VR - sort of

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VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:01 pm

UPDATE - 11-April-2018 ... see below post #16 or so for my initial thoughts on the new Vive Pro I have hired for a week...

So, I've been mulling over VR. Many on other forums rave about it, but I was 'concerned' that VR wasn't providing sufficient clarity or resolution. I know the HTC Vive Pro is coming out soon with supposedly greater resolution, but I was curious now. Not ready to buy now/yet, but curious nonetheless. So how do you find out without dropping a ton of folding on the tech?

First, I found Graham Parker via a search; he has a TradeMe offering of hire of VR headsets. So I reached out. He was great, but rather than hire he put me onto "The VR Room" in Riccarton, Christchurch. The VR Room use Vive (but not Pro, yet, since it isn't released yet). And they don't have a flight sim in their 80-odd game inventory. Even so, I popped along there on Sunday to check them out and I figured a racing game (Project Cars) would be a good substitute for a flight sim since a) cars have dials, albeit 'big' ones and also, b) there is a 'view' out of the window.

So here's my thoughts;
1. It made me nauseous! Car moves; view moves; body doesn't!
2. Immersion was pretty good; it was great to be able to look around and move your head around to look at stuff; but there was some lag between head movement and view movement, which probable helped cause [1].
3. The resolution is exactly what I thought it would be; not good enough and grainy; great for arcade style games, not good enough in my opinion for serious sim work.
4. Field of view was poor / distance of view was poor / clarify and definition at distance was poor.
5. General colours / brightness / contrast / sharpness ... all poor

It *my* opinion, it is still not ready and likely won't be for a while. Even so, I have listed my intent with Graham to hire a Vive Pro when he gets one.
I also 'educated' The VR Room on flight sims and hope they might add AeroFly FS2 to their inventory, it being, I hope, easier to get going than something like P3D, not least since they do everything via Steam. When they get Vive Pro (they will) and if they get AFS2 up and running, I'll pop over to them and have another go.
Last edited by jpreou on Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
-- Jeff, Rolleston, NZ
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Dinga » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:05 pm

Thanks for posting your thoughts on the Vive.I have the Rift and have been using it mostly for DCS and alttle bit of Aerofly and P3d.I quiet like the Project Cars in VR feel as but like you say it can take a bit to get used to.I am lucky and have not felt sick in project cars.Shame they did not have a flt sim for you to try.You should if you can, hire one.If you have any helicopters in P3d I think they are really a good fit for VR.DCS choppers like the Huey are great in VR. Not many DCS users fly with the Vive, most prefer the Rift.Not exactly sure why that is and I can not judge as I only ever used the Rift.If you get the chance try the Rift and see what you think,your welcome to try mine out if your ever up this way.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:32 pm

I absolutely intend to hire the Vive Pro when it comes out. I agree that, nausea aside, VR for helis must be awesome as so much, especially hovering, is peripheral vision and feel. I haven't ruled out VR completely; just not quite yet, for me. I'll need to hire before purchase anyway, if only to see whether the nausea I had I still get in flight sim, and that I can get used to it over time. I'm excited by the possibility of VR, and not just for flight, so looking forward to the next year or two; an article I read last week said 2018 will see massive change and acceptance of VR, which will in itself drive major development efforts, improve on resolutions and positional detection, software development and drive down cost. We wait and see. Exciting times.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Radar88 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:39 pm

If you've been looking into VR Flight Simming it's commendable that you went out and tried a VR Headset first. Although using a racing game sim (Project Cars) is not really a good substitute for a flight sim. It would be like comparing apples with oranges. The Racing Car Sim is a totally different Simulator engine beast altogether.

I would recommend looking on Youtube to see how others are experiencing VR and taking up the VR flight simming world. Yes it's still early days for VR Flight simming and immersion experience is likely to be the number one draw card with a sense of actually being there and being able to have the feeling of being at altitude and being able to judge your height upon making a landing on a runway in a 3D immersive world.

Recommend watching these Youtube clips. If your considering VR flight simming.

In particular SweViver's Youtube channel. He's a enthusiastic VR Gamer and has a fairly excitable narrative for a novice Flight Simmer, He does excellent reviews of VR Games and gives good advice. He uses a green screen so you can see him seated in the bottom right corner while he is flying wearing his VR headsets while using the VR controllers.

If your wanting to try out and perhaps go down the much cheaper VR flight simming route. Then check out SweViver's clip on running X Plane on a Mobile VR Headset via the Samsung Gear VR Headset approx NZ $200 if you have a Android Samsung Galaxy S8 you download the payware software approx NZ $25 from Riftcat the VRidge will make your PC think that your phone is an expensive HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset. This cheaper method does have some limitations with head tracking degrees of movement.

BEST VR FLIGHT SIMULATOR 2017? | X-Plane 11 VR Gameplay (Native VR Support)

X-Plane 11 VR - Best Addons #1: San Francisco KSFO Scenery | Oculus Rift + Touch

X-PLANE 11 VR BEST PERFORMANCE BOOST TWEAKS & SMOOTH FPS TUTORIAL

RUN X-PLANE 11 ON MOBILE VR HEADSET | Play Steam VR games on Android Smartphone, Gear VR & Daydream

FLY WITH VR HANDS! | Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator Update: VR Controller Support

Jom Fly in VR - X-Plane 11 on Samsung Odyssey (Windows Mixed Reality)

VR in X-Plane 11 or any other Flight Simulator - How is it? Should I buy a headset?

Our First VR Flight Video (X-Plane Home Cockpit)

What do I think about X-Plane and VR?

Best VR Headset To Buy? Samsung Odyssey vs. HTC Vive vs. Oculus Rift vs. Sony PSVR

Should You Wait For The HTC Vive Pro? Vive Pro vs. Samsung Odyssey vs. Oculus Rift

Hope these Youtube clips assist, if your looking to get into the VR flight simming world in the future.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby toprob » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:55 pm

This is all very handy info, in my experience all technology needs a bit of time to develop to the level where 'the rest of us' can partake, and I suspect that VR has some ways to go.
Although my one and only experience with VR seemed amazing -- but I think I was lucky. The sim I tried (using Prepar3d) was a Martin Jetpack motion simulator, so I didn't have any trouble with nausea -- there was enough real movement to make it very realistic. And the layout of the hands was certainly aided by the 'aircraft' simulated -- with the jetpack, you really need to keep your hands on the controls, and you can 'see' modeled hands in the goggles. I suspect it would be a bit different if you had to find the controls somehow. This was the Rift, and I don't recall noticing any real problem with resolution. Then again I've played video games for going on 35 years, so I'm not afraid of a few pixels:)
My whole reason for being revolves around the concept of seeing something 'real' in the sim, so VR would be a huge step forward for me, once it goes mainstream.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:24 pm

@radar88
I was not implying in any way that others may not have a better experience with VR. I know many do (based on forums). But it is not for me.
I absolutely agree that a racing game wasn't the best test in lieu of flight sim, but the VR didn't have a flight sim and I figured that seeing the gauges was a reasonable test for resulotion ... and that really is all the test was about; I wasn't trying to gauge feel or immersion. But since I was unable to clearly read the gauges in the car, so the experience in your average aircraft with much more detailed gauges would certainly be no better.
Thanks for the links. I will look at them tomorrow. I did, however, check out a number of YouTube videos this last few months but you just cannot get an accurate feel from a 2D video of a VR experience.
For now, I am satisfied that for me VR is not ready. It may turn out that I am not ready for VR, given the nausea. Odd, given the various activities I have been involved with over my lifetime so far!
I plan to re-test when the Vive Pro comes out, and I will do so by hiring one and testing against my own sim. I look forward to that.
-- Jeff, Rolleston, NZ
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby iwik » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:56 am

Hi Guys,
Very interesting as i feel VR has a real purpose in flightsim. However i am with Jeff on this one. In real life resolution is number one
for me. That is why i am holding back. Points raised here are very valid and it boils down to what you put as your priority.
Thats what was disappointing when the kickstarter i participated in (Castar) fell thru, this enabled people to look thru and see the real world
and then by looking at a special screen(your windscreen) would see VR. Ideal for cockpit builders, but alas money run out.
I am sure it wont be long till Res will be improved.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:19 pm

Despite my findings, I am excited at what VR can ...no, WILL, bring to our chosen hobby. ...and I don't think it will be too far away either. But I rather suspect that for me, given I already have a Saitek-powered simpit, that it will be at my next full PC upgrade that I will likely determine whether it is hardware-based or virtual-based. I'm keeping a close eye on it. In a way, I hope the Vive Pro doesn't meet my expectations either, because I don't know where I would find the money if it does! :)
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Dinga » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:53 pm

Well I am happy with my Rift setup .I do not have many problems reading instruments in the cockpit,sure some of the smaller gauges you have to lean a bit closer ,the main gauges are all pretty clear for me.I flew the Aerofly 747 last night just to see how clear it was and I was impressed.One thing you need to do is get set up properly just like any new input device.I also downloaded a Corsair for P3d and was quiet happy with the clarity of the cockpit instruments.In DCS and Aerofly you can use supersampling to improve the image.I have a pixel density of 1.8 and am quiet happy with the image.You can also adjust PD in Aerofly.Having said that I can understand why some of you may be waiting for better tech,which is always just around the corner.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:31 pm

Dinga wrote: ... I do not have many problems reading instruments in the cockpit,sure some of the smaller gauges you have to lean a bit closer ,the main gauges are all pretty clear for me ...


Good to know.
As you said, better tech is just around the corner ... but it always is! I'm withholding further judgement on VR until I can hire one and test it on my specific rig.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:44 am

So. I'm down for a week hire of Vive Pro @ $130, expected a few days after April 05. I'll report back here after that experience. I have no idea how to take video, so cannot provide that, but I will document my thoughts and findings like I did at the start of this thread.
Cheers
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Radar88 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:51 pm

Froogle has just done his Youtube first impressions of the HTC Vive Pro from a simmer's point of view.

Froogle asks the question is the bump in resolution good enough to fly completely in VR?

Watch his informative clip to decide for yourself, if the flight simulation holy grail is for you.

VIVE PRO - SIMULATION HOLY GRAIL

Now if you're really keen the headset is now available in Froogle's words at the "ridiculously insane price tag price" $1,379 NZD - VIVE Pro HMD only*

Vive Pro New Zealand

I would highly recommend watching Froogle's Youtube clip, to see which one of his recommendations would best suit your individual requirements for being in his words "if you're a hard core flight simulation nut".
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Adamski » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:17 pm

Wow - I think you could probably get a REAL AIRCRAFT for around that price :lol:
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Dinga » Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:57 pm

Radar88 wrote:Froogle has just done his Youtube first impressions of the HTC Vive Pro from a simmer's point of view.

Froogle asks the question is the bump in resolution good enough to fly completely in VR?

Watch his informative clip to decide for yourself, if the flight simulation holy grail is for you.

VIVE PRO - SIMULATION HOLY GRAIL

Now if you're really keen the headset is now available in Froogle's words at the "ridiculously insane price tag price" $1,379 NZD - VIVE Pro HMD only*

Vive Pro New Zealand

I would highly recommend watching Froogle's Youtube clip, to see which one of his recommendations would best suit your individual requirements for being in his words "if you're a hard core flight simulation nut".


Saw Froogles report ,but he only showed DCS .Lets see what Jeff has to say.Looking forward to his report :jerry:
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:14 pm

Been a delay, so haven't got my hands on it yet.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:16 am

So. I don't really want to comment much too soon since I have used the Vive Pro with P3Dv4.1 at Milford Sound (ORBX) for all of about 30 minutes last night. Before that I had a short crack at Elite Dangerous (about 15 mins) since you setup the Vive Pro initially with SteamVR.
So my *initial* thoughts;

- Elite Dangerous in Vive Pro VR is visually fantastic with depth of field and immersion up the wazoo - the major issue is that there is a heavy focus on keyboard which you cannot see of course. Also I have main thrust on my Saitek TPM and when in VR that doesn't want to work. I also cannot work out how to use those Vive Controllers properly when in ED. I'll do some more work on this over the coming week, but this was only a 'get-it-going' look.

- P3Dv4 again very impressive. Graphics quality, of course, no change to my screen in terms of what is presented / loaded by ORBX but certainly the resolution is lower. The [analog] dials in the Baytower RV7 are readable when seated PIC; not real clear and if you need to actually read a number you may need to lean forward a bit and centralise. Which brings me to a main point which I believe affects most VRs; the focus is sharp in the centre looking direct forward [with your eyes], but looking to the edges the focus drops *rapidly*; you cannot read anything far off-centre with your eyes only, you need to move your head to bring the object into focus. This doesn't really affect overall 'look-and-feel' as such, but in an aircraft where you want to scan the panel quickly it is a roaming head movement rather than an eye glance. As with ED, at times of large head movements (tights turns, low flying, etc) I felt nauseous as my brain said one thing and my eyes said another and my balance systems yet another. In 'normal' flight modes (i.e. not pssng around!) this is not an issue; well, maybe a little on landing at Milford as you turn to avoid the mountains; and WOW; those mountains in VR - you can fly up real close and skim the wingtip through the bushes! (CAA might take a dim view of that)

Overall - I like it. I hope to 'conquer' the nausea thing with familiarity and exposure. The headset is light and comfortable but a problem I found is being 'forced' to lean forward due to the bulk at the rear of the headset (about 1.5") impacting the high back chair in my cockpit. The focus out to the edges is a big problem. The resolution is certainly better, but I feel still not quite there for the price being asked. The Vive Pro does not come right now with base stations (you need two) or controllers (you need two) so add those to your purchase and you're up for over $2k NZ. Big ask.
My other specific problem, not related to flight sim or ED, or VR as such, is the lack of physical space. My office is small and my daughter was playing some Star Wars Droid Repair demo; she could not reach a spare part for the droid she was repairing because the office wall was in the way! So the droid didn't get repaired and got 'upset'. I can see this lack of space issue being a problem for some games that require significant movement. I couldn't, for example, play SuperHot VR in my office; not enough space to wave my arms around.

For flight sims - another big problem for flight sims and other complex games is the reliance on hardware you can't see, even if this is only KB and mouse. I have a very basic joystick and the Saitek TPM; I'd have to re-map as much as possible to those so I could be 'hands-on' and even then I can only cover the basics. Or you buy a good HOTAS with a heap of easily accessible buttons at your fingertips; increase your investment another few hundred $$ to get into VR and still not be able to do complex in-cockpit tasks. Now, I do understand that there is something called "FlyInside" or something like that which I will look at today (not necessarily buy, since I am hiring the VR). But, if I need to take my hands off the controls to pick up a Vive Controller to manipulate a virtual hand in the aircraft; well, that doesn't sound like a 'clean' immersion experience to me. The 'central focus' / head movement thing also reduces the immersion slightly in flight sim due to the nature of having to read instruments across and around a cockpit; this actually might be less of an issue in a tube since you will be (I assume) naturally looking up and around and directly at most instruments and switches anyway.
The immersion is great though and for the most part the resolution / graphics are certainly 'good enough'; I don't think the "I need to operate some control I can't see with the headset on" thing is going to go away for flight simmers and that's a significant problem; it means your VR flights are likely to be simple hop-in-and-go type flights, at least as far as I can see at the moment with my limited time hands on. Maybe FlyInside solves that, to a degree?

So that is my thoughts after the first evening.

Any specific questions; fire them my way. I only have this thing until Monday next and I only get about 1.5 - 2 hrs per night maximum and some time Sunday maybe, so test time is limited.

I hope to follow up this post with more thoughts at the end of the week once I have had more time to work things out.
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Charl » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:33 pm

Thanks for your insights, Jeff.
Did I not read that the Pro does eye tracking?
I would live with the center of vision being hi-res (as indeed your eyes are) but not with having to swivel your head to get the focus.
If the latter is the case I will wait for a hi-res Vive 2 or Rift Nextgen.
Dang I may have to buy a better computer for that, again. :blink:
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby jpreou » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:00 am

So Day 2 and it took nearly an hour to actually get flying, then I got nauseous again in 30 mins!
First the headset wouldn't detect; I had to move it to a different USB port and restart the computer. Then my Saitek trim wheel decided not to load drivers (annoying since it trim was on full pitch up!). Another reboot (luckily the headset stayed 'on'). Then the Saitek switch panel decided not to load drivers ... and I gave up on Saitek hardware.
I fired up P3D. I always start cold and dark and this time elected for Queenstown (ORBX).
Now I've already mentioned the problem of 'other' controls within VR, so I used the 2D virtual cockpit view and the mouse to get the RV7 all started up (no Saitek remember) and then I dropped the goggle ... this is where VR finally started...

So further thoughts;
The 'bad'
1. Yep, I definitely have nausea and this is worse during ground handling / taxy. The view moves but the body doesn't. Eyes say this, balance says that, brain goes fart.

2. The resolution is good but no where near the clarity of a 'normal' display. Distance is shorter and fuzzier, but workable in a general fashion; you don't see any detail at any 'sensible distance.

3. The gauges in the aircraft 'shimmer'. All the time. At least, the white on black text does.

4. Tonight I had glitches where the view would go dark, then come back and you can see the virtual VR sensors briefly in view if you are looking in the direction of one of them (and since one is front top right I often was). This was very brief, less than a second, but frequent and disconcerting and added to the nausea feeling.

5. I decided I can't really read the text on the gauges. I am familiar with the gauges and the aircraft so under most flight conditions I know what the gauges *should* be displaying and my brain fills in the information - but I'm not really 'reading' the gauges because the text is too fuzzy. They are clear enough to extrapolate and that is what I am doing. To actually *read* the airspeed for example; the ctual number; I had to lean forward to within 5" or so. Now, whether that is resolution or my eyes, who knows? But that is what it is.

The 'good' ... and it IS good, make no mistake...
1. Flying around and close to the mountains at NZQN in the RV7, close, real close is phenomenal. A real sense of scale, of size, of majesty. Scooting just around that ridge and diving down into the value on the other side. Approaching that wall and pulling up last instant into some sort of stall turn or hammerhead. Diving along narrow valleys, under bridges, buzzing watercraft ... oh WOW ... if the nausea wasn't there this would be so awesome.

2. Helicopter. I popped back to the airfield in the RV7 at about 5500ft and lifted the headset and swapped to the R22 and then popped the headset back on. I nearly crapped meself! The sense of altitude was huge; a real vertigo feeling that I have never had in a sim before and I know for certain I wouldn't get in 2D. I dropped the power and collective and dived toward the field - what a sense of vertical speed; exhilarating and scary at the same time. But hovering; WOW, hovering. You hover a heli using peripheral vision & perception and 'seat of the pants' feel. Well obviously there is no feel, but the peripheral and perception is there in spades; I never hovered so good or so close and I bet the air traffic controller in the tower was having a hernia; shame I didn't have an AH64 for this! :-)

3. I can only imagine that flying a tube in VR would be kind of boring as you don't really get all that immersion apart from being inside a somewhat limited space. A military jet though; phew!

4. Finally, in VR doing things you would never do for real and rarely in a sim. Standing up in the cockpit cruising at around 3000ft ('through' the glass) and looking back at the tail gave a real sense of fear briefly as it seemed so real. I had to sit back down. I didn't do it because of the seat and size of my office, but imagine a wing walk; you sure as heck wouldn't feel comfortable 'stepping off' that wing! Guess what I'm going to do tonight? :-)


Summary;
VR has great immersion and is a lot of fun. A *lot* of fun!
I personally don't think it can be used seriously for 'complex' flying and aircraft (FlyInside and LeapTouch might change that, but I won't know).
Resolution is not there yet. Can't read gauges. Focus is central only and quite bad off centre even by a little bit.
Last night I noticed the 'rings' where the lenses are shaped (physically, the glass) - drops the reality a little.
I can't get over the nausea, and frankly not sure I ever will.
Its a heck of a lot of money; I'd be up for over 2½ grand for the VR, the addons, FlyInside / Leappad or whatever it is called (hand tracking in the VC). That's a whole heap of dough for something 'fun' and still without desired resolution. Half that and I'd be a little tempted.

So that was last night :-)
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Dinga » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:32 pm

Thanks for your updates Jeff.
The vive pro is expensive and even the the vive was when it first came out. You may be able to overcome that sick feeling with time as I have read other people have.The control issue is deffinately an issue for serious flt simmers. The only way to overcome this at present as you mentioned, is to map all your commands to your controllers. There is a programme called voice attack , it works quiet well once you get the hang of it .You simply activate all commands you would normally use the key board for with your voice. It would be good to have a proper sim seat as leaning forward all the time to use mouse keyboard and throttles takes away the emersion.As you say there is still a long way to go in terms of resolution.I am going to wait for the next generation of graphics card, also the occulus cv2.I am still happy using my cv1, especially in the huey and the harrier in dcs.Have you tried using the mouse in the vr cockpit in p3d4?It works , takes a bit of getting used to though.

cheers
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Re: VR - sort of

Postby Charl » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:05 pm

Yep, helos have need of VR for the reasons you state.
Joyful news is that Aerofly has an R22 in the works.
I will have to get a "Back Next Year" notice printed when that one arrives.
EDIT: And the news is ... wait for a better VR headset, so maybe it will all come together then.
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