Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Microsoft Flight Simulator’s new VR mode haunts my dreams

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Sadly, Flight simulator does not yet support VR controllers which is a bit disappointing. I couldn’t wait to grab the yoke and play with the dials realistically. Instead, I had to use my Xbox One controller as always and keep my keyboard and mouse close. Of course, if you are lucky enough to own a flight stick, you can continue to use it as usual. But you’ll still need a mouse to control the virtual pointer, which allows you to press the various switches, buttons, and manage the in-game virtual tool windows. As a casual gamer, I did never really saw the need to invest in a flight stick, but I’m definitely considering this now that I’m falling more in love with Flight Simulator VR.

Considering the requirement of the game, you will need a robust system to truly enjoy the virtual reality experience. VR titles typically need to reach 90fps to effectively fill the 90Hz screens of most headsets, which is well beyond the 60fps standard for 2D games. Flight simulator worked well at 90 fps with average VR graphics settings on my PC, which has a Core i7-8700k, RTX 3080, 32GB of RAM and a Samsung 980 NVMe. I couldn’t crank the graphics up to the “ultra” level, which is how I normally play in 2D. Your experience may vary, however. (Sam Machkovech at Ars Technica had a harder time getting it to work consistently on the Valve Index, even though its system is almost identical to mine.)

Going forward, Neumann expects VR mode to evolve as Flight simulator himself. He’s intrigued by the possibility of advanced haptics, which could make the game even more useful for flight schools as a replacement for bulky training machines.

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