Aviation is a free flight simulator game meant to be somewhere in-between accurate but complicated simulators and simple toy simulators that don't provide any level of realism. It features a non-linear flight model, a configurable atmosphere and sky model and a CLOD triangulation engine for the terrain. Actually all these are features of Techne the platform on which Aviation runs.
Currently Aviation allows you to fly around in an area of around 600 square kilometers centered around the Columbia river. It can be easily extended though to implement combat or air race scenarios. These are planned for the future and any help is welcome as the development of Techne itself is my main concern and receives most of my time.
Aviation is written on top of Techne.
In terms of hardware you'll generally need a GPU with decent OpenGL support. It should support GLSL shaders (the GL_ARB_shader_objects, GL_ARB_vertex_shader and GL_ARB_shader_objects extensions) framebuffer objects (GL_EXT_framebuffer_object) and vertex buffer objects (GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object). These capabilities are common even among cheap and relatively old GPUs so that I consider it reasonable to use them as a bare minimum. (Alas, supporting old hardware through multiple code paths is a nightmare and Aviation, or rather the system it runs on, is already complicated enough for one person to handle).
There's also a plain-GL codepath which doesn't use the GLSL and framebuffer object extensions (and it can be made not to use vertex buffer objects as well) but it also doesn't feature the cool aerial perspective effects or the nicely shaded cockpit. Nevertheless this is the only way to go for ATI users I'm afraid (let me know if I'm mistaken).
In terms of software you must have a working installation of Techne on your computer before installing Aviation. You can get the sources for Techne at its project page which you can find here. Apart from that Aviation also requires the Lua 5.1 compiler.
Here are some key features of "Aviation":
· A CLOD terrain engine which may not yet be very hardware friendly and lightning fast, but is as fast for a few square kilometers as it is for a few hundreds square kilometers.
· A fully configurable sky and atmosphere shading model.
· A fully configurable non-linear flight model.
· Programmability allowing you to implement games or applications if `just' flying around isn't enough for you.
What's New in This Release: [ read full changelog ]
· Sounds and dashboard elements were added.
· The code was shuffled around to better support applications sitting on top of Aviation like Airrace.