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Feature: Games

FlightGear takes off

By Joe Barr on December 04, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

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FlightGear is a multiplatform, GPLed flight simulator. It is sophisticated, realistic, and extensible. You can choose to fly more than 100 different aircraft, ranging from a Sopwith Camel to a UFO, you can take off and land from thousands of airports, and you can fly over virtually any terrain in the world. After 10 years of development, it has suddenly become a very hot item. How hot? You may have seen it used recently on prime time TV and not realized it. It was used in an episode of Fox TV's legal drama Justice to prove pilot error in the fatal crash of a private plane.

Getting started with FlightGear

For most of us, the best way to install FlightGear is to use the version included in our distribution of choice. In Ubuntu Edgy, that's 0.9.10-2, and that's what I have used while writing this article. You can also grab a tarball, or check out the latest from CVS, and build it from scratch, but beware, it may require a serious effort to build.

Before you bother installing FlightGear, however, make sure your system meets the minimum hardware requirements. The bottom line is that you need 3D acceleration. For Linux users, the best bet seems to be an Nvidia card with 3D enabled. I've heard tales of woe on the IRC channel from those trying to run FlightGear on Linux with ATI cards.

A brief history of FlightGear
Curtis Olsen provided this account of FlightGear's beginnings:

FlightGear really started in its earliest form in 1996, about 10 years ago. We started out writing our own 3D graphics routines to run on 2D hardware (i.e. no OpenGL) but that effort thankfully stalled. In 1997 I took over more formal leadership of the project and we headed off mostly in our current direction. Multiplatform, OpenGL-based accelerated 3D graphics, real terrain skin for our scenery, flexible flight models, etc.

Olsen added that he's been "a Unix/Linux fanatic since the day I first saw 'multitasking' on a Unix box in college."

"I've done my personal development of FlightGear in Linux since day one, but *very* early in the process we had Windows ports, and Mac ports, and SGI ports, and Sun ports, etc."

Today, more than a dozen developers have commit privileges. Olsen told me that "We've had literally hundreds of people contribute code, graphics, 3D models, hardware, and all sorts of other stuff over the years. I used to make a sincere attempt to track and log these contributions, but it just became overwhelming and I gave up."

Even though the project has grown, Olsen says that he still contributes code to the project:

Yes, I definitely continue to participate. I have two young children and some increased demands at my day job, but I still do as much as I can. This means a lot less coding than in the past, but I still try to keep on top of things. Some of my recent work has been involved in using FlightGear as a visualization tool for UAV development. I was recently involved in scripting a FlightGear based simulator for use in the Fox TV show: JUSTICE for an episode involving a plane crash, which incidentally airs tonight, so definitely check it out if you have the time.

I've also done some work recently interfacing FlightGear with a really brilliant piece of code that is designed to analyze handling qualities and predict/find potential pilot induced oscillation problems in advanced, high performance jets. That has been a really fun and interesting and educational experience. The original developer of this code was a really brilliant flight test engineer from the Edwards area who sadly passed away a couple years ago. It's been a challenge and an honor to help revive this software, build on top of some incredibly brilliant work, and give it a much more modern face (and even increase its capabilities in some areas.)

But really, in the past year or two, the really important core FlightGear coding has been done by many others. I am actually pleased and proud to report that if I got hit by the bus on the way home from work today, FlightGear would continue to thrive and develop with out me. We now have some really talented and smart developers that teach me something new each time they commit new code to the project. We also have a growing number of aircraft builders and a growing hangar of cool airplanes and helicopters. These folks spent countless tedious hours tweaking pixels and vertices to produce some really amazing and beautiful aircraft models, some with fully functional 3d virtual cockpits, complete with a pilot moving the controls.

Recently we've had wonderful contributions to advance our helicopter flight dynamics modeling, huge improvements to our multiplayer system, some really huge improvements to our graphics rendering (porting from our old scene graph library to OpenSceneGraph), we have a much improved MIL-STD HUD, many landmarks have been added around the world to our scenery database, it's easy to lose track of all the great things that people are doing and working on inside FlightGear.

And don't even get me started about all the research projects, academic use, flight training, and even industry use of FlightGear. There are many groups using FlightGear as an engineering tool to develop a product, advance their research, and learn about flight dynamics.

Once installed, you'll have a FlightGear root directory somewhere on your system. In Ubuntu, it's at /usr/share/games/FlightGear, but this may vary depending on the distribution. You'll need to know where it's located if you want to do things like tweak the joystick or keyboard bindings, add aircraft, or add scenery. I'll refer to those directories starting with FlightGear, and leave it to you to figure out where FlightGear lives on your system.

You don't have to be an experienced pilot in order to enjoy FlightGear, but it certainly helps if you understand the basics, including aircraft nomenclature. At a minimum, you'll want to know the difference between an aileron, elevator, rudder, flap, and stabilizer. You might also want to peruse this PDF containing a flight school tutorial to help you with the basics.

The FlightGear.org Website has links to other user documentation as well: a FAQ, a manual, cheat sheet, and a wiki.

In addition to those resources, FlightGear users also have a mailing list and a #flightgear channel on irc.flightgear.org for real time assistance. As seems the norm for open source projects in active development, the formal documentation sometimes lags behind the current version of the software, making those last two sources of information even more valuable.

Setting up your joystick

Although you can control FlightGear completely with keyboard and mouse, a joystick is best. I purchased a Saitek Cyborg Graphite USB joystick not long after beginning to use FlightGear and I've never regretted spending the money. FlightGear has stock configurations for a number of joysticks from different vendors located in the FlightGear/Input/Joysticks directory. To see if your joystick comes with a pre-built configuration, look in the specific vendor offerings to see if there is a match for the model you have.

Your own particular brand and model joystick may or may not be included as one of the pre-built joystick control files that come with FlightGear. If it is, simply hack the joysticks.xml file in the FlightGear root directory to point at the pre-built file. By default, joysticks.xml contains a line like this:

<js n="0" include="Input/Joysticks/Local/joystick_0.xml"/>

Simply replace the included path to point at your specific joystick vendor and model, like this:

<js n="0" include="Input/Joysticks/Saitek/Cyborg-Gold-3d-USB.xml"/>

If you don't find a configuration file for your joystick, or if the one you find is not to your liking, FlightGear provides a couple of tools to allow you to build your on configuration. For example, enter js_demo at the command line and you'll see something like the following:

Joystick test program.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Joystick 0: "Cyborg Graphite"
Joystick 1 not detected
Joystick 2 not detected
Joystick 3 not detected
Joystick 4 not detected
Joystick 5 not detected
Joystick 6 not detected
Joystick 7 not detected
+--------------------JS.0----------------------+
| Btns Ax:0 Ax:1 Ax:2 Ax:3 Ax:4                |
+----------------------------------------------+
| 0000 -0.0 -0.1 +0.0 +0.0 +0.0   .    .    .  |

Note that the columns for five axis are numbered from zero to four. As I lean the joystick handle left and right, I can see the value listed under Axis 0 changing. When I bend it forward and back, the same thing happens under Axis 1. The throttle lever on the base of my Cyborg functions as Axis 2, and the cap on top of the joystick as Axis 4. The point being, now I know how each is seen by FlightGear, so I can assign them -- from zero to four -- the way I want them in the configuration file.

But how are the buttons identified? Press a button and a value appears in the Btns column displays a binary number equivalent to 1, 2, 4, or 8. Number those four values in sequence from zero to three and you have the button's number for FlightGear. When I squeeze the trigger, for example, the value in the Btns column changes to 0001, so I know that the trigger is button zero. If the value in the Btns column changed to 0010, the equivalent to 2, FlightGear sees the button as button 1.

If all you need to do is hack a pre-existing configuration, you now have all the information you need to do so, simply by changing the axis or button values to match your desires. But if you need to build a joystick file completely from scratch, you'll need to run fgjs as well.

The fgjs command will take you through a dialogue asking you to assign an axis or button to a long list of operations. You probably won't have enough axis or buttons to handle them all, so for many of them you'll have to simply skip them. You do that by pressing a button when asked for an axis, or by moving the joystick on an axis when asked for a button.

The program asks you to confirm each assignment as you go. When it's finished, it creates a jsX.xml file in the working directory, with the X indicating which joystick it's for. Copy that file into the FlightGear/Input/Joysticks/Default directory as joystick.xml and you're all set.

One final word of caution regarding your joystick, if you use one. Don't blame the joystick or its configuration if your aircraft drifts to left while taking off, or turns to the left while in flight. It's the realism of the simulator, and it's more pronounced in propeller-driven craft, like the default Cessna 172 you probably were flying on your maiden flight. I've seen this drift explained both as the result of propeller torque or a slip-stream effect, but I don't know which if either is correct. But it's not the joystick.

If you don't have a joystick, you can still fly, using the keyboard and mice bindings given in keyboard.xml and mice.xml in the FlightGear root directory. Hack them if you like.

Page 2: Taking your first flight, and FlightGear screenshots...

 

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on FlightGear takes off

Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.

A small nit.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 03:04 AM
To be percise Simgear is LGPL (but is only needed if you're compiling). Now he says he started this project because he was dissatisfied with other PC flight simulators. How does FlightGear compare with X-Plane?

#

<a href="http://www.javasigns.com/decals">custom car decals</a>

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.236.163.214] on January 25, 2008 04:55 PM
Looks very interesting

#

Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 04, 2006 11:51 PM
I tested this some months ago, and the graphics nor the performance was impressive for me. Though my system is quite old.

It was complex and difficult, I don't know much about airplanes. I think there should be a mode that you start in the air, and just steer and fly, instead of start at the airport and put breaks off, engine on and whatever boring stuff.

Also, I want to fly with a blazing fast awesome cool stealthy state-of-the-art fighter aircraft such as F/A-22 Raptor or F-35 Lightning II (JSF, Joint Strike Fighter). I don't want to fly slow and heavy old dumb passenger airplane like Boeing 747 or whatever.

I want to soar through the sky like an eagle!

Game needs add;
* Cool aircraft.
* Quick start-fly-in-the-air mode, not start on the airport.
* Easier to use. More fast and quick performance.

And get rid of rough edges.

#

Re:Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 12:26 AM
You really did not check this stuff out.

  • Check out <a href="http://flightgear.org/Downloads/aircraft/" title="flightgear.org">http://flightgear.org/Downloads/aircraft/</a flightgear.org> for a bunch of cool aircraft including BAC-TSR2,F15,harrier,YF-23,X15,T38

  • Yep you can start in the air. To do this, see <a href="http://flightgear.org/Docs/getstart/node3.html#SECTION03145000000000000000" title="flightgear.org">http://flightgear.org/Docs/getstart/node3.html#SE<nobr>C<wbr></nobr> TION03145000000000000000</a flightgear.org>. I use KFreeFlight as a front end to setup all of the options. This makes it a lot easier.

  • This is laughable, sounds like you want a game, not a flight simulator. Search for flight game on <a href="http://freshmeat/" title="freshmeat">http://freshmeat/</a freshmeat> you might find something. It is plenty fast even on at 600MHz, just need a good 3D card. (This is what I run it on.)


FlightGear is a great piece of software and my three year old son and I play it all of the time.

#

Re:Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 04:43 AM
You mean a 777 like this one? (link taken from the main flightgear aircraft downloads page)

<a href="http://flight.frozenwebhost.com/Aircraft/777-200_20060701.zip" title="frozenwebhost.com">http://flight.frozenwebhost.com/Aircraft/777-200_<nobr>2<wbr></nobr> 0060701.zip</a frozenwebhost.com>

I much prefer the more exciting military aircraft myself, but we have people interested in modelling all types of aviation in this project.

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Re:Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 04:05 AM
Ha ha ha,

You want to fly the latest great aircrafts immediatly...:-)

I would prefer passenger jets much more like the airbus a330, b777 because deep inside of me there still is this boy who wanted to become a passenger jet pilot.

#

Re:Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 09:22 AM
Yes, I want to fly the latest great aircrafts immediately!

I don't like to fly slow passenger jet that is slow like turtle and agility of a fat cow.

I want fast airplane that is supersonic that burst through the sound barrier in Mach speed, and has afterburner and agility of an athletic cat!

#

Re:Hmm

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 06, 2006 08:03 AM
so get over to the website and download yourself one from the archives

#

Re:Hmm

Posted by: Joe Barr on December 05, 2006 12:16 AM
It may still have some rough edges, development work is going on constantly in all areas. BUT..

1. It has lots of cool aircraft now

2. It can start in the air now

3. You need to upgrade your video

#

Re:Hmm

Posted by: Administrator on December 06, 2006 06:18 AM
As a pilot I don't view or use it as a "Game". Behind the project is a serious intent and that is to eventually qualify as a tutorial and testing platform with FAA certification. With that in mind, Aircraft have to behave like the real thing, consequently MS Flightsim is simply a game - we see mailing list items complaining that with Flightgear the aircraft will veer off to the left during the take-off roll, to pilots, that's exactly what happens when you roll with a lump of scrap iron strapped to your rear end. There are also other PC flightsims, not well known, that are used for real life tuition and testing.

#

Welcome To 1990

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 02:01 AM
Today, we've stepped into the world of flight simulators. This is a unique application space in that it has existed and been under improvement for years. Due to this extended development period, the quality of flight simulator software has increased dramatically and the users have extremely high expectations.

This article about <a href="http://www.flightgear.org/" title="flightgear.org">Flight Gear</a flightgear.org> fails to mention any of the other flight simulators or offer any comparisons with same. True to form, Joe's overarching reason for choosing Flight Gear is the fact that it is free and GPLed. While these are important factors, in the world of flight simulators, they are of least importance. The important factors are realism, graphics quality, performance, pilot community, online competitions and so forth.

The defacto standard in PC based flight simulators is, without a doubt, <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/games/flightsimulatorx/" title="microsoft.com">Microsoft's Flight Simluator</a microsoft.com>. Over the years, Microsoft has lead the way with constantly increasing realism, scenery options and pilot community. No one who has used it could deny Microsoft's dominance in the flight simulator arena. However, MS Flight Simulator is, unsurprisingly, Windows only.

More recently <a href="http://x-plane.com/" title="x-plane.com">X-Plane</a x-plane.com> has made massive advances in the flight sim world. X-Plane offers realism and graphics quality that is on par and in many cases better than Microsoft's Flight Simulator. In fact, the quality of X-Plane is so good that it is actual used to drive FAA certified full-motion flight simulators for instrument training and even commercial certification. While not open source, or even free/gratis, X-Plane is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux for a relatively low price.

Although there are many other flight sim programs out there, for the sake of brevity, I will end with <a href="http://www.flightgear.org/" title="flightgear.org">Flight Gear</a flightgear.org>. As the article describes Flight Gear is open source and available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It is of fair quality but, when comparing Flight Gear to the others it seems quite dated. Though the technical realism is good, the performance is poor and the graphics quality is down right antiquated when compared to X-Plane and MS Flight Simulator. Additionally, Flight Gear has a good development community behind it but the Flight Gear user community is somewhat lacklustre. The user communities of X-Plane and MS Flight Simulator are both large and vibrant with all sorts of online flying events. Indeed, there are even countless <a href="http://flyawaysimulation.com/article299-Virtual-Airlines.html" title="flyawaysimulation.com">Virtual Airlines!!!</a flyawaysimulation.com> These virtual airlines fly regularly scheduled virtual flights.

The flight simulator world is an entire world unto itself and Flight Gear is still in the dark ages. Being open source is not, by itself, enough to warrant serious comparison between Flight Gear and the other big flight sim applications.

#

Re:Welcome To 1990

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 02:39 AM
Shouldn't it be "Microsoft has led the way"?

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Re:Welcome To 1990

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 07:30 AM
Because Flight Gear is open source it is used by a great number of impressive projects, from do it yourself simulators to university research even government projects in certain places around the world, I hear there is an FAA certified versions of it, and other projects seeking certification. Have a look at <a href="http://www.flightgear.org/Projects/" title="flightgear.org">http://www.flightgear.org/Projects/</a flightgear.org> . Many people have a need to change the software to meet their needs, MSFS and X-Plane may be great software, but they don't do much to help people building their own equipment, doing research and development.

Realistic simulation is much more than eye candy you see on your display. Go flying at night with FG in your area, notice the phase of the moon, then look out your window, see if matches. In fact look at the stars out your window, and notice the ones in FG should be in the same position in the sky assuming your computer clock is set correctly. If you fly long enough you will notice them change position as the earth rotates. Most simulators have flat runways, however in real life, runways have dips and hills in them, on some you can stand at one end and not see a cesna 172 sitting at the other. This is modeled in FG. There is much more.

There are lots of things like this that you will never notice sitting down for a short test in front of FG, but this sort of attention to detail provide real training value, they are the conditions that real pilots have to learn to operate with.

#

Comparisons are not the point.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 06, 2006 02:35 AM
"This article about Flight Gear fails to mention any of the other flight simulators or offer any comparisons with same."

So what? How silly do these snippets sound?

"This article about steak fails to mention any of the other meats, like the very popular pork chops and chicken, and comparisons with same."

"This article about the maintenance and operation of the ford mustang product line fails to mention any of the other vehicles currently sold."

You are free to make comparisons, but who are you to tell the author what his subject should be? After all, this article is about obtaining and using flight gear. It's not a history of flight simulation, or a comparison of popular products. Do you expect every article about Vista to compare and contrast with OS X and Linux?

Karl O. Pinc <kop meme com)

#

MS Flight Sim?

Posted by: Administrator on December 06, 2006 02:38 AM
It's Linux.com.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>...

But you seem like you know a lot about these. It'd be totally awesome if you'd write an X-Plane review. I'm pretty sure they do accept articles.

#

Re:Welcome To 1990

Posted by: Joe Barr on December 05, 2006 02:09 AM

I love it when MS shills show up.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

#

Welcome to New Millenium

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 03:04 AM
Welcome to programs you help, be part of, contribute to

It is a great GPL'd flight simulator (the main trust of the a article).

Here is an answer to the first two posts.

The first post.

  1. Didn't do a good test

  2. Has cool aircraft. Goto the site and check it out. The download aircraft section

  3. You can start in the air, just read the directions. There are front ends to make the startup easier, like KFreeFlight.

  4. It is plenty fast. It runs on a 600Mhz machine with a decient 3D card (MS et al require that as well and more)



Second Post

  1. The article was not a comparison, just about Flight Gear. Big deal. Considering it is on linux.com.... and article about a windows only product MS Flight Simulator...get real.

  2. yep x-plane is cool, if you want to spend the money.

  3. In the true spirit or Open Source Software. Help make it better. Get involved.

  4. Fair-quality, but in the dark ages, can we say oxymoron here.



Go out try it. It is free. Help make it better. Make up your own mind.

#

Second Post

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 07:16 AM
1. While it is fair to point out that the article was only about Flight Gear and not a comparison, I feel that the article should have included at least an acknowledgement of the other options that are out there, especially when the article starts out with a gushing description as it does. Furthermore, while I don't expect an article on Linux.com to be about an MS product, I do expect the article to mention the product that is most widely regarded as the standard in its genre. I would similarly expect an enterprise messaging article to mention Exchange and an enterprise database article to mention Oracle. Get real, indeed.

2. yep x-plane is cool, if you want to spend the money.
This is a point that I tried to make in the original post. To flight simulator users, it is no longer about the money. These users are spending big bucks on wheels and pedals and all sorts of stuff. To the flight simulator crowd realism is of critical importance and graphics and performance go a VERY long way in this respect. Spending less than $100 on a good flight sim application is nothing at all. Lack of realism, even in a free application, is undesirable at best and that is why people actually prefer to spend money on X-Plane MS Flight Simulator rather than take advantage of a free product that runs on all platforms and should be far more mature for a 10 year old project. People are voting their preference with theiwallet and you would rather deny that preference than address it? That seems illogical to me.

3. In the true spirit of Open Source software, help make it better. Acknowledge shortcomings as such and then work towards eliminating them. Denying that they so plainly exist simply means that Flight Gear will continue to have poor quality graphics for another ten years! Discussing the shortcomings openly will provide a better opportunity for change. That discussion is getting involved and hopefully will make it better.

4. Fair quality is a reference to the coding. Flight Gear is of fair quality and from a technical aspect it is really very good. However, no one who has looked at or flown MS Fight Simulator or X-Plane would ever deny that the graphic quality and performance of Flight Gear was surpassed by the other product(s) ten years ago.

I'm all about getting real. But, that requires accepting reality, not discarding it and substituting a non-existent ideal.

#

the introduction I needed

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 03:18 AM
While I love and miss Janes Longbow2 for being a great chopper flight sim with the tright balance of overly technical control detail and combat game goodness. It is designed to run on win95 but will run on win98 fairly well with the odd program crash (and frequent pilot crashes; the ground comes up at you so fast some times). I grudgingly understand why Janes won't be publishing any more flight sims. (the most realistic combat flight sim from a civilian organization with an office in the pentagon kinda conflics with that whole 9/11 hysteria)

As a pilot now suffering years of withdrawl from flying, I need something to at least get my imagination off the ground. I need realism though. I need to feel wind on the ealerons when I role and resistance on the rudder when I pivot. I need to feel the elevator crying at me when I pull out of a dive too quickly. My specific need is soaring so that means a flight sim with attention to wind. Where most flight sim focus on going over ground, I need one that focuses on going through air.

Now, at the rist of being labelled a shill, I have been pricing the new MS flightsim (I hear your calls of "Heritic!"). Simply put; realism, force feedback support. They make a piss poor OS but give dues where due.

I've taken a couple of goes at trying to get FlightGear to load with varying degrees of unsuccess. This and the mention of kflightgear have inspired me to have another go at it. Thanks you, this was a pleasent Monday surprise. Who knows, once I get the labella in the air, I'll have to check out the AH64L Apache mods (and by a new flightstick).

#

kinda conflicts with that whole 9/11 hysteria?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 03:47 PM
"the most realistic combat flight sim from a civilian organization with an office in the pentagon kinda conflicts with that whole 9/11 hysteria"

Like to explain further?

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Re:kinda conflicts with that whole 9/11 hysteria?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 11:30 PM
Make no mistake; I don't meant to lessen the horror and loss of September 2001. First, to provide the basic level of knowledge if it's lacking.

Janes is a publisher for the military primarily. They produce relatively detailed books on military technology and such for civilian consumption while the highly detailed stuff was, understandably, saved for military publication and reference. Like I said; the only civilian organization with an office in the pentigon.

Now, Janes also published a series of flight simulator games on the civilian side. Four or five of which are based on fixed wing and two based on helecopters. I liked the fixed win sims but for me, the game with real playability was the two chopper sims focusing more on the second; Longbow2.

With a child hood love of helecopters and a fix wing pilots license; I could spend hours buzzing around in the pilot see of an AH64 Apache chopper. Most people would be bored creaping up and over hills at five to ten feet off the ground for an hour just to zap a dug-in tank installation with a hellfire.

After Longbow2, they where still developing for later releases of flight sims. Trees and landscapes would become more realistic as technology permited. I believe one plan was to develop both future fixed wing and chopper sims along with a ground forces sim so all games could join into the same networked virtual combat.

Bam!.. a few minutes later Bam!.. and the towers came down. I don't mean to lessen the horrific loss in any way. I've close friends who lost family in the attack; not saying it wasn't a horrid traggedy in any way. I might point out that it happens daily in other countries yet that's not as news worthy as right there at home.

The 9/11 hysteria part is that after the traggedy, Janes scrubbed all plans for further flight sim development; too real, too accurate, too many details about military equipment. No futher fixed wing sims, no further apache sims, no commanche chopper sim (I'm guessing it would have been part of longbow3).

That alone doesn't constitute hysteria but in combination with the ongoing (five years now?) knee jerk reaction. When what happens daily in other countries happens to the states, they are flabbergasted yet still don't consider anything wrong with bombing the hell out of innocents as long as a few terrorists die in the cross fire. I'll give you a few examples in point form.

- Airport security only makes people feel safe, it doesn't even slow down professional criminals. In the words of George Carlin, drug dealers aren't having any difficulties getting "packages" across the boarder still.

- Personal security stores made a killing off the hype and blind reaction to the terrorist bogyman. Sky scraper personal parachutes, bio and chemical gass masks. We saw a boom in the paranoia industry probably not seen since the 50s when everyone wanted a backyard bomb shelter because of the red bogyman.

- Mosks and other religious buildings across the states where attacked and destroyed out of blind fear and ignorance. The Muslim faith does not condon violence any more than the Christian faiths. The text commnoly associated with terrorist activities is actually a basturdisation. What should be "if you die protecting our family and faith, you go to heaven" is currupted into "if you die attacking someone on the basis of your faith, you go to heaven". Ironicaly, the faith is actually a later brand of Christianity which in turn is actualy a later brand of Judaism. I don't want this to degenerate into an argument over religion though because no one will win that discussion.

- Movies which had shots of the trade towers in the background had to be scrapped, archived for a few years or edited to remove "the way it used to be". (over reaction?)

- Bush is now pushing the war measures act long than any, (repeat ANY), president since the founding of the United Sates

- Anything that can't be based on the basis of it's content alone is suddenly to fight terrorism, if that fails, it's to fight kiddy porn

- The daily threat report; you must be this scared to enter the country. Be afraid, be afraid, run around with your heads cut off, react, react, react to the invisible bogeyman we used to justify everything

- Heck, they used it to justify invading iraq for it's oil then later to justify invading afganistan for it's geographic possition as the gateway to oil. Of all the objectives the Seals had, they only acomplished taking the national office of Oil intact and left everything of lesser value to the ravages of combat.

- The Dixie Chicks. They're a freaking band; entertainers. The lead singer makes a statement to excite the audience at a concert (equivalent of saying "Hello , We Love You!" where the location is named because it provides a personal touch to the audience. Suddenly, they're not played on radio and pretty much rejected by people who'v been "loyal fans" all there lives over one casual statement. Like the song says; mothers teach there daughters to hate a complete stranger. (The technical term for the public reaciont is "Group Think" or the sheep effect)

- America is now being governed by fear run as a marketing campain which in itself is an absalute discrace to the horrific event it was spun off of.

- Consider all the buzwords we now have. It's not that day in september 2001; it's 9-eleven. It's not the feared reds or criminals anymore; it's terrorists and hackers. It's not restrictions of freedom; it's Security in this new world we live. It's not illegal spying on American citizens; it's the war on terrorism. Heck, there are no more goals or causes; everything now has to be a war on something. Here's a few that have been left out; the war on hunger, the war on deteriorating education.

The point of "9/11 Hysteria" is that the five year long knee jerk reaction continues without rational. It's a great marketing campain political goals, research grants and products the public is scared into thinking they need. There's a whole lot of fiction based on a little bit of fact because someone can profit.

Janes isn't publishing any more computer games (top five if not best combat sim games) because of the hysteria.

If I want to spend a few hours creaping around in a chopper five feet off the ground, I have to find the obsolete components to build a win95/win98 contemporary machine since the software won't run stably on modern hardware.

I'm sure I'll be labelled all sorts of mean names for expressing these points. It's not knew, I have this horrible trait that the government absalutely hates; I think for myself.

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Its all crap,...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 06, 2006 11:14 AM
"The 9/11 hysteria part is that after the tragedy, Janes scrubbed all plans for further flight sim development; too real, too accurate, too many details,.."

So what,...? The people who faked 9/11, didn't know squat about planes anyway. Remember them trying to tell us that the "hijackers" turned of the transponders to make the aircraft "invisible to radar," which is total crap.

Of course, turning off the transponder alerts every traffic controller that the plane has a significant problem,... just what a "hijacker" who needs to travel lots of miles to crash his plane, wants,... to draw lots of attention to the plane.

Its all crap,...

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Re:Its all crap,...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 07, 2006 02:39 AM
Based on my understanding which could be completely wrong because it's from what is taught in ground school in preperation for one's pilot license exams there is some basis of fact.

Radar in general will spot and track an object in the air; no debate there. Stealth technology obsorbs and deflects the radar radiation to "hide" from it but that's billion dollar technology for specialized needs.

Turning off the transponder is more like taking your name tag off at a convention. Your still there but you can blend into the background alot easier and if you are spotted, no one can tell who you are. This is infact "turning invisible" to air traffic control because there screen full of aircraft identifiers (transponder broadcasts) suddenly has one less blip that apears each sweep.

they wouldn't have been invisible to military aircraft or grand based radar but they would be to air traffic control systems which was the goal since they where not planning on being around long (I speculate at the last bit).

The hyjackers who took control of the planes only need to know how to fly once in the air. Most pilots will agree that take off and landing is where pilots work. Once in the air it's slighly more complicated than driving a car. The hijackers took enough flight training to be able to direct the plane once in the air. Tell a flightschool you want to get your pilots license, pay the initial fee for the orientation flight and your done with the flight training part.

I don't think it was faked. Those buildings really did fall down, there's no questining that. There may be question of who really orcastrated the attacks and how long the government knew about it without being able to act (you really gotta love beucracy huh) but there's no question that those two buildings fell down.

Point is, when your a military/civilian publisher whith highly detailed flightsim involving some of the most advance aircraft of the time showing near classified information something like that haults any further development of your flightsims. No ifs, ands, buts, possiblies; haulted, end of story.

Ironically, it was probably Microsoft Flight Simulator that they used for practice on the flight controls. None of Janes flight sims include civilian aircraft that would have been applicable.

Either way, this isn't the place for a 9/11 discussion beyond mentioning that it ended production on some really great sims (I'm sure there was more than Jane's effected).

#

WTC laced with many tonnes of explosives.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 07, 2006 11:15 AM
"I don't think it was faked. Those buildings really did fall down"

Of course 9/11 was faked,... it was what is called a false flag operation.

Of course the buildings fell down, they were laced with many tonnes of explosives.

And if your transponder is turned off, the air-traffic people know about it straight away. It shows up with a great big warning, much like what happens if a plane departs from its planned course.

If it was any day other than 9/11, the USAF could have pilots up to investigate in less than 20 minutes.

#

Re:kinda conflicts with that whole 9/11 hysteria?

Posted by: Administrator on December 06, 2006 04:25 AM
I don't think anybody ~here~ would be offended by any of that.

And really, I think the saddest part of it all is that most Americans really aren't even that "scared" at all. Most people really don't even care.

Are you afraid of terrorists?

Is anybody?

Anyway, I still have my Jane's F-15 and I love it. That's my flight sim of choice right there.

Somewhere I have Longbow 2 but I didn't play it as much.

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Wikipedia article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 03:46 AM
Further information is available on Wikipedia;
* <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FlightGear" title="wikipedia.org">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FlightGear</a wikipedia.org>

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Re:Welcome To 1990

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 05:15 AM
Jesus Joe! You are so utterly predictable. You write an article, I criticize it and you immediately label me a shill. How about putting the whole "Corporal-for-life Linux Liberation Army" thing aside for just one real-world, level-headed second. Are you so totally blind in zealotry that you will not concede that freeness alone does not mean inherent superiority?

If you wish, you may strip all references to Microsoft and their products from my previous post. The comment is still painfully accurate. Compared to X-Plane and other flight sim packages, Flight Gear is severely lacking and the fact that it is FLOSS does not overcome its shortcomings!

I find it rather pathetic that you are unwilling to acknowledge anything else but free software especially when said free software is 10 or more years behind anything else. I find it pathetic that you feel me comparing the free software you offer up to superior quality packages as shilling.

It is my hope that my comments, when comparing software packages, are helpful to others in two ways. First, pointing out shortcomings that I feel should be addressed by the project to make it better. Second, to give people a more objective viewpoint that Joe Barr seems to be capable of.

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Re:Welcome To 1990

Posted by: Joe Barr on December 05, 2006 05:38 AM

Anyone who launches personal attacks from behind a mask of anonymity lacks the integrity to be considered as anything except a shill.


Why are you such a spineless coward?

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Ouch! Joe Stabbed Me. Again!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 06:45 AM
Awe shucks, Joe. Now you've hurt my feelings.

In looking back at previous posts, I believe that it was you (again, as always) that launched the personal attacks. You responded to a perfectly reasonable level-handed comment by calling me a shill. I offered an opinion supported by facts and you responded with name calling. After experiencing repeated attacks of this nature, by you, I must conclude that you are not capable of reasonable debate.

Does Flight Gear not have sufficient redeeming features to argue in its favor without the personal attacks?

Belligerence is often acknowledged by psychologists as a form of cowardice. Why Joe, are you such a Cowardly Lion?

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Re:Ouch! Joe Stabbed Me. Again!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 01:40 PM
Why don't you go Fuck yourself you puerile prick - this is linux.com not M$Shit.com

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Re:Ouch! Joe Stabbed Me. Again!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 11:42 PM
dude, if your discussing flight sims, you gotta discuss them all not just the two that demonstrait your point of view. I want FOSS to win but on the basis of quality (what M$ has never been able to win on in the OS and Office markets) not the basis of emotionally motivated debate.

If your really that angry because someone dared to mention the M word; you need to re-evaluate your concept of preportion and reality.

M$ fanboys, Cult of Apple and FOSS Zealots (not the 90% of FOSS; enthusiasts and activists) give all us computer lovers a bad reputation. I try to explain to a non-tech that a Hacker is a very high level of computer literacy and love and to countery they simply point to any comment forum where invevitably, some loud mouthed shmuck is spouting off blinded by emotions or gloating over the latest Hacker technique they used to purpetrate a criminal act.

I actually love the commentary on Newsforge and related linked articles. It usualy adds to the articles information or offeres unconsidered solutions. It usualy exemplifies the helping nature of the FOSS community in general.

Like any group, there's a whole lot of great people and a few assholes that ruin it for everyone.

Quite jumping all over people for metioning the M word in a reference you personally don't approve of. It sucks when you do it on CNet and it sucks when you do it here. It detracts, not adds to the article discussion and FOSS movement in general.

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Re:Ouch! Joe Stabbed Me. Again!!!!

Posted by: Joe Barr on December 05, 2006 08:34 AM

Another fine example of <a href="http://www.pjprimer.com/slime.html" title="pjprimer.com">MS online</a pjprimer.com> behavior.

#

Slow

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 09:26 AM
I have 900 MHz CPU, 256 mb RAM, GeForce4 and its slow.

I don't know how to make it start in the air. The menus in the game doesn't even appear to work.

You cant change airplane without exit the whole game and start it again.

It doesn't ship with cool aircraft bundled, the best it had was the old F18 and F16. These are from the 70's.

Oh and game seem buggy.

Heck, I can't even get airplane off the ground, its so difficult to play, it just spins around on the airport. There should really be a "quick start" mode.

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Re:Slow

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 06, 2006 08:02 AM
f18, f16 don't qualify as cool aircraft? You spend alot of time flying real jet fighters do you?

Well, if your a gamer, your hardware is far below spec; ghz+ cpu, 512 to 1gig RAM should make a big difference. Linux runs efficiently on low end hardware, we love it for that, but gaming still needs some power.

#

FsckGear

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 05, 2006 11:06 AM
What Linux needs is a unique program that allows the user to have sex with the chick in the red dress from the Matrix, with a real-time ASCII/Motion Picture toggle switch.

#

Re:FsckGear

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 06, 2006 12:03 AM
so write one

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Re:kinda conflicts with that whole 9/11 hysteria?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 06, 2006 08:52 AM
Thank you for the pear review. I was pretty sure that was going to illicit some harsh responses but I was hoping it'd be read in context.

I was a Janes USAF person myself until LB2. I played it for months at home loving every minute then thought I'd try it out online (the olden days when you met up on IRC to organize inet gaming).

Two of us jumped into the chopper putting the other person in the gunners seat. Apearently they where more of a computer game pilot because I flew that machine like it was a real chopper; out sideways from behind mountains and the whole bit. The poor kid was domfounded. I believe his comment after the flight was "uh.. dude, I'll fly gunner any time."

ah good times, good times.. well, I'll be building a lb2 platform as I'm able to collect the obsolete parts that it runs best on. I've got my Voodoo2 board around here some place.

#

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