Weird experience in VR

I’ve been using VR since the Rift was released (I didn’t back the project on Kickstarter, but I pre-ordered the CV1), and I’ve been flying in VR since I discovered FlyInside (the tool we used to piggyback VR on FSX, P3D and XP before P3D and XP got native VR support).

I’ve had moments of confusion about my presence in VR space, for example when I tried to mess with viewers on a Twitch stream by “leaning out the window” of my plane (ie. clipping through the window), hitting my head on my suspended mic just when and where I would’ve hit the window. For a few seconds, I wondered how that window could’ve turned into a tangible object in this virtual world. But even in these moments of confusion, I was well aware that I was wearing a VR headset.

The other day, though, I enjoyed a moment of… uhm… perfect presence. I was enroute in a GA plane, flying on AP, and looking out the windows at the scenery around me (ie. not staring straight ahead), when, for (literally) a fraction of a second, I thought I was sitting in a real aircraft. Or, maybe better: I forgot for an instant that I was not sitting in a real aircraft.

Ever since I’ve been wondering how and why presence and immersion and suspension of disbelief combined in a certain way to make this moment happen… and how I can make it happen again. (My best theory so far is that maybe I “zoned out” because I was tired.)

To be honest, if someone had told me about an experience like this, I would’ve assumed it to be disorienting and scary (scary, as in: “What is happening to my brain? Is this the beginning of a psychosis? Am I losing my grip on reality?”) – but in fact my feelings were surprise and delight. When the moment was over, I was immediately aware where I really was, both in virtual and real space, there was no feeling of disorientation at all, and I knew exactly what had happened.

Thanks for letting me share this with you. Have you experienced moments like this?


I hear you, I swear I can feel the sun on my face when the lighting is in a specific way. Only to realise later on that the actual sun had long set and I had been sitting in a dark room for 30 minutes eversince. I think generally this happens faster when being tired and relaxed. Another thing that occasionally happens to me is when flying through thick clouds and then suddenly the clouds break open and there is 5000ft of space between me and the ground, my brain always has to adjust a bit there that I’m not actually sitting up that high. Amazing how this works. Can’t imagine what it must be when at one point we get to run this at full quality.


Running extremely low level and at high speed through the valleys of the Pyrenees in a Vertigo under VR is exciting enough. You get into a zone of concentration where all you are thinking is can I make that next turn or shall I climb out. After a few minutes of that you really feel the landscape rushing past and you relax. Don’t want to say zen like state but something like that.

Then you spot a pylon only a few tens of metres ahead and you are doing 380 knots. Snap reaction to avoid. This actually had a physiological effect on me, my watch pinged due to a spike in my heart rate.

I’ll also get the vertigo effect after cruising along for a while at a few thousand feet in the Spitfire, then I’ll roll left and look down across the wing and I get that stomach overturning feeling. Which I actually quite like.


When I’m too slow in an approach, and pull back (bad) instead of adding power (good) and can “feel” that I’m sinking fast and something is wrong. Very unnerving and real feeling that you don’t get in 2D.

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That experience the OP described - I don‘t find it weird at all!
As a matter if fact, this is exactly what I seek when I put on my HMD and „disappear“ into VR.

I now have almost 100h and 190 flights in MSFS, every single one in VR. During my working day, I found myself counting down the time until I can next fire up my PC and get back into the VR cockpit of my plane of choice (TBM or CRJ)!

Never ever had that kind of addiction in the many years I flew sims in 2D…

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Understand the feeling, usually anytime I am in mountainous areas such as the alps it gets pretty close to feeling like flying, I too finish a session that’s usually started early evening to find myself in complete darkness.

I still marvel at looking out my window down at the wheels of the xcub I fly.

Quest 2 seems to be running at the moment as well is it has since launch, airlink and latest beta seem to be working well


The other day when climbing out in the Arrow, I could have sworn that my ears popped…


This, in and of itself is just another “STEP” towards where VR is headed. 20 years ago (Approx.) I stated “Can you imagine where flight sims will be in 20 years”? Well… Can you imagine where VR WILL BE in 20 years? Break out the barf bags!

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Those are the golden moments! I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Top Rudder 103 Solo lately, because it seems to be perfect for those vertigo-inducing dips and rolls that suspend disbelief.

Since we’re on this subject, I have to share a funny “extreme immersion” experience I had, even though it is a little off topic… I was playing Half-life Alyx, which is definitely one of the best VR experiences I’ve ever had, and encountered this big baddy in body armor for the first time. I heard these loud footsteps coming around the corner, and I immediately felt the need to dive for cover behind a large crate. As anyone would do in real life, I reached out to grab the crate and steady myself, but of course the crate wasn’t really there, and I was startled to fall right through it, slamming my head against an actual desk in my play area. Luckily nothing was broken (me or my HMD) so it’s something I can laugh about.

But yeah, those moments of “perfect presence” and immersion are definitely an amazing thing! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


i have these moments quite often. I totally forget that i am sitting in my Cellar . I cant even begin to imagine where this is going in the next 10 Years…

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Yep! I have these moments too, although they happen not often. Most of the time I’m annoyed with the poor unsharp graphics or micro stuttering in VR which are killing the immersion. But there are moments when beautifull lighting and fluid performance come together and you suddenly feel being there…


It’s great when that happens, I’ve had these moments while flying around the Scottish highlands early in the morning with a low mist.
In certain conditions the sim looks utterly real, then I see an unrealistic building and snap out of it!

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@Tailgunner68 responding to an ephemeral apparition (ykwim): I’m weighing my options. :smiley:

Omg the feeling of the sun! I thought it was only me. Amazing.


I have subconsciously found my body reacting to the braking movement when applying the brakes while taxing… in FS and when driving in ETS2/ATS as well.

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VR is basically making the brain believe what it sees is real. Humans tend to believe what they can see, because that’s the way our brain evolved (dogs rely more on their ears and smell for example). But your knowledge is that the VR-situation is not real, basically your brain fights against your actual knowledge and sometimes the side wins that makes you believe it’s really real.

I don’t know if you guys know that Rift Demo where there’s an alien. I always made people turn around to see the scenery just to touch their shoulders - everyone, for split second believed the alien was real and actually touched them. Scared them a lot, too. :rofl: I think it’s amazing what little it needs to make VR even more immersive.


I know this is O/T here but I believe that the frame rate in my INDEX headset is actually dictating WHEN I experience this type of experience. I moved my recording studio two months ago and just now, got my VR / Index back up and running.
I had hoped that the interim updates had fixed a lot of the issues. I have a high end system and yet, I cannot look outside the cockpit and get fluid motion. HAGS on or off, Game Mode On or Off, nVidia Control Panel settings and a host of other suggestions have left me dumbfounded. Fluid graphics in the INDEX gives me what we talk about here but it is so rare that I am Gobsmacked as to the sweet spot.

Try setting the Index refresh to 90Hz, then in SteamVR lock the framerate to 22.5fps with additional prediction of 22.2ms, with Motion Smoothing enabled. This is giving me a really smooth experience, without excessive Motion Smoothing artifacts. Even with such a low framerate cap, with the smoothing I very rarely notice anything inside or outside that is enough to break the illusion of fluid flight, but of course it is ultimately a subjective experience.

If you haven’t done so already, I would check out @CptLucky8 's My 2070 SUPER VR settings and suggestions (Index - SteamVR) thread. Following most of his suggestions has really improve my overall VR experience with the Index.


Thank you for your kind words!

Since WU3 and the poorer game performance I’m now using 18fps + 33.3ms on a 9900K+2070S.

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Thank you for all the work you’ve put into your posts!

I’ve seen you mention using 18fps + 33.3ms since that update, but I’ve been lucky enough to be able to stick with 22.5 + 22.2, especially since the last patch and using the newest nvidia driver. I tried 18 + 33.3 and I found the reduced framerate to be subtle, but noticeable. Maybe it is the difference between my 2080 S and your 2070 S that allows me to stick with the higher fps. Regardless, I will say that this last week (since the latest patch) I’ve had some of the smoothest, most enjoyable flights ever!

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