FS2020 VR Has Me Grinning Again

When I started flying in VR with the release of the Rift CV1 in 2016, I was totally blown away. I added a large amount of virtual flying hours to the thousands I’d already clocked since 1985 in all sims that were VR capable.

This year I took a bit of a break from VR flying to explore other VR genres, mostly because I was getting a little burned out after 35 years in virtual cockpits, despite the extra wow factor that VR had brought.

Having just tested FS2020 in VR, the grin is back - and wide as ever! It’s a gobsmacking moment due mostly to the brilliant graphics of the environment, especially compared to all that has gone before it. This has set the bar very high for other devs - especially considering it’s completely default, with zero modding necessary. It’s the only flight sim that looks like you are flying in the real world in VR.

It had some stuttering, yes, though not too bad and I’m used to the odd hiccup by now, anyway. A little tweaking and a couple of patches and it will be outstanding.

I don’t have a massively beefy rig, either - though I would not necessarily consider it “top-end” I would say it’s at the lower region of that description:

i5 9600k @4.3GHz
DDR4 3200 16GB
GA Z390 motherboard
SSDs (decent ones)
Zotac RTX2080Ti at standard speed.

I tested on the Valve Index (at 120Hz), but might try my Quest 2 later. I took screenshots using the SteamVR function - so what you see in the screenshot is what I see in the headset.

I didn’t bother looking at framerates - I rarely ever do in VR - if I’m comfortable with it, I’m happy, end of.

All settings were medium/high - the same ones I used for the sim in 2D on my monitor - so I have lots of room for tweaking yet, before any patches come our way, both in the sim and in SteamVR settings.

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The experience is completely breath-taking when it works right! The challenge of taking such a complex simulator and adding VR on top of that must be immense. I am so thankful to the developers at Asobo for taking on such a task, it cannot have been easy to say the least!

Yes the VR (and to an extent the sim itself) is still rather rough around the edges but I hope Asobo and Microsoft keep going with this, they clearly have some very talented developers and when all the kinks are worked out it’s clear to see that this will be an experience like no other.

I am not just talking about comparing to other VR experiences too but to life experiences in general. Where else can you convincingly fly aircraft like these whenever and wherever you like? Anywhere in the world!

I am very thankful we have what we do right now, and am enjoying it immensely. I am also equally as excited to see and experience what it’s like when all the little problems are fixed! Keep up the great work devs!

EDIT: Forgot to say those screenshots are awesome too! I also really like flying the Caravan and I like to pretend I am working for a small charter airline in some of the most remote places on Earth! VR just makes it seem so real now!

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I don’t think you are correct there. The only way, as I understand it, to see what you see in the headset is to take a picture through the lens with a camera.
What you are doing taking a screenshot is at the resolution you have set for your monitor and is usual infinitely better resolution.
Having said that, I have an index with a 2080Ti and I am also very happy with the VR result.

Yes the image you see on the screen is higher resolution than in the headset.

Of course it is. I thought someone would make a comment like that - but that isn’t what this is about and however you look at it, it’s better than anything there has been thus far.

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Thanks - just use either Neofly or Air Hauler for your small company - I’ve been doing it for many years now and it’s a very good way of fulfilling that dream.

Yes, this bugs me too! The screenshots are what you see but shrunken down to fit your screen. Enlarge the screen shot 10 times and that’s closer to what you actually see in VR.

My main reason for those screenshots was to show the clarity, which is pretty much exactly how I see it in the headset. The focus/legibility of the panels and screens in the cockpit are just the same - a very slight fuzz to most of the text, but it’s easily legible at the distance the shots were taken (or not, as in the pictures).
The scenery doesn’t look any different, either.

I remember when Rift CV1 and Vive were released a lot of people were complaining that they couldn’t read any of the cockpit gauges in any flight sim and I didn’t see what they were talking about as I’ve had no issues with that in any sim from the start. I use very good prescription lens inserts from VR Lens Labs which are quite honestly even better than my day to day glasses, and they make the image quite sharp in the headset and other than that, I can’t see why people would struggle to read instruments - unless they have not adjusted the settings well enough.

I think there are or have been issues with people either expecting everything to be perfect - often without making any changes to their high 2D settings - or the opposite and turning everything to low and in those cases it would be no wonder if they were having difficulty. “Mix and match” is the key in VR and oodles of patience.

In the case of FS2020 I’ve been very lucky in that the starting point is not far from what I would hope and want to see.

Who gives a flip about resolution? That’s like saying “well acktually the PPI on my 1080p monitor is better than an IMAX screen”, who cares? One is still infinitely better than the other.

I personally would prefer VR on the lowest resolution/settings over any flat screen. I’m currently enjoying flight sim on my CV1 (lowest res VR set) 100 times more than I did on my 50inch 4k QLED monitor anyway. This guy’s got an index so it’s even waaay clearer :man_shrugging:

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True, i enjoyed VR end of 2012 with the first Headset a Oculus DK1 compared to what we have today IT was super low res but the VR Magic was allready there. 30 years ago there was no HD TV but people enjoyed the magic of movies :grin: anyway. Resolution is just a nice addon but not the most important thing, i am more then happy with my Index.

You’d be surprised man, there are people out here who truly think VR is simply a 2d image across your face. Knowing very little that stereoscopic 3d is native to VR and it natively cleans up alot of aliasing on its own and can make even old crappy textures and objects come to life and look good.
I’d take a lower res stereoscopic 3d image over a flat lifeless 4K image anyday.
Depth plays a part in everything race/flight sim related…immersion of speed, perception with apex/runway judgement etc etc

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If you want to be blown away “again”, choose “Rain”, at night. Make sure your windscreen effects are at least “medium” and watch the sparkles of each drop of water reflecting the instrument lights. Start on the ground and watch the prop wash effecting the rain on the windshield as you rev the motor (assuming you’re in the Cessna). See the splashes of water and water pools on the tarmac.

Brilliant.

I must have spent around 5 hours in VR today.

I don’t think I’ll ever return to 2D.

I’m using the 2xSS ASW30 method and enjoying excellent results with my “old” CV1.

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Whats that? Please explain it. Thanks.

I have my CV1 packed away and intend to keep it - I was going to set it up again and try it if I couldn’t get good enough performance with the Index - I might even do that anyway.
I sold my Quest a couple of weeks ago and I’m already regreting it. Thinking of not just OLED screens and actually better comfort (with VR Covers comfort mods) but the big FoV difference, compared to the Quest 2 with a 69mm IPD.

I’ll be testing the Quest 2 in the coming days, both with Link (the Oculus cable plugged into my 2080Ti) and with Virtual Desktop. I’ll post a comparison when I’ve done that.

You halve the resolution in the sim, then allow the oculus drivers to Double the resolution again. That improves performance and clarity in the headset. ASW30 means reduce the FPS to 30 but allow the Oculus drivers to interpret the image back to 60 FPS.

Details here. The results on the CV1 are significant.

I think some people - newcomers to VR mostly, will be very surprised at what you can get away with as far as framerates are concerned, in VR.
Sure, there will always be framerate junkies who don’t want to settle for anything less than 90fps (good luck to them!) but I have had times when, on a busy screen, my framerates have dropped to the mid-20’s and it was just fine and smooth looking, thanks to the magic that Valve and Oculus have pulled off with their relevant upscaling systems like ASW/ATW etc.
30fps is fine for me, it just gets upscaled without the user noticing. In DCS World I’ve flown for years now on 40-45fps with Oculus headsets and it’s been fine. That framerate is solid at one of those (depending on whether in Rift or Quest) and so I don’t see any nasty jitters or stutters and artefacts. I do manage up to about 60fps in clear skies with no action, but I don’t notice a difference thanks to the excellent coding. On the occasions where there have been issues, it’s been after sim updates where the game code wasn’t optimised enough for VR.

edit: I forgot to mention - the real masters of flight sim VR performance AFAIC are 1c/777 Studios with IL-2 Great Battles (Sturmovik), who have done an outstanding job and set the bar for others to try and reach. MSFS is well on its way to matching and possibly exceeding that, so well done to Asobo for that.

Apologies - my cpu spec was wrong in the first post, it’s an i5 9600k (not 4900k!).

I have another 16GB of RAM coming on Thursday - it’ll be very interesting to see if it makes any difference to the performance. I’ll post if there is a noticable change.

Today I tried the VR settings in the options, with no changes, and it actually seemed worse. I switched back to my normal 2D settings. FYI reducing the resolution in those settings from 1920x1080 down to 1440x900 made zero difference in performance terms.
Of course, that won’t make a difference in the headset res, and I’m guessing that the VR monitor shown onscreen is at a predefined resolution anyway. It is with other VR sims and games, so no reason this one will be different.

Well this is interesting. Tonight I went for a nice tour around Crete. Took off from Kastelli airbase (the Red Arrows usually go there for their pre-season practice) and flew around th coast before landing again at the same airfield. Flying the Carenado Piper Seminole.

No juddering, stuttering but smooth flying all the way round, including the landing. It was very good - very relaxing and fun and I must go there on holiday sometime!

I was using fpsVR on this occasion and was hoping it would show up in the SteamVR screenshots - but no. I can tell you that my GPU was pretty much maxed out (2080Ti), though only just over half of the VRAM was being used, at 6-6.5GB. The CPU (i5 9600k) was varying between just under half and just over half, so plenty of performance left there.

Framerates given varied between 20-40fps continually up and down. The only time I noticed any sort of pause was when looking straight down, and that was very minor - looking any other direction and all looked very smooth.

Couple of things I noticed.

Non-VR issues - Carenado’s GPS isn’t working properly. I used the mouse to input a “Direct To” route for LGTL, but was unable to activate it at all. I ended up using the VFR map.

Also, despite having checked and rechecked that my flaps axis assignment was okay in the options UI, it won’t do anything when flying, so I had assign buttons for it instead.

As for the sim itself, as I said, it was a very enjoyable flight over lovely terrain and it was really great to feel like I was floating through the air, rather than on invisible rails in the sky.
The approach and landing was wonderful - unable to pick out the runway on approach, due to the low Sun and haze - and this time the ATC (from Athens and Iraklion) was much better than it has been on my UK flights - though still with all American controllers! :cowboy_hat_face:

I would say the extra RAM has probably made a difference. Now with 32GB of DDR4 3200.

Did a couple of Neofly flights in the Cessna 172 G1000 this afternoon - 29nm each way at 3,000msl and it went very smooth. Looking at fpsVR the graph was in the red all the time - but that’s not necessarily a bad thing - it means my graphics card is being worked hard, as it should be. Reprojection was still just over 70%, but again, that’s what it’s there for and it definitely didn’t detract from the flight experience - I was very impressed all through.

I also did a couple of circuits, one with the default King Air 350 and then the TBM - and both of those were smooth as well, regardless of where I was. In the whole afternoon I had one noticable pause - and that was after the final flight as I was pulling into the parking apron.

I currently have no complaints about VR in FS2020 - and if they can tweak it then so much the better.