Finding the right view in 2D: How do I get the cockpit the "right" size?

I am a PC user on a 32" monitor that sits about 3 inches behind my Honeycomb Alpha. I use TrackIR because my PC cannot handle VR yet. I have tried VR however, and I noticed something that also reminded me of my experience flying IRL.

In VR/IRL, one of the biggest differences versus 2D is that you realize how surprisingly small most cockpits are. A C152, C172 even, is very snug. There is not a ton of space in any direction, it’s less roomy than a typical sedan, and you’re very close to the panel, levers etc. In VR, sometimes you even have to duck a little to see something, as you might IRL if it’s a switch or lever that’s lower down.

On a 2D monitor, however, everything inevitably just feels off. The cockpit is either too small because you’re zoomed out to get a wider field of view, or it’s more “life sized” but you’re zoomed so far in that you can barely see anything over the dash or to your left and right.

TrackIR does help quite a bit as you can at least look around, but it doesn’t fully solve the problem because if you zoom to a “natural” level, you still feel like you’re looking at reality through a cardboard box where so much of your field of vision is cut off.

In FSX and P3D, I was pretty insistent upon staying zoomed in quite a bit based on some ancient thread somewhere about the “ideal” FOV. But I’ve started zooming out quite a bit more because of the other caveat: Zooming in might give the dash more of a feel of accurate size based on perspective, it also makes flying feel slower. Landings in particular feel very sluggish without being zoomed out. It’s actually hard for me to land properly unless I zoom out because I have no sense of speed otherwise.

How have others solved this, aside from VR? Giant screens? Projector? Goldilocks zone on zoom? Something else?

Honestly if money was no object, I’d build a curved projector screen and get a good projector. I’d even prefer that to VR simply because I’m very prone to motion sickness in VR.

Thanks for any thoughts and experiences anyone shares!

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You’re constantly changing the zoom size in 2D even with Track IR. I’m looking at the iPad, looking outside, zooming out to see the overhead, zooming in to see the CDU, etc. it’s constant.

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Im setting zoom to my liking mostly 78% in ui camera settings and translate view backwards or forwards (alt + arrow down or arrow up) to set cockpit to my likeness
And yes i can agree on projectorscreen curved for i have this and its worth it especially with track ir
If you have the space and spend money on a beamer/projector i say go for it. the curved screen you can make very cheap from cardboard.

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My method is to make sure that you can see 50% sky and 50% dashboard.

Then I zoom in or out relative to the seat head rest.

I set different views for each cockpit using ‘CTRL + ALT + Number’

I’m also using TrackIr.

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Good tip on moving the viewpoint forward and backwards, I’ll do some tweaking on some of my frequent flyers.

With my 34" ultra-wide screen (also using TrackIR), I found a zoom factor of 65 in the camera gave me a view that I considered acceptable. I just made the switch to a 50" TV last week, and I find that was too big and had to roll it back to 50.

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Here’s a thread with good info about setting up your cockpit view

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The correct field of view (non VR) plus correctly sized things can only be achieved on very big screens so it is not happening. My compromise is Track IR (if i feel like using it, mostly not) or in my case 30 inch monitor : initial zoom (camera.cfg) for all aircraft 0.35, ingame zoom 58 and depending on aircraft type initialPBh (look down) until i can just see speed and altitude. I prefer 2/3 windshield 1/3 dashboard or else the world vanishes too fast under the nose when pulling up slightly which makes flares, the most exciting moment of a flight, look unrealistic.


This kind of stuff has been studied to death in the sim racing community. Here’s a pretty good write-up that really digs deep into what FOV really means and how to properly set it in “home cockpit” environments: Steam Community :: Guide :: All about Field of View (FOV)

The reality is that in real life (and VR) your own eyes have a massive field of view that even a very large screen directly ahead of you will struggle to simulate. So you’re always having to compromise between realistic scaling, visual clarity, sense of speed/movement, spatial awareness, etc. Having something like TrackIR helps to compensate for the limited amount of view a single screen provides, but beyond investing in a large multi-monitor wraparound setup, your best bet is to set your TrackIR to feel as natural as possible, and get used to zooming in and out as needed.

For me personally, I’m spoiled by VR so much that I don’t really try to replicate it when I fly 2D (for like airliners), so I just make ample use of zoom and instrument views, and embrace the fact that the experience of flying an airliner is mostly just looking at charts, screens, and buttons.

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I use a separate monitor, driven by Air Manager, for my panel. That means I have more freedom to look around (using OpenTrack and Beam Eyeware rather than TrackIR, but same idea) on the main monitor without having to worry about keeping my flight instruments in view. I mostly set the view on the main monitor to be out of the window, looking over the panel. I am able to vary zoom level by moving forwards or backwards a few inches. I often configure things so when I am looking down at the panel, the main view is straight ahead. That means that when I look up at the main monitor, my view is out of the window. If I want to see inside the VC (ie: look down) it is easy to tip my head forwards a little. All in all it is quite natural, and I can’t imagine flying without this setup now.

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Thanks for the link. This isn’t really a thread with a “solution”, but I marked yours as the solution because I think you hit the nail on the head. Without VR or some crazy whole-room curved projector setup, there really is only compromise in one form or the other as an alternative.