Oculus Third Impressions

I upped the OTT Supersampling to 1.6 and it seems to have not hurt performance at all and makes things sharper. Things are running very smoothly on the settings described in the prior post, and I was able to run things at night with HDR and basic AA in the sim at about 45 FPS. HDR night lighting on the ramp at KSBP blew my MIND. SOOOOO good looking! A few judders, but so what? I’ll turn HDR off during the day and on at night.

I also did a quick flight in the default MD 80. HOLY COW! Such scale! So many things to look at in the cabin! And not any harder on frames than the 172, really. It was so cool it’s hard to describe. Now that things are dialed in my mind is officially blown. And this is only the first beta. It’s pretty hard to believe …

UPDATE: Seriously. I am sitting here shaking my head over this. It’s really pretty astonishing …

Oculus Second Impressions

Spent some time this morning updating settings, thanks in part to James’ guidance here. The result is something quite flyable, with me getting around 90 FPS in the sim at Mr. X’s KSLC with autogen on the second-highest setting (which is where I usually have it for non-VR flight, and which translates into 45+ FPS in the VR headset). Here’s the process and settings:

  • I downloaded the latest NVIDIA driver.
  • I went into the SteamVR settings and:
    • In the Developer settings turned the Supersampling down all the way.
    • In the Performance menu unchecked “Allow asynchronous reprojection and Allow interleaved reproduction.”
  • I downloaded the Oculus Tray Tool (here) and set Supersampling to 1.3 and turned off ASW.
  • I used Project Lasso (here) to dedicate X-Plane to cores (real and virtual) 2-7 and all the Oculus and SteamVR apps to cores 0 and 1. I also used Lasso to mark XP and the VR programs as high priority and high performance programs. There’s a nice video on this here, and note that “game mode” is now “high performance” mode in Lasso.
  • In the sim I set reflections off, shadows off, lighting effects to the first notch below HDR (as HDR gives us two suns in VR at the moment :-), and autogen to the second notch from the top. I also have AA set to 8x, as lower settings actually seem to give me more judders.
  • I turned of xEnviro as it only works in one eye. This also saves me some frames.
  • I did nothing in NVIDIA Control Panel, running only with stock XP settings there.

I also started with a fresh set of XP preferences. All told, this is giving me nice performance. KSLC is a very taxing airport, and sometimes when I move my head quickly I get a lag or a few judders, but overall it’s really cool. I also haven’t played with weather yet, and that will probably cause me to drop my AA settings. I did fly around in an F-18 and it was harder on the performance, so I will expect less of complex aircraft. But looking around that cockpit at 35,000 feet was nothing short of amazing. I can’t wait to do a carrier approach.

In terms of screen setup, I learned that if you press the W key while in the cockpit X-Plane will center the view wherever your headset is pointed. This is an easy fix if you are a bit at an angle from your yoke. After getting my view pointed in the right direction, I then used the keyboard keys to move the viewpoint around so that my real-world yoke and glare shield were  about the same size, height, and distance to my eye in the headset as they are to my eye in the real world. This put the real-world yoke about where it should be, and the throttle and mixture about where they should be … and led to the amazing effect of putting one of the VR controllers on the VR glare shield and having it sit there. Same with the seats – they are in the VR about where they are in the sim, which makes it easy to put something there without taking off the headset. I have some things to do this afternoon and then I’m going to give it some more time, including upping my Supersampling in OTT to 1.6.

Oculus First Impressions

I started to set it up mid-afternoon and spent a few hours getting things going. I’m doing this in the cockpit so I can use my yoke and pedals, and the sensor setup seems to have gone pretty well actually, given the cramped confines. I have one sensor at the top front left corner pointed at the pilot’s seat, and the other at the top back right corner pointing at the panel. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get the visual alignment correct so that when I’m sitting in the chair using the yoke things match up well with the X-Plane visuals, but it’s a starting point.

As for the visuals … things are juddery. I’ve been tweaking settings per what I can find online, but so far, I’d call it un-flyable for anything other than testing so far. I have things pretty smooth, but there are judders and lags and it’s just not where it needs to be. Looking at the XP graphics settings (which I’ve turned down a lot) I still had two monitors set to show the sim even though they were turned off physically. I deactivated them. Next I’ll delete preferences, and do some research on how to use Lasso to set CPU affinities and how (and if) to use hyperthreading. Doing all that stuff is one of the reasons I left P3D, but so be it. Candidly, the 908ti still holds it own as a beast of a card. Mine runs 30-50 FPS running four screens in the physical cockpit and when I only run one screen I get 90 FPS. It should be able to run the Oculus at 45. So I have more learning and tweaking to do.

THAT ALL SAID … I get it now with VR. Just the Oculus training program had me grinning ear-to-ear. And once I had the sim running at least fairly well, it blew my mind to look out the left side of the windshield and see all the wing, and it REALLY blew my mind to open the door in flight and stick my head out the door and look down at the left-side gear. And when I set things to nighttime and all the stars came out? WOW.

From a safety and training perspective will it replace my physical sim? No. At least, not yet. It’s too impractical to manage charts, write down clearances, etc. But I can already tell you where the Oculus will be helpful from a practical training perspective: pattern work. I did one landing in it and it was much more like the real thing. I can’t wait to get it dialed in and get started.

In the meantime, I’ll be starting a Virtual Reality forum in the forums section so VR users can share tricks and settings …

UPDATE: That forum is up and running here.

To Heck With The Flight Sim …

… with the Oculus Rift I’m doing this! I’ve had DCS World installed on the sim PC for some time but haven’t had satisfactory results with the multi-screen setup. But now … honestly, I can’t wait.

Two Front Panel Masks At Ebay

I check Ebay from time to time just to see what’s out there. Two items caught my eye today, both of which are front masks for a monitor that one could use to make a realistic six pack of gauges using Air Manager or other software. Both are listed as new, and I think at least one of them is originally from Custom Sims. Here’s the listing for the panel with switches, and the one without.

ebay

I Took The Plunge

This is my Christmas present to myself. Now that X-Plane 11 has native VR support I figure it’s time to see what virtual reality in the sim is all about. I should have it up and running the afternoon of January 1st and will report back then. This video suggests it’s going to be a pretty interesting experience.

Update: It’s been delivered! Unfortunately, I’m out of town for another two days!

rift

REX Sky Force 3D Release Appears Imminent

This AVSIM post points to this REX Facebook page that posts to this manual for the long-awaited Sky Force 3D weather and environment engine from REX Simulations, all of which suggests that its release is just around the corner. I was a big fan of REX when I used P3D, and reading through the manual I believe this is going to make me jealous of FSX / Prepar3D weather for some time. Of course, REX has hinted that Sky Force would come for X-Plane as well, and I very much hope it will, one day.

inflight

That looks good, yes? If you like that, watch this.