Falcon BMS on Linux

State of mind only a few grow out of, the competitive spirit, is the motivating factor behind many comparative analyses. People have a tendency to comparatively analyse everything, envying others and wondering whether they could have fared better. Friends, spouses, business careers, motor cars and even personal computer operating systems are compared. With regard to the last, the simple truth is that any system on which Falcon BMS can be ran is a good operating system, that comparative analysis can help one make a choice, while competitive spirit has it's rightful place in the virtual skies.
The graphics engine of Falcon BMS is updated to DirectX 9 standard which is why it would be silly to expect it to work as fast and look as good on Linux as on Windows. Since this simulator has no problem working on Windows with Data Execution Prevention switched on, even the most paranoid among the virtual pilots, and these are the most difficult to shoot down, won't have a really big reason to worry about system security. If the fact is taken into account that a FPS loss of anywhere between 20% and 50% will be suffered when flying on Linux as compared to flying on Windows, as well as the fact that not all the eye candy enthusiasts added to this simulator over the years will be visible on Linux, the advantages of flying Falcon BMS on Linux are almost non existent. Yet, it is possible to fly Falcon BMS on Linux and, once everything is installed and configured, the experience is no less thrilling than on Windows because the simulator that's being flown is, after all, Falcon.
Installing Falcon BMS under Wine is a relatively straightforward process, and switching off the 'Tripple buffering' option in the 'Configuration' applet that can be selected once Falcon's 'Launcher' is started is everything that needs to be done in order to make this simulator work as advertised. Settings can be adjusted further by the user while seeking the perfect balance between performance and eye candy and, as a rule of thumb, switching off pixel shaders, anisotropic filtering, trees that Falcon's 3D world recently grew and other options that contribute to more pleasant graphical representation will yield a FPS increase. Switching the 'Vertical synchronization' off in Falcons user interface will, perhaps, be the most advantageous measure one can take in this regard. As consolation to those lost in esthetics, the skin showing lady on building billboards in urban areas will still be where expected.
Because LinuxTrack plugin won't export coordinates that will mean anything to Falcon BMS, it's best to use Wine plugin as the interface between LinuxTrack and Falcon. TrackIR owners will probably enjoy head tracking with six degrees of freedom, while cheap webcam jockeys will be limited to three degreers of freedom, that is, rotation around three axes. Sixty four bit executable of Falcon BMS works fine on Linux, but head tracking with LinuxTrack doesn't. Hence, one can only get head tracking if LinuxTrack is used with the thirty two bit executable but, admitedly, the version of LinuxTrack used for testing wasn't the latest one. Also, the field of view is limited to about 140 degrees when trying to look back, as if the pilot is strapped tightly in one's seat. Offcourse, those who choose OpenTrack will be able to enjoy both the 64 bit executable of Falcon BMS and tracking the position of one's own head with six degrees of freedom.
Because it's difficult to assign keyboard commands in the user interface of latest Falcon incarnations, users who don't have a .key file they can copy over from Windows are left with the possibility of using the Key File Editor that can be found in Falcon's installation directory, which is actually a spreadsheet that can be edited in a spreadsheet calculator such as Libre Office Calc. While some may prove successful in doing this, problems having to do with using this spreadsheet on Linux arose while gathering the material for this page related to importing .key files into the spreadsheet, code generated for keyboard commands and the code generated for multiple controllers connected to a single machine, even when the Windows version of Office Libre installed under Wine was used. For this reason, on Linux, simmers are left with the option of importing a .key file prepared on Windows which can then be touched up in a plain text editor as necessary, or using a preconfigured .key file delivered with Falcon BMS and a joystick profiling program to assign keyboard commands to joystick keys, for instance QJoypad accessible through Linux's Software Manager. Controller axes can still be configured in Falcon's user interface. Linux Mint KDE users could realise that, once QJoypad is started up after the install process has been completed, they perceive nothing. This happens because the icon that should be displayed in the system tray after the program is started isn't drawn. In order to display the graphical user interface on the screen, one needs to click the empty space to the left of the leftmost icon on the system tray. Alternately, QJoypad can be started from the Bash shell with the -notray option specified, in which case a small icon will be displayed somewhere on the screen. Clicking the aformentionted icon will then bring up the graphical user interface.
Online flying works rather smoothly on Linux, which was tested on Veterans Gaming server. IVC option wasn't tested on Linux, but TeamSpeak for this operating system does exist, which means that one could have a rather complete Falcon experience.

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