mattyshigh

Seriously considering going VR?

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I have my finger hovering on "complete purchase" for a HTC Vive. It has just become available in the country in which I live (South Africa) and it costs R12500 which is around 885 USD. Does anyone have one? Is it worth it at this stage?

I have the rig to run it (i9x, 1080ti, 32G 3400mhz), so I already have this investment.

I am just very curious to see P3D in VR, is it really as immersive as everyone describes? I am very interested in your experiences.

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I'm not using VR but I did test it. I ended up returning my Rift actually. You feel as if you're sitting in that cockpit which is simply breathtaking, especially when taking off and leaving earth behind.

The reason I stopped using VR, though, is the resolution which is, in my opinion, terrible. I couldn't make out numbers on instruments unless I leaned forward quite a bit. And, worse, at that point on approach where you would normally see the runway you won't see it in VR because of the low resolution. You can literally see every pixel in front you which killed the immersion for me.

Just my two cents from my own experience. I'm gonna pass on VR until it's available in full HD (provided there will be systems that can handle it).

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16 minutes ago, threegreen said:

I'm not using VR but I did test it. I ended up returning my Rift actually. You feel as if you're sitting in that cockpit which is simply breathtaking, especially when taking off and leaving earth behind.

The reason I stopped using VR, though, is the resolution which is, in my opinion, terrible. I couldn't make out numbers on instruments unless I leaned forward quite a bit. And, worse, at that point on approach where you would normally see the runway you won't see it in VR because of the low resolution. You can literally see every pixel in front you which killed the immersion for me.

Just my two cents from my own experience. I'm gonna pass on VR until it's available in full HD (provided there will be systems that can handle it).

Exactly why I returned my Rift. 

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I have an Oculus Rift, and I must say a flight I made with P3D 4.1 and the PMDG 747, was one of the most fun flight sim experiences I ever had in years.

As a developer, I rarely have the luxury to find the time enjoy the sim like an user and, reminding of some past experience with a FFS (Full Flight Sim), I was always frustrated by how limited a video screen is compared to the real thing. Building an real Home Cockpit might be considered a separate hobby too, but I wouldn't know how to find the time/space/money to do it.

VR changes all of this, up to a point that it might be considered a real alternative to building an Home Cockpit. It's not there yet, but it's getting close, and there's no comparison when factoring the price/effort ratio. Plus, if you build an Home Cockpit, you will be mostly stuck with a single airplane type, while with VR you can use every airplane out there that has a VC, even across different simulators.

However, as all things, you must know what to expect and how to overcome some issues:

1) You REALLY need to buy FlyInside. It's basically mandatory, because the default VR implementation is very sparse, but FlyInside changes it entirely, up to a point that you really cannot do VR without it. The 64 bit version has been just released, and it's very reasonably priced so, don't be without it.

2) Take some time to configure your settings, especially graphics, because there are some crucial settings that affect clarity of the instruments/resolution. Again, FlyInside is really required to controls these settings more easily.

3) The Leap Motion controller will improve the experience quite a bit. You attach it in front of the VR headset, and it will detect the position of your hands in the air, letting you operate the VC entirely, without using the Hand Controllers. Without it, you'll have to continue  juggle between keeping your hand on the joystick or picking up the hand controllers.

With the right settings (resolution, antialiasing, etc.), I haven't found the resolution to be an impediment to use the sim fully, even with a complex airliner with a glass cockpit like the PMDG 747.

And, you shouldn't feel "diminished" if you have to turn down the graphic settings a bit, in order to keep the fps up. The immersion and the stereo view fully compensate having to tone down things like autogen or scenery complexity. Note that, I'm still running on a vanilla nVidia GTX 980, which is the bare minimum to support VR, so I guess a better card like a 1080, should be much better.

Note that, I bought the Rift for US$399 including the Touch Controllers on amazon.com, the day they lowered the price. I'm not sure if my comments would have been the same if I had to pay double of that, probably not. Never fully understood with the HTC Vive is still today 200$ more than the Rift, the main difference with the Vive, it's a better room tracking, which is basically useless for Flight simulation, since you are always sitting.

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Flyinside with Oculus Rift but also P3Dv4.1 has made VR very functional and easy to use with its native implementation. Flyinside allows you to bring in windows, charts etc. into the cockpit which makes it way more functional.

 

AeroFly2 though has the absolute best implementation of its native VR. Clear, and the cockpit is very accessible in terms of flipping switches etc.

Right now I use P3Dv4.1 VR for the walk-around and some start up procedures and then when flying.

Don't let the naysayers regarding resolution effect you. It is particularly good in GA flying and fun.

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I’ll second on the resolution problem. I did the same with the rift + flyinside last year in P3D, and fortunately I was able to returned it after 2 weeks. The immersion is real but the low resolution kills it, especially if you fly seriously and need to monitor your instruments. Also even in VFR you can’t make details in the distance so I’d advise you to keep your money for something else maybe. Just my opinion of course. 

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I use the rift as well currently only with the pmdg 737 (not a ga guy) and I wouldn't fly without anymore. Yes not everything in the cockpit is easy to read but I already know the cockpit well enough that I know the knobs I need. But the feel of being in the cockpit is worth it. 

Also with barley seeing the runway is not true. 

Tipp on the side. Always use a company route, the window in window function from flyinside does not work as nice as expected and it is just too much work within vr filling up the fmc with data.  

 

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You really have to try it to see if it is for you. Last year I tried the Rift and did not like the resolution. This year I tried it again and got used to the lower resolution so I use VR most of the time. If you can buy it at a place where you can return it if you don't like it, then go for it. And the comment about not being able to see the runway at the point in the approach where you should is not true. 

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As Mike infers, it takes a while for your brain to adjust to the resolution, and also to get past the motion sickness. 

You need to be clever with your sliders, and also need to learn what supersampling is.

its possible that some can't adjust, but I think that it's more common for simmers to throw in the towel too early. 

Buy a rift rather than a vive for Flightsim.

i disagree with one thing virtuali said - FlyInside is certainly no mandatory. Native VR in 4.1 is good - I own flyinside, but I don't really use it, I prefer 4.1 native.

i now use vr in all of my flights. Couldn't go back to 2d!

 

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I love this topic. A very good discussion, and I think both the weaker and stronger points of VR are getting through.

Just a question: I have p3d v3 with flyinside and htc vive. I am forced to use opus FSI for cameras because chaseplane isnt compatible with flyinside. How does chaseplane work with p3d v4 with native vr?

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Well, some famous person once said 'For once you have tasted Virtual Reality flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return'.
Well, I am not sure weather was it Leonardo Da Vinci or Abraham Lincoln, but one is sure - since I have my Oculus Rift I have never made single flight without it.

Buy it.

 

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It's a mixed bag. I have used the Rift for over half a year with Aerofly FS 2 and sort of loved it. I stopped using P3D completely and only flew with the Rift. But the low resolution kept bugging me. And also the fact that I felt locked in the sim and couldn't do anything else while flying (because Aerofly doesn't have an option to call up windows in the sim). So I stopped using Aerofly and VR. The main reason I stopped using Aerofly however was the lack of simming options. I did however not really miss VR.

Last weekend I reinstalled the Rift and tried default P3D VR: performance was very bad compared to the super smooth Aerofly so I decided to install Aerofly again and did a VR flight. And well, it's nice to have the option but the low resolution is a real pity. It kills the immersion for me. I understand what's being said about not seeing the runway during approach: you DO see it but everything is pixelated. I think some poeple are bothered with this and some aren't. To me things don't look real because of this. I am constantly aware of the fact I am inside a virtual world. The immersion is great but not complete.

I remember that the first time I used the Rift I was expecting to be completely scared of the approach like I certainly would be in real life, the idea alone gives me shivers, but I wasn't. Not at all. I was clearly flying a simulated plane in a pixelated world and I never got rid of that feeling. Yes, it can be very immersive but don't expect a real life experience. I never got that. It can come close for some brief moments but not during the entire flight.

Another thing I noticed during my half year with Aerofly is that, obviously, you get used to it. Okay, the feeling of being there is quite nice but the idea of seeing everything in 3D you get used to. Just as you got used to it in real life. :wink: During my first flights I was in total awe of all the 3D knobs and switches but honestly, after some time I sometimes wondered if those knobs and switches were actually 3D. 

So for now I use VR with Aerofly whenever I feel like it, mainly for short (and usually incomplete) flights to get my VR kicks. But for serious simming I use P3D on my 2D monitor. 

In short: YMMV and you have to try it yourself (for a while) to see if it is something for you or not. 

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I’m nearsighted, so I wear glasses for distance in the real world. I have to use my glasses when I fly in VR. I never fly without VR. If you can’t read something lean in. Just like the real world. After awhile you learn where everything is at. It’s especially good in dcs world. Fly inside is a must. I haven’t flown without VR in years. I started with dk1 and now use the cv1. It brought me back into flying without blowing things up. Since I have spent thousands on aircraft airports scenery. Totally rekindled my love for airplanes and flying.

buy it. But it takes a little time, but worth it. And it will only get better as developers realize how important it is.

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2 weeks with the Oculus Rift, I'm very disappointed about the low resolution, it is almost impossible to fly in a normal VFR. Also you are "isolated" in a dark world without knowing what's happening for real around you. Also while in VR I can't smoke my pipe. I cannot think to fly in VR for more than 1 hour, at this moment only VFR flights, no PMDG 737 yet. Generally P3d4.1 works good in VR, but sometimes it stutters heavily, or other glitches and flashes, then I deactivate and reactivate the VR and it seems to work better.

Anyway I found that IL2 Battle of Stalingrad and DCS, that have a very good implementation of the VR, are really stunning and absolutely smooth, and you are stunned by checking your fire through the "real" tracers (and you can forget temporay that ridicolous low resolution problem). Also a normal combat session lasts normally in about half an hour, so you are not closed in the darkroom for a long time. The low resolution is the main problem of the VR headset, but you have to consider the lens aberrations (purple and blu fringing), the lens flares, also my Oculs view is tilting on the left. 

Anyway the VR is a new beautiful toy that makes you shortsighted when in a flight sim world.

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12 minutes ago, rampa said:

2 weeks with the Oculus Rift, I'm very disappointed about the low resolution, it is almost impossible to fly in a normal VFR. Also you are "isolated" in a dark world without knowing what's happening for real around you. Also while in VR I can't smoke my pipe. I cannot think to fly in VR for more than 1 hour, at this moment only VFR flights, no PMDG 737 yet. Generally P3d4.1 works good in VR, but sometimes it stutters heavily, or other glitches and flashes, then I deactivate and reactivate the VR and it seems to work better.

Anyway I found that IL2 Battle of Stalingrad and DCS, that have a very good implementation of the VR, are really stunning and absolutely smooth, and you are stunned by checking your fire through the "real" tracers (and you can forget temporay that ridicolous low resolution problem). Also a normal combat session lasts normally in about half an hour, so you are not closed in the darkroom for a long time. The low resolution is the main problem of the VR headset, but you have to consider the lens aberrations (purple and blu fringing), the lens flares, also my Oculs view is tilting on the left. 

Anyway the VR is a new beautiful toy that makes you shortsighted when in a flight sim world.

I would assume that this is feeling when you are flying in the real world, where pilots rely mostly on their instruments, radios and visual contact in order to fly?

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I understand what people are saying about the low resolution. You see pixels, and if you just stop and stare at the lenses infront of your eyes, you see the circles of the fresnel lenses too. However, I dont fly without my trusted HTC Vive anymore. I've had VR for a year and a half now, and I dont want to go back to monitors. Of course I'm really looking forward to the day with great resolution and totally stutter free experience, but untill then there is nothing short of a real airplane or a home built cockpit that will do the same thing as VR does for me now. With that said, I dont really get stutters very often and my sim runs pretty smooth even in bad weather and some complex scenery. I fly pmdg stuff almost exclusively.

And having a good camera addon that is compatible with VR is a must for me. I'm actually a little bit surprised how little discussion there is about this little but very important part of getting around in VR. I dont fly vr in xplane because I cant get the view slots to work and I'm stuck with the pilot position. In p3d I use Opus FSI for cameras and I have a separate camera angle for PF, FMC, radiopanel and overhead + outside views. Just by the click of one of the 11 programmable buttons on my Razer Naga gaming mouse I get transported to the perfect position in the sim for any given task I'm about to do. I dont have to "lean in" to see anything - I just click a button and my face is positioned in the sim just where I need to be. As I said, I dont hear people talk alot about this aspect, and I find it surprising because it's such a fundamental aspect of my VR simming.

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Thank you so much for your replies so far. It seems that Virtual Reality evokes mixed responses among everyone that has tried it! The resolution does seem slightly concerning but overall I think the immersion factor will more then make up for this. However, it is a large amount of cash to blow on yet another toy. I have long had dreams of building a full scale cockpit sim but as pointed out, virtual reality may just make this idea redundant. I really do think this is the future.

I think I will go ahead and order the HTC Vive, the kid inside has finally got the better of me.

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25 minutes ago, mattyshigh said:

I think I will go ahead and order the HTC Vive, the kid inside has finally got the better of me.

This kid wont be disappointed ;)

However, if its not too late, a small warning though: Even though both Headsets (Rift and Vive) are absolutely great and have their own pro's and con's, the Rift is generally being considered the better option for cockpit/seating VR experiences. For a cockpit experience you would only need the base rift (1 sensor included) without the touch controller package with a second controller. The rift base package should be significantly cheaper after the permanent price drop as the VIVE comes with a full room scale setup out of the box. Also one of the stronger points of the Vive is room scale gaming due to the marginally better lighthouse system compared to the infrared cams of the Rift. However, that doesnt really add much for pure cockpit gaming. 

Another thing to add is the fact that Oculus' ASW (Asynchronus space warp) is working better and more reliable than the Steam Async Reprojection. As this technology helps to improve smoothness it could be quite a factor when using P3D in VR

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17 minutes ago, Andreas Stangenes said:

As I said, I dont hear people talk alot about this aspect, and I find it surprising because it's such a fundamental aspect of my VR simming.

I think that's because a lot of people may find this immersion killing. I would. I already have problems getting the idea I am actually there and constantly switching between different preset views wouldn't help...! 

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48 minutes ago, mattyshigh said:

I think I will go ahead and order the HTC Vive, the kid inside has finally got the better of me.

If you haven't actually tried one of the VR options, I'd seriously advise you to do so before splashing the cash. I tried both the Vive and the Rift. There's no doubt that the initial wow-factor is impressive but after a while you really start to notice the low res which, unlike some who've commented here, I just wasn't prepared to compromise with. Real pilots just don't need to regularly lean in to the instrument panel to be able to check the instruments! Also, don't underestimate the motion sickness effect that many people get when using VR. I found that after using the headsets for about 15-20 minutes I had to stop as I felt quite queasy, disorientated and had a slight headache, particularly if I'd been manoeuvring a lot (DCS was the worst for this). I've read online that you get used to it but that's not my idea of how I want to enjoy my leisure time.

The final thing to consider is that no matter how many functions you assign to your controllers, there will still be things you need to do with the keyboard which can cause problems. Also, you can't use a second monitor or tablet for your plates or as a moving map. VR's day will inevitably come but, at least in my opinion, it's not here yet for a number of reasons (particularly considering the present cost).

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A company called Pimax are, developing an 8k VR set (*2 4k optics). I haven't got a link right now but there is an article on the VR thread and it's Google able.

Its also supposed to have a wide field of view. Could be one to watch.

I would think that the other manufactures will follow suit if 4k becomes the norm.

Its definition and field of view that would tempt me over. As for now, a 4k 42" screen is the choice.

Regards

David.

 

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2 hours ago, Andreas Stangenes said:

I use Opus FSI for cameras and I have a separate camera angle for PF, FMC, radiopanel and overhead + outside views.

Just by the click of one of the 11 programmable buttons on my Razer Naga gaming mouse I get transported to the perfect position in the sim for any given task I'm about to do.

I dont have to "lean in" to see anything - I just click a button and my face is positioned in the sim just where I need to be. As I said, I dont hear people talk alot about this aspect, and I find it surprising because it's such a fundamental aspect of my VR simming.

This is a great idea!

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Despite the fact that the hardware is just not ready (low resolution etc.), it would be good to know what the long-term effects are in terms of eye sight, myopia etc. Even sitting in front of a monitor for hours is not beneficial for seeing, but VR glasses are directly placed in front of your eyes...

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I'm nearsighted, and bought these:

https://vr-lens.eu/

Highly recommended, and since you will be required to fill all the standard data from your prescription lenses, they will be perfectly fit for you. And they are add-on clips so, if you must share the headset with someone else, you can just remove them

Before, having to fit my normal glasses inside the Rift was very annoying, but with these lenses, you can get the exact correction you need, so you can use VR glass-free.

It's important to note that, if you are even a *bit* nearsighted, VR WILL be out of focus so, either you wear glasses, or you add the corrective lenses. 

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Out of curiosity: I tried P3D default VR and performance was bad. Aerofly is GREAT in VR. Anyone here who can tell me where Flyinside sits between those two? More near P3D performance or near AFS2 performance? I'd like to give Flyinside a try because P3D obviously is the far better sim...

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