 fighters)
Imaginary: 1 (jet fighter)
Among the more interesting of the new aircraft we have the Messerscmidt
ME163 "Comet" rocket-powered short-range interceptor, the De Haviland
"Mosquito" bomber, and a variety of naval dive bombers. As it did in
actual practice, the ME163 suffers from a cumbersome, time-consuming
fuel loading process, which (when combined with its short, 7-minute
fuel supply) helps to balance it out among the other choices.
Aircraft are further subdivided into "Early WW2", "Late WW2", and "Post WW2" categories.
The "SELECT YOUR AIRCRAFT" menu logic has been made a lot more
interesting because it now displays additional information about each
aircraft, including its primary historic role.
Strategic combat has been enhanced. By damaging the enemy's HQ airfield
below 50% effectiveness, players can now deny their opponents access to
operable "Late WW2" aircraft. Although those aircraft remain available,
they now take off with just 20% fuel, 20% ammo, and 20% ordnance load.
Early-war aircraft are unaffected by this penalty.
The self-defending guns with which bombers and some heavy fighters are
equipped now more accurately reflect the lethality and geometry of the
guns actually used by the respective aircraft. Accordingly, it is now
far more dangerous to attack a heavily defended bomber (like the B17)
than one with just one small-calibre tail gun like the Aichi D3A.
Flight model parameters of all aircraft have been tuned up a bit,
especially with regard to the presence or absence of dive brakes.
The visual appearance of most of the aircraft have been further improved.
The visual appearance of the HQ airfields has been improved. The two
"parked" aircraft have been replaced with a prettier version that
renders a little faster for better overall frame-rate.
Various minor bug fixes.
Major new features of the late Feb 2018 version (Lac05p67) include:
Better aircraft and airfield graphics: A new subfolder, named
"Optional3dModels", contains more detailed .3ds models for some of the
aircraft, and for the HQ airfields. Use of these files is optional.
When none of these files are used, the visual appearance of the
aircraft and airfields is optimized for maximum frame-rate, which will
work best on older, or lower-powered LINUX desktop PCs, and which will
always result in the smoothest graphics. On the other hand, users with
sufficiently modern and/or sufficiently powerful Linux desktop PC
hardware can replace any of the files in the old ~/models subfolder
with the corresponding files from this new "Optional3dModels"
subfolder, and the corresponding aircraft or airfield will thereafter
look a lot better.
- Source code has been cleaned up a little bit more. For example,
we eliminated every reference to the unused "<stdlib.h>" header
file. The code has also been made more robust so that it is no longer
to use misconfigured text fields within the LacConfig.txt or
LacControls.txt files to cause "buffer overflow" errors. This was done
by modernizing all of the relevant instances of "strcpy()" and
"strcat()" within all of the code files, replacing them with
"strncpy()" and "strncat()" as appropriate.
Fixed a small visual anomaly that was causing a tiny "shimmering"
effect along coastlines when flying certain aircraft. This has made
visual effects even smoother when flying those aircraft.
Two obscure name references were changed from "AIR COMBAT FOR LINUX" to "LINUX AIR COMBAT".
Eliminated the redundant menu option that was allowing players to try
to change their aircraft immediately before launching each mission.
(The preferred way to do this is to use the prominent "DEFAULT
AIRCRAFT" menu logic that is displayed at top of the list of missions.)
Major new features of the Mar2018 version (Lac05p76) include:
Improved HQ airfield appearance. Now the RADAR antenna is animated,
spinning around and around like a proper late-war Radar reflector
array. It can be damaged and destroyed independently of the HQ
airfields. When the RADAR reflector antenna is destroyed, it stops
rotating, falls to the ground, and disappears, leaving only the
supporting tower structure visible. All RADAR-related functionality
immediately ceases for the affected Team so that they cannot see or
select RADAR blips or change RADAR range. With time, surviving airfield
maintenance personnel can make sufficient repairs to restore general
RADAR functionality, but those repairs are emergency contrivances that
never work as well as the original, and the spinning RADAR reflector is
never visible again. The repaired RADAR functionality can be damaged,
destroyed, and repaired over and over again as the battle progresses,
until one side or the other completely destroys an airfield, achieving
victory and ending the mission as in prior versions.
Major new features of the early Apr2018 version (Lac05p91) include:
- Bug fixes: Prior versions suffered a segmentation fault if the
operator ever attempted to select a RADAR target in any of the three
online, multiplayer missions if his RADAR was off. Also, when RADAR was
destroyed, even though the main RADAR display was blank, it was still
possible to select RADAR targets and learn their altitudes. Also, when
a destroyed RADAR was repaired, it would be destroyed again,
automatically, within 2 or 3 seconds. All of those bugs have been fixed.
- RADAR destruction and repair cycle has been made more
interesting: Now, at the beginning of any of the online, multiplayer
missions, RADAR uses the large, rotating, reflector antenna with a
range approaching 500 kilometers. If the RADAR is ever destroyed, all
RADAR functionality ceases until ground crews can carry out repairs.
However, those repairs are insufficient to mount the large, rotating,
reflector antenna. Instead, a much smaller antenna is used, and maximum
RADAR range is just 50 miles (instead of 500). The cycle of RADAR
destruction and repair can continue indefinitely, but repairs are never
able to restore RADAR range beyond 50 miles.
- Terrains have been beautified a bit more by eliminating the
"trenches" that had been prominent near airfields in prior versions. As
a result, many of the landscape and oceanscape areas look more natural
(especially near the airfields).
- A new "Morse Code Radio" communication facility is now available.
The keyboard's primary alphanumeric and basic punctuation keys are
toggled into and out of this new "Morse Code Radio" mode by pressing
the "Caps Lock" key. When the Morse Code Radio mode is active in any of
the online, multiplayer missions, alphanumeric keys are encoded into
Morse code and transmitted across the network to all players
participating in the same mission and realm. As they are sent and
received, those characters are displayed on the cockpit panel, just
beneath the "Mumble Panel", in a small, single-line, text instrument,
scrolling horizontally across its surface as necessary to make room for
newer characters so that the pilot can always see the most recent 20
letters, numbers, or punctuation keys that have been sent. A
single-character indicator above that instrument displays the Network
ID of the most recent sender, and the color of that single-character is
either red or blue, matching the "RedTeam" or "BlueTeam" affiliation of
the sender. This "Morse Code Radio" works even for players that do not
install the usual "Mumble" VOIP application for interplayer
communication. However, the Morse Code Radio is far more primitive than
Mumble's voice communication: Morse messages are transmitted quite
slowly, one character at a time, and their reliability diminishes with
distance. At short range, characters are delivered with nearly 100%
reliability. However, as inter-player distance increases, character
transmission is less reliable. At a distance of 20 kilometers, about
90% of the characters are delivered correctly. At a distance of 50
kilometers, only about 80% of the characters get through. At a distance
of 100 kilometers, only about 40% of the characters get through. Users
are highly encouraged to download and install "Mumble" and to use it to
arrange missions and to communicate within missions. The Morse Code
Radio is a poor substitute for Mumble's voice communication!
Major new features of the mid-Apr2018 version (Lac05p97) include:
Improvements in the Morse Code Radio. Now players hear actual Morse Code as characters are transmitted or received.
An eery, dramatic, new "Air Raid Siren" sound effect is started
whenever either of the HQ airfields suffers new damage. The sound
continues until the damage is repaired, or until the player flies so
far away from the damaged airfield as to pose no threat or to have no
effect on repair crews. The sound is very loud when landed on the
airfield or when flying very close to the tower, but it quickly fades
away with distance.