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VC vs 2D cockpits, opinions?

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I just saw where another major developer is releasing a plane with no 2D cockpit or subpanels and for me, this is a show stopper. I use a multimonitor setup and 2D subpanels are a must have.It seems to be becomming a trend to release planes with VC's only, and I for one, am hanging on to my money instead of purchasing them. This is a shame cause I really would like to support our developers, but I am not going to buy a plane that doesnt support my needs. I use both the VC and 2D at times, but I dont like having VC only forced on me. The question is, how many others prefer the 2D to VC, and would you buy a plane with VC only?

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I absolutely prefer a VC because it has a better immersion factor when flying. That said, 2d panels that I can call up when needed are a must as well. I don't understand the either/or logic. Both are required at different times for a quality simming experience.Thaellar

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I absolutely prefer a VC because it has a better immersion factor when flying. That said, 2d panels that I can call up when needed are a must as well. I don't understand the either/or logic. Both are required at different times for a quality simming experience.Thaellar
Agree!

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There are those who insist that VCs are more realistic, and those who insist that they are not. Personally, I use both at various times, too. I have, however, refused to let the absence of 2D panels stop me from enjoying a new model. I have invested a lot of time into using FS Panel Studio and in learning how to edit aircraft panel.cfg files. When I see a VC only plane, I add one or more 2D panels to the .cfg using one or more methods: making a panel bitmap from a screenshot of the VC at an appropriate zoom level, adjusting a panel bitmap from a similar model to suit, or simply putting a few instruments on a plain background so I can popup and undock a customized instrument cluster. Then inserting the various instruments, often from a vast collection of freeware gauges, becomes just a matter of time albeit sometimes tedious.It is also possible to emulate a 2D panel with a camera view entry in the aircraft.cfg file but this is probably not undockable.It is usually possible to create and edit 2D panels so far; not so for VCs which are usually very difficult to do much with as more and more go to imbedding part of all of them into the model itself.You can keep on flying the way you want to but you may have to do some things for yourself, I guess.Rick

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Here's my take on this... Developers should offer BOTH 2D and VC. Level-D will continue to offer a VC and a 2D panel that is optimized for simulator purposes. In other words, the 2D main panel (like real world) is designed as the primary view (the need to open sub-panels is reduced). In my opinion, the 2D view is the perfect interface when flying heavy metal. Checklists can be completed quickly and efficiently. Gauges can be viewed without the need to "zoom" in or out. Everything you need to view is on full display. Need a sub-panel? A key combination gets you there!I have yet to be converted to fly with the VC. That may be just habit (I'm a mature simmer), but it may also be because the old 2D view is the superior view for flight simulator use.Unless I'm jumping into a full-flight simulator (http://www.cae.com/en/sim.products/cae.7000.series.asp) no amount of 3D rendering is going fool me into thinking I'm in the real bird. And the incessant need to zoom in and out to read a gauge or some text is just plain annoying. I don't have to "zoom" in and out in real life. My eyes can do that for me. You ever seen a real 767 pilot "zooming" to the EHSI/FMC/Overhead panel to take a closer look? The only time I "zoom" is in my Mazda! And then I do it twice!Now to my mind-bending take on the VC/3D...Why would I want to replicate a 3D experience when I'm already in 3D? Why do I want to create another 3D space inside what is a 2D computer screen? I know, it's complicated... but, hear me out: I'm already sitting in my office, looking at my monitor. No amount of virtual 3D is going to convince me that I'm not in my office sitting in front of my computer. Home cockpit builders know what I'm talking about. Building a home cockpit makes the 3D/VC redundant! I consider my home office my flight deck. So, why would I want to build a virtual flight deck in front of my REAL flight deck? :( And, before I get jumped on for my retro-view of the VC, I have tried TrackIR (lovely product, worked great). Still, I consider the interface simply too much work to go through just to adjust my altimeter! I can see how lovely the view is at cruise... but, during the cruise, I tend to do something real pilots only WISH they could do: I get up and do stuff around the house!Now, don't get me wrong. The VC has its place. When I'm flying VFR, the VC is preferred. Otherwise, IMHO, the VC is a waste of pixels.The long and short of it: each to their own. But, from my view, the 2D rocks!

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The question is, how many others prefer the 2D to VC, and would you buy a plane with VC only?
I only fly in VC (w/Track-IR), and a good one it is very important to my purchase decision.

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I guess for VCs, TrackIR or a similar device is mandatory. Otherwise, I cannot see any use of a VC for "big iron"...Andreas

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The question is, how many others prefer the 2D to VC, and would you buy a plane with VC only?
For a GA aircraft, I much prefer the VC and have actually deleted all 2d panel entries except forthe minipanel from some aircraft. Now, I do like to have the GNS popup, so I add that back in.Unless something is really hard to see and/or adjust, in which case a popup is the solution,I really see no need for a 2d panel, especially since most appear stretched on my wide monitorwhich makes them a lot less "real".. :(

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No doubt there are other valid opinions, but I feel we can already summarize the major viewpoints:VC can be really good with a TrackIR. It does help with a lot of the cockpit scan chores. Zooming in and out is a function of how large your display system is. If you sim on a screen that fills your field of vision, you probably won't use the zoom function as much! However, TrackIR helps with zooming as well.2D used to be for sim captains with low frame rates, or for those who were locked into how previous versions of MSFS were used. I was a 100% dedicated 2D cockpit user before TrackIR. Now, I prefer the VC. That being said, for those intrepid few with monster home cockpit set-ups, a 2D panel with undockable gauges is essential. Most of those home cockpits run one aircraft exclusively, so those sim captains often are not so interested in purchasing a wide range of aircraft, at least not from what I have seen. I totally agree that aircraft should come with VC and 2D cockpits. When FSX came out, the ACES philosophy was to wean sim pilots from the 2D cockpit. Like other assumptions ACES made about the future of MSFS, this one proved to be unpopular, at least with the hard-core flight sim crowd. I would certainly prefer that all aircraft came with quality 2D and 3D cockpits, especially with click-to-enlarge gauges! In more complicated aircraft, I find 2D panels to be highly useful, especially stuff like INS/FMC/GPS, MFD's, and the radio/navigation stack. Developers often cite the gruelling routine of putting together a 2D cockpit as being too time-consuming and expensive. Coming from a world where they teach Maya and SoftImage in high school, it's hard to get that segment of designers who are new to the game to believe that pushing pixels on a raster can be sexy. The 2D talent pool isn't what it used to be. Is this an excuse for no 2D cockpit? I am trying to report on what I see happening, I'm not trying to make a judgement. Ultimately, we vote with our purchasing power. This kind of topic can help, too, as long as the tone is kept respectful and the criticisms are constructive. However, it's money that fuels development, and for most developers the tanks are close on to running on fumes.Jeff ShylukSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM

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Here's my take on this... Developers should offer BOTH 2D and VC. Level-D will continue to offer a VC and a 2D panel that is optimized for simulator purposes. In other words, the 2D main panel (like real world) is designed as the primary view (the need to open sub-panels is reduced).
DarylThat's a relief to hear that LevelD will continue to produce 2D flight deck panels...and VC as well. Both formats have their place and their proponents. Ideally, developers will be able to provide for both camps. I do, however, understand that it could be perceived as redundant to have both formats, and even that one format is obsolete. Therefore, the temptation would be to discontinue the 'older' format. Note to developers: Please resist this temptation! I believe there are quite a few folks that prefer, for whatever reason, to use 2D panels. The recent PMDG J41 announcement seemed to spark, (perhaps unanticipated?), a bit of a reaction from 2D panel users.I use a multi monitor setup with touch screens. I also have TrackIR 4 Pro. With my setup, 2D has a number of advantages. I've hedged my bets with the TIR for those airplanes that are VC only, including non-FS simulations. If I'm using only one screen (actually 3 TH2go screens), then TIR is a must. Both formats have their place. While we can 'vote' with our pocket books, I sure hope the developers agree with the products they offer in the future.Oh, and Daryl, how come you're taking time to post here? Shouldn't you be busy doing...you know...working on a certain urgently anticipated 757? [Kidding of course, except the part about being urgently anticipated!]Noel WBrisbane

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I only use VC's. I really hate it when I have to open a 2D popup window in order to get something done... That might be a reason for me not to buy the plane because I like and want to be able to do everything from within the VC. I do have TrackIR though... Can't fly without that one. And it doesn't matter if it's a GA or an airliner: I have the MD-11 and fly it using the VC only. I really love the RealAir Decathlon (Scout package) but every now and then I need the GPS and I have to open it in a window... really hate that... but there aren't much quality GA's with high wings that can be flown from the VC only. I am thinking about getting the Quest Kodiak because it has a G1000 and afaik you can do everything with the VC.In short: I am the complete opposite of PPSFA... :(

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After using every version of FS since FS2, I made the switch to VC with FSX. It is all I use now, and I wouldn't even notice if a plane had no 2D cockpit. I fly smaller planes at lower altitudes and there is no question in my mind that the VC is a more immersive experience. The simple reason is that one can pan the view smoothly, similar to turning one's head. However, for flying the heavy metal at the flight levels, where there is not as much reason to look around outside, I can certainly see that the 2D panel is more clear with the ability to pack in more buttons and gauges--although I believe that as computers and graphics cards keep getting faster, this will not be the case. So, from my perspective developers of airliners should keep 2D panels, while developers of Piper Cubs can drop it.Ben

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Have to agree with the supporters of 2D on multi monitors. Once you've tried it, virtual panning/zooming is an arcade approach to achieving something approaching normal, 180+

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I have been flying in a real Level-D simulator and can tell you there is a huge gap between a full 3D cockpit and its 2D representation on a small flat monitor. The gap is so huge that in my opinion even affects ability to properly fly the airplane. Virtual cockpit plus say some good quality Fresnel lens in front gives me the closest to a real commercial simulator. But there are exceptions - if I wanted a full Garmin G1000 simulator then 2D cockpit with two separate monitors is simple an ideal arrangement for that but this is the only such case I can come up with.

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As long as I am leading our products (the ones I am in charge of) they will have both 2D and VC.Now that you asked and remember... you did ask.... I think VC's are a joke and extremely unrealisitic. The only way a real airplane looks like that is if I strap a fishbowl over my head when I fly.But it doesn't matter what I think. People want VC's and that perceived reality is important to them. So... they will get both. Why shouldn't they?Jim RhoadsFlight1

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As long as I am leading our products (the ones I am in charge of) they will have both 2D and VC.Now that you asked and remember... you did ask.... I think VC's are a joke and extremely unrealisitic. The only way a real airplane looks like that is if I strap a fishbowl over my head when I fly.But it doesn't matter what I think. People want VC's and that perceived reality is important to them. So... they will get both. Why shouldn't they?
I totally disagree on that one! I own an airplane (which I fly often) that is much like the Marchetti SF260 with it's side by side seating and full bubble sliding canopy. The RealAir SF260 with it's VC is the closest by far.................in replicating sensations that I get from the real one. IMO, a 2D panel stuck in your face, is about as "un-real" as it gets.... Because your eyes are suppose to be looking across the top of the panel and picking up peripheral vision at the same time. Doesn't happen with 2D's!Basically, except for larger commercial airliner type panels where systems are more important than flight; I could care less about 2D panels and never use them.L.AdamsonP.S. --- the only time my real plane looks like a 2D panel is when I take a camera shot in flight or on the ground. The snap shot NEVER looks like what I see in real flight; but it looks just like 2D panels in a flight sim. So you're correct; perceived reality is important!

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And I totally disagree with you.I not only own an airplane which is quite flyable by the way, and I fly numerous high performance twins on a regular basis. Flew the Navajo back from Sun and Fun yesterday to be specific.Look, I said it did not matter what I thought and I think our Mustang proves that despite what I think, I cater to the customer. Don't get your panties in a bunch! :( And yeah, I know you love the Marchetti I think you have made that point quite often. I have an opinion just like you do and as far as I am concerned, it is valid. (as is yours) But like I said, it does not matter what I think, strap on your fishbowl and drive on my man! :( Keep in mind perceived reality is just that, perceived. It does not mean it is reality. However, everyone i know in the training industry could care less and even more so, do not even want VC's. VC's are an entertainment based product and are typically considered in the negative context in real world training. Sorry if you disagree, but it is fact.BestJim

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Like many others, I prefer 3D flying low and slow and 2D flying big and heavy. I never use 3D only planes. I've even gone to the trouble of creating a 2D camera view for the stock FA-18.

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However, everyone i know in the training industry could care less and even more so, do not even want VC's. VC's are an entertainment based product and are typically considered in the negative context in real world training. Sorry if you disagree, but it is fact
Training in regards to navigation and systems, and the perception of flying an aircraft are two different things. And yes, I fly VC's for entertainment as well using a sim to travel to unfamiliar airports and surrounding topography. You're into training; that's part of making your living, and that's fine. But don't use it as an excuse, as though it's the only form of reality. You're right, VC's might suck for training on a Garmin 1000. That's what pop-ups are for. L.AdamsonBTW---- If my only real life flying was IMC under IFR; I'd quit, and just use a computer. It's much cheaper....

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Since I'm already stuck with a 2D viewpoint (my LCD monitor), I try to simulate real flying as much as possible. Therefore, a Virtual Cockpit represents a better reality than a 2D panel will ever do, and it reminds me of flying for real, especially with the FSX camera effects, moving in turns, bouncing a little in turbulence....love it!Yes pop-ups have their place in the matter...and are helpful!And I almost forgot to answer the question - Yes! I'd buy an acft that includes only a VC

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As Jim has stated, what the developer prefers isn't really relevant to the decision. What customers want is... Now that said, the reason for a lack of 2d should be obvious. The gauges in the VC are 3d using embedded XML script in the model. To have a 2d panel would have required coding a complete set of "traditional gauges," which would have taken longer and perhaps even increased the selling price... :(

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Jim I am sooo glad you cater to the customer!I have your Mustang and it has the best VC I have seen so far. I will never fly a real world Mustang (although I did go cross country as a passenger up front in a lear once). FSX is purely entertainment for me. So even though you will put a 2D panel in your next product, keep the VC's coming. (I know you will :( )Chuck

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To give you an idea of where I fly from, I didn't even realize Aerosoft's Twin Otter didn't have a 2D cockpit until my finger slipped and I hit Shift+A instead of Shift+S. The suddenly unhelpful full-screen pop-up was very startling :( I used to fly 2D in FS9, because my old computer was a lousy piece of junk that could never render the VC and keep the sim from turning into a gallery of still pictures. Now, though, I have a computer than can run from the VC reasonably well, add-ons permitting, so I stay there and only call up 2D popups whenever I need them, i.e. PMDG's CDUs; lacking TrackIR, it's easier for me to work the FMC from the 2D subpanels rather than the VC. If I could convert fully to VC, though, I would do so and never look back.Yes, the VC is unrealistic in the sense that it's a 3D model in a 3D sim being displayed on a 2D panel, but the 2D cockpits to me aren't as flexible, for lack of a better word, as the VC. In the 2D panel, I cannot pan around at will to select my own viewpoints (one of the things I do is set the viewpoint so all the important bits like flight instruments, autopilot controls, etc, are visible while I'm in cruise so I can leave for a minute and be able to see if anything important has failed or needs my attention without flipping through 2D popups). The VC also displays lighting effects whenever I turn the plane around and the sun is now in a different relative position; the 2D pit can't do that. FSX's head-bobbing effect is also much appreciated, as to me it adds to the immersion; landing the plane roughly now has a visual effect, whereas with the 2D I can hit hard and the cockpit stays as motionless as a deer in headlights. It doesn't matter to me so much that the headbobbing also means some important instrument switches are occasionally occluded (happens every time I bank the E-jet, I realize the TCAS isn't on B) ).Is this and any other reason I can think of to prefer the VC eye candy and not really important to actually flying the airplane? Yes, but I'm in it just for the fun of whisking myself away to childhood memories when I thought plane pilots could freely soar with few rules more than what it takes to drive a car (boy, was I mistaken :( ); if I wanted to simulate pilot ops so badly, I would have spent more for a proper flight sim rig, and would probably be in the 2D camp. But I just fly, on a laptop, with a fighter-like Saitek joystick (in a pretend Cessna, no less!), having fun looking at the world ACES so kindly built us while I pan around a cockpit where I can imagine myself as a person inside an actual Cessna taking the family for a weekend ski trip. The 2D panel just can't match that.To me, compared to the VC, the 2D panel is just so....flat.P.S. I didn't mean for this to turn into a wall of text; just kind of happened :(

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Up at thirty thousand feet a 2D panel is fine and I will use them in that situation, but then again, if there is a decent 3D one that allows me to do everything well, then I'd favour that over a 2D one. Either in a big airliner or a tiny light aircraft I always use the VC to taxi, land and take off, simply because it emulates depth perception and situational awareness better.Having said all that, I would not wish to see those who make their own home cockpits shortchanged, and so I'd be reluctant to suggest the 2D cockpit disappear since it is important to those simmers, even though it wouldn't bother me personally too much if the 2D panel went away.Al

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I use the VC whenever I can becuase it's the most realistic. I don't have a problem with developers getting rid of 2D panels AS LONG AS THE VC IS DETAILED. I use the 2D panels becuase sometimes the VC gauges are not as good quality or the clickspots are hard to get (like the PMDG 747 overhead...it's very detailed, but there's so many buttons, they're hard to click individually without a 2D panel.) etc. I would prefer that developers kept making 2D panels becuase there's no harm in keeping it there...I would much rather the developer made a 2D panel than cut the corner just to release it earlier. Ferrari

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