Oculus Rift CV1 - First Impressions With DCS

A new Mudspike article published at: http://www.mudspike.com/oculus-rift-cv1-first-impressions-with-dcs/

Mudspike Contributor Charles ‘Chuck Owl’ Ouellet gives us his first experiences of using the Oculus Rift CV1 with DCS. It is crazy to see how far DCS has come since the release of Black Shark in 2008. Now that we have a fleet of different aircraft at our disposal and that various new maps are being…


Thanks to @Chuck_Owl for this, an enjoyable read and something I think potential VR purchasers will find really useful.

We have a HTC Vive with DCS review also planned coming up soon.

Hah! You should give it a try strapped into a seat and pulling g! :wink:

I think until I can strap one of these on, or at least until I see that the “small gauges unreadible” has been fixed, I’ll keep waiting. Hopefully they’ll iron out some issues for the next generation but the experience certainly sounds pretty amazing already.


Same for me. I’ll wait.
While I might get past the nausea and the anger about not being able to use my touchscreens or my keyboard, not being able to read gauges or see far away objects kinda puts me off.
Also: I love to do CAS, and if I can’t spot my targets it isn’t worth it.

VR devices with twice the resolution of the CV1 will start to get interesting for me, and I want a glove to flick switches in the cockpit. Not as important in helis or WWII planes, but certainly in jets. I am not going back to clicking the CDU buttons or OSBs in the A-10C. I need a way to do it in VR, and the VIVE’s clunky controllers are certainly not the solution. Nor is the Leap Motion at the moment.

Still watching this market, thanks for the review, @Chuck_Owl !


Very nice review! I completely concur with all points. The sense of being in a ‘real’ 3D cockpit trumps all the challenges that the Rift brings to the table. To some extent though, it depends on what you want to get out of your simulation experience. If operating complex systems is your thing then yes, maybe you would be better off waiting for the next gen headsets. I’m more interested in the experience of flying the aircraft, as in what it feels like to be strapped into a tight and claustrophobic cockpit, tearing down valleys, dodging AAA. It’s a rush.

Flying DCS World with the Rift is the closest to the feeling of real flight that I have experienced in a desktop simulator. Despite the limitations I could never go back to simming on a flat screen.

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Thanks for the review, very enjoyable. Having the DK2 and using it with DCS was pretty incredible. Even with the screen door effect and unreadable gauge, just flying around was very enjoyable. Quite by accident, while flying the DCS Huey, I realized that the HEAT/Cooling vibrating seat/back pad I was using really adds to the “willing suspension of disbelief”. Really looking forward to the next gen of VR.

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I really enjoyed this article, which pretty much confirms what other reviewers have said of current VR flight simming experience. If I knew where to buy one at retail, I’d be very tempted. Probably a good thing for my bank account that they haven’t reached wide distribution. The price gouging on ebay and amazon make it easy to resist.


Great article @Chuck_Owl , but can you expand please on just how you control the sim using the Rift; and what changes you needed to make to your ‘normal’ way of controlling?

I’m intrigued by the practicalities of using this thing - I have a HOTAS but I still use lots of keys and I haven’t worked out what that will mean, particularly for non-clickable cockpits (and for clickable cockpits - how do you interact with buttons and switches with the Rift on?). Do you use voice control to supplement the HOTAS buttons?


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Still waiting for CV1…

With DK2, I enjoyed just flying around and doing pattern work. While dogfighting, you get tired quickly with all head turning and body twisting. It’s not like with TrackIR…with Rift movement is one for one. Still…I can’t fly now without one. TrackIR now feels medevil and crude.

(forum tip: You can ping a user, and it’ll send them an email if they are offline, by putting an @ sign in-front of any username here - like this @Chuck_Owl)

I don’t use voice control. In the CV1, you can use your mouse to click switches and buttons (but they are often more difficult to see and it can be challenging since your view wobbles a bit more in the Rift than with TrackIR).

Pressing keys on your keyboard is a bit more difficult, I have to admit. I usually type without looking at my keyboard, but even for me it was difficult since I didn’t see “where” the keyboard was at all. I think the best course of action would be to map as many things as possible on your stick so you know exactly where they are.


Thanks Chuck.

Thank you for the article, Chuck! And the explanation you gave to smithcorp about using controls in the cockpit - that’s something I was wondering about as well.

In a real cockpit the pilot will handle many buttons and switches by ‘feeling’ for them, knowing where they are. A gear handle is the only handle around that area of the cockpit so you don’t have to see it; same goes for old-style ‘turning’ fuel tank selectors - you feel where they are pointing (left tank, right tank, off, maybe a ‘both tanks’ setting). In a GA aircraft you know the left lever at the throttle quadrant is the throttle, the middle one the prop setting, the right one the mixture. Again, you don’t need to see them to handle them - you can keep the eyes on the temperature gauge or the RPM gauge instead. That is something that will still be impossible to implement with VR while also limiting the use of the keyboard, unrealistic as that is (of course Saitek’s throttle quadrant can help out with the latter example).

For simple planes like in Rise of Flight, I think HOTAS plus Rift will be quite feasible for me - ditto most WW2 planes (though I can’t visualise how the bombsight view would work yet), but a modern jet still has me pretty stumped - especially say an FC3 plane without clickable cockpits. Voice attack or similar could be a goer for handling things like flaps, gear, cockpit opening, changing weapon stations and the like.

Chuck’s article has really increased my desire to try the Rift though - combat flying with it sounds amazing.

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This is certainly food for thought, thanks @Chuck_Owl.

I’m curious about the performance of DCS in the rift.

On my plain old 1440p screen my 970 gives me a lot of stutter when close to the ground. From your testing on helicopters was this an issue, or did it need some settings tweaked?

Also, on what spec of rig were you running?

I can’t speak for the CV1 but if it’s anything like the Vive you also have 0 peripheral vision, which makes things considerably more difficult. I don’t know how this compares to the actual jet, but if you’d be so kind to ship an F/A-18 and a JHMCS to my address, I can give you a detailed comparison :wink:


I really liked your article, Chuck.
Like others, I’d like to know more about your PC specs, settings in DCS and performance.

Bunyap has made some videos with the OR CV1. He uses large objects. What’s your take on this?

Is it possible to lean in and see the smaller instruments? Do you have to lean in far…?

I agree with all of that. It will be pretty cool to see how it works with something like an AH-64 too…where you “look to shoot” with that chaingun… Already works pretty good with TIR and EECH…but can’t wait to see what it would be like in a more modern sim.

I have a GTX 970, the bare minimum recommended. Without VSync, I can get “okay” framerate in 1.5 (Georgia), but I noticed that I get a smoother framerate in 2.0 (NTTR).

Since I fly WWII birds a lot, I use “Large Objects” all the time and I’m fine with it. I don’t really have more difficulty to spot objects down below than I already have in DCS though.

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I haven’t even gotten to mess with a JHMCS yet haha. :sob:

@Chuck_Owl On a related note, Frooglesim posted a video reviewing Flyinside for FSX/P3D using the Oculus, have you had the chance to try it out as well?

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