Linux Air Combat on "Steam Deck"

Linux Air Combat on Steam Deck.
This is the new Valve "Steam Deck" portable console gaming PC. Linux Air Combat runs nicely on it, in "Desktop Mode". This is native open-source LINUX code, NOT a Steam Application. Learn more in our "LAC and Steam Deck" forum. This page is based on version 8.95 from late 2022, but all future versions of Linux Air Combat for the Steam Deck are expected to be installed and configured according to the same principles illustrated here. If you are using this page to guide installation of a later version of LAC, just replace the illustrated version numbers as appropriate.

Steam Deck Default Controls
Default control mapping for Linux Air Combat on the Steam Deck. The left joystick controls rudder and throttle, and the right joystick controls Aileron and Elevator for primary flight control. The D-Pad controls view direction for looking Left, Right, Forward, or Backward. The left trigger switches the view straight up. The right trigger fires machine guns. Other single-purpose controls activate additional flight functions as indicated. Both of the joystick levers can be "clicked" by pressing down on them to activate additional functions, including clicking through the 'Tap Menu" to access the 11-element menu of "less-urgent" functions in the list near the bottom of this illustration.

Note: You will need to know that "Right-Click" on the Steam Deck requires tapping on the LEFT touchpad. Conversely, "Left-Click" on the Steam Deck requires tapping on the RIGHT touchpad. It's wierd, but there it is...

The following instructions document ONE way to get LAC running nicely on your Steam Deck. Without doubt, there are other ways to achieve the same thing. This is the way WE did it.


Download the latest LAC/SteamDeck AppImage from our production download archives HERE. Store it in any convenient location within your filesystem. To keep this discussion simple, we will assume you will store it in your home folder at /home/deck.

Mark as "Executable":

Activate a bash shell for command-line access through a terminal from your home folder according to well established LINUX/UNIX norms. Use the well-known "ls -l" command to confirm that you can see the downloaded file. For our purposes in this discussion, we will assume it is named "Lac915SD-x86_64.AppImage". Issue the following command:

chmod +x Lac915SD-x86_64.AppImage

If you don't see an error message after that command, you can assume it worked.

First Execution

Next you will issue another command line as follows:


Linux Air Combat will start right up on your Steam Deck. You'll be able to view and access all of its features through the prominent menus. When you fly a mission, all of your flight controls will be mapped as shown in the diagram above. Note that while in flight, you can hold down the Steam Deck's "3 Dot" key (immediately below the right mousepad) and then, while holding it down, the D-Pad's "Left" button becomes "ESC". Use that to access LAC's menus whenever you need them.

Subsequent Executions from the command line

Repeat the above command each time you want to run Linux Air Combat from a command Line. (No need to mark it as Executable again.)

Configure your SteamDeck's controls with the appropriate profile

To ensure that the SteamDeck's controls will respond to LAC as illustrated in the diagram above, we recommend loading the control map configuration, available as a standard "Template", that is named "Gamepad with Joystick Trackpad". The SteamDeck's control configurator describes this template with the following text: "This template is for most games that already have built-in gamepad support and have a first or third-person controlled camera. FPS or third person adventure games, etc."

Make LAC available from your Steam Deck's Desktop Mode Launch Menu

To make Linux Air combat easily available, I like to expand the SteamDeck's Launch Menu with a "LAC" entry. Here's how I do it:

Create an extra copy of Lac915SD-x86_64.AppImage named "lac" with the following command line:

cp Lac915SD-x86_64.AppImage lac

Write a short little "shell script" file named "" with your favorite text editor. It will contain only 5 printable characters on a single line (terminate that line with the "ENTER" key just like any other command line) as follows:


Store that file in your home folder.

Issue the following command to mark that new script as executable:

chmod +x

(Refer to illustrations below.) Right-Click on the "Application Launcher" icon that LINUX displays on the bottom "kicker panel" of your desktop mode. (It looks like a small blue ball with a white crescent adjacent its right edge.) A new menu frame will pop up. From there, click "Edit Applications'. Another new menu frame entitled "KDE Menu Editor" will pop up, representing the existing arrangement of your LINUX start menu. Left-Click on "Games". Another new menu frame will pop up. Left-Click on "New Item". Another new frame menu will pop up, prompting you for "Item name:". Enter your desired menu name for Linux Air Combat, like "LAC". Then click "OK". You'll then be able to edit additional fields named "Description", "Comment", and "Command". For "Description", we suggest "Linux Air Combat". You can leave "Comment" blank. In the "Command" field, carefully insert this exact text on a single line:

bash ./

Save this work by left-clicking on the "File" drop-down menu exactly as you would expect after editing any other common application. Then click "quit" to exit the KDE Menu Editor.

At that point, you should see your new entry for "LAC" in the "Games" area of your LINUX Start Menu exactly as you might expect, and if you click on it exactly as you would click on any other start menu item, LAC will start right up exactly as you ought to expect.

MAKE LAC available from an icon on your desktop that you can double-click with your own fat finger

Once you can see LAC in your Linux Start Menu, you can Right-click on it and then click "Add to Desktop" or "Add to Panel" for even easier access from your desktop or your kicker panel. A new, very simple, homely, clickable icon named "LAC" will appear on your desktop or in your kicker panel as appropriate.

These images visually document the sequence we used (after storing the latest SteamDeck LAC AppImage in our ~home folder named "lac" and after creating the little "" script as described above)  in order to make LAC easily available from the KDE Linux Launch Menus and from our desktop:

Application Launcher in Kicker Panel KDE Menu Editor pops up. Click "Games". Answer Prompt for New Item Name. Enter Additional Information as prompted. Save Changes and Exit KDE Menu Editor. LAC now shows up as game in Menu Launcher You can Right-Clock on LAC's Menu Item for more options. LAC Icon on Desktop.