No VR updates in the new sim update

There are some steps you can take to increase the realism and immersion. Placing things at the same location they are in VR is rarely possible, with an exception of yoke and pedals (which are a must-have). But as long as things are close enough that you can reach them without feeling around, and they are in the same general direction they are supposed to be, it works. Here is how I approached things: all in DIY spirit and cheap/free to do (you do need to buy the Yoke/pedals/throttle quadrant of coures).

  1. I built a simple but effecting dedicated VR sim rig so the sitting position is correct and nothing (i.e. a desk) blocks the virtual cockpit from reaching out with a controller (it worked in X-Plane, I’m waiting for the controller support in MSFS). I rigged the joystick to attach to the left “Airbus” position, or a frontal position instead of the yoke, on demand.

  2. in X-Plane I operated virtual throttle, but for MSFS I added a formerly unused throttle quadrant, and a trackball to use as a mouse when I have to. I have now also 3D printed the replacement handles (not on the photo) to mimic Piper PA-28 throttle, mix and fuel levers, which also enlarged the levers and increased precision. I have a set for a jet aircraft too that will control throttles, flaps and spoilers.

  3. I relegated most of the mouse functions to the actual voice commands to a “copilot” via VoiceAttack (paid) profile. The MSFS profile and MSFS plugin are free, and I heavily modified and extended it, so I don’t have to use the mouse often, which feels awkward and immersion-breaking. Hope to see controllers supported soon. So I can do a lot of things by speaking a command, get a Text-to-Speech reply (processed via Voicemeeter Banana (free) EQ to sound like an intercom), so I can say “turn on the pitot heat”, or “set flaps for landing” etc. Or after take-off I can say “positive rate” and hear a reply “speed check - 70 knots. Gear up, three green” or whatever speed is there (read from the sim variable). I can ask to read a checklist or even perform many of the actions.

  4. I’m designing and building a “VR Control Box” based on MobiFlight software (free) that has 6 DIY dual encoders, 8 buttons and a 3-pos switch. It’s working already, just waiting for more encoders from Ali Express to finish it. 3D printed everything at home. It’s compact and I can reach it easily and I can control all instrumentation (altimeter, heading bug, course), com and nav radio tuning, autopilot etc. in analog and glass cockpits, and control GPS units that have those dual-encoders. For example GNS-530 and 430 are fully controlled, and in the more complicated ones just the basic most-used functions are controlled (like map zoom, radios, AP and whatever is controlled by the encoders there). All controls are at the same places for al units and planes, and the knobs are have distinctly different shape (based on G1000 knobs), so once muscle memory kicks it I don’t have to think how to adjust things. Dual encoders are so nice that I will be using it even when VR controllers are supported. I just didn’t want to spend $100+ for a single Knobster dual encoder when I can build something much better (exactly 6 times better!) for under $25. I’m also adding a 3D-printed trim wheel and rudder trim box to the project.

  5. To add to immersion, I build DIY vibration transducers (“ButtKickers”) from old car speakers. I connected them to a spare stereo amp, and I’m using SimShaker for Aviators software (free) with SoundModule (paid) to feed it events via dedicated sound device (previously disabled built-in motherboard audio) like turbulence, separate wheels touchdown (so the left wheel is felt on the left and right on the right), stall shake, ground roll - I can even feel the cracks or expansion seems during ground roll and taxi, increasing in frequency depending on speed, door closing thump, flaps extending, gear lowering, and I can even feel the added drag with gear down. And I’m mixing it with the MSFS sound with low-pass EQ (via Voicemeeter Banana) so the constantly felt rumble of the engine and other low-end sounds are also passed on to the transducers. I still can’t believe how much it adds to the experience. Just feeling the engine vibration, turbulence, touchdown and ground roll is priceless, and there is so much more.

  6. For RPG/shooters like Half-Life Alyx, Skyrim VR and Fallout VR I 3d-printed a gun stock with magnetic controller holders, so I have a rigid weapon frame and can use my left hand to change clips and pull the slide. This does wonders with immersion and aiming as weapon is not floating in your hande, but you can really aim down the sight properly. I now converted it to G2.

All of the above enhanced the immersion a great deal and makes VR even more realistic.