Track IR or VR Headset

Hi Guys n Gals
I’ve been a flight sim enthusiast for around 30 years. I was enquiring whether the Track IR 5 (latest) or HP or Oculus headset would be better to enhance the experience?
I have an Intel i9 10850 CPU and a RTX3080Ti GPU 323GB Ram etc
Thanks
Paul

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Make that 32GB ram…oops

Definitely VR. If you need help and advice getting it to work, we’re here.

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Having used TrackIR for over a decade and now a full time VR (HP G2) user, I highly recommend the latter, especially since your GPU will handle it with ease. VR is a revolutionary improvement, just as TrackIR was when it arrived. You are in the sim, rather than watching the sim.

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Trackir to VR is like going from an old 20in CRT TV to a 4k 70in oled … the difference is amazing

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I am a big fan of VR!
I am also a big fan of physical cockpit equipment, like button boxes, throttle, stick, etc.
Looking at a physical switch is easier with a headtracker, but it is possible in VR too. Just thought I’d mention it as the only thing that could make me ditch VR is the desire to build a full size cockpit, one day.
If you go with VR, there are several good options. As a starter, the Oculus Quest 2 seems like a pretty good deal, as you can use it both stand alone and connected via cable. The HP Reverb is also a great headset. Then there are the enthusiast level headsets like Pimax and Varjo, but you better make sure VR is for you, before going with those brands.

If you do consider a headtracker, have a look at this one.
http://z.aimxy.com/#page-top
I haven’t tested it, but there are some good reviews on youtube.

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I have both Reverb G2 and a 48-inch display with TIR. VR is neat but you will spend a lot of your time tuning your system trying to get it to look good and run smooth. Some people also get motion sickness from it.

I do most of my flying on the flat screen. The performance is great even in heavy missions and the sim looks gorgeous. I can spend more time enjoying the sim. I think VR has huge potential but for me we just haven’t reached a point with the hardware and software to where it’s something I’m happy with.

Once I can get crisp visuals and smooth performance comparable to what I have now with pancake mode I’ll be all in.

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I’m a big fan of VR too. I do probably 90% of my sim flying using a Reverb G2 headset. As with anything though, there are pro’s and cons. I find VR better suited to some types of flying than others…

WW1 and WW2 air combat : VR is outstanding
DCS: VR is outstanding but you would probably be better off learning the systems and procedures in 2D where you can have reference materials at hand and take notes. Once you have a decent level of familiarity with an aircraft then start flying it in VR.
GA and Bush flying - VR hands down.
Helicopters in any sim are way better in VR.
Airliners, and IFR flying is IMHO where VR is most challenged. It’s getting better, and having Navigraph charts available in the cockpit certainly helps a lot…but if you are using paper or a physical tablet then VR isn’t going to work well. I tend to just fly in 2D when doing that kind of sim flying.

I started with VR back in 2016 with the first commercial version of the Oculus Rift and it has changed the whole experience. It’s the closest thing I have experienced to real flight in a sim. I’d recommend the HP Reverb G2 headset, although do some research because the G2 has been out for awhile and I am sure that something better will inevitably be just around the corner.

Also, if you wear glasses for distance then look into getting prescription lens inserts for the headset…they make a world of difference. You can wear glasses with the headset but it can be a pain.

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@Condor1
With your machine you can handle VR no problem.
Be sure to try it first as a lot of people have a strong reaction of motion sickness.

The good news is that it’s something you can train and overcome. :wink:

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I agree with @will2360.

My two cents: VR can be amazing, but I have it for over 4 months and still cannot get it to run ok on my system (high end as yours). TIR is such a minor investment, considering, I’d get it ASAP and start enjoying the freedom of head movement in your sim. If you get VR at a later date and fall in love, you will still have some use for the TIR for those sweaty summer days…

I can see why VR is the better experience in itself, but to me, TIR and flatscreen has still a lot to offer with none of the IT hassle.

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All of these views and criticisms are valid, but I’m going to mention one more benefit of VR that IMHO would be very hard to dispute. That is the improvement in depth perception that VR gives. I notice it especially when doing aerial refueling, landing and maneuvering helicopters, dogfighting with guns, and in racing sims, most notably rally sims where you are constantly throwing the car around.

I could probably go back to simming in 2D, but something like flying a helicopter, I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much. It was a real ah-ha moment when I first tried the Huey in VR. With proper depth perception, I could exponentially better sense where the aircraft was in space.

As far as motion sickness, it can be bad for anyone with a low frame rate in VR. But with your system, in DCS, you can just click the VR preset, and have a pretty good experience without further tweaking. Personally, I am fairly resistant to motion sickness, but when it came to driving a rally car, admit that VR was a challenge. Initially, I gave up and went back to 2D. But one day, forced myself to drive for 30 mins, then off for 30. Eventually those sessions became an hour, then noticed that I didn’t need to drive in 2D.

The technical challenges are real, especially in DCS using a Windows Mixed Reality headset. For whatever reason, the SteamVR API with DCS has become really unstable and in my case, crashes more often than not. Thank the VR gods that the community has developed a method of using an alternative API called OpenXR. Not only is it much more stable than SteamVR, but it allows for a utility that improves performance and image quality, and take superior screen captures. The fiddly bit is that you have to do some minor tweaking every time DCS does an update, which is a turn-off to some folks. YMMV

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Because of your system I would have thought it might be worth giving VR a shot but you may as well buy both as presumably you have a monitor anyway.

In the VR Scuba Mask ™ you can be a cut off from the world so important to consider if you have others the look out for.

A lot of people say the depth perception thing makes a difference but my experience kind of feels like Placebo - kind of verified by being no better at AAR etc.

However I have been using TiR for years and it would take you a lot longer to get used to it Compared to the VR thing.

People are different so you should expect to get some bad effects from Track IR and VR just as you would from a monitor at a different resolution. Having monitors 1cm away from your eyes takes some adjusting and the first time I used one for 10 mins had to lay down for the rest of the day.

I like both! The Oculus Quest 2 is a good and very inexpensive VR headset if you’d like to test the waters.

For Track IR or the like I have a self imposed rule … MINIMUM 55” 16:9 4K monitor … and since you’d be hard pressed to find an actual 55” “computer monitor”, you could grab an inexpensive 4K TV that can do a minimum of 60 Hz. I’d recommend staying away from ultrawide monitors, especially for flight sims since you want that extra vertical FOV that the 16:9 aspect provides.

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One of the best VR accessories…a desktop fan. I can recommend this one:

https://www.amazon.com/Vornado-Small-Flat-Panel-Circulator/dp/B0031R4OB0/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2U5KB3LYDODIG&keywords=Vornado+573+Compact&qid=1656173980&s=home-garden&sprefix=vornado+573+compact%2Cgarden%2C204&sr=1-1

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Amen! I am a VR convert but fully acknowledge its shortcomings that were excellently explained by @PaulRix and @chipwich especially.

Given your hardware setup, I would really recommend you try a VR headset for a few weeks by buying from a webshop that allows you to return it within 30 days.

Quest 2 or Reverb G2 are both perfect for getting into VR flight simming:

Quest 2:

  • Cheaper
  • Works better with DCS out-of-the-box
  • Lower resolution may make cockpits less readable

Reverb G2:

  • High resolution means good readability and aircraft spotting at distance
  • Much more expensive than Quest 2 (600 euros vs 350 for the cheapest Quest 2 in my country)

Yes, fans are a MUST for VR. :slight_smile: I have a destop fan and a standing fan that are both on smart plugs so that when my lenses start fogging up I just say, “Hey Google, turn on fan”. :+1:

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Genius! :sunglasses:

Only have time to skim the responses so far but, as quick as I can:

Quick VR Pros

  • VR is to Track IR what TrackIR was to, well, nothing.
  • VR adds, literally, another dimension and that’s significant (2D → 3D) - the depth perception is what it’s really about and of course:
  • 1:1 head tracking.
    The above adds up to “immersion”, much more than with 2D, IMHO - you are “IN” the thing (or it has consumed you?)

VR Cons

  • More cost (if you are fully engaged in complex flight sims then perhaps it’s just the cost of doing ‘business’)
  • More stuff to fiddle with (hardware and software)
  • Requires a much beefier PC
  • Image quality is dependent on resolution/quality of the headset. This is improving over time with each generation.
  • Can get tiring; you have this thing on your face (all Alien movie ref’s aside) that to me, while I’ll never go back to 2D, does enforce some time limits to my playtime. Likely not a bad thing?
  • Those that are competitive with their gaming (online) say the resolution (to date) and the fact you have to turn your head like in the real world are a disadvantage.
  • Learning a new platform can be harder since it can be more cumbersome to have a ‘book’ out while you have the headset on.

Some people are 2D some are 3D. Tuff part is it’s not easy to just try VR unless you know someone close to let you give it a go.

Easy/Hard scale
Game Console <------ Complex PC Flight sims ---- VR → (The Future)

Quick and Easy…

Vs

“Immersive”

Sorta? :rofl:

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Oh come on, open an explorer window, go to the backup folder generated by the patcher. Ctrl-a. One folder up. Ctrl-v. Voilà. Yeah that’s some hacker ship.

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Never been an issue for me with the 2 headsets I’ve had. Physiological differences I guess. Sounds like a brilliant solution you have though.