Flight Simulator VR
But where should you start? There are dozens of options for headsets and the terminology can be quite dense. Fortunately for you, FLYING has broken down everything you need to know to pick the right headset for your virtual flight.
Flight Simulator VR
Flight simulator home setups range from the bare minimum to fully integrated physical controls. For any VR setup, you want at least a 3 ft by 3 ft clear space, indoors, to avoid accidentally hitting walls or objects.
Since Flight Simulator is played sitting down, your average office area is the perfect size for your flight. Most VR headsets will also be compatible with some combination of controllers, including yokes, throttles, and pedals.
Most VR headsets come with two hand controllers, used to control your experience inside the virtual space. Flight Simulator is compatible with accessories like pedals and yokes, but your standard controllers included with the headset are fully capable of an enjoyable virtual flight.
Anyone who has played a flight simulator knows that screen real estate is critical. Your average 16:9 TV or monitor is fine for most video games, but flight simulators are all about the spatial awareness of sitting in a cockpit, peeking at a massive console of virtualized buttons and screens, and having your midair view framed by a plane's windshields and windows.
Also, be warned: Geometric detail still weirdly morphs as you approach it in VR. That's because an aggressive level-of-detail slider keeps the demanding game running at a smooth rate. Between that issue and lower-resolution elements like textures and water reflections, your brain won't necessarily be tricked into believing that you're in a real-life flight, even if you surround your VR rig with realistic and satisfying PC control systems. Unless you own a supercomputer from the future, you're in VR for increased visibility and general comfort, not photo-realistic visuals. (Though in certain settings, particularly in the Seattle gallery above, MSFS can still look mighty fine in VR, thanks to how well many of its weather systems run.)
I also tested a few VR flights with AMD's RX 6800XT in the same rig and was surprised to see that GPU struggling more to reach comparable frame rates. I'm hopeful that fixing this is a matter of small patches for either Xbox Game Studios or AMD, especially since I had expected AMD to win this particular battle (since Xbox Series X/S consoles leverage AMD's RDNA 2 GPU architecture already).
Start by going into SteamVR's "Developer" settings tab and turn on "Display Frame Timing" or "GPU Performance Graph." That setting will put a wacky little box in your view at all times. Once that monitor is on, boot a quick VR flight instance in New York City or London, wait a minute for any possible cloud-streamed data to trickle in, pause, fiddle with various graphics settings, and hit "apply." You'll see an immediate effect on the frame time graph while paused mid-game, and you'll want a count of roughly 11.1 for 90 fps, 12.5 for 80 fps, or 13.9 for 72 fps. When you see a count approaching any of those refresh rates, unpause, fly normally, and keep an eye on the graph for performance variance before going back into the menus and adjusting once more.
The flight sim community has been a very active and insightful partner in shaping how the team approached VR, and continues to be a critical partner in our continued development as we make further improvements and add new features to the simulation. Adding VR to Microsoft Flight Simulator was a direct result of community feedback, and we look forward to continued involvement in the future of the franchise with us.
I went into the game without any real-world flight knowledge, but the VR experience still felt like a revelation. Instead of using my Xbox gamepad to switch between different camera views, I could just lean into panels and dials to see them more clearly. To take in the scenery, I just look out the window -- something that's particularly helpful when landing and navigating tricky terrain. You can even break the game's reality a bit by sticking your head completely through the plane's window for a literal birds-eye view of the world.
I'll admit, Flight Simulator is far from perfect in VR. But when it works, it makes you feel like a truly capable pilot. During my hour-long flight around the Balkans, I buzzed over towns and imagined how those coastal communities lived. I crested mountains just to see what's on the other side. And I flew close enough to the sea that I could almost reach out and touch the water, a maneuver that's absurdly dangerous in real life.
Rise to new heights with the ultimate flight simulation experience. With Varjo Aero, you can stay comfortably immersed in a flight simulation of unmatched clarity for hours on end. Varjo Aero is a must-have for every flight simulation pilot.
FlyInside lets you take to the skies in virtual reality by making three popular flight simulators work with virtual reality goggles.You'll feel as if you're really flying an airplane from the comfort of your desk.
FlyInside Flight Simulator is a brand new flight simulator built for virtual reality! It ships with ten beautiful aircraft, and scenery for the continental USA. As of today, you can Download and Buy it from our website, or on Steam!
The excitement in powered flight is never more apparent than in a world-class fighter! Feel the rush of your F/A-18 Super Hornet as it blasts off from an aircraft carrier. See all around you as you perform various training tasks and see just how hard it is to land such a speedy aircraft on its home carrier!
The 2020 Microsoft Flight Simulator is perhaps the most ambitious and revolutionary flight sim of our generation. The technology it uses to simulate the entire planet in such detail, along with weather and other effects is truly remarkable.
Get this headset if you are new to VR and want something that is good with all games, not just flight sims. It is the safe option. I was actually surprised with the amount of goodness packed into this headset while still maintaining such an attractive price.
The Quest Pro is the new King of clarity when it comes to flight simming. This makes it one of my top recommendations for MSFS and the only thing only it back is the price. But if you are willing to spend that extra cash, its the best premium option right now.
Clarity: The most important thing for a flight sim headset is clarity. More so than in any other game. You need to look at your Garmin, look at your readouts, look at all the beautiful scenery and you need to be able to actually tell what you are looking at. The Reverb does this well but it has a small sweet spot. The maximum clarity is only at the very center which was good enough for 2019 to 2021 or whatever, but The Quest Pro now has excellent quality throughout the whole lens! This is really a game change for MSFS because you can now see everything clearly without just looking at the absolute centre of your lens.
The Pimax 8K X dominates the competition when it comes to clarity, visuals and field of view. It offers almost double the resolution and FoV of most other consumer grade headsets and it does that at a price that is high but not beyond the reach of what us flight simmers have to pay for graphics cards, premium joysticks and other hardware.
My main concern with the Pimax 8K was that it would need so much GPU power to run. However, practically, the difference is not much because oyu can scale down the super sampling and it still looks so much better than other VR headsets. Of course, its still only possible with top end GPUs like the 3090 and the 3080Ti, but us flight simmers have got sort of used to that by now. Quality comes at a price.
Currently, Microsoft Flight Simulator does not support VR. It wants to, and it is currently undertaking a closed beta test to help configure hardware for a VR update, but right now, it just supports joysticks, controllers, HOTAS setups, and TrackIR. Which is a pretty long list already, but Microsoft has big plans for their reborn flight sim.
In 2018, the service introduced a first-of-its-kind Pilot Training Next (PTN) experiment at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, to test students' abilities within an augmented reality space meant to resemble an in-flight experience.
While the experiment uses simulators to teach aircraft familiarization, the focus has really been on individual students and ensuring they progress at the right pace. Student pilots have traditionally begun their training with heavy academics and regimented simulator time, but PTN plunges them directly into augmented reality and simulator training, allowing them to learn and self-correct as they participate in realistic flight scenarios before they get into the T-6 Texan II trainer aircraft used for instrument familiarization, and low-level and formation flying.
Two people enter the state-of-the-art simulator for a pulse-pounding aerial combat ride where you control all the action. Air Combat 360 pilots can roll, somersault, spin and loop as they fly missions.
Features: Three dimensional movements (Pitch + Roll + Yaw/Rear traction). The H3 model is designed to move not only the seat, but, all simulator controls (steering wheel, joystick, pedals, throttles, etc.) mounted to the motion platform. When you move, everything moves!Compatibility: PC, Xbox* and PlayStation*Any Peripherals: wheel , pedals, joystick , yoke, monitor , VRIncluded: The motion platform. (The seat and game controllers are not included)
Features: Two dimensional movements (Pitch + Roll). The H2 model is designed to move not only the seat, but, all simulator controls (steering wheel, joystick, pedals, throttles, etc.) mounted to the motion platform. When you move, everything moves!Compatibility: PC, Xbox* and PlayStation*Any Peripherals: wheel , pedals, joystick , yoke, monitor , VRIncluded: The motion platform. (The seat and game controllers are not included) 041b061a72