FlyInside Flight Simulator First Flight

vr

#1

FlyInside VR was a great add-on for FSX, P3D and X-Plane, that altered the sim to be able to show a VR view. Dan Church, the author, did an amazing job of coaxing good VR performance out of these sims that were never designed to work like that.

Eventually P3D and X-Plane added their own native VR implementation, but the use of hand controllers and Leap Motion, plus a clever reprojection method, meant there was still value in the add-on. Plus of course FSX never even got VR, so for a lot of people this was still useful.

As the next step for Flight Inside a while back they made the surprise announcement that Dan had formed a team and that they were writing an entirely new stand-alone sim. The news of that is here:

So tonight I got the chance thanks to a mysterious benefactor (it was Beach, the mystery is fairly short lived) I had a quick go on the latest version. The steam store entry is here:

Here’s a quick initial flight and AAR in an old 737-200, with screenshots taken in VR.

The sim has its own VR windowing system. Here’s the initial menu, where you can either use the mouse in VR or your hand controllers. It sort of reminds me of old X-Windows, but the refresh rate and clarity are good.

A few MILVIZ aircraft come with the sim already:

Including some helos, which if Aerofly FS2 is a good indicator of, is where a fast performance VR sim should shine.

The cockpits are not great, but clear. Sort of lowish quality in parts, although I’ve not gone through them all. All sim settings and options are available within VR as virtual windows which is neat.

The landscape graphics are fairly poor, in that the performance is fantastic (solid 90 FPS on my i5 @4.5GHz, Nv1070, 16GB) but this is more like a mobile game in terms of detail. My phone could do this.

Perhaps the worse representation of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge ever?

Weather is modeled and doesn’t impact performance at all. Again, not looking top tier.

So overall pretty disappointing so far, in that this is Early Access (what isn’t?) but has been out for about a year so far. I don’t think the systems part includes an FMS, or ATC and the landscape seems to be just raw public Ortho with autogen.

Surprisingly, you can’t really play with VR motion controllers alone (a la @smokinhole’s VR only control method that works so well in X-Plane) and you need to set up your physical HOTAS and pedals manually. Considering that the FlyInside VR plugin had great support for hand controllers then this is seems a really strange omission. As there aren’t any default bindings, it provides a pretty poor initial experience.

For the price point ($40) and the amount of progress in the first year (strike that, I’m an idiot, it’s been out a month so credit to them), this seems to be pretty hard going to recommend. The best and most positive point to end on is that the performance in VR is fantastic, but pretty much every other area needs to grow out to be competitive. If P3D has the best systems modeling on tubes, X-Plane continues to get better and Aerofly FS2 works best in VR then FlyInside needs to find its place to remain viable.


#2

Great first impressions and pretty in-line with where I thought it might be given the time that has passed since Early Access. The field is crowded right now, and even the 2D competitors that had VR “bolted on” (X-Plane and P3D) are looking pretty solid already. Having just dipped my toe into Aerofly FS2, I don’t have anything to compare quite yet with respect to VR, but I suspect Aerofly FS2 is very much further along.

FlyInside seems like a very ambitious project. I wish them luck and have also bought the sim to see what happens with it. Will it go the X-Plane route or the Microsoft Flight route? It should be interesting to watch unfold.


#3

Yep, I need to go through the rest of the aircraft and dive a bit deeper. Just first impressions and all that.

One big niche they might be able to carve out is in FSX aircraft compatibility. While it’s probably a vipers nest of Dovetail, Microsoft and LM lawyers in there, if they can bring to VR some FSX existing aircraft and scenery into their new platform then I can see a place for it. I need to try some old ones I own just to see.

I’ll also see if it is moddable or not. It looks like all the scenery, aircraft are FSX compatible, so another thing that might help it is how a community could improve things.

It does have VOR/ILS nav, and their upgrade for ATC, VR interaction is all still talked about in their forums as coming soon™. Let’s hope they keep going!


#4

A few more shots trying different things, but taken in 2D. These are on highest settings I could find.

Trying a Chinook this time. Cockpit looks ok, but only one or two clickpoints around the radios:

I’ve seen SEATAC a bit busier than this before (this is looking towards the terminals). I think for the 4GB install it only comes with the USA landscape coverage. No CYVR for me this time! :slight_smile:

Weather editor looks quite nice, plus clouds however heavy don’t impact performance at all.

Downtown Seattle for comparison.

It seems to have the airfields, but no buildings other than a couple of default ones (SFO etc)

Ok, something a bit faster. A T-38A trainer:

Night lights are a bit basic, but better than daytime.

Evening looks good, looking back towards KSFO

True night is pretty dark, enough to make it fairly hard to fly.


#5

not that long


#6

You’re right. I read the Steam release date as ‘20 Dec 2018’ and mistook that as a year ago. Good ol 2019. :slight_smile:


#7

Looks like this updated today:

-Fixes issues with being unable to bind buttons on Vive/WMR controllers
-Fixes issues with being unable to respawn outside the cockpit
-Major revamp of helicopter flight model, much more realistic
-Major revamp of VR motion controllers. It’s much much nicer to use the cockpit, or fly an aircraft, using only VR controllers


#8

Nice! I heard they were working on a ‘VR controllers only’ way (that seems a good fit for the title) so keen to check it out.


#9

Yeah…I downloaded the update, but might have to wait until tomorrow night to check it out…


#10

Had a quick go, works pretty well. I’ll leave some feedback for them at the Steam forums, but using the VR controllers works quite nice now. Pure performance is definitely that sims main feature, as it holds a steady 90 fps with pretty much any scenario, they just need to keep going and filling in the blanks.


#11

Can’t wait to try it. Of course…I really can’t wait to explore Aerofly FS 2 a bit more. I’m actually really interested in the procedures and training potential of it for practicing some real world approaches.

With regards to FlyInside - do you know if there is an official roadmap for what they plan to do?


#12

I don’t. Their main forum for dev questions seems to be here, but I couldn’t find a main road map:

https://forum.flyinside-fsx.com/viewforum.php?f=59


#13

Had a go at helos using the VR controls today. A lot of Bothans died in horrible helo accidents to bring you this message. It’s super twitchy, but sort of logical, if that makes sense. The feeling of the collective and cyclic is very sensitive but interesting.

One thing that did throw me off big-time, and wanted to record here for any future flyers, is that I had no idea that the collective left/right axis was actually a rudder axis. As in, you pull a tiny amount up using a realistic motion on the collective upwards, and then I give it some right pedal to pick up for the hover without rotating and it would go crazy. Like fireball and death every time. I posted in the Steam forums that I think it was bugged and the (ever responsive) sim author Dan replied back that actually moving left/right on the collective would fill-in as rudder input as well.

What was happening is that I’d stomp a pedal and then have no idea that any left/right subtle movement with my left arm on the collective was actually counteracting that. A sort of limb fight. I mean, now I know it is sort of clever, in that you don’t need physical pedals to fly, even if it does feel a bit strange move a collective like that. Forget ‘push for power’ this is slide for the ride!

Anyway, with that sorted out, it is definitely learn-able and like a lot of things FlyInside, I will follow the progress of keenly. Apparently they have another big patch out this weekend.


#14

Haha…that’s funny that you fired it up. I’ve been playing for the last hour checking out the latest build (as of a week or so ago I think - subscribed to the Steam Beta). And yes, Dan is one of the most accessible developers out there - very quick to respond and that’s why I’m rooting for him.

I had a really good time tonight just doing quick flights from JFK runway 4 over to LGA for landings, testing the Boeing 717, 737, and the Baron. I was trying to just use the O+ hand controllers, and was largely successful except for the fact that where I have my PC sitting at my Dad’s house is not ideal for VR and reaching for things. I clunked the desk a bunch of times.

They definitely improved the VR hand controls in that they sort of standardized the interaction. At least in the O+, I have an extend finger with a little ball on it. When the ball gets close enough to the desired control, that control highlights, you pull the trigger, and then you can manipulate it. Twisting the HSI course knob or altitude preselector is very natural using this technique (highlight and twist/rotate your wrist). Grabbing the yoke and throttles works well too. I don’t know if it is possible, but it would be nice if they had a double-tap sticky control that would keep your grip until you were ready to let go since squeezing the triggers does get sort of tiresome. Sensitivities are still a bit twitchy, but it is highly airplane dependent.

I tried the helicopter for a minute but wasn’t happy with my VR play space for that since I have to reach down and to my left and my desk is a little too close for that. I could reset by just moving back and resetting the VR position in the game, so I might try that later.

I really enjoy manipulating all of the overhead panel in the Milviz 737 and the TFDi cockpit is a lot smaller feeling (I did have to adjust the scale - a nice slider option in FlyInside - for some cockpits like the Baron). The TFDi cockpit is probably the most advanced, and also the most resource intensive.

It looks like they made some improvements to the scenery and clouds. Definitely improving in almost all aspects. I’m very interested to see where this leads.

These screens do not reflect the resolution you see in the O+, these seem much more grainy and low res than what I’m seeing, so the 2D monitor mirror must be lower resolution perhaps?

One thing I most definitely need to figure out is a VR screenshot button or voice command that doesn’t require me to take my hands off my controllers…


#15

-Improved Airports
-Missions, Flight School
-Major Cities + Landmark Scenery
-Air, Road Traffic - ATC if we have the time
-European Scenery - World if we have the time

Currently We’re Working on:
-Missions, Flight School
-Improved helicopter flight characteristics
-Quite a few little fixes, QOL improvements