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ahinterl

VC: Another try

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Since more and more plane add-ons are developed without 2D panels, I thought I give the VC another try and ask the community how to transition best. Complex airliners the size of an ERJ and up is what I'm almost exclusively flying.

 

I have tried to become accustomed to VC panels in the past several times using head trackers and camera position utilities and the likes, but have never made it to a point where I was convinced to abandon the familiar 2D pit. The main reasons for this are mainly:

  • During the critical phases of flight (landing,...) I have my hands on the yoke and the throttle, so no time/possibility to use the mouse, maybe the keyboard if keys can be pressed quickly enough
  • In these situations, I prefer to have important instruments (PFD, ND, flaps indicator, warnings...) simultanously on my screen and perfectly readable (big enough)

Clearly, a VC would give me more situational awareness during curved approaches, that's another reason why I want to transition to VC. The reasons why I didn't feel comfortable in them are mainly:

  • I found the way to pan around the VC always somehow cumbersome and strange: I either used
    • the mouse, that consumed my right hand which should be on the throttle levers instead
    • a head tracking device which
      • made me like sick because it felt somehow "unnatural"
      • attracted much of my attention: I had to invest a considerable amount of effort in getting the right viewing angle, time that I'd better have spent to flying the plane

      [*]somethig like EZDOK where I needed to fiddle with the keyboard, what, like the mouse, consumed one of my hands as well

    [*]I was never satisfied with the handling of the plane in the VC:

    Because the knobs and displays sometimes are far apart from each other, I constantly had to make big panning movements within the VC. And as I said above, that was difficult because I needed to finely adjust the viewpoint and zoom with the tools available (mouse, head tracker, keyboard). During that time, which consumed much attention, I didn't look out of the plane's window, and my hands where somewhere else than on the systems where they should have been (throttle levers instead of keyboard/mouse).

All in all, e.g. during the final turn to the Tegucigalpa runway, I found myself spending more time to adjust my viewpoint in the VC than to actually handle the systems. Because of this, I often ended up in situations where I decided to switch back to 2D and recover from the mess.

 

I found 2D panels more suitable for my requirements until now. I have all important things in front of me there and don't need to pan around, especially when I use a 2nd display. If you ask me, my logical preference would be using 5 displays, covering ~180 degrees of view left to right. Instead of needing to pan within the VC, I'd use my real head to quickly glimpse to the left, and then back to the instruments on the center 2D display.

 

Because of my problems to transition to VC and the many postings where people say that 2D only flyers are already a minority, I wonder how all these people handle their planes. I don't want to fly in a VC where I can see almost all of the cockpit but have unreadable tiny instruments. It's possible to do that in FS because it's a simulated world and a crash wouldn't harm you at all, but that's not what I want. Like in the real world, a certain size of all knobs, buttons and instruments is required to make them usable.

 

So, anyone have some serious recommendations for me?

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Hello

I use TrackIR but I also have my EZdok views mapped to the hat switch on the yoke.

That way I can quickly and smmothly get around the VC and have a nice static view of the FMC and Overhead when I need them.

I use Goflight stuff for everything else so never need the mouse at all.

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My solution to very similar issues was TrackIR, big monitors and profiles dedicated to FSX/RoF (very sensitive Z+ axis and Y- axis). I do not touch mouse no more, but only due to GF-Airiner config. I have plethora of switches, control knobs and radio panels. And the MCE - Your virtual co-pilot can help a lot in demanding situations. The layout of Your sim-pit is also important. I am not looking at the switches, dials... I just know where they are, so I can focus my FOV (the real one, not the sim) in the cockpit.

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The pause button is your friend, then hit the space bar and use the mouse and scroll wheel to pan and zoom, then set the various views up in the VC with that (A key on the keyboard). Yes I know that takes you out of it a bit, but you are doing the work of two people, and so it aint cheating. Otherwise, try MCE or FS2Crew. Saying 'gear down' and 'flaps 20' is a lot easier than faffing about doing it yourself, especially when that is what you would do in real life. MCE will let you use verbal commands to pause and unpause the sim and open 2D panels incidentally, which is a feature that almost makes it worth the price alone.

 

Al

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EZDok really helps with this if you combine it with a gamepad. My Logitec G13 has keys mapped to EZDok camera views. I map the same views to the same keys for all aircraft. For example, my overhead panel view is always the top row, second key from the left. Its a lot easier to zoom to gauges this rather than trying to find key combinations or pan with the hat switch. In cases where panning is easier, my pilot view is also always in the same position on the G13 so I can snap right back to it after panning.

 

The other think that is nice about using EZDok for zooming in on panels, you can disable all camera effects. It makes it a lot easier to click a button in turbulent air.

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I only use an X-52 and find having a "reset view" botton assigned to the stick together with the hat switch for panning works just fine. I'm not sure what you'd be needing to use a mouse for adjusting during the landing phase; I have gear and flaps set using buttons on the throttle, so once the radios are set (usually easy enough to do in the VC using your mouse), the rest is pretty simple. I suppose the exception may be if your using auto-throttle (which I tend to disengage once the ILS is intercepted), though this is normally easy to see in the VC.

 

So in practice, hand on stick using thumb to pan inside and outside with a button to reset the forward view as needed and the other hand on the throttle controlling flap and gear buttons with regular use of the pan down to get the ASI/ADI/ALT into view during approach.

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I was hesitant to give up on 2d panels for a long time as well. However eventually I got a widescreen monitor and couldn't deal with the stretched 2d panels (except for those few planes with wide options).

 

A joystick or yoke with a hat is a big help. Plus, I map the trigger on my joystick to center my view, so I can always snap back to my main view easily.

 

Another big help is to map as many common functions as you can. I use FSUIPC to map things like the heading and course indicator to buttons on my joystick or throttle controller. I also have a disconnect autopilot button on the joystick as well.

 

I only fly GA aircraft anymore though, so I know more complex aircraft can be even tougher. I still miss my 2d panels from time to time but I adjusted.

 

I also just bought EZdok camera this weekend and that is great so far. There was a bit of a learning curve, but now having a bunch of cameras set up it helps a lot.

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My solution, I dont buy planes without a 2D cockpit, and there are plenty out there

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My solution, I dont buy planes without a 2D cockpit, and there are plenty out there

 

A pity because nowadays many 3d virtual cockpits HAVE pseudo 2d views which are static, zoomed and virtually the same as a conventional 2d panel. If the designer gives you quick and easy key shortcuts, which you can save as custom views anyway, you never need to touch a mouse if you don't want to. I think this tends to suit GA aircraft more than complex airliners because the latter have so many sub-panels which are away from the main panel. In this case I can see the sense in some 2d panels.

 

We have moved on a very long way from the jagged-edged, fixed 2d panels and for many aircraft, particularly GA aircraft, using 2d is pointless since 3d panels, designed properly, are sharper, more flexible, more realistic, the gauges work smoothly and they form part of the aircraft you would naturally see in the real thing. I've never found a 2d panel yet on a real aircraft ;)

 

Rob - RealAir

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My biggest problem with how VCs work in FSX is that you have to press "A" all the time to cycle the sub-views. I can't assign "Shift-5" or "Shift-6" etc to get the overhead or pedestal views like a 2D panel, instead I have to press "A - A - A - A - A - Shift-A" to cycle to the correct view. (BTW I'm not using any camera addons)

 

We have moved on a very long way from the jagged-edged, fixed 2d panels and for many aircraft, particularly GA aircraft, using 2d is pointless since 3d panels, designed properly, are sharper, more flexible, more realistic, the gauges work smoothly and they form part of the aircraft you would naturally see in the real thing. I've never found a 2d panel yet on a real aircraft ;)

 

I found the Garmin 430/530 knobs (or any other "knob on top of another knob") hard to manipulate in the VC because you're looking at them from an angle, and when you switch to the GPS/radio stack VC view another problem appears - the views tend to be zoomed in to the point where you can't see what the HSI or the rest of the instruments are doing.

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My biggest problem with how VCs work in FSX is that you have to press "A" all the time to cycle the sub-views

 

Hello

One word, EZdok

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My biggest problem with how VCs work in FSX is that you have to press "A" all the time to cycle the sub-views. I can't assign "Shift-5" or "Shift-6" etc to get the overhead or pedestal views like a 2D panel, instead I have to press "A - A - A - A - A - Shift-A" to cycle to the correct view. (BTW I'm not using any camera addons)

 

Actually you can assign views using Hotkeys. I do it for all my planes and it gives me the "2-D Experience" while allowing the benefits (zooming, panning) of a VC panel.

 

First, in FS Setup, assign the keys you wish to the View cameras (I use F10, F11, F12 since F9 is default VC):

 

hotkeys1.jpg

 

Then, open the aircraft.cfg file of the plane you want to set views for and add the line HotKeySelect=X (where X is the camera view #) to the bottom of the camera definition for each view:

 

hotkeys2.jpg

 

You can see that for the PMDG 737NGX I have hotkeys for the Captain's View (F10), Overhead (F11), and Center Pedestal (F12). F9 is the default VC. So, with the touch of a key I can bounce to a "VFR" view, to the overhead, to the radios and back. I also make note of the ideal zoom for each view and make that adjustment in the InitialZoom field.

 

You can also make a custom view which isn't defined from the manufacturer, but it is a little more complicated.

 

Since I have discovered this, I set up each new plane I get and I have never missed a 2D panel!

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There is also an option for editing aircraft.cfg and delete any views, which You do not need. But please make a copy of the original one in case You will change Your mind.

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