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On 10/6/2019 at 6:51 AM, ark said:

My sense is the less dependent one is on external hardware, the better the VR experience would be. Perhaps it has been done, but it would be interesting to have a study level a/c developed from the 'ground up' with VR operation as a design goal.

1. External hardware. Complex area, just my opinion but I've got at least 40 hours of VR IFR flight time this week, mostly in PMDG jets. Human interface with the sim is best for a civilian jet with a) a force feedback stick/yoke and b) - more controversially - a throttle with lots of buttons (ie Warthog).

Firstly, trying to fly with a hand controller as yoke (as you can do in X-plane and AF2) is a cool novelty, but not as realistic as a physical device. I choose to fly with a sidestick, as it keeps the area in front of me clear for hand controls.

Then there's the throttle issue. Now, I'm pretty sure that the real NG doesn't have a Warthog-style yoke - but it makes a great VR input device. The feel of the throttle is better than the virtual version, though that IS very usable in X-plane and AF2 (P3D of course doesn;t support hand controllers). In fact, I've got more VR time in X-plane with a virtual throttle, but as I've been concentrating on IFR tubelinering this week, I've found the HOTAS throttle great. If you can keep your hands on the input devices 90% of the time, it's very immersive. I use voice attack for most of the rest, and given that this is PMDG week I occasionally have to reach blindly for the mouse. 

For AF2 and X-plane, I keep the right hand controller on a lanyard around my neck, as use it as needed to interact directly with controls. For GA flying, I might ditch the hardware throttle, but I still always keep the force feedback sidestick. 

Also, for hardware - you can't replicate pedals realistically with current virtual tech. Yes you can fly with a twisting joystick, which i'm - ugg - doing at the moment due to a tibia that's in more than one piece (gravity won this round, but can I just say I sent the blue route beautifully) 🙂

TL;DR Sidestick and hardware throttle, plus voice commands, is my current preference. Sidestick and virtual throttle is pretty good, and is actually still my favourite way to fly GA VR. .

Btw, I've got a CP flight EFIS/MCP etc. I've tried them in VR, any hardware controls past the stick, rudder pedals and throttle don't add to the experience.

2. There's plenty of aircraft that are well designed for VR use. PMDG is not this! (see: giant white square blocking 70% of your screen in VR mode in the NGX). But there's already an elegant sufficiency of aircraft - like the legendary Zibo - that are fully VR compatible. Still doesn't make interacting with a virtual yoke/sidestick feel anything like the real thing. Whereas interacting with a virtual knob on the MCP, or switch on the overhead, is actually a decent experience.



Edited by OzWhitey


Sim rig: i9900K @ 5GHz, 1080 Ti. Flying X-plane, P3D v4.5 and Aerofly FS2 in VR.

It's better to be on the ground wishing you were the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground. 

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For me the ideal solution is to use VR in a mixed reality mode using passthrough as shown here: https://varjo.com/products/xr-1/ (scroll down a bit to the flight sim video).

This is perfect and the ideal solution imo as I can still interact in the normal way with all my cockpit hardware (MCP, EFIS, MIP, yoke, throttles etc.) yet benefit from the immersion of VR without all the hassle/expense/space for projectors and screens

Darren Morris

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