VR Controller support is missing. Please add in addition to 3D mouse

SU7 Update
November 18th

Well, the controller support is out, and it’s not a good job, unfortunately. The sim is completely grounded in VR after the SU7 update. Unplayable. And the controller support is very rudimentary and worse than older sims, and has introduced the bugs that killed the VR experience entirely. As updating is not optional, for most if not all VR users Asobo just killed the sim, period. Such bugs need to be figured out by QA and fixed before releasing a mandated update and killing the sim. It took me all of 15 minutes to see them all. What is their QA doing? Is there any QA for VR at all?

These are my observations from the first short session with SU7:

Good:

  • Laser and direct control are working.
  • Rotational controls are working (kind of).
  • Controller image is small, unobtrusive and tasteful
  • There is haptic feedback when you touch the control

Bad:

  • Huge FPS drop!!! I have a high-end PC - Ryzen 9 5900X / RTX3080 / 64Gb RAM / HP Reverb G2 - and from “barely adequate” on mostly medium settings at WMR OpenXR rendering at 70% and game render scale at 100% TAA it got to the vomit-comet on the same settings as before, unable to maintain even 22.5FPS anymore (which it was easily maintaining before), so motion reprojection falls apart. A lot of stuttering that weren’t there with this settings before. Any lower settings and it becomes too blurry to enjoy. The sim should get more optimized with updates, not less!
  • VR Menu can be triggered but is often unreachable, and even when it is reachable - its icons usually can’t be clicked. It worked for me for a minute somehow, but then I couldn’t press any of the VR menu icons and no matter what I tried I couldn’t open any menus.
  • Rotational controls are terrible: no matter how slowly you try to turn your controller, heading jumps by 20-30 degrees at a time, and all rotational controls jump by a huge margins. It’s impossible to tune anything to any degree of accuracy at all. Come on, X-Plane did it right in 2017!
  • Rotational controls do not click, there is no haptic feedback on rotation “clicks” which is so great in X-Plane. You hear the sounds, but feel no encoder clicks. Why, it’s free and easy to code this, has anyone thought through the VR implementation, compared to existing VR sims?
  • There is no haptic on flipping switches, as far as I noticed. Nothing happens after haptic feedback when flipping the switch.
  • Yoke can’t be hidden anymore, and switches obscured by the yoke can’t be easily manipulated via laser either. The controller tends to snap to the yoke instead, and I have a hardware yoke, I need to access switches, not steer the plane with a laser! But I can’t. There should be an option to disable yoke control, so laser would go through to operate switches behind the yoke.
  • I don’t think it’s possible to change the controller button assignment, at least I haven’t found a way to do that. A button opens the (unusable) VR menu, B button triggers the laser. Menu button doesn’t do at all, instead of triggering menu. Grab button activates the controller (instead of it being tracked constantly when moving) and there’s no way to reassign those that I can see.
  • Controller doesn’t appear by itself, it has to be triggered by pressing a grab button. That adds a completely unnecessary extra step every time you need to adjust something, if you haven’t used a controller for a minute. Every time!
  • There’s no reason to hide the controller, it should always be present, as long as it’s tracking. If it’s on your lap or on the table in front of you - the ghosted image should be there so you can grab it easily. Instead it disappears completely, very quickly, without ability to adjust the timeout or its behavior.
  • I have a very strange joystick-related glitch, the button assigned to something else now changes the view to external camera, in parallel with what’s it supposed to do. Very strange. It does 2 actions at once - what I had mapped AND jumping the camera.

I wonder what kind of QA can let it all through at this state? Beside the FPS decrease, the VR controllers are barely usable and can’t adjust anything to any degree of accuracy, nor can they open menus. I have waited for this for almost a year, since VR was introduced without controller support. But this is a whole lot worse than what X-Plane has. I was expecting the functionality to be at least as good, if not better, considering Asobo’s resources. But it’s much worse… I hope the hotfix is coming, but any kind of QA testing should have exposed all those issues. I don’t understand how it was possible to release it like that…

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Original message

Well, the controller support is out, and it’s not a good job, unfortunately.

Good:

  • Laser and direct control are working.
  • Rotational controls are working (kind of).
  • Controller image is small, unobtrusive and tasteful
  • There is haptic feedback when you touch the control

Bad:

  • VR Menu can be triggered but is often unreachable, and even when it is reachable - its icons usually can’t be clicked. It worked for me for a minute somehow, but then I couldn’t press any of the VR menu icons and no matter what I tried I couldn’t open any menus.
  • Rotational controls are terrible: no matter how slowly you try to turn your controller, heading jumps by 20-30 degrees at a time, and all rotational controls jump by a huge margins. It’s impossible to tune anything to any degree of accuracy at all
  • Rotational controls do not click, there is no haptic feedback on rotation “clicks” whic is so great in X-Plane. You hear the sounds, but feel no encoder clicks.
  • There is no haptic on flipping switches, as far as I noticed. Nothing happens after haptic feedback when touching the switch
  • Yoke can’t be hidden anymore, and switches obscured by the yoke can’t be easily manipulated via laser.

I wonder what kind of QA can let it all through at this state? Beside the FPS decrease, the VR controllers are barely usable and can’t adjust anything to any degree of accuracy, not can they open menus. I have waited for this for almost a year, since VR was introduced without controller support. But this is a whole lot worse than X-Plane had. I was expecting the functionality to be at least as good, if not better, considering Asobo’s resources. But it’s much worse… I hope the hotfix is coming, but any kind of QA testing should have exposed all those issues. I don’t understand how it was possible to release it like that…

According to Asobo VR video just released, there is no support for VR controllers!

Anyone that holds VR dear - please upvote this!

Please, Asobo, if you are reading this, you have to realize that your user base expects MSFS VR to be at least on par with the other 2 leading sims that had VR available for 2 years. What has made X-Plane VR great is the fact that you can interact with all buttons, throttle lever, flight computer, GPS, fuel mix levers and everything with your hand, not with a mouse! You can feel rotating encoders clicking, you can feel buttons pressing, levers moving, engine starting. This is what VR immersion is! If you try it you will know right away how huge is the difference. You can go outside your airplane and do a full walkaround, inspect all control surfaces, admire the plane, then open the door and get in. As yourself, not a drone camera. You walk with your VR controller joystick.
You can also reach all menus immediately by pressing a controller button and choosing a round menu with your joystick. It’s so much faster than a blind mouse operation. I can’t believe you chose mouse over controllers…

Just look at my video, watch through the startup procedure etc. This is what VR is! MSFS has to be better, not worse, than competition… I was hoping for hand tracking, built-in voice ATC interaction, voice-activated checklists (like I created for X-Plane [see video] but with better voices) and other VR-related breakthroughs to be in new MSFS, not the actual Windows mouse cursor in VR.

Can you see how efficient is operating everything with your hand, reaching for controls and pushing levers. Actually reaching for and pulling up the gear lever in 737! Using VR controller for walkaround and settings etc. Add voice activated control and dynamic checklists, Voice recognition commands, voice recognition ATC, background chatter etc. This can be implemented without several separate programs that I use. This is what Asobo should do, in my opinion. But at the minimum, please get the VR controllers working and enable all manipulations!

Think about usability! Usability is everything! Having just the mouse is very bad. Try handwriting live VATSIM ATC instructions with your mouse! It’s impossible. How are you supposed to fly with live ATC in VR without being able to handwrite or type the instruction highlights? I hope charts and a notepad is coming. Those are a must, along with controller support to use them. I really hope Asobo can implement controllers very soon. This simulator is beyond anything else, graphically speaking, but VR without controllers is stone age and some may soy not really VR. Make mouse an option if some people prefer this, but enable controllers for the rest of us.

Mouse is a crutch, translating 2D hand movements to 3D environment. You have to understand that the worst thing for VR is breaking the immersion, because VR is all about immersion! Having to fiddle with the mouse instead of just using your hands is a total immersion destroyer!

Think of this: you have your left hand on a yoke, right on a throttle (or on a yoke as well) - and then you need to rotate a dial or click a button or pull a lever - how will you find your mouse when you can’t see it? You don’t know where you left it, you will have to remove VR or search blindly with your hand before you do anything. And you will have to do it each time, because mouse position is not fixed - it will be at a different spot each time you use it.

In X-Plane I just keep controller strapped to my right hand and when I need to rotate a dial for example - I just reach, grab and rotate (feeling the clicking vibration feedback), then I use grab throttle and move it, or do anything I want. I can even grab the yoke with right hand without releasing the controller if I want to. But mostly I have it in my right hand at all times. And I constantly operate all systems with my right hand, while using left for the yoke. That feels so real! This is what makes a total cabin immersion, as much as possible with today’s technology. That is Impossible with the mouse. It will remind you constantly that you are sitting at a desktop computer.

I sincerely hope this will be corrected in the next update. It would be great if Asobo would confirm this and give at least a rough ETA.

I was hoping for Asobo to push the boundaries of VR immersion, not go back in time, to mouse control in VR, like the first generation of VR years ago.

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Update 27/1/2021
YES! Thank you everyone for voting! Now we know we’ve been noticed. Here’s the brief VR summary of the Developer twitch:

  1. There is now a separate Feedback Snapshot for VR, and this post has the most votes, and made it into “Dev Pri 1” which means this feature is considered important! That was the goal, so that’s great news.
  2. Status is “not started”. No date is even assigned. They said it’s “too early” and “there was no time to plan everything yet”. But it’s priority 1 so let’s hope it’s not too long.
  3. Martial Bossard himself plays MSFS exclusively in VR! He said “it’s hard to go back to a flat screen”. So we can be sure VR is given due attention!
  4. “Controllers are in the pipe” according to Bossard.
  5. Feedback snapshot is reviewed and updated weekly.

I think this development is as good as we could hope for. It may mean that controllers support is months away, but as long as it’s not neglected, that’s OK. We just have to wait I guess. And the chances are that the VR, including this issue, is not going to be neglected, because one of the 3 top people at Asobo uses the sim exclusively in VR.

Update March 5th:
Good news, I think: The latest VR feedback snapshot has this issue status changed to “started” and target date set as 2021. So Asobo is now definitely working on it. Thank you everybody for voting and making this issue noticed and prioritized as “dev priority 1”, thus ensuring it gets the resources needed for implementation. If you haven’t voted yet - please do, it’s still a good idea to keep it the top priority.

You stated all of this way more eloquently than I ever could, but I agree with literally everything. My heart sank a bit when the discovery series episode ended with no mention of controllers.

6 Likes

Yes, my heart sunk too… “Not worse than X-Plane” is not much to ask, is it? I hope Asobo realises the mistake of releasing HALF-VR support. I hope they have controller support planned for the very near future. I was holding off, resolving never to go back to X-Plane… But this is not a real VR…

10 Likes

No controller support means it’s a no for me… I’m stopping my Xbox subscription and sticking with xplane… may be older but I like to reach up and flick the switch…

3 Likes

do you feel better now?

Have fun in Xplane!

4 Likes

Essential is pretty misleading, …they are not required at alll…in fact I prefer a mouse over controllers. But I also understand that alot of people prefer controllers so I hope you get your wish.

7 Likes

For me the are essential, and for most VR users I dare to say. Because VR is about immersion and actually interacting with the environment, this is the whole concept of VR. It’s Virtual Reality after all, and inetracting with reality with a mouse instead of a hand defeats the purpose.

Are you coming so flightsim VR from TrackIR maybe? Because what they show in a video is just a “viewport” that tracks your head, like TrackIR of sorts. It’s not real VR :slight_smile: A literal mouse cursor in VR? Seriously??? I assure you, all the new and young users Asobo is raing about and streaming in Twitch for, they come from Half Life Alyx and immersive VR and they expect controller support. They will be freaked out about this. Not a good start with attracting young and generally tech-saccy audience.

Hard-core simmers may be used to hardships and suspending disbelief, but believe me - I’m a designer and I want to forget about XPlane and never see it again beause MSFS is so beautiful. But this got me thinking if I’d have to use X-Plane again. VR with a mouse is a perversion. Yes, it’s my personal opionion, and some people may feel differently, but most VR users would agree, I’m sure of it.

And better yet - Hand Tracking! This is what would be the best of all worlds. No need for controllers at all, and full interaction. No vibration feedback tough, but that would be worth the convenience.

5 Likes

No, I don’t. I can’t have fun in X-Plane anymore :slight_smile: Not after tasting the visuals of MSFS. I’m a visual guy, a designer and MSFS scenery developer BTW, and even the realism of Zibo mod 737, which is lightyears ahead of available airliners in MSFS doesn’t make up for outdated visuals outside the cabin in X-Plane. That why I was expecting at least current if not groundbreaking VR technology from Asobo.

And do you really think that Windows mouse cursor in VR is how VR should be? Rotating dials by clicking mouse buttons instead of hand tracking or controller tracking, blindly feeling your table searching for the mouse, dropping it or other clutter to the floor because you can’t see what you’re doing. Does it seem like VR for you, on the 21st century? Honestly?

Some people may prefer mouse because they are too used for it, and treat VR just as a monitor on their head, and that’s fine. But this is years behind in technology. There is no reason not to have both mouse and controller tracking available. And to add hand tracking to that list, if WMR can do it.

4 Likes

Your obviously very keen on your controllers and I hope you get your wish. Just pointing out that they are not essential. I have been using VR since day 1 of the oculus rift. I have the mouse setup next to my Sim chair so no fumbling required. I find controllers clunky, having to put them away between my legs so I can have my hands on the throttle and stick.

8 Likes

Personally, I prefer the mouse and using my yoke and throttles in the blind. Using the controllers is like flying with two candelabras on the end of your wrists.

13 Likes

They are hardly essential and I’d be very ■■■■■■ if i had to wait another 2 months or so for VR patch just because of VR controller support. I myself find them clunky but understand that a lot of people prefer it over mouse.
I’m sure if you guys get vocal enough Asobo will add them to the sim in the future.

1 Like

It’s clearly a matter of preference. There’s no reason not to have both mouse and controllers.
I’ve been flying with my left hand on the yoke, and right with a controller strapped to it with a DIY rubber strap, so I don’t have to squeeze it at all until I’m grabbing something. I use it for controlling the throttle on Zibo 737 very nicely. Dialing autopilot (feeling the clicks of the knobs rotating and switches engaging!), dialing FMC, everything. The feel of actually reaching out and pulling up a gear lever, and feel it click! Grabbing flaps lever - feeling the clicks at the recesses. Spoilers. Rotating radios, map controls - everything! Just flicking light switches withyour hand feels so good and natural. And if I need to I can grab the yoke with the right hand too, with controllers still in my hand. Not the most convenient feel, but manageable. The best solution would be full hand and finger tracking. But at least controllers - it’s years old technology, all competitors have it.

4 Likes

In XPL11 I found the implementation of the controllers a bit sketchy at best because there is no agreed manipulation protocol among all the developers. For example, some knobs you rotate the wrist and some you move left and right etc etc. I also hate the VR mouse as it’s always in the way.

But generally I am surprised ASOBO have gone the no controller route and, on balance, I agree with the OP here. We probably won’t have to wait very long for a VR mod from a philanthropic forum member.

i could care less about “what VR should be” because i’m a casual gamer with low standards and a focus on fun over realism. Head tracking is enough for me to get immersed. If i wanted to manipulate buttons with my hands, i’d go learn to fly the real thing. But thats just me…

I’ve had enough practice with a plastic box on my face to know where my mouse and keyboard is. It’s called muscle memory. I’ll still peak under the headset to find the right key if i got to but for the most part, it’s not that big a deal for me. That said, you still gotta pick up/put down the motion controller now and then which requires what? “blindly feeling your table searching for the mouse Hand Controller, dropping it or other clutter to the floor because you can’t see what you’re doing.” I don’t see how a hand controller is any less cumbersome than a mouse, especially to those of us who don’t have very steady hands (like me)

If VR controllers become available, now or in the future, would i use them? I would try them to say i tried them. But i simply see the mouse as more practical than hand controllers

I get your use case, where you’re coming from, and that’s what I thought. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, It’s absolutely fine - for you. But ask any VR enthusiast (and they drive the VR market) and they will tell you that “VR is immersion”, and “immersion is everything”. And I agree - I’m coming from both worlds, many ears of flightsims and a VR enthusiast too. To your question - for any VR fan the phrase “I’ll still peak under the headset to find the right key” makes them shudder. This is what’s called in VR world “breaking the immersion” and it’s a big no-no. In real and properly implemented VR you should NEVER take off your VR or get out of it, and the experience in VR should be as close to real as possible, with interface being a minimal compromise (Windows mouse cursor in VR? no, thank you. I want to see my hand, if anything). Look at my video - the entire flight, with all checklists, ATC radio, charts, procedures - I have never took off VR headset, or let go of the controller even once!

As for “blindly feeling” for controller - no, I never do that. I never let go. Right controller never leaves my hand. It’s actually strapped to it by a DIY elastic strap, so I don’t even have to squeeze my hand and hold it - it’s just there, loosely attached to my palm. My left hand is resting on the yoke, feet on pedals, right hand manipulating all buttons, FMC, and throttle, glaps gear - all in VR. If I need to I can help with the yoke without taking off the controller - it’s a bit clumsy as I grab the width of both the yoke and controller, but manageable.

I even can type or handwrite notes from live VATSIM ATC controller in my notepad in VR - now try typing or handwriting with your mouse :slight_smile: That should be fun. Really, try to imagine real-time live voice ATC - how would you manage it in VR, where you can’t take off headset and need to write down instructions? Try handwriting down a simple sentence with your mouse in Paint - you will see clearly how VR controller is superior to a mouse. Mouse is a crutch used to convert 2D motions to 3D space, and additional layer on top of your interaction with space. Controllers reduce the layer to a minimum, where yu actually reach, grab, pull, rotate, and feel feedback. No middle man. There is enough workload in an airliner on landing, being single pilot and with live ATC - it’s overwhelming. No need to have a mouse layer on top of that. You only like it because you are used to it, I guess. Using your hand would be so much more natural, even for you - especially if they can implement hand and finger tracking - then you won’t even have a controller in your hand.

Here’s my simple DIY VR setup - I ended up not using throttle, because it’s much more satisfying to do it right inside VR and it works just fine. To use it with the physical throttle quadrant I’d have to “blindly feel” for it, which breaks the immersion. So I use the VR throttles, flap levers, mix etc. See my video.

3 Likes

Yes, I’m not saying XPlane implementation is perfect - not by far, but it’s miles better than no controllers. BTW I turned VR mouse off, it’s an immersion killer. Manage just fine without it. Also, made a “ghost” controller mod, so, it’s almost fully transparent. There should be a hand, if anything, this also is an immersion killer, having to see the controller inside VR. That’s unnecessary. I mostly flown the Zibo Mod 737, and KingAir, and I didn’t see any inconsistencies with controls there, maybe some other planes have them. Default 737 rotation settings were terrible, so I adjusted them. But Zibo mod did it right. But now, having tasted MSFS beauty, I can’t enjoy X-Plane :slight_smile:

3 Likes

Totally agree.

As I said since I joined the beta, VR controllers are a must. A simulator without VR controller is not fully VR. Then users can decide what to use, but VR implementation must be complete.

5 Likes

Absolutely agree. Exactly what I’ve been saying. Strange to hear “mouse is just fine, we don’t need controllers!” - mouse could be an option, but a complete VR implementation must include controllers. Then let people choose what to use.

4 Likes

It’s absolutely extraordinary, almost like they are deliberately trying to make things as unpleasant and difficult as possible.

3 Likes