I tried poor mans VR and it's really cool!

Ok shout out to @theVRpilot Jose for his post POOR MANS VR Tutorial - (Until we get NATIVE support)

So I decided to give poor mans vr a go, and as MRTV would say, all the details are… coming up!

*** musical interlude ***

First off my machine specs, Intel 9900K, 2080Ti, 64GB RAM with an Oculus CV1.

The post above explains probably better than this post but this is really easy. You’ll need the following software, opentrack acts like TrackIR in the VR headset, really cool.

  1. Virtual Desktop (you’ll need to buy from Steam but it’s pretty cheap)
  2. Opentrack - GitHub - opentrack/opentrack: Head tracking software for MS Windows, Linux, and Apple OSX

If you use the Oculus Store like me with the Oculus CV1 then you can’t run two programs using the Oculus SDK so I had to run Virtual Desktop from Steam instead which I had to buy but I’ll be moving over to the Steam platform anyway when my HP Reverb G2 arrives :wink:

In Virtual Desktop make sure Snap to Horizon is on - that keeps the screen level. My screen was pretty huge and although you can wrap around, I didn’t do it too much as it did distort the image, but if you play with the settings I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like.

Once you have the screen as you like in Virtual Desktop, load up Opentrack and select the appropriate input and output - that’s it until you get into the cockpit.

Load up Microsoft Flight Simulator and load up into the cockpit. Alt tab out to switch to Opentrack and click the Start button to start the tracking. If you are in the correct location tracking should be centered. If not stop tracking - get comfortable again and click Start tracking.

Some observations

  1. Frames were great, I was getting around 50fps reported in MSFS flying around Liverpool in the UK - I didn’t change my settings at all. High and Ultra settings - Rift was capturing at 93 (I’m guessing it was using frame doubling tech) and I had Virtual Desktop supersampling at x1.5.
  2. Even on the original Rift ground textures looked great and the cockpit modelling is amazing!
  3. Water is amazing, especially near the coastline, the masking and shallow water effects really looks fantastic, like much better than you’d expect.
  4. Opentrack works even better in VR than TrackIR - I think because you can make the screen so big - a little wrapping also helps but can distort the image if you get it wrong.
  5. The lighting is even more amazing in VR, with X-Plane there are lots of quirks with the graphics and the lighting can be terrible in the cockpit - I had none of that in MSFS.

This is obviously a poor mans VR, it’s not 3D but it is emersive and the performance even if it’s only in a Rift CV1 on a virtual desktop leaves me confident that it will be ok on higher end HMDs.

So have you guys tried this yet, let me know - it’s a lot of fun until the real deal arrives next month.


Awesome!!! Excellent write up.

While I know this isn’t for everyone, and it is not 3D, what it provides is truly breathtaking. I already have proper VR legs under me. I am used to doing 1-2 hour flights in the HP Reverb, but this is literally the ONLY way I fly in MSFS 2020.

It is so immersive! The alternative would be 3 27 inch monitors, with a head tracker?

This is a hugggge curved single display in front of you that looks amazing!

I am so excited for Virtual Reality Open beta(hope I get in) and I have already preordered my HP reverb g2. I cannot wait!

Thanks for tagging me! Hope to see you in the skies!


I tried it and it didn’t quite do it for me as the 3D wasn’t there yet my brain was expecting it. It’s a great solution as a stop gap however.


Thank you very much for this post. I already have virtual desktop and looking forward to trying it out :slight_smile:


Thanks @theVRpilot. It was great to watch your video as you gave me the inspiration for doing this. It’s certainly enjoyable and I can see myself trying this again a few times before VR is properly introduced into the sim which will be incredible.

Hopefully we’ll get some news about the Beta VR programme soon.

If I may ask a question? Super sorry for the sidetrack, but I always though VR would be awesome for Sims but I’m wondering how wearing a VR headset would affect controls. Like, how do you see your real world yoke controls and switches, throttle quadrant, etc? Always got me curious this divide between immersion and real world control use in the VR realm. Hope it’s not a problem to ask here.

Not at all @Rev20105189. It depends on the VR implementation. My 2 cent below!

X-Plane and DCS World can give you VR hands so you can fly with ‘holding’ the actual stick and interact with the switches quite nicely. The hand ‘snaps’ to the controls and it works better than you think, it’s something you have to try I guess.

The alternative which I prefer is to use a HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) which I own a Siatek X-55. This has so many mapping I’ve pretty much got all primary and secondary controls covered.

On X-Plane I also have a button binding to enable a mouse cursor, so if I need to use the mouse to interact I can simply use that. The mouse cursor doesn’t move with your head it stays in the same spot like an object would do in the 3D space, when you move the mouse it pans over the instruments which can be highlighted so you can provide your input.

If you have a full on cockpit setup then that’s going to be tricky in VR. There is no nice solution for this other than remembering where the controls are. Immersion is key to VR so the more complicated your real world setup is the more that’s going to take you away from the VR experience, sorry about that.

Asobo are masters of VR, having done several projects in the past with Microsoft, so I’m expecting some pretty cool things to come out of the VR implementation, lets see how it goes.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions!

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Good info. There’s no need to buy VD though. On Oculus or Steam install the free Bigscreen Beta. You can set up a curved screen in a black void and enjoy fake VR that way.


Of course you want to map buttons, as much as possible, so that you don’t have to look at them to find them. If you do have to look you should be able to peek down along the length of your nose to see. I’ve a medium sized nose and that works for me.

It’s a bit of a pain (literally) though as it involves tilting your head back. Even that’s not so bad if it’s just a quick peek but when you need to use the mouse, well, it’s not always easy to find that pointer. I usually wind up moving the mouse in a way so that the pointer must be moving to a corner but even that gets tedious real fast.

Doh! As I was writing I wondered whether there’s an app that would snap the pointer to the center of the screen with a click or key. Then I remembered pointer sizing. I’ve now got mine set to the middle of the slider in Mouse Settings. lol. It’s huge now. I haven’t tried it in sim; might have to reduce the size a bit but man there’ll be no missing it at this size lol.

There’s also a setting that highlights the mouse pointer by tapping the ctrl key. Find that under Additional Mouse Options.


Here you can see how I interact with my controls! I love it!

It becomes 2nd nature, I know where my layout is, I know where my gear, flaps, parking brake etc etc. is located around me.

VR + Simpit is such a great combo!