+1. I’ve tried yesterday a few things I didn’t want to plug VR for, because you know, these are just a few things you want to try out for a few minutes.
Well, I can’t even imagine how could you fly in 2D now. I find this so much distracting when you’re used to VR: looking around feels awkward, situational awareness is lower, feeling the approach angle and movements due to the air mass feel weird, etc…
To each his own, but I find VR and simulation are the perfect match.
+1000 “Pancake gaming” is dead for me. VR killed it. Simming - even more so. Even the usual gaming - After Fallout VR, Skyrim VR and Half-Life Alyx there is no way back. The difference is between being there and looking at it. There is no comparison. And aiming weapons with a mouse? It seems so ridiculous now that you can actually aim down the sight, with your hands, feeling the stock at your shoulder (I 3D printed one) and pull the actual clip out and push a new one in, and pull the slide. Now, if gaming is a night and day difference, for simming it’s even more. There is nothing like feeling the cockpit size and interacting directly with all controls (that’s why I’m eagerly waiting for controller support), and flying a pattern without being able to look over your shoulder, or doing turns without naturally looking left and right, and landing without feeling the depth and height - it feels so bad there is no joy whatsoever. Why would you choose to look at a Video of you flying a plane, when you can actually be there and fly the plane ? At least it feels like it with VR. Depth perseption is especially powerful in sims because your cockpit and glass is very close to you, while scenery is far, so the parallax is wide. VR can trick your brain into thinking it’s real, even when you know perfectly well it’s a PC simulation. My DIY Butt Kickers help immersion too.
Back tp Topic; I didn’t watch tonights Q&A but they mentioned this (from AVSim): "Despite the VR section not being updated, they discussed this yesterday and they have plans to make it great by the end of the year. "
not entirely sure what that means, may have to watch the Q&A to fully understand.
I watched it. They said something non-committal but optimistic about VR, like it’s progressing well and the users will be happy about it by the end of this year. And about performance they said thay are focused on XBox release and made huge optimizations which will make it into PC version. Something like “we are making great progress and I think you will be very happy with the performance”. So nothing solid, but they are working on it. Meh… But considering XBox only has 10Gb of shared memory (for both RAM and VRAM) the optiizations would have to be massive. Quiestion is how much fidelity will be lost and do we want the same on PC. But let’s hope for the best…
Basically the gist is very much what I expected - work is focused on the Xbox and DX12 conversion currently which will bring significant performance improvements (to everyone, VR users included) according to Jorg. Out of interest this time Seb specifically talked about how the glass cockpit displays are being moved to their own CPU thread and some other improvements in streaming data etc when he was asked about performance in JFK.
Jorg said that they are planning to work further on VR once the Xbox release is out of the way and that they intend to have it in a really good place by the end of this year. So I think you can summarise that VR will see significant perfomance gains this summer, and after summer we can expect to see a better overall VR implementation as regards things such as the wishlist items.
Guys, Absolutely spot-on with opinions that a simulator is not worth playing in 2D. The immersion in 3D suspends reality and I feel I’m there. So much so that I went to place a controller on the copilot seat next to me and it fell to the floor (LOL). Place physical controllers (like joystick and mouse) at hand and near to locations where they are seen in the cokpit enhance the realism further. Must invest in some new gear for added realism - like a yoke and not just a joystick, etc. Yes it’s frustrating waiting for performance improvements but worth the wait for more realism. An earlier version of MSFS was claimed to be “As real as it gets” but we ain’t seen nothing yet, I hope.
It doesn’t mean that on a PC with better hardware the game will be degraded. If they get the engine and the code optimized properly then more powerful systems benefit by being able to run the game with higher fidelity using less resources. Stutters and other issues are caused by the system becoming overloaded. Optimizing is a good thing, not a negative thing.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been a “gamer” since the eighties. I played games on a Sinclair Spectrum with 48KB RAM and it would take 5 minutes to load it from a cassette, where the bits were recorded as sound. I’ve gone from Flight Simulator on DOS to playing RPGs on Windows 3.1. I remember buying one of the first real graphics cards, a Voodoo 3Dfx and have been amazed by the evolution of 3D graphics in gaming ever since. Having said all that, finally going virtual last year by buying a Quest 2 was literally and truly a game-changer. There is indeed “no comparison”. Ever since I first put on the headset, I have not played anything on a flat screen again. Whether it’s holding a gun, a sword, a golf club, a table tennis bat, light sabers or anything else for that matter, it’s like being there, in the game world, in a real world, and that makes all the difference. And then there’s racing sims with a physical steering wheel and pedals, and this absolutely awesome looking flight simulator with a HOTAS. The take-away: if you haven’t tried VR yet, you cannot possibly know what you’re missing. The mind cannot imagine how much of a difference it makes. Only experience will make it clear. Yes, I had to lower settings to make MSFS run smoothly, but even at these lower settings, the sense of realism is present: the clouds, the water, the trees… what an amazing time to be a gamer! Maybe everyone should watch a video on Youtube of Flight Simulator 1.0 as a contrast experience and to realize how far we’ve come and how lucky we are to have what we have…
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As much as I really appreciate VR experience, I am still flying quite a lot on monitor. Mainly it’s just because I cannot handle this thing sitting on my face for prolong periods of time. So I use VR usually for some simple planes with not much instrumentation (I have quite old headset, the clarity is not great and I cannot really read instrument very well, especially glass cockpit) VFR flights, exploring the scenery. Airliners or any other extended flights, especially if autopilot involved I still prefer the screen.
BTW does anybody have this bug, when toolbar panels (VFR map, weather, ATC, weight and fuel) are stick to my face (really large and close in VR and move with my head) and cannot be interacted with mouse? This started after one of the previous update and I cannot resolve it since.
Really cool. Great inventiveness and engineering. I think this is what I like most from flight simulation: it’s having the opportunity to ‘enhance’ the experiences by creating and /or modifying the base package. Whether fine tuning the performance, scenery or a/c mods or as shown here, designing, building and experimenting with physical addons that enhance the realism immensely. That’s where I’m heading but its clear I’ve a lot to learn about interfacing technologies. Thanks for the information as to how you are setting up your gear.