Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Discussion about VR

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cloudbaseengineering
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Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cloudbaseengineering » Tue Jan 03, 2023 7:34 am

Hello All,

I am planning to try out VR in condor. I also need to build up a dedicated machine so at the moment I am not hindered by compatibility and can build the computer to suit the headset requirements. I also have an HTC Vive a friend will let me borrow but unsure if it is compatible. Also its an early version so likely much has changed since then. Anyhow I am open to any advice and also looking for a stable solution over a better setup with lots of hacking to make it work.

Thanks,

Marc

cbrunschen
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cbrunschen » Thu Jan 05, 2023 12:05 pm

cloudbaseengineering wrote:
Tue Jan 03, 2023 7:34 am
Hello All,

I am planning to try out VR in condor. I also need to build up a dedicated machine so at the moment I am not hindered by compatibility and can build the computer to suit the headset requirements. I also have an HTC Vive a friend will let me borrow but unsure if it is compatible. Also its an early version so likely much has changed since then. Anyhow I am open to any advice and also looking for a stable solution over a better setup with lots of hacking to make it work.

Thanks,

Marc
Currently the only directly supported VR headsets are Oculus / Meta ones - i.e., today, the Quest 2 or the Quest Pro. Both of these can be used with either a wired (USB) or wireless (WiFi) connection - but on both cases, this is a compressed stream, which both adds some compression artefacts and some small amount of latency, and increases load on your GPU (for compressing the stream).

I personally use an Oculus Quest (the original version) with a wired (Oculus Link cable) connection, and I find it to be very usable, deeply immersive, and generally lots of fun; and for, me, 'good enough' for now, until the next generation of headsets and hopefully next version of Condor arrive.

If you're willing to use some extra software that may or may not cause issues, then you can follow the instructions in the HP Reverb G2 - VR Setup Guide for Condor 2 thread for any headset that can run through SteamVR using an older version of Revive (1.9.2 is the one I believe is working 'best') - the HP Reverb G2 being an excellent candidate, as it has great displays and an uncompressed wired connection; but other headsets can also be made to work in much the same way - and that should include the HTC Vive that your friend is letting you borrow!

In a way, if you're willing to spend a not-hugely-large amount of money right now on something that you know you may be replacing in the not-too-distant future, I might suggest getting a Meta Quest 2 and suitable USB cables for a pretty darn good experience within the current limitations; as well as a PC with as powerful graphics etc as you think you will need for the foreseeable future, including keeping in mind the next VR headset you might buy once Condor 3 comes out (and hopefully supports OpenXR and thus essentially arbitrary PC VR headsets).

For reference, my Condor VR PC is an Acer Predator 500 laptop from late 2019 with an NVidia RTX 2070 Max-Q, and it almost always gives me my headset's full 72Hz frame rate with most graphics settings turned up to the max; and anything from an RTX 3060 upwards (see this comparison) should give the same or better performance. But a Quest 2 does have slightly higher resolution and can run at 90Hz, so I would get a newer/faster GPU that that!

Does any of this help?

cloudbaseengineering
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cloudbaseengineering » Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:15 am

Thank you for the great reply. I have watched a few videos on getting the quest 2 to work and that seems the easiest. However I can find the Reverb 2 second hand sometimes even new online for about the same price as a quest 2 used. Is the reverb the better unit even if its more of a pain to get working? The HTC Vive I have requires the lighthouse modules and I am thinking just going with newer tech might be better. Also since this will be used in an environment with kids whichever is more stable may be best and curious what you think on that.

My biggest worry with VR is when I played with it before, all the game's I played were fairly short so fatigue was not much of an issue. In condor some of the tasks are quite long and curious if you find VR a bit taxing? One thing I can do is have a monitor mounted in front of me and should I get a headache I can always pull it off and use the monitor. Or for short flights and training use VR but for long racing tasks use a monitor. Have you had any issues with long tasks in VR? Sweaty or fogged headsets? I use to work for a VR company and designed hardware but in the end the company switched to just making games. The company I worked for is Survios and their 2 big games were raw data and creed. At the time they were developing Raw Data a group of us were also developing our own headset and it was so good it got us 65M in VC funding. In the end HTC made a deal with Survios to shelve the hardware we created and in doing so they would bundle Raw Data at launch of their product.

k6chris
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by k6chris » Thu Jan 12, 2023 8:37 am

The Quest 2 is great, but had a fairly narrow field of view, which does make it seem you are looking out of a snorkel mask at times. I believe the G2 offers a much better experience. There are some new headsets coming out this year, which might offer a wider FOV? A G2 for sensible money would make a great option, if you can live with the Condor compatibility issues.

cbrunschen
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cbrunschen » Thu Jan 12, 2023 10:52 am

cloudbaseengineering wrote:
Thu Jan 12, 2023 7:15 am
Thank you for the great reply.
I'm glad you found it useful!
I have watched a few videos on getting the quest 2 to work and that seems the easiest. However I can find the Reverb 2 second hand sometimes even new online for about the same price as a quest 2 used. Is the reverb the better unit even if its more of a pain to get working?
As a VR headset for flight simulation on a PC, the HP Reverb G2 is fundamentally better than the Meta Quest 2. But: Both are now a couple of years old; and Condor's use of the Oculus APIs requires the use of Revive, and an older version at that!, to work with the HP Reverb G2.

So both of these headsets are really becoming choices that are more backward- than forward-looking.

Interestingly enough, as you mention that you already have an HTC Vive, have you tried simply using that? You should be able to follow the same instructions as for the HP Reverb G2, simply skipping the "Windows Mixed Reality" (WMR) related parts.

A lot of new stuff was announced or demonstrated at CES just n the past week or so; it may well be worth sticking with something "cheap&cheerful" for a VR headset right now, when there are much better headsets coming within the year ahead.

This article on mixed-news.com seems to be a fairly reasonable roundup of what is (probably) coming in 2023. The Vive XR Elite does look quite interesting, Heck, even the Pimax Crystal is beginning to look like a credible option (and with a nicely wide field of view for flight simulation in particular) – and that's without even considering the very-strongly-expected Quest 3. And if the rumoured "Valve Deckard" turns out to be real ... that could be quite something.

This is why I am, for now, sticking with my original Oculus Quest – because what is available right now doesn't seem to me to be a big enough step forward compared to what I already have.

So you might consider a second-hand Quest 2 as a stopgap device!
The HTC Vive I have requires the lighthouse modules and I am thinking just going with newer tech might be better. Also since this will be used in an environment with kids whichever is more stable may be best and curious what you think on that.
Lighthouse tracking is fundamentally more precise, but I've always found my Oculus Quest (v1) to be perfectly fine. While there have been complaints about the inside-out tracking on the HP Reverb G2, those tend to mainly be about tracking the controllers in high-speed movements or similar - which does not apply to Condor.

The big advantage of inside-out tracking is that you don't need to set up any base stations; you don't need a more specific 'VR environment setup' than simply, put on your headset and choose your play area - which, for something like Condor, can usually be a 'stationary guardian' (in Quest parlance) or similar. It also means there's no risk of any disturbance to any base stations, because there aren't any!
My biggest worry with VR is when I played with it before, all the game's I played were fairly short so fatigue was not much of an issue. In condor some of the tasks are quite long and curious if you find VR a bit taxing? One thing I can do is have a monitor mounted in front of me and should I get a headache I can always pull it off and use the monitor. Or for short flights and training use VR but for long racing tasks use a monitor. Have you had any issues with long tasks in VR? Sweaty or fogged headsets?
I personally have never had any issues flying Condor in VR even for multiple hours at a time (... with the headset connection wired for highest image quality, and so that the headset is charging while in use so I don't run out of battery) - and that's with the original Oculus Quest (v1). But I fully realize that this can differ greatly from person to person; the only way to find out is, really, to try.
I use to work for a VR company and designed hardware but in the end the company switched to just making games. The company I worked for is Survios and their 2 big games were raw data and creed. At the time they were developing Raw Data a group of us were also developing our own headset and it was so good it got us 65M in VC funding. In the end HTC made a deal with Survios to shelve the hardware we created and in doing so they would bundle Raw Data at launch of their product.
Hardware development is difficult and expensive. It would still have been very interesting to see the Survios headset, and where it might have led!

cloudbaseengineering
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cloudbaseengineering » Tue Feb 07, 2023 9:22 am

Helo All,

My soaring cockpit is progressing and I plan to buy the quest 2 very soon. I have a question regarding input devices I may need. I have my own designed rudder pedals, Virpil MC2 stick base and warthog grip, 2 linear axis I designed for spoilers and flaps and will also add something for trim and gear. Will I need some sort of mouse to move around in the environment, or are people using the Oculus hand controllers? For my needs it seems the controllers are not needed and a trackpad or mouse might help. I am open to any suggestions.

k6chris
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by k6chris » Tue Feb 07, 2023 4:52 pm

I used a USB connected track pad mounted on the arm of my VR seat. Works well.

cloudbaseengineering
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cloudbaseengineering » Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:12 pm

k6chris wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 4:52 pm
I used a USB connected track pad mounted on the arm of my VR seat. Works well.
Thanks Chris,

So do you even need access to the oculus Hand controllers when flying in VR? I will be in an actual sailplane fuselage pod so don't want to have to get up and out to get controllers if they are needed.

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wickid
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by wickid » Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:26 pm

cloudbaseengineering wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:12 pm
k6chris wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 4:52 pm
I used a USB connected track pad mounted on the arm of my VR seat. Works well.
Thanks Chris,

So do you even need access to the oculus Hand controllers when flying in VR? I will be in an actual sailplane fuselage pod so don't want to have to get up and out to get controllers if they are needed.
Controllers are useless in VR in Condor. Everything in flight is accessed with keyboard or axis commands. The menu's can all be used with the mouse and don't work in VR, you need to use your screen until you are in the simulation.
PH-1504, KOE

cloudbaseengineering
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cloudbaseengineering » Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:39 pm

wickid wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:26 pm
cloudbaseengineering wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:12 pm
k6chris wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 4:52 pm
I used a USB connected track pad mounted on the arm of my VR seat. Works well.
Thanks Chris,

So do you even need access to the oculus Hand controllers when flying in VR? I will be in an actual sailplane fuselage pod so don't want to have to get up and out to get controllers if they are needed.
Controllers are useless in VR in Condor. Everything in flight is accessed with keyboard or axis commands. The menu's can all be used with the mouse and don't work in VR, you need to use your screen until you are in the simulation.
So your saying I will still need some sort of screen to get everything started up... Can I start it up on my desktop and then get in the pod and put the goggles on? Or can I just use the hand controllers to navigate the menus to get condor launched then set them aside and do everything else from inside after?

Should I buy one of these?
https://www.gliderbooks.com/#!/Keypad-f ... y=33224807

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wickid
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by wickid » Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:50 pm

cloudbaseengineering wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2023 8:39 pm

So your saying I will still need some sort of screen to get everything started up... Can I start it up on my desktop and then get in the pod and put the goggles on? Or can I just use the hand controllers to navigate the menus to get condor launched then set them aside and do everything else from inside after?

Should I buy one of these?
https://www.gliderbooks.com/#!/Keypad-f ... y=33224807
There are no menu's in VR. They are only on the flat screen. So you need a mouse and a flat screen to get the simulator started.

Then you can get in your cockpit and put your goggles on. In the simulation the hand controllers don't do anything, they are not supported. All controls need either a keypress or an axis.
PH-1504, KOE

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Kaibeth
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by Kaibeth » Wed Feb 08, 2023 10:24 am

I can access my desktop in VR with my Quest 2 and use the controllers to manipulate my mouse and get the flight set up. Then Start Flight, set down the controllers and fly normally.

VR is amazing. I cannot fly without it any more.
Postojna is no longer a pain in my empennage. :mrgreen:

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cloudbaseengineering
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cloudbaseengineering » Wed Feb 08, 2023 6:41 pm

Kaibeth wrote:
Wed Feb 08, 2023 10:24 am
I can access my desktop in VR with my Quest 2 and use the controllers to manipulate my mouse and get the flight set up. Then Start Flight, set down the controllers and fly normally.

VR is amazing. I cannot fly without it any more.
Great thanks for the info. My cockpit is coming all g so should be flying by next month if all goes well.

kingjamez
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by kingjamez » Thu Feb 09, 2023 3:42 pm

I find having a flat screen convenient but I'm pretty sure I could work without it using SteamVR's desktop or Virtual Desktop's, desktop. Either solution can be easily set to start automatically.

If you haven't purchased the Quest 2 yet, I'd suggest holding off before you research the Pico4. I have the Pico4, Quest2, and HP Reverb G2 and vastly prefer the Pico4 because of it's pancake lenses. With the Q2 and G2 the sweet spot is very very sharp but I have to move my head when looking at different instruments to see them clearly. The pancake lenses in the Pico4 allow me to move my eyes to the instruments instead of my head and this feels much more natural to me. This is a bigger issue in Microsoft Flight Simulator than Condor as Condor's instruments are easier to read, but having a larger clear area is still beneficial.

The Pico4 uses essentially the same setup that the G2 would use: Revive,SteamVR, Virtual Desktop. Takes a few minutes to follow the instructions on this forum, but works great after that.

-Jim

cloudbaseengineering
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Re: Thinking of buying a VR headset for Condor

Post by cloudbaseengineering » Thu Feb 09, 2023 11:20 pm

Hello Jim,

Thanks for the info on the Pico 4. Unfortunately its not available in the USA. If I manage to get one woudl I still have access to games and such from a USA server? I was leaning toward buying a used Quest 2 (lots just used a few times for sale and even never opened) to keep my costs down and also as an interim gap until Condor 3 is released since it may allow other headsets natively. I can get a used Q2 in 129gb for $200 or less.

On another note if you want to see the progress on the fuselage pod I have a thread at this forum. You may need to sign up to see it to avoid adds but its all free.

https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/foru ... ild.40108/

Marc

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