This is going to deviate from what I usually post about, but here goes! I'm getting interested in the exciting sport of FPV drone flying (and racing!). Everyone I spoke to recommended spending time practising in a simulator before risking expensive equipment in the real world.

So, of course, this resulted in a search for software compatible with Linux that I could run on my desktop! Here's my comprehensive list and comments on each simulator I found that reports Linux compatibility.

Quick notes:

  • These are not reviews of the simulators themselves (physics, graphics, features, etc.), but rather comments on using them on Linux. The aim of this article is to help inform Linux users of compatibility and potential issues.
  • Everything here I was able to run using the most recent release on an up to date Archlinux system at the time of writing.
  • $ prices are in AUD.

TL;DR Summary

Quick summary of FPV drone simulators that support Linux:

Simulator Worked? Maintained Size Cost (AUD)
Freerider Recharged yes yes 560MB $151
Freerider likely yes ?2 $7
Liftoff yes yes 15GB $29
Rotorcross no no 200MB free
VelociDrone yes yes 8GB $32

Read on for more details and gotchas.

FPV Freerider Recharged

freerider-recharged screenshot

This is the newer cousin of the popular FPV Freerider sim. It costs about $15 on Itch.io. There is also a addon flying fields pack for $4 that provides 10 extra fields for variety.

Installing it was as simple as downloading the latest Linux release zip, extracting, and launching the executable. The zip contained the entire game files and was about 560MB.

I didn't try the original FPV Freerider. It appears to be functionally similar and I wouldn't expect any trouble getting it running on Linux though. It's also the cheapest of the commercial simulators, at $7.

Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing

liftoff screenshot

Liftoff is available on Steam for $29. Being on Steam and officially supporting Linux, installing and running is seamless through the Steam client. It clocks in at 15GB on disk though; the largest simulator in the list.

Rotorcross

rotorcross screenshot

This is an open source simulator freely available on GitHub and Itch. However, it appears to be abandoned, and I couldn't get it working - would not respond to inputs and graphics all glitched. :(

It was simple to install though: download the 200MB release zip from Itch, unzip, and run the main executable. Interested to know if others have had a better experience with this? Perhaps it would work if built from source?

VelociDrone

velocidrone screenshot

This costs about $32, and managed via a license key and download links from the official website once you have purchased a license.

Note that it provides two 'Launcher' downloads - one labelled Debian and the other Redhat. The Debian version worked for me on Archlinux; the other complained about missing shared libraries. YMMV

The launcher is a small download. Unzip the zip file to run the Launcher executable. It will download about 8GB of data files into the same directory as the launcher on first run. Later runs of the Launcher will run the game without re-downloading everything.

Unsupported

For completeness, here's a quick list of other reportedly popular FPV drone simulators I found, but definitely don't support Linux:

Conclusion

I'm absolutely delighted at the range and quality of FPV drone simulators available on Linux! Did I miss any?

  1. plus $4 for extra tracksĀ 

  2. probably less than Freerider RechargedĀ