Bride of the Friday Diversion

By on September 3, 2004

flightgear.jpgIt’s a long weekend coming up for us U.S. folks, so we’ll need some extra diversion this week. I was thinking of keeping this one in my back pocket to slowly mete out future Friday Diversions, but this way you can divert yourselves if I miss a Friday or two (or, like recently, twenty-something).

Back when I picked up my first Red Hat CD, open-source gaming was limited to tongue-in-cheek cracks at Microsoft and a few 2D X-Windows games that almost required degrees to do well in.

Since then, open-source gaming has gotten a lot better, and a lot of the best stuff is available for Windows. GnuWin II is an online compilation of open-source software that’s available for install on Windows. They have two games sections that are veritable treasure troves of time-wasting goodness.

In the Games Section, you’ll find Asteroids clones, strategy games, and (of course), networked multi-player Pac-man.

The 3D Games Section has some real gems, including a multiplayer ‘BattleZone’-type tank game, 3D Pool, and a very advanced flight simulator (pictured above).

GnuWin II has a lot of excellent free software listed for Windows, but I’m personally addicted to the gaming sections, because it feels like going in to Best Buy, loading up a shopping cart with games, then having the whole cart ring up as $0.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!



  1. I can’t even get off the ground. I’ve been sitting in my A-10 on the runway for 20 minutes. It won’t move forward. I suck — 33 is too old to be flying Warthogs.

  2. I had this problem too. Here’s where to check: Throttle is 9 and 3 on the number pad. Only worked for me with number lock off. If you still don’t go anywhere, try ‘b’ to toggle the brakes, and maybe even spacebar to start the engine.

    I was almost able to fly the cessna longways down the golden gate bridge, but I clipped the suspension cable about 2/3rds of the way across.

  3. Yeah, I managed to get off the ground in a Cessna. It’s almost comical how little I know about planes.

    For instance, I can only seem to get off the ground using the elevators if I move that “flaps” lever all the way down (up? — I move it from its default position, whatever that is).

    I have no idea what the flaps do, but my plane doesn’t get off the ground without them. I leave them the same way for the entire flight (when I say “entire,” I mean “the few minutes until I crash…”). I tried to put them back the way they were once, but in the course of fiddling with the instrument panel to effect the change, I crashed.

    I can only turn using the ailerons, because I can’t work the rudder. It turns one way using the 0 key, but I can’t find the key to turn it back (the documentation says it’s the comma, but I have a couple crashed planes that say it’s not). To be honest, I don’t see how the rudder would help. I can turn with the ailerons so let’s just stick with that.

    All in all, a great flight simulator for nothing. For the record, the 3D pool and Asteroids game are both excellent too.

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.