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Howto:Dogfighting over Multiplayer with Bombable

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This article explains how to get multiplayer dogfighting and aerial combat working with the bombable add-on in FlightGear.

Very important note: multiplayer dogfighting only works with certain very specific aircraft that are specially set up for multiplayer dogfighting. And it works only if both you and the person you are dogfighting have bombable installed and are using those specific dogfighting-enabled aircraft.

If you install the Bombable package you will soon note that you can shoot at and destroy pretty much any aircraft, and any aircraft that can shoot weapons or drop bombs seems to work fine as the main aircraft. True! But this does not mean that those same aircraft will work for multiplayer dogfighting! If you want to dogfight over multiplayer, please read the instructions below very carefully.

Both people MUST install bombable, both people must enable FlightGear's multiplayer option on FlightGear startup, both people must check the "Multiplayer enabled" checkbox in the Bombable menu within FlightGear, AND both people must use one of the few dogfighting-enabled aircraft, which are listed below and included in the Bombable distribution.

Getting started with multiplayer dogfighting

  1. Get a partner to also load the bombable package
  2. Both choose one of these aircraft --look for the aircraft in the FGRun listing with the suffix -Bombable:
    • Sopwith Camel-Bombable (YASim, Guns/Bombable)
    • SPAD VII-Bombable (YASim, Guns/Bombable)
    • Fokker DR 1 Triplane-Bombable (Fokker Dr.1, JSB, Guns/Bombable)
    • A6M2 Zero-Bombable (YASim, Guns/Bombable)
    • F6F Hellcat-Bombable
    • A10-Bombable
    • ufo-Bombable (mostly just for testing, but you can have UFO dogfights if you like!)
    • NOTE: If you choose a different aircraft from those listed above, Bombable Multiplayer will not work. Note that there are similar aircraft but without the Guns/Bombable additions, which are included in the base FG distribution. If you choose one of those aircraft (lacking the Guns/Bombable/Multiplayer additions), Bombable Multiplayer will not work.
  3. Enable multiplayer (see general FG instructions for doing this).
  4. Enable multiplayer in the Bombable menu within FlightGear (it is enabled by default).
  5. Go to same location within FG and dogfight each other.

It is helpful to open a MPMap in a browser window, our FlightGear 2.4.0's Equipment/Map within FlightGear, to help you locate each other. In FG 2.4.0 and higher you can use Equipment/Map in the main FG dialog. Enable "Traffic" to see the other Multiplayer and AI aircraft. Again, see general FG multiplayer instructions for details.

You will be able to see the damage you are doing to the other person (or people) and status messages will appear with your own damage level.

The aircraft stay coordinated so that, for instance, if you shoot a plane and it catches on fire the person on the other end of the multiplayer sees that their plane has been hit and started on fire.

Once your damage reaches 100% your engines stop (magnetos off and throttle to zero). This is simply an indication to you that you have been defeated--Bombable doesn't try to model aircraft damage realistically beyond this simple indication.

To reset your damage level simply choose file/reset or use the Location menu to reposition yourself--either will stop all smoke/fires and reset your damage level to 0%.

Airplanes for multiplayer dogfights

So far the following planes work with multiplayer dogfighting:

  • Sopwith Camel-Bombable (YASim, Guns/Bombable)
  • SPAD VII-Bombable (YASim, Guns/Bombable)
  • Fokker DR 1 Triplane-Bombable (Fokker Dr.1, JSB, Guns/Bombable)
  • A6M2 Zero-Bombable (YASim, Guns/Bombable)
  • F6F Hellcat-Bombable
  • A10-Bombable
  • ufo-Bombable (mostly just for testing, but you can have UFO dogfights if you like!)

Other planes, such as any FG aircraft with working weapons, could easily be modded to work with Bombable dogfighting. (The aircraft need to have a generic multiplayer string added in their -set.xml file, plus have their AI versions installed with bombable; see the files included in the Bombable distribution for examples.)

Bombable settings & multiplayer

In MP mode, everyone dogfighting together should choose same settings for Weapon Realism or it won't be fair. To change those settings, use the "Bombable" menu within FlightGear.

When starting, I strongly suggest choosing one of the easier levels. If you don't do that, you will soon become VERY frustrated trying to hit another plane.

File reset & multiplayer

When you choose "File/reset" or reposition your aircraft using the "Location" menu, your aircraft's fire, smoke, and damage will be reset to 0%.

When another player resets, a message will appear on your screen indicating the reset.

Strategy

See Dicta Boelcke, rules for aerial combat by World War I flying aces--for ideas on strategy and tactics. They all apply in the lightGear world just as in the real world.

Keep in mind that WWI era fighter pilots were aggressive fighters who wanted to engage and down other aircraft and found the best strategy when attacked was, "Always turn and face the attack."

Obviously there is a way to do this strategically but in general dogfighting happens when you turn and engage other pilots. Unless your aircraft are terribly mismatched, if you have some distance on the other pilot you can generally avoid any fight by simply flying away from the attacking aircraft.

So if you want to avoid a dogfight, there is your strategy -- just fly away. If, on the other hand, you want to dogfight, put yourself and partner(s) in well-matched aircraft and then--seek each other out and attack. That's how they did it in real life.

Simulation vs game

"FlightGear is a simulation, not a game" is a commonly heard dictum in the FlightGear world.

True--yet military aircraft do have weapons and those weapons are designed to be used, both in training and, when the time comes, in armed conflict. A simulation that omits this important aspect of military aircraft is not a complete simulation. Many of the aeronautical capabilities of military aircraft are created specifically to meet the needs of the weapons systems they carry and the combat roles the aircraft is designed for.

Weapons in a flight simulator can certainly be abused to turn the simulator into a simplistic shoot-em-up game, but by the same token they can be used to simulate realistic flying and realistic missions in a way that most of us will never be able to experience first hand.

And they can make it a lot more fun, too. That's a bonus!