So I have been playing around in VR for a bit, after setting the system up on Sunday. I did have access to an Oculus DK-2 a few years ago, so the wow factor was not as significant … but it was still there
First flight was in a UH-1H over Normandy to one of the USN CG’s. I was amazed at how quick I could respond to the Yaw when I was lifting off as opposed to how much I would have to fight it in 2D. Landing on the cruiser was also a breeze as the added depth perception made the whole process of transitioning from flight to approach and landing so much easier. Flying over the wave tops was also pretty sweet, as was seeing the wake off of the boats.
Next flight was in a F-86 - as I figured I could get that one up and running from memory with little fuss. In both of these cases the resolution of the cockpit panels was a little low but I was able to remember where the important bits were and could read them adequately. For me, anything a little farther away (ie: the roof switch panel in the Huey or the armament panel in the Sabre) is impossible to read. Take off and landing were spectacular and I was able to throw the jet around the sky a fair bit without feeling eye stress or nausea.
Third flight was the M2000 and except for entering the initial INS coordinates incorrectly (E instead of W) I was able to get everything up and running adequately. I could not read anything in the comms area (in front of my left knee) making it touch and go to get the radios working and the text display on the radar display was a little hard to read. I was able to tank, however, and that was a blast! Much easier than 2D (even though I still had a relatively tough time of it) :-).
Fourth flight was the P-51. Same issue with reading any labels on anything far away (fuel selector and armament selector areas). Fly to fly around and try to make myself sick!
Fifth flight, and at this time I was amazed that I was able to remember how to get all of these birds up in the air from a cold start, was in the F-5E. Again, the panels were not quite legible but knowing what you were looking for made reading them ok. If I forgot something, it was difficult to pick it up from just reading the labels … I would have to hover over it and hope that the pop -up label was clear. This was the only aircraft that I could see causing me some issues with eye strain/nausea. The high roll rate would thrown in some nice yaw - so rolling wings vertical left through wings level to wings vertical right and back, repeatedly, was an interesting experience. I did that for 30 seconds straight and the yaw wobble was interesting and my eyes/head started to feel strain - I think that if I kept that up for a minute it could lead to some nausea but it was not too bad.
All in all, it’s a very interesting experience. The sense of flight, altitude and speed is very nice. My body reacted negatively as I threw the each of the aircraft around the sky while trying to keep my eyes on an airfield or city - and by negatively I mean my back and neck complained as I strained to contort myself all to allow the Rift a view of what I was attempting to track :-). I need to try some ACM with it but rearward visibility is a challenge as I assumed it would be in any fighter. The field of view is not ideal, as well, which leads to additional challenges (but has me wondering if it might mimic, somewhat, wearing a helmet in a confined canopy space.
The only negative I have is the resolution of the displays … which I expected to find and that should not detract from the enjoyment of VR in general as other games do not require reading a cockpit that has been created to match the original (designed with our HD Mk.1 eyeball in mind). I am still fiddling with some settings but for most of the flights I hit the ‘VR’ recommended settings in the DCS setup area and adjusted the Pixel Density - maybe it is the 1070 I have but I did not get much of a change in what I saw.
All in all at $600 Canadian (after shipping/taxes) I am pleased with the VR hardware. There are a lot of other games and experiences that make VR quite the thing. From a limited view of the flight sim niche market, I think that the next gen headsets (with higher resolution displays) and the next gen graphics cards will be a better solution.