MiG-29 in flight

ACM: flight simulation for the X Window System

ACM is a free multiplayer aerial combat simulation. It was designed to be run on UNIX systems running X-Windows.

The beta release of ACM is a distributed simulation. That means that separate programs cooperate to render the state of the world in real-time. The cooperative communication required among these distributed programs is described by the IEEE 1278 Distributed Interactive Simulation protocol.

Important Features

Multiplayer Aerial Combat
Each player run the ACM simulator at his or her local workstation. All applications communicate position information via UDP broadcasts. This information allows players to "see" one another in a common environment.

Distributed Interactive Simulation Support
ACM's network communication protocol is the IEEE 1278 "Distributed Interactive Simulation" (DIS) standard. This definition allows different simulation applications to engage each other in a common virtual world.

High Fidelity Flight Simulation Model
Yeah, right .. doesn't every simulator on the planet claim to have this? The heart of ACM is a six-degree of freedom model. Aircraft performance is charaterized using NACA-standard derivatives. While you are taxiing, the effects of landing gear struts and shocks are accounted for, too.

Joystick Support
ACM can interface to joysticks connected to a Unix workstation's serial port using the "Workstation Gameport" from Colorado Spectrum.

Platform Support

ACM has been tested on SunOS 4.1, Solaris 2.3, AIX 3.5, HPUX 9.

ACM Source Code

Sources to the current version of ACM (version 4.7) are available from the X Consortium FTP server.

Sources to the latest beta snapshot of ACM (version 4.8 beta 8) are available from my Netcom FTP account.

You will need an ANSI compatible C compiler, such as GNU C to build ACM.

Hints and Lore

The README file contained in the toplevel source code directory contains a descripton of how to build ACM on your system.

If you are a seasoned flight simulation enthusiast, you should find ACM fairly easy to learn. Others will frequently wonder where they are and where all those enemy planes are sneaking up from. Fighter pilots call the answers to those questions "situation awareness" and it is something that takes time to develop.

Discussion about ACM can be found on Usenet in the rec.aviation.simulators newsgroup. If you are interested in contributing enhancements to ACM, you can join the ACM developer's internet mailing list by contacting the author via electronic mail (rainey@netcom.com).

History of the Game

ACM was orginally released via Usenet in early 1991. Riley has worked on enhancing the game on-and-off since then. Others have contributed significant enhancements and bug fixes over time, too.

About the Author

Riley Rainey wrote his first program ("a simple tank game") in 1974. He quickly decided that computers made rather boring opponents.

Riley lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and two daughters. He flies a Cessna 210 when he isn't at work, babysitting, or writing flight simulators.

Other Resources

Brad Bass maintains a list of ACM Frequently Asked Questions.

Yahoo maintains an excellect index of aviation-related web sites.

Yahoo also maintains an index of other games for the X Window System.

Information about the IEEE 1278 protocol can be obtained from the University of Central Florida's Institute for Simulation Technology.


Comments to the author are welcome.
Riley Rainey
February 7, 1996