373: My First Impression of Flying VR

Virtual Reality (VR) is no doubt the hottest topic among game developers and players these days.   Last Sunday, I spent a few hours playing FSX-SE with FlyInside on my son’s HTC Vive setup using the “long-deserted” Eclipse Yoke digged up from my storage.
Tom_on_VR1Wow…was my immediate response after entering my first fight over the Friday Harbor in FSX-SE, while I was physically sitting in my son’s living room with the huge VR goggle putting on my face.

With the Vive, I did feel like sitting on an aircraft, from which I can pan around the flight instruments inside the cockpit or the scenery outside the aircraft from all angles.  Space and time seemed changing around me.

Unfortunately, there’s also an “Oh”, a big one, associated with this first-time experience.

The scenery outside the aircraft was blurred.  I know there are ways to improve the clarity a little bit.  But under HTC Vive’s (and same to Oculus Rift’s) current 2160 x 1200 resolution, there’s nothing much we could do actually.

I must say that due to this clarity concern, I quickly cooled down and lost my enthusiasm to get myself a VR set immediately.

In addition, I found my eyes got fatigue easily and I even felt dizzy after flying a session for only about 30 mins.   Not sure if it was because my eyes hadn’t adapted to the VR lens or the equipment hadn’t been set up properly.

At the moment, I am finally proceeding to rebuild myself a more decent virtual cockpit after thinking about it for a few years.   I might at the same time, 50-50, to get a VR gear to supplement it as well.

Anyway, in my opinion, the VR thing at the moment is still more like the Nentendo in the good old days, or maybe the first generation PlayStation.  Despite I am not a fan to it yet, I am sure it is full of potential.   We just need patient before flight simulation to be ripe in the VR application, or vice versa.



7 thoughts on “373: My First Impression of Flying VR

    1. Hi Fred,
      Sorry for late reply due to some personal matters. The FlyInside website says that there are hardware addon that allows the touching of control virtually.
      I didn’t try that but you can expect it is not as natural as touching the real control if you have ever play VR.


    2. Just like to add :)

      Fredrick, what we have in sim life is the same as we have in real life and that’s HOTAS Hands ON Throttle And Stick … I’ve done some real flying and you do need the instrument scan process, but for faster aircraft you do not want to be looking at your stick buttons and instruments all the time, you get to know them without looking, the whole concept of HOTAS I suppose? but what I’m trying to say is … VR and HOTAS concept work together well, what I’d like is a VR Visor or Hood that had a sort of flip up lower flap, just to let you momentarily orientate yourself with the keyboard for a second .. and then back to VR

      Once the resolution of VR gets much higher, I can drop my instruments and panels, but that wont be tomorrow.

      VR works, I’m sure of it, it just needs more refinement :)


  1. Interesting stuff Tom.

    I bought an Oculus Rift DK2 last year second hand on Ebay, this is sort of the beta version of the current OR CV1, the DK2 had a lower resolution and was a bit of a pain to set up if I’m honest, I would hesitate to call it plug and play (I think the current CV1 is more user friendly this way) but it was quite an experience. It worked best in a cockpit environment like a flight sim or a car sim, it was good in European Truck Driver, flight sim wise it really felt like you were inside an Aircraft in the two flight sims I tried … War Thunder (OK that ones a flight game :) ) and DCS was particularly impressive in the WW2 aircraft especially, sold it on Ebay towards the end of last year before the CV1 came out and gave it one last go in DCS and it really was impressive in the 109, almost wanted to cancel the sale, but in the end I got my asking price within 6 hours and that was just a little bit shy of the price I paid for it, there is definitely a niche market out there for these devices no matter how silly they make you look while wearing them :)

    The roller coaster demo’s were impressive and really felt like you were on one, tried it too with the first person shooter Alien Isolation, wow, felt like you were in the Aliens movies, it really did, that type of game does bring on nausea quite quickly at that lower resolution though and I could not play that one for more than say 20 minutes without feeling slightly ill, it should be much improved with the OR CV1 though and its higher resolution. Anything with a sort of cockpit, be it flight sim, space sim or driving sim (and assuming its been set up for your eyesight properly) does not bring on the nausea it seems and I’m not sure why that is? perhaps because your brain knows you are supposed to be sitting ??? whereas in a first person shooter you are supposed to be walking about and the lower resolution has a hard job fooling the brain that’s what you are doing ???

    Anyway, after selling the DK2 pre-ordered a CV1 and that was slated for early July delivery and I’d have it by now but for the fact I cancelled the order just over a month ago, its impressive technology for sure and it does have a market in the same niche way some of our flight sim instruments and panels do, but I think I’ll wait for an even higher resolution version, 4K would be awesome .. to be released and also see what format, OR or Vive wins in the long run for the usage I would put one through.


    1. Sorry for late reply Colin due to some personal matters.
      I would say it’s a wise decision to cancel the order for now. The VR thing is promising but the products are still the first generation. There are many rooms for improvement.
      I would say when the resolution is doubled on the VR goggles. Then it is the time we need to seriously consider getting one.


  2. To be honest, I belong to those sceptical about VR. First, I don’t now if I really want to have those ugly VR googles around my head. Second, I know I tend to get a headache even from DLP projectors. Third – I have a fully equipped X-TOP panel with all controls, panels and 9 FIPs which I am proud of. Do you relly intend to throw away all the fancy FIP gauges you developed? And so on. I know I’am among a minority, but I think my sims will remain VR-free for the foreseeable future. Kind regards, Michael


    1. You are right Michael. Those VR goggles are ugly and not comfortable at all to put on.
      Even though there are addons to allow touching the panels in VR environment, same as you, I like the physical touches on the real panel as well.
      I don’t mean I am going to give up what I’ve invested and developed on cockpit stuff. The VR thing does open the door to a completely different simulation experience.


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