Suggestions on how to enjoy VR flying in Sim Update 5

Dear VR friends,

After making quite a lot of posts complaining and explaining my disappointment at the problems of SU5 (mainly severe scenery pop-in on head move), I wanted to share a couple of suggestions I have of ways to get the best out of the VR experience specifically in its current form:


If you have a Quest 2, a decent graphics card, and a good router+network, you should consider trying Virtual Desktop instead of Oculus Link for the following two reasons:

  1. Being able to adjust the gamma to 70% is more helpful than ever given the brightness / “washed out” appearance of the sim. It makes a much larger difference to the look of the sim than you might imagine.
    EDIT - It has now been announced that there will be some kind of brightness slider added inside MSFS in a future update (not the upcoming hotfix). So if you had been considering buying Virtual Desktop just for the gamma adjustment, you may want to consider waiting for the fix instead.

  2. If you have a good graphics card, the “Ultra” setting within Virtual Desktop is, for me, much sharper than the max resolution available in oculus link. I don’t know why this is, because the Link max resolution is around 5400x2700 whereas the VD max resolution is only slightly higher at around 5500x2800. But it looks a lot sharper in the cockpit. Note this is with a 100 render scale in game.

Also note if you have a Nvidia 3000 series card, set the preferred codec in virtual desktop streamer to “HEVC” as the developer states this provides better image quality for the same bitrate.

Flight time of day

This is a simple one - If you can’t use virtual desktop to adjust the gamma, then adjust your flights to be at sunset or sunrise! Note it is possible to use Live Weather, whilst having a non-live Time. I don’t think this was always possible.

Flight type 1 - Between buildings

Whilst previously I loved to fly proper VFR with circuits and visual navigation at a few thousand feet, I find the visual pop in (of distant buildings, or of nearby trees increasing their size and detail) a second after I glance out the window to be really painful with sim update 5. However - whilst not my cup of tea - what is undoubtedly improved, is the ability to fly dangerously low around buildings in places like New York and London. This is of course due to the increased frame rate and the fact that you are so low that you don’t see more distant objects popping in.

Flight type 2 - Fast and low

Another strategy is flying fast and low enough that you don’t have time to be looking side to side and generating the pop in! Flying Iron simulations has yesterday updated their Spitfire to make use of smoke and panel vibration effects, and they now allow you to disable engine damage if you want to tear around at 350mph - It is great fun blasting through the scottish highlands.

Flight type 3 - IFR

This is kind of the antithesis of how MSFS has been used in VR up til now… But the suggestion is essentially to stick some bad weather on and “stay in the cockpit”. The glass panel FPS/performance improvements hopefully open VR airliners up to more people. The FBW A320 gets better and better, and the PMDG DC6 has enough going on with engine management etc that you can have a very immersive experience whilst being focussed on the cockpit and instruments rather than the scenery and the pop in problems. The weather simulation remains fantastic, and getting glimpses of terrain etc through heavy cloud usually isn’t enough for pop in to be noticeable.


Please vote in the below threads to bump the fixes up the dev priority list! Thank you


To add to the IFR/Airliner suggestion, for those of you with the premium version , the very good “heavy” mod for the 787 has been updated for SU5 and seems to be working well for me in VR:

Also please also vote on this one:

Thanks for this reasoned post.

I’ve a 3090 and my Quest 2 only arrived in the post a couple of days before the SU5 release, so I only ever had ONE flight in SU4 and that was with Virtual Desktop. Since then I’ve been switching back-and-forth between Airlink and Virtual Desktop trying to find comfortable settings, which has frankly been a challenge given the seeming vulnerabilities in SU5. I’ve been using the same settings you’ve suggested except for forcing HEVC - I need to try that.

By default I find Virtual Desktop slightly sharper in the cockpit BUT more washed out and overexposed than Airlink, so have been playing with the Gamma slider to try to bring that down, without a great deal of success. e.g. in drone cam the C172’s wings are a washed out white oblong.

Airlink I find has better clarity outside (because it’s less overexposed) but I get nasty screen-tearing and judder (e.g. on the windshield panels when turning my head) and it’s harder to read the instruments.

I’ll keep plodding away at the settings because the thrill of flying VR is great when it works (or just go back to a stress-free 2D experience), but I do wonder how VR will ever become mainstream at this rate.

Edit: I should add that network latency is okay, about 10ms. One great thing with Virtual Desktop is the Performance Overlay that breaks down the total latency into its various parts. The Airlink has a perf overlay but it’s a bit harder to parse.

1 Like

That sounds like the ASW kicking in I think - Use keyboard shortcut Ctrl + numpad 1 (it must be the numpad, not the number keys at the top of the keyboard) to disable it

1 Like

Thanks - I’ll test that out.

I stumbled across your thread today and decided to give Virtual desktop a go. After much faffing about, I eventually got into the sim and was very impressed at the performance increase over Link cable, which I have been using forever.

One little aspect that I havent yet figured out is how to leave VR without falling back into SteamVR. This then requiring me to pick up a VR controller, access SteamVR menu and EXITVR to get me back into VD. This is quite a lot of operations compared to simply using FS2020’s exitVR function and ending up straight back into the sim in 2D.

I can’t really remember why but I often find myself dropping in and out of VR and the new way of doing it is really annoying. Any suggestions?

Just a word of thanks for your original post. I have been flying with a low bitrate through a cheap cable link for six months now and it never occured to me to try VD.

Whilst I must admit some of the colours and washout of scenery might be challenging to overcome, the step up in frame rate and detail has more than compensated for the issues recently experienced with sim update 5.

Ironically, I am now experiencing better VR performance than I ever have, at a time when most VR users are feeling quite despondant.

Virtual desktop has been a revelation and restored my faith in the sim and the future.

Thank you so much for making the post.

1 Like

You are welcome! I was so gutted when the changes really hurt my beloved VFR VR sim, especially as the early feedback from websites / YouTube etc seemed to just look at the fps counter and gave rave reviews, I was worried I was not going to get it back… I made a lot of posts complaining and then thought I should at least try to write something constructive so I wrote this post even while in a pretty bad mood and you can tell, but now I am glad I did :slightly_smiling_face:

I also used a cheap but perfectly effective high data rate link cable for several months until I found the gamma adjustment in virtual desktop and now I can’t go back! It feels somewhat insane to have to wirelessly live stream a 4k image to my headset just to reduce the gamma but there we are… A brightness slider or similar was mentioned in the update yesterday, it can’t come soon enough.

I never previously saw any difference in colours compared to link, but now I do see the glaring white wing on a Cessna described above. I think this may be just since sim update 5, where many areas are over exposed, but I cannot be certain as i stay in the cockpit view most of the time.

With regards to exiting VR, was this not the same on link - As I remember when you press exit VR it would go back to the Oculus link home page?

Until it stopped working for me a couple of weeks ago… My preference had been to use the hand tracking function where possible, so no controllers required. Turn on the quest, use hand tracking to open virtual desktop. Then within virtual desktop, use hand tracking to select switch to VR if needed (mine usually does it automatically when I press the keyboard shortcut in msfs). Once you are in VR if you need to bring up the steam or Oculus menu, you can bring your hand up near your face (left hand or right hand respectively) with palm towards you and bring your thumb and first finger together to make a loop. For some reason this part is no longer working for me the last couple of weeks so I’m also picking up the left controller like you if I want to exit without just switching off the headset

1 Like

Thank you for your post.

I tried and must say VD works better for me. It’s more clear and STABLE.
Can you please send your detailed settings you’re using ?.
In game, in VD ?.

My spec is not bad.
I7 10700k
32gb ram
RTX 3080

Did you change any setting inside cfg file ?

Any comparison to airlink vs VD? I currently use airlink which has been faultless, but if there’s a visual advantage to VD I’m willing to make a switch. (I am on Quest 2 btw)

I personally found VD set to HEVC (for 30 series GPU) to have far fewer compression artifacts than Airlink, for both MSFS and others (Half-Life Alyx, for instance, which has a lot of scenes in the darkness, where VD had the clear advantage). Also, as OP said, in VD you can adjust the gamma, and also to some extent the saturation (by checking/unchecking a box).

I don’t actually have strong suggestions on MSFS settings at the moment, I seem to get really bad scenery pop in regardless of setting or LOD changes in the config file. This will be addressed in the next World Update in a few weeks time, and I will have another look then. Some people are changing the color grading in the cfg file, I haven’t experimented with this much yet as apparently the new lighting issues will be fixed in the upcoming hotfix (today or Monday). As per my post, when I fly MSFS since SU5 I am now mainly going in the airliners in bad weather and trying to learn the systems, so as not to have so much focus on the outside scenery!

In VD as mentioned, HEVC codec is strongly recommended if you have a 3000 series card. I think this is because it is a higher quality image for the same network bitrate, but it does require a stronger card to encode it in the first place. If you have a 2000 series card I would still be tempted to try it.

Otherwise I tend to untick “automatically adjust bitrate” in the streamer, and then in the headset I manually increase the bitrate as high as I can (I prefer a smooth and consistent experience). I have a dedicated router in the same room as me so I can put it to maximum (150mb), but I think the results on HEVC are still not bad at lower bitrates. I have the overall VD setting at ultra but I think the rest (sliced encoding, etc) is just default!

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.