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VR thoughts

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:06 pm
by Tom
VR is amazing. It is also expensive, not really because of the headset but because of all the other stuff you need to sort out to use it properly. There is a trade off though, so it can be less expensive if you are prepared to compromise.

This is actually a difficult post to put up. I could rave about VR all day but I know that for some it either isn't doable or the cost is prohibitive, so with a respectful nod in their direction...


For IL2 the clock speed of the CPU is most important. If the CPU runs at 5Ghz it'll do ok. In theory the graphics card has less of a role but I found that going from a 1080 to a 2080Ti made a massive difference even with everything else unchanged. The motherboard and RAM are also important but only in the sense that a pc is the sum of its parts and one dodgy part can slow everything down.

For a lot of the PC stuff it just coms down to personal preference. Yes an SSD is great but which one isn't so important - we won't notice a millisecond difference in the game loading and if we do, it is enough time to open a beer.


This comes down to personal preference and also cost. For example you could go for the Pimax 8k ( but your hardware won't run it and you'll have to have very low frame rates or graphics settings. The Reverb ( is very sharp but has less of a FOV The Oculus Rift S ( has a good screen but a smaller FOV and no headphones. Or you can go for the exotic but it is flippin' expensive ( at around £6k+VAT but can we justify it? I you can afford it then hell yes!

To me the Index ( sits very happily in the middle of everything so it does everything really well but is not the stand out performer in any aspect. Not having the controllers saves around £250 so it becomes more justifiable.

Flight controls

This is where the cost increases because you need a HOTAS system. Not only that, but for a decent experience you also need to mount the joystick centrally and have the throttle quadrant sitting comfortably to hand. That means 2 desk mounts.

To keep the cost "modest" the choices really come down to the Thrustmaster Warthog ( or the VIRPIL kit ( and you can mix and match the throttles and so on.

Of the two the Warthog does everything out of the box for £350, though you would want an extension. The VIRPIL stuff looks to be a lot better made/higher quality but you need a base, grip and throttle and they will set you back around £750. I really wish I had the money to go with the VIRPIL stuff...

VIRPIL do desk mounts but I use two from Monstertech because of the mounting system - ... le-mounts/ - if these are used you need 2 plus the appropriate mount for the HOTAS system used.

Because the HOTAS stuff with umpteen buttons doesn't have a twist rudder you also need rudder pedals. There are a few out there and like most things it comes down to the trade off between price and quality. I had the CH pedals but never liked them. Then I had Saitek pedals and they were ok but grated after a while.

I very much recommend the MFG Crosswind pedals ( - if you go from pedals you already have there is no real "Wow" moment but over time you appreciate why they are so good. I also used CAM5 straight away as to me that worked the best - . MFG also do Warthog extensions.


I'm not even going to tot it up because it is flipping expensive to do it really well. Overall my opinion is to drop the expense and accept the trade off - this means running at lower graphics settings and maybe having kit that doesn't feel quite as nice. Any compromise should not include the headset though.

But then, it doesn't matter if the graphics look bad because you're actually sitting in a cockpit, getting neck ache and feeling old, but you're IN the game.

Comments from other VR users most welcome.

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:26 pm
by Sparky
Tom wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:06 pm
VR is amazing.

Headset could go for the Pimax 8k ( but your hardware won't run it and you'll have to have very low frame rates or graphics settings. The Reverb ( is very sharp but has less of a FOV.... Or you can go for the exotic but it is flippin' expensive ( at around £6k+VAT but can we justify it? I you can afford it then hell yes!
I've owned and used an Oculus Rift, an HP Vive Pro, and now an HP Reverb. I won't fly without VR because with it you're in the a/c. VR brought me to IL2. Without VR it doesn't feel like flying.

1. Pimax: The new Pimex 8KX is infinitely better than the Pimax 8K or the Pimax 5K and the 8KX is scheduled to begin shipping in December. Here's a video comparing the upcoming Pimax 8KX and the HP Reverb in the DCS air combat simulator. Pimax 5K vs. HP Reverb in DCS air combat simulator If I bought a cheaper Pimax I'd get the Pimax 5K over the 8K due to the 5K sharper image. However the 8KX is worlds better and worth the wait. I ordered an 8KX and will report here when I get it. Thanks to Merlin for letting me know of the Pimax 8KX.

2. HP Reverb: I use a Reverb but am disappointed. I have to put a folded up sock between the headset and my forehead so that the image is in sharp focus and frequently reposition the sock as the image gets fuzzy. My biggest complaint is the faulty connector. Every time I start up my computer and IL2 I must unplug the in-line VR headset to cable connector and reconnect it and then slip the tiewraps back over the two connected parts to hopefully keep them together for the flight. Sometimes they disconnect and my headset goes black and the aircraft bores a hole in the sky, pilotless. When positioned correctly (using the sock as a spacer) the image is great bot only in a small sweet-spot.

3. XTAL: I really couldn't afford to buy an XTAL but ordered one last March, seduced by the possibility of identifying enemy planes (or Tom, either one) from longer distances. Only after ordering did they let me know it'd arrive in June, or July. I hate it when the slyly slip the date. July came and went with no word and upon questioning they promised in writing to ship the week of August 20th. They had "problems obtaining parts from China." After the August date passed I emailed and they said it would be delivered but they could not even specify a likely month. I asked for and received my refund. If you order one of these expensive excellent headsets be sure they are in stock and that they will ship on a date certain.


Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:50 pm
by Tigertooo
Tom et all, hello,
just suppose: i need a new system with 5Ghz CPU,a 2080 Ti card,new motherboard pedals, hotas etc....,with the best VR system at the moment:
So: everything from scratch and everything you advise... what prise category(very approximatively and not in detail) am i looking at?
(if you dont want the price here, please can you PM it
Tigerkiss to the Old TP' as well as to the recent TP's :Hello

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:02 pm
by Tom
£4,500 to go for great stuff if you’re buying everything you need from new. Obviously less if you have some stuff already like controls etc. Around £3,000 for it to be good. But, for it to be playable you could just buy the Oculus Rift S for £400 on its own, provided you can use it with the pc you have, and see how you go. it might be all that is needed.

Bear in mind that with glasses it gets harder because you have to make sure you have space for the frames inside the head unit.

You can always visit if you’re in the UK to give it a go.

ps RAF ops from the end of January.........

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:34 pm
by Hunter
Yes Tiger RAF Ops... The only thing more irresistible would be a Morrisons Pigs in Blankets bread roll.( Or maybe for you, Chips/Mayo/Zot Lager.)

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:14 pm
by Fritz
I've had an Oculus Rift since they became commercially available (I bought mine on pre-order). I don't have any experience unfortunately with any other headsets - I was looking forward to the Pimax, but with Merlin's experience with them I decided against purchasing one. I'm planning on getting a Rift S at Christmas.

I put together my machine more than 2 years ago specifically with VR in mind - it has 32g of RAM, an i7 6400 clocked at 4.0ghz (not OC'd), and a GTX 1080. This isn't a screamer of a machine - particularly by today's standards - but it nonetheless allows me to run nearly all my games at 100% max graphic options with no stutter at all. The only games, ironically, that I get stutter with max graphics settings are DCS and IL2, and I eliminate the stutter by putting the distance graphics down a bit and then it's fine.

As a pretty much hard core gamer, VR has significantly changed gaming for me. I hardly ever buy games that are not VR anymore. VR isn't perfect, by any means, but for me at least the benefits of playing in VR far outweigh the cons. A good example of that is Skyrim - one of my all time favorite games. I bought the original title, then the extended graphics edition (both played through multiple times). When Skyrim VR came out, I wiped the other two installs off my machine entirely... there was just no point. Just like flying in VR, you are "there" in the Skyrim world, and it just makes the whole experience 100x more intense. Actually having to hold up your shield to block a sword blow and then swing your own sword hard at your enemy is so much more fun and immersive than clicking buttons.

As far as flying goes, I simply don't fly flight sims without VR. Period. There's no point. Like it is for many I assume, I fly flight sims to simulate the experience of flying an aircraft... and after flying in VR a flat monitor simply doesn't cut it anymore. Not even multiple monitors with TrackIR (which is a system I could never get used to - turning my head while still having to look forward was just such an alien, bizarre situation). As Sparky said, in VR you are actually inside the plane, and it's so much more than just the immersive view of being in the cockpit - with the headset on, everything else around you is phased out and your whole visual and audio world is inside that cockpit.

Having said that, there are drawbacks, however, as VR isn't by any means perfect.

Yes, you need a HOTAS. Particularly with combat flight sims... you can't see the keyboard and fumbling around for keyboard keys is a pain. This isn't quite as bad a situation in WW2 sims like IL2, as there aren't nearly as many controls, but for DCS it's an absolute necessity. A decent HOTAS doesn't come without a cost of course. Secondly, the visual distance just isn't on par with a monitor. The updated graphics in IL2 have helped that immensely, but it's still difficult to spot aircraft at medium distances. This is even more critical in DCS, as 90% of your aerial combat situations are BVR or at much greater distances than in IL2. The third is more for civilian flying; it's difficult to deal with charts and all that in sims like XPlane. Fortunately, there's tools available that can help with that immensely, such as AVITab and VRTools, which bring up text and chart windows in the VR cockpit space, but even better are programs with now integrate with a touchpad or iPad where you can us a stylus to write ATC instructions down and see them in real-time inside the sim.

Despite those issues though, VR is still the only way to fly flight sims for me.

Cost-wise, yes it can be expensive. I'd venture that my whole setup - my machine, my Rift, my Thrustmaster Warhog HOTAS - cost somewhere in the nature of close to $3500 US all told. But it's more of a hobby than just a game setup, and when looked at that way - imho - the costs are heavily outweighed by the benefits.

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:58 pm
by Sparky
Fritz phrased it much better than I could. I ignored flight sims until I saw DCS videos close enough to real life but skipped DCS (own the aircraft, too busy with TP to ever learn/set up DCS) for IL2 and TP. I could never play on a monitor except to review missions for Propwash screenshots.

However, someone (Tom, Silk, Merlin, the cute bank woman?) solved one aspect of VR when they suggested a swivel chair. In real life you're young enough to rubber-neck with your "head on a swivel" but in VR (unlike Trac IR) to see behind you you must crank your neck around. With my swivel chair, I keep hand on the joystick and pivot the chair part of the way around. There's also a trick where I look left, hit a joystick lever to center my camera angle there, then look right and I'm looking directly back over my tail. Look forward again, center the view, and rinse, repeat.

On the HOTAS joystick and throttle quadrant you can double assign some controls, as with "center view in current direction" and Russian brake lever. It's a bit aggravating during taxi but it gives me an extra control on my joystick.

AS with all aspects of TP I was helped through with the help of the usual suspects. You know who you are and I am deeply grateful. Your friendship is even more valuable than the information, and that's a lot!

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:07 am
by Fritz
Sparky wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:58 pm
However, someone (Tom, Silk, Merlin, the cute bank woman?) solved one aspect of VR when they suggested a swivel chair. In real life you're young enough to rubber-neck with your "head on a swivel" but in VR (unlike Trac IR) to see behind you you must crank your neck around.
Yes, this. I'm not young anymore, and not as limber as a result. Whipping my head around, particularly with a dead weight on it (i.e., the Oculus), isn't that easy for me. Being able to swivel my chair around as I look over my shoulder makes a complete world of difference. Particularly in WWI aircraft.

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:28 am
by Bigbyte
Interesting replies. I don't want to derail the thread but just wanted to say hello Tigertoo.

So which Squadron are you joining in January Tiger? No1 or No601?

Cafe Creme


Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:19 am
by Tigertooo
@ Tom: thanks m8
@ BB: the famous "café crème", i remember :Cool

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 9:50 am
by Bigbyte
You didn't answer the question Tiger. No1 or No601 in January?

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:29 am
by Reggie
Hmm, this is a tough one for me. I have stopped using my Rift - because I simply could not spot anything with it. I have gone back to TrackIr.
I dont know if this is down to the headset or my eyesight. I do have lenses in my Rift from that match my glasses prescription, but they dont seem to help hugely.

So I am in a quandry at the moment, as to whether I ditch VR completely, keep trying with my Rift, or sell the Rift and try to invest in something with higher resolution (Rift S or Valve Index maybe) to see if I can spot things with those headsets. Regarding the Valve Index, if you go only for the headset, does that mean you dont need to get any base units at all?

A real dilemma :Cry

As far as HOTA is concerned, I have been doing fine with my Saitek X55 as well, that does everything needed to fly with VR.

@Tigertooo awesome to see you on here again my friend. I will be in Antwerp later this week at a Microsoft conference, if only Ghent were closer I would pop in to see you :Thumbup We miss you, hope you come back for RAF ops next year :Yourock

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:52 am
by Bunny
Hi Tiger.
Proper RAF Ops without you would not be the same. Let's get you back in the cockpit where you belong.
VR. Quite simple I think. If the headsets were 50 quid each and you had the PC to run it, you wouldn't hesitate. So you already know that you want one. It just comes down to money and that is the hardest part of the decision. The graphic cards can be very expensive perhaps the most expensive bit of the whole thing.
BUT. VR will be the closest that you will ever get to flying a spitfire in combat. Nuff said.

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:22 pm
by Sparky
Bunny wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:52 am
VR will be the closest that you will ever get to flying a spitfire in combat.
Good thing, too. As the fighter pilot song from that war said, "There's one thing you can't laugh off. That's when they shoot your ass off. Distinguished Flying Crosses do not compensate for losses."

From "I Wanted Wings"[till I got the Gxx-Damned things]

Re: VR thoughts

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 1:57 pm
by Hunter
Black Friday deal for the Rift S is £350. Anyone seen it cheaper?