With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

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Skycat
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With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Skycat »

If you haven't tried VR flight simming yet, put it on your 'to do' list for 2020. I'm here to tell you (as a former skeptic) that it is amazing and probably as close to being up in the clouds as you can get without leaving the comfort of your gaming chair.

I bought an Oculus Rift S at my local Walmart last weekend. It wasn't difficult to set up; I had to download some software first and then a program took care of the rest. A short introduction showed me the basics of VR, and then I was ready to try some flying...

My only prior 'experience' with VR was watching YouTube videos on my phone with a Google Cardboard style viewer. From the videos, I expected Oculus would create a layered, compressed, fish-eyed version of 3D. Holy smokes, no!!! Your gaming area becomes a lifesized cockpit of a plane. The depth and dimensionality is so convincing you'll want to reach your hands out and physically touch switches and buttons in front of you, above you, to the sides, on the floor.

My first experiments were with IL-2 Great Battles 'Bodenplatte' which, out of the box, supports VR flying. It gave me a spatial awareness of the battlefield like I've never experienced before. The illusion of a fully 3D world even affected my sensory perception, as I swore I could feel the motion of my P-51D as I banked and dived. (This definitely takes some getting used to.)

My only civilian flight sim is FSX. I installed the FlyInside demo, and was immediately blown away by how convincing my FSX environment (especially the ORBX scenery) actually is. The default FSX aircraft translate really well to VR despite their age -- I had a total blast buzzing my local airport in the Extra 300. The A2A Piper Cub is the perfect VR aircraft; having life-sized Heidi in the passenger seat in front of me was fun, and not at all obstructive because I could just lean a little and look over her shoulder. I also figured out FlyInside's method for bringing mini-panels/ATC window into the virtual space and that has been a 'game changer.'

One last anecdote: after landing my P-51 in IL-2 Bodenplatte, I decided to step out onto my virtual wing to inspect my aircraft's exterior. When I stood up and shuffled away from my real-world chair, the LOD model in the sim changed to its external view. I nearly jumped out of my shoes when a life-sized, animated pilot suddenly appeared in the very cockpit I had just vacated!

Yes, VR is that immersive. :)
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vtracy
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post vtracy »

welcome to the club, skycat! It has its quirks, still, but I wouldn‘t miss it any more.
Try a low level flight!...
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Lewis - A2A
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Lewis - A2A »

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Gotta welcome you matey 8) 8)

Wait till you try more experiences too, as good as it is for flight sim its just one bit of how fun it can be. I totally get you about the getting up part too. In Project Cars one of the fun things ive done was to actually crash out of an online open seater race at Donnington. So, I just then got out of my car and sat at the edge of the track watching the rest of the race 8)

IL-2 is smashing in VR for sure, its so much fun. FSX, P3D, XP11 all work in VR too and offer something to a VR user. Our Accu-sim GA range are mucho fun in VR, I find VR can help the landings alot too as you can perceive the depth to the ground for landing 8)

cheers,
Lewis
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vtracy
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post vtracy »

Yesterday, I did a flight in my Spit: Take off at Manston, head for Dover (as a waypoint), from there across the Channel at 100ft height, jump the seawall at the French coast, turn inland parallel to the coast, to Calais. There to land... and quickly take off again. You never know who is there who doesn‘t like you (in the Spit).
That! is fun! Seeing, from the corner of your eyes, the sea rush by underneath you, all the time in danger of dropping too low...
It is almost an anticlimax to be over land („feet dry“) where the height can be judged better.
All that is possible with much more ease and fun using the VR headset.
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Skycat
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Skycat »

I made a successful circuit around ORBX Santa Barbara in the Accusim P-47 last night, from manual startup at parking through landing and full shutdown, almost completely without removing the VR goggles. FlyInside is a little quirky but I'm getting the hang of the menus. I am happy that flying Accusim is possible; the simpler Aeroplane Heaven P-47D also looks very good in VR but it isn't as satisfying to fly.

I haven't had luck with the AT-6 though. For me it flickers, and my attempts to use mini panels causes FlyInside to lock up and crash.
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Ron Attwood
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Ron Attwood »

In 'another place' the subject of VR pops up in threads about MSFS and I cannot believe the rancour shown by people who say they don't want VR. I can only assume they've never tried it, can't afford it or are afraid it will make them impotent.
I will never forget my first go in VR. It was at Duxford Flying Legends air show and DCS had a stand. I was given a go at it and I was sat in a Spitfire. I was taken there and then. To cap it all the guy took my arm and told me to step out of the cockpit onto the wing. HOLY STUFF! I clung on to the bloke for dear life. Looking down at 2000' sealed the deal. I went home and ordered one.
Can't fly without it. :D

Anyone going to Flying Legends this year?

Oh yes, I forgot. The DCS Spitfire was, to me, an absolute pig to land in pancake vision. In that short demo I was able to land the little devil with something approach aplomb. Well, reasonably well anyway.
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Lewis - A2A
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Lewis - A2A »

Yes Ron, those kind of people who don't have stake in whats being done but don't want it to happen even though it will have no bearing on them,.... Yes, those kind of people are not worth bothering with Ron. :roll: :roll: :roll:

Anyway, I agree the spatial awareness is amazing. I would say it makes me slower in race sims because of it and no doubt more cautious in flight sims for the same reason but the immersion is just yes yes yes. 8) 8)
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Hook
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Hook »

Ron Attwood wrote:
10 Feb 2020, 16:00
In 'another place' the subject of VR pops up in threads about MSFS and I cannot believe the rancour shown by people who say they don't want VR.
The "rancor" on Avsim was a reaction to the constant spamming of unrelated MSFS threads by VR enthusiasts. It finally got so bad that any post that mentions VR is moved to a separate subforum to avoid the constant disruption. I check that subforum frequently as there are some interesting things there occasionally.

For those who avoid Avsim (and I don't blame you) this is "the rest of the story."

Hook

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vtracy
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post vtracy »

À propos spatial awareness: During my flight to Calais, I saw (not felt) that I was too high during the approach. I tried a slip (left rudder, right yoke) to lose height quickly. It worked! I could see when it was time/height to align the controls again. That was the first time in my flightsim-life that I tried that. During the maneuvre, I had visual feedback all the time about where I was in relation to the runway etc.
I am eagerly awaiting VR headsets with better optics (resolution, fps, FOV,...).
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oldsailer2
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post oldsailer2 »

I use fsx steam and would like to learn how to use VR. How does one get into this aspect of flight simming? It sounds very interesting but I have zero knowledge of it. Any info appreciated. thanks.

Gary

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Skycat
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Skycat »

Hi Gary,

It's actually pretty easy to get into with the Oculus Rift S headset (see PC Magazine review). You'll need a Display Port or Mini Display Port on your PC, and also a free USB port. My rig is a Dell XPS 8700 with an i7 processor and upgraded with an EVGA Geforce GTX 970 FTW video card -- in other words a decent gaming system but a few years old and not high end, if that helps you decide if your hardware will work.

The setup instructions included with the Rift S are minimal (in my opinion, practically nonexistent). Don't worry, just put one AA battery in each hand controller, plug the headset's two jacks into your computer and download the Oculus software from the Oculus site. After the software installs, calibrating your headset to your environment takes only a few minutes and the Oculus program guides you through the steps.

Once Oculus is set up, you can launch SteamVR from your Steam account when/if you want to. It provides a different virtual lobby and allows you to play your Steam VR games. If you have IL-2 Great Battles on Steam, open SteamVR first and then launch Great Battles from your desktop.

If you have DCS World, open the Oculus program first and then launch DCS World. You might have to choose the VR settings in DCS World first.

FSX requires a separate program called FlyInside FSX Pro to fly VR. The demo version of FSX Pro is free but it limits you to 15-minute flights. The full version is $29 USD.

Once FSX Pro is installed, launch the Oculus program first and then FSX Pro. FSX Pro should then automatically launch FSX.

Some things to know about FSX Pro: first, it automatically changes some display settings in FSX and it will revert FSX to DX9. Vehicle traffic and (I believe) shadows are disabled. Second, the Oculus hand controllers are necessary for some functions like toggling to your desktop so you can see menus. Hand controllers are useful for many VR interactions in the cockpit but most interactions are still easier using a mouse and/or joystick buttons.

The same advice generally applies to DCS World in my experience. Using VR hand controllers is more awkward and quirky than you'd expect, but using the mouse as an interface actually seems more intuitive in VR than in normal view.

I hope this helps. :)
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Lewis - A2A
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post Lewis - A2A »

I've a Vavle Index HMD VR setup (as it was easy for me personally to upgrade this route from my older Vive setup) so its a bit better than the Rift S in view quality and what not BUT there is far better than ive got in the form of the HP Reverb etc. As always though its the better the VR the more power it wants.

So the Rift S tends to be the entry level and is priced quite nicely (Though recent changes are now pointing to the Quest actually being the best entry level thanks to its new cable to connect it to the PC).

If you already have a bit of a beast of a PC system and are only looking at doing simming in VR I would recommend skipping the RiftS and the awkward Occulus system altogether and jump straight into the HP Reverb kinda kit, your VR experience will be several times better than a riftS.

If you have a semi good beast PC and the cash to spend then I can wholly recommend the Index as a great quality visual experience, brilliant flight sim and other experiences, from slotting zombies in VR, to beat saber fitness workout games that are annoying addictive (games and exercise at the same damn time! lol) and beautiful gaming and world experiences. We use mine as a full family entertainment suite, the kids love it too. 8)
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vtracy
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post vtracy »

Does anybody have experience with the HP Reverb in flight simming? I should very much like to know its strengths and weaknesses. I own a fair 'beast' of a PC so (I think) I can afford a VR headset that needs power-support from the PC.
As the headset sells for about 600,00 EUR, here, I want to know what I buy before I buy...
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LouP
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post LouP »

vtracy wrote:
12 Feb 2020, 06:54
Does anybody have experience with the HP Reverb in flight simming? I should very much like to know its strengths and weaknesses. I own a fair 'beast' of a PC so (I think) I can afford a VR headset that needs power-support from the PC.
As the headset sells for about 600,00 EUR, here, I want to know what I buy before I buy...
Volker
I love mine. The first wave of them had some issues but HP has addressed those with the next. The resolution is great and I am enjoying the scenery for the first time in VR with these units. Only caveat, plan on getting a 2080ti, the resolution has a price.

LouP

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vtracy
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Re: With VR I'm seeing flight sims in a new way!

Post vtracy »

Thanks LouP,
you give me hope.
What I am going to do is
first, get all the rest working according to specs, like the software to support my flight. That is P3Dv4, ORBX, A2A aircraft.
Then, the software that lets me make the best of my new 3D experience, like FlightControlReplay for the opportunity to review a flight and to set up an AI flight, elgato(for the video capture), and the software that allows me to both see me in the 3D cockpit but lets me capture a video stream independently and in 2D.
When all that is running fine so that I am the master of the software (and not vice-versa), then I will optimize the hardware to give me the best viewing experience available.
Tx again for the encouragement. Please send me any tips, hints, suggestions, that you have, maybe in a PM.
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