bbosen
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:49 pm

They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:24 pm

For years I have been advising people NOT to try my "Linux Air Combat" flight simulator on the Raspberry Pi. About 3 years ago I tried it on the Pi 2 and although compiling and installing was easy, run-time performance was impossibly slow.

But the Pi4b is a different beastie! I bought one a few days ago, with NOOBS pre-loaded on a 32GB flash chip. I needed only an hour or so to get the Pi up and running Raspbian and connected to my TV via HDMI. I LOVE the results.

I really didn't expect Linux Air Combat ("LAC") to perform well on this tiny, inexpensive machine. But I was wrong! The Pi4b runs LAC very sweetly!

Linux Air Combat is a combat flight simulator written specifically for LINUX, so there is no need for emulation of Windows. That's one reason why it runs so well on the Pi, I suppose. Also, the "old-school" graphics are a lot less complex than those seen on the latest Windows flight simulators. The graphic detail is similar to flight sims from the "classic" period, like Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2, or "Warbirds" or "Aces High I".

I don't know if any other combat flight simulators are well behaved on the Raspberry Pi, but Linux Air Combat runs very very well. For the past few days I have been using it to show off the surprising performance of my Raspberry Pi with dynamic, high-speed, graphically intense, online combat demonstrations that anybody can appreciate. I have the 4GB Raspberry Pi model 4b, and I run it on a 720P HDMI TV.

Here's a link to a YouTube clip showing what it looks like:

https://youtu.be/0x1o3tyYgRc?list=PL1IY ... 75_u3v14tU

and HERE's a link to a YouTube video clip showing EXACTLY how I downloaded, compiled, installed, and ran it on my Pi:

https://youtu.be/XeYBhxb_yrk

Learn more about LAC here:

https://askmisterwizard.com/2019/LinuxA ... neDocs.htm

Moonmarch
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Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:34 am

Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:40 pm

I'll test the game out when I have the opportunity. I was searching for a freeware Linux game to run on the Raspberry Pi computer. Nice to see people contribute to the gaming section of the Raspberry Pi forums. Any time I search for Linux freeware games, I find Scorched 3D, Hedgewars, Tux Racer, Glest, etc. I would compile some of these Linux games. A number of these Linux games will either not compile on ARM computers, or were not updated in years. I can see Linux Air Combat Flight Simulator was updated recently. Supposedly you, bbosen, are the developer of Linux Air Combat Simulator. I usually play MS-DOS games on the Raspberry Pi computer using the DOSBox emulator.

Here are some open source flight combat simulators that I plan to test out myself. The Freespace 2 source code project, based on Freespace 2. Oolite open world space sim, based on Elite 1985. DXX Rebirth, based on Descent 1995, this game is not a flight simulator. You still have flight controls, and the game is open source.

bbosen
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 9:49 pm

Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:46 pm

Moonmarch:

I am indeed the primary developer of Linux Air Combat.

How much RAM does your Pi4 have? Mine has 4GB, which seems to meet the demands easily. I hope to get feedback from people with less than 4GB of RAM.

If LAC does not perform SPLENDIDLY for you, please let me know. It should be easy for you to tweak the graphics a bit in order to see silky-smooth, rock-solid 59-60 frames per second at least 99% of the time.

I have updated the published download source. Hereafter, I intend to support THIS location with the latest/greatest version for Raspberry Pi:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/linuxaircombat/files

From there, click the prominent "Raspberry Pi Versions of LAC" folder, where it will be easy to spot the latest ".apk" archive for download, along with instructive text.

Cheers!

; )

tvjon
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:28 pm

bbosen wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:46 pm
...I hope to get feedback from people with less than 4GB of RAM.

...

This RPi 4 is a 2 gig variant.
I built it a couple of days ago I think, no warnings, most impressive.

I haven't had chance to play it really yet.

Attached is a screenshot. The gradients are my jpeg's small size, not your application.

I haven't heard any audio yet, but I read another of your posts about mumble so I'll take a look at that as soon as I can.

Thank you for making it available.
Attachments
lacScreen.jpg
lacScreen.jpg (152.85 KiB) Viewed 4185 times

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:33 pm

tvjon:

Thanks for confirming my suspicions that LAC would run well on a 2GB Pi4.

I hope your continued experimentation with it yields a lot of fun.

I haven't had any difficulty hearing LAC's sound effects. The "trouble with Mumble" reference does indeed describe problems hearing sounds from Mumble.... but not from LAC.

Cheers!

; )

Moonmarch
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:57 pm

I'm using the Raspberry Pi 3B+ with 1 GB DDR RAM. I compiled the Linux Air Combat V792 program yesterday without any problems. I did not play the game for very long. I would wait for the weekend to setup the game, and read all of the instructions. I tested out some of the training missions, the game runs fine. I did not check the actual frame rate, I did have the graphic settings to the maximum values at 1280x720 screen resolution. View distance was set to 100, the frame rate was overall playable. I did have some segmentation faults, which happens for any number of reasons. To know if the game is completely playable, more testing will be required.

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:59 pm

Moonmarch:

Thanks for your report!

It runs on a Raspberry Pi model 3B with 1GB of RAM?

Frankly, I am surprised
to hear that you got "acceptable" performance with the graphics at maximum detail after just trimming back the "fog distance" to 100.

You report using the "Production" version 7.92, published for generic compilation on LINUX. That is indeed the version that set the interoperability standard to which all subsequent versions have adhered. But since its publication in November of 2019 we have optimized performance and fixed several small bugs. Version 7.92 does indeed suffer from some segmentation faults that have subsequently been fixed. It also suffers from more "network jitter" than I like. Later versions are a lot better in that regard.

Yesterday I published version 8.29, with a Raspberry Pi-specific variant that includes some special tweaks for best performance. You will definitely have a better experience if you use that version. Here's the link to our authoritative, LINUX package:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/linuxaircombat/files

From there, click the prominent "Raspberry Pi Versions of LAC" link to get to the precompiled one for Raspbian. You'll find detailed instructions there.

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:11 am

Moonmarch:

One player (tvjon) indicated trouble hearing LAC's sounds, and so I am gathering related info.

Did you hear LAC's sound effects? There should have been background music, background radio banter, engine noise, explosions, beeps, machine gun noise, etc. In the heat of battle you should hear quite an intense caucaphony.

Could you comment on whether any audio came from your HDMI monitor, from a speaker or headset thru the headphone jack, from an external USB audio setup, or what have you?

Thanks!

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Gavinmc42
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:25 am

This is cool.
Plane, Train, Ship simulators are working on Pi4's :D
Got SuperTuxKart running, but that is not real cars ;)

Been interested in how game 3ds models are done.
The MosquitoB.3ds in a 3D viewer looks to have errors in an online viewer but not when imported into Blender 2.79.
https://3dviewer.net/
Must be the viewer?

Anyway I was interesting to see if texture baking could be applied to those 3ds models.
Tim woke me up to to baking with his Cargo ship model
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y91jHLkXl4I
I think visually Pi's have much more capability than you think.
Have a look at Tim's other Pi video, these are on the old VC4 Pi's.

I have been experimenting with porting tools to Pi4's, so all game development can be done on Pi's.
Blender 2.79 and Blender for Artists are not too bad now.

I noticed there is objload.cpp code, can LAC handle OBJ 3d files?

I think this is how Tim gets the performance up.
The OBJ loader merges geometry into material groups; for example, the Cargo ship is made of 100's of meshes - these are welded together to form just 7 meshes and therefore just 7 draw calls.
Have you noticed any performance difference between 32bit OS and 64bit OS versions?

Not sure yet LAC work but the code looks very clean and would probably be able to render using Vulkan.
My goal is to learn enough to one day do glTF 3D model games with Vulkan rendering on baremetal. ;)
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:49 am

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:25 am
This is cool.

[snip]

Have you noticed any performance difference between 32bit OS and 64bit OS versions?

Not sure yet LAC work but the code looks very clean and would probably be able to render using Vulkan.
My goal is to learn enough to one day do glTF 3D model games with Vulkan rendering on baremetal. ;)
In my experience, LAC's performance is essentially the same whether on a 32bit OS or on a 64bit OS. However, 64-bit libraries generally have fewer bugs and result in better reliability on most LINUX platforms.

I have no experience with graphic "render baking" as you refer to it. I still have a lot to learn.

You asked "I noticed there is objload.cpp code, can LAC handle OBJ 3d files?"

...Not at present. I use an old version of Blender to convert .OBJ files to LAC's venerable old .3ds format when necessary.

Cheers!

Moonmarch
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:21 pm

I do not have any audio with Linux Air Combat, I am using release V792, not the latest version of LAC. The missing audio can be for a number of reasons, I do not know which audio driver LAC is using. Pulseaudio, Alsa, SDL sound, I know you can't choose audio drivers within the in game audio settings. I can hear audio in LAC if I am using the legacy drivers with the Raspberry Pi 3 computer. Without GPU acceleration, the frame rate is 30 FPS at the lowest settings. On the Raspberry Pi 3 computer, you need to activate the OpenGL drivers manually. LAC runs at about 30 FPS using maximum settings with OpenGL activated on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer.

I do have audio with the OpenGL drivers activated on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer. I tested YouTube with the Chromium browser. I can hear audio from the YouTube video player. I tested out the ECWolf Wolfenstein 3D source port. I can hear audio once again, which means audio is present on my Raspberry Pi computer. The audio appears to be missing in LAC with release V792 when OpenGL drivers are activated.

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Gavinmc42
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:35 am

Compiled on Gentoo 64 but had a segmentation faults.
Compiled on Raspberry PI OS 64 and works :D
Audio worked.

Crashed pretty quickly, need to get a joystick working, I always have trouble without one.

I was using Blender on Windows the other days but Pi Blender for Artist 1.0 has no problem loading the Mosquito.
Time to learn baking.

I will try in on my 2GB and 1GB Pi4's tmr.
I use my 4GB for compiling and as a development Pi, time to get the 8GB.
My supplier has stock, yippee.
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

bbosen
Posts: 21
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:56 pm

Gavinmc42 wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:35 am
Compiled on Gentoo 64 but had a segmentation faults.
Compiled on Raspberry PI OS 64 and works :D
Audio worked.

Crashed pretty quickly, need to get a joystick working, I always have trouble without one.

I was using Blender on Windows the other days but Pi Blender for Artist 1.0 has no problem loading the Mosquito.
Time to learn baking.

I will try in on my 2GB and 1GB Pi4's tmr.
I use my 4GB for compiling and as a development Pi, time to get the 8GB.
My supplier has stock, yippee.
I'm glad it works for you on your Pi. Thanks for confirming that your audio works.

As for flying with joystick versus mouse, I agree. For me, it is much easier to fly with a joystick. When I fly with a mouse, I feel cumbersome and I crash a lot more often. However, I know of some people that are quite good at flight with a mouse. I think it's a skill that builds with practice, either way.

I am anxious for your report after you try it on your 2GB and 1GB Pi4s. It would be very helpful to get details about any success you have, including configuration of your audio setup (HDMI thru a TV? or using the PI's headphone jack, etc.)

Thanks!

-bbosen-

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:59 pm

Moonmarch wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:21 pm
I do not have any audio with Linux Air Combat, I am using release V792, not the latest version of LAC. The missing audio can be for a number of reasons, I do not know which audio driver LAC is using. Pulseaudio, Alsa, SDL sound, I know you can't choose audio drivers within the in game audio settings. I can hear audio in LAC if I am using the legacy drivers with the Raspberry Pi 3 computer. Without GPU acceleration, the frame rate is 30 FPS at the lowest settings. On the Raspberry Pi 3 computer, you need to activate the OpenGL drivers manually. LAC runs at about 30 FPS using maximum settings with OpenGL activated on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer.

I do have audio with the OpenGL drivers activated on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer. I tested YouTube with the Chromium browser. I can hear audio from the YouTube video player. I tested out the ECWolf Wolfenstein 3D source port. I can hear audio once again, which means audio is present on my Raspberry Pi computer. The audio appears to be missing in LAC with release V792 when OpenGL drivers are activated.

Moonmarch, thanks for those details. I guess on the Pi3, your research indicates that you can choose between better framerate but no sound (using OpenGL drivers) or marginal framerate with sound using the standard drivers. Did I get that right?

Frankly, I am amazed that LAC is playable at all on the Pi3.....

; )

tvjon
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:26 pm

Still no time to play, but I did think it important to make some time for the audio to give you feedback.

I've done an update so for your reference:


$ vcgencmd version

Jul 17 2020 11:00:29
Copyright (c) 2012 Broadcom
version 21a15cb094f41c7506ad65d2cb9b29c550693057 (clean) (release) (start_x)


$ uname -a

Linux bk5 5.4.51-v7l+ #1327 SMP Thu Jul 23 11:04:39 BST 2020 armv7l GNU/Linux

Now audio works on both the AV jack output & HDMI.

I also tried Bluetooth, as I'd like to see what the latency is like. No audio from BT, & interestingly, LAC will not quit properly when BT is selected. So, I changed from BT to AV, & LAC quit fine.

I'd have thought BT would just appear indirectly to LAC as alsa, as that's how I use it from omxplayer for example, but apparently not. When I get a spare moment I'll try another SDL app using audio to see what happens.

Thank you again for a good addition to RPi's application repertoire.

HTH

Moonmarch
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:27 pm

I wouldn't underestimate the Raspberry 3B, Raspberry Pi 3B+, the Raspberry Pi 3A+, or even the Raspberry Pi Zero computer. This is one of the reasons why I continue to use the Raspberry Pi 3 computer. The Raspberry Pi 3 computer is capable of 3D acceleration. I am able to play Return to Castle Wolfenstein 2001 on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer at high settings. The same with Quake 1996, I use the Quakespasm source port with the Raspberry Pi computer. Runs without any problems at 1920x1080 screen resolution, highest settings.

The most graphic intensive I ran on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer was Minetest. I compiled Minetest from the Minetest source code on GitHub. Setting the graphics to the maximum settings, Minetest is overall unplayable. The games looks nice at max settings, even though I do not play those "Minecraft" games. Minetest on the Raspberry Pi 3 is playable at medium settings, 1280x720 resolution. Runs close to 30 FPS. The catch about playing Minetest, you need to mod the game yourself using user made content. If you do not mod Minetest, the game is very empty. No real objective to the game except to explore the procedural generated map, with no monsters around.

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:06 am

tvjon wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:26 pm
Still no time to play, but I did think it important to make some time for the audio to give you feedback.

I've done an update so for your reference:


$ vcgencmd version

Jul 17 2020 11:00:29
Copyright (c) 2012 Broadcom
version 21a15cb094f41c7506ad65d2cb9b29c550693057 (clean) (release) (start_x)


$ uname -a

Linux bk5 5.4.51-v7l+ #1327 SMP Thu Jul 23 11:04:39 BST 2020 armv7l GNU/Linux

Now audio works on both the AV jack output & HDMI.

I also tried Bluetooth, as I'd like to see what the latency is like. No audio from BT, & interestingly, LAC will not quit properly when BT is selected. So, I changed from BT to AV, & LAC quit fine.

I'd have thought BT would just appear indirectly to LAC as alsa, as that's how I use it from omxplayer for example, but apparently not. When I get a spare moment I'll try another SDL app using audio to see what happens.

Thank you again for a good addition to RPi's application repertoire.

HTH
Thanks tvjon. I assume this is all on your Raspberry Pi4b with 2GB RAM. Your experience is consistent with mine on my Pi4b with 4GB RAM using current operating system and app updates as of mid JUL2020. Everything worked as shown in the two YouTube video clips referenced at the top of this thread, including audio thru HDMI and AV jack. I think we can put any doubts about audio to rest.

; )

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Gavinmc42
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:42 am

Forgot to get back to this.
Linux raspberrypi 5.4.47-v8+ #1322 SMP PREEMPT Wed Jun 17 18:05:46 BST 2020 aarch64 GNU/Linux

Default window size on 1GB Pi4, seems to work fine, just under 40% cpu and < 14% memory.
Running the basic training, mouse skills are getting better ;)

Have not tested on the 2GB version yet, but it should be fine if it works on 1 and 4GB.
Combat missions might push it more?
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:40 pm

Yes, the online combat missions do make greater demands. You can expect frame-rate to drop slightly, especially in proximity with a squadron of Spitfires, (because the default .3ds Spitfire models are among the most complex). Those missions do demand a little more RAM, but not very much.

Since your 1GB Rpi4b handles other missions, I am pretty sure 1GB will be enough for the online combat missions too.

For help optimizing frame-rate in proximity with squadrons of Spitfires, check out the discussion about optional light-weight .3ds models here:

https://sourceforge.net/p/linuxaircomba ... aspberrypi

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:39 pm

As I have been experimenting with LAC on my Raspberry Pi4b I have found it helpful to carefully optimize the video display resolution, detail level, and viewing distance with details that are not directly available through LAC's prominent menus. In particular, on my 1280x720 display, I find I prefer to run in full-screen mode with a resolution of 720x480. LAC looks pretty good at that resolution on my small 10.1" screen, and the framerate is optimal too.

In order to do that, it is necessary to hand-edit LAC's main configuration file, which is named "LacConfig.txt" and which is always located in a new, hidden folder named ".LAC" directly beneath your home folder.

For further details on this, I recommend taking a look at the "Beginner Topics" section of LAC's forum pages here:

https://sourceforge.net/p/linuxaircomba ... nertopics/

In particular, the post entitled "Editing LAC's Configuration File" contains the exact details you will need in order to tune LAC up for sweetest performance on Raspberry Pi hardware.

I hope this helps!

; )

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:34 pm

I thought you might enjoy seeing the low-cost, tidy little Raspberry Pi "cockpit" that I just completed for LAC. Here are two photos (front and rear):

Image

Image

The keyboard, joystick, and display are each attached to a board with "velcro". I just lay the board across my knees or across the arms of a roomy armchair. Works great!

....And here's a link to further discussion with a very brief YouTube video tour:

https://sourceforge.net/p/linuxaircomba ... e29bc3682/

kwadroke
Posts: 35
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Aug 08, 2020 5:05 pm

You might have just solved an issue I was having with my cockpit plans with that chair. :)

bbosen
Posts: 21
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:56 pm

Update:

I published an improved version that makes it easy to use a console-style game controller of the type that's popular with XBOX, Playstation, and the like. The biggest challenge came from handling the axis of their throttle controls, which are spring-loaded with "Return To Center" designs. LAC likes a throttle handle that stays where the pilot places it. To compensate, I created new logic that uses "relative" rather than "absolute" positioning. When that option is configured, the throttle can be nudged upward by pressing upward on an axis, and nudged downward by pressing downward.

This is especially nice when used with a wireless controller. Here's a video showing the very tidy, simple results using the latest version (8.31) available for download from the same location described earlier in this thread.

The following web page includes a new video clip (last one on the page) showing how nicely this looks. In that clip, the Raspberry Pi is tucked out of the way, behind my big-screen TV, and I am using all of the wireless controls.

https://askmisterwizard.com/2019/LinuxA ... erryPi.htm

bbosen
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Sat Nov 28, 2020 7:03 pm

Update 28Nov2020:

I've continued to optimize LAC's performance on the Raspberry Pi 4B. The latest version (8.36) is available here:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/linuxa ... 0of%20LAC/

That version includes a more sophisticated online mission named "Peabody's Mission" (now at "production" quality) that allows much deeper strategies in an environment of increased graphical complexity. A small improvement in framerate will also be observed.

Further experimentation on the Pi version is in process and I expect to publish several more Pi-specific updates within the next few months (one is almost ready) Every anticipated Pi-related enhancement will maintain operational interoperability with prior Pi versions and with all of the other versions for desktop LINUX since the initial "production" version of Nov2018.

I have also had good luck overclocking my Pi to 2.0 Ghz with 600 Mhz graphical clocking. With conventional heatsinks and an inexpensive fan, "CommanderPi" says it is running below 55 degrees on each of my five Raspberry Pi machines even during the most intense flight simulation activity.

Here's a link to a YouTube video clip example, captured while exercising the newest, biggest, most complex online mission on one of my overclocked Pi machines:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOgqsYT ... Ee&index=2

(Note: That same mission runs nicely without overclocking, but it is necessary to diminish the graphic quality setting down from "3" to "2" in order to maintain rock-steady 60FPS at 720P resolution.)

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Gavinmc42
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Re: They said it couldn't be done: Linux Air Combat flight sim on Pi4

Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:14 am

This is starting to give me ideas :D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgqflcHBTwc

I reckon PVC tubing could be used?
Flightgear version
https://hackaday.com/2016/11/26/a-next- ... simulator/

Need to build this for the kid ;)
https://www.instructables.com/Racing-Simulator-Pod/

I am hopeless with mouse and keyboard flying.
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
Raspberries are not Apples or Oranges

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