RealFlight 8 - The RCGroups Team Overview - RC Groups

RealFlight 8 - The RCGroups Team Overview

RealFlight 8 is here! Combined with a set of VR goggles, RF8 places you on the field for the ultimate in flight simulator realism. But how well does it perform? Join the RCG review team as each gives their opinion on version 8 of this robust flight simulator.

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The RCGroups Review Team Tests RealFlight 8 in Virtual Reality

From Jim T.

RF8 has just hit the streets and I thought it would be a good idea for the whole RCG crew to check it out in advance. Each one of us have different things we look for and like in an RC flight sim so why not get input from everyone? RFX was created for the high-end gamer. I think the concept behind RF8 was to upgrade 7.5 while keeping it usable for RC pilots with lower end machines. Let's see what RF8 has to offer...

From Hobbico:

RealFlight 8 brings back all the features and functionality of RF7.5 with several key upgrades:

  • VR compatibility. Plug in a popular VR set available on the market and you're instantly at the field or behind the sticks.
  • Intuitive interface which virtually guarantees you'll be up and flying in moments. There's zero learning curve, zero hassle, just flying fun.
  • You can fly with the custom-designed InterLink controller or hook up a game console controller you might already have around the house.
  • There are over a dozen new aircraft and a customized FPV flying site.
  • You can customize everything to your satisfaction with aircraft and flying site software that has also been upgraded to accept even more detailed HD models.
  • Game-like challenges which have helped sharpen thousands of pilots' skills are back and expanded so you get more tiers of balloon-popping, spot landing bang for your buck.

System Requirements

Minimum Recommended System:

  • Windows Vista™ or Windows 7 or Windows 8 or Windows 10
  • Intel® Pentium® 1.0GHz or equivalent
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 10 GB Hard Drive Space
  • DVD Drive
  • 3D Accelerated Video with:
  • 32 MB Dedicated Video Memory
  • Full DirectX 9 compliant (Shader Model 2.0 or better)
  • InterLink-X, RealFlight compatible controller, or other Gamepad/Joystick

Optimal System:

  1. Dual Core 2.4GHz CPU
  2. 2 GB RAM
  3. 3D Accelerated Video with: 512 MB dedicated video memory
  4. Multiplayer Requirements:
  5. Broadband connection
  6. Computer microphone for voice chat

InterLink-X Controller:

  • USB Port
  • Compatible FM or FM-selectable transmitter (if using the interface mode)
  • Note: The connectors on the InterLink-X cord and included adapters make the InterLink-X compatible with the trainer jacks on most Futaba® and all JR®, Spektrum® and Tower Hobbies® systems.

Jason Cole - RF8 and VR

If you've listened to our live Thursday YouTube broadcasts, you've probably heard me talk about VR and my desire for an RC simulator to fly in that environment. VR has the power of presence and the idea of placing myself virtually in a flying field and flying a plane like it was real life was exciting. It was only a dream until RealFlight 8. RF8 finally lets me practice and have fun flying on a simulator at home, but it feels like I'm out in the field. Is it perfect? No, but it is extremely cool? Yes it is.

So let's chat about the realities of present day VR and how it works with RF8. The resolution on the Oculus Rift is 1080 x 1200 pixels for each eye, which sounds great, but you are looking at it up close and magnified so you actually can see the space between the pixels slightly (screen door effect). It's not so noticeable once you are immersed in the content and developers have found ways to make the effect less noticeable, but it's something I wanted to mention as the the graphics quality will look much better on your monitor than it does in the VR headset. Now that said, the VR implementation in RF8 is pretty great for getting that experience. You don't have to do anything but put on the headset and you can seamlessly switch back and forth between your monitor and the VR headset. Once you pull the goggles down, you are there! It's no longer just a picture on a screen, you are standing there with your plane running. You can look around and even move within your space limits. The only thing I'm missing is a virtual body with arms and a transmitter to bring the immersion up even more, but this is a fantastic start.

Now depending on the plane and the field used, the scaling sometimes was off for me. On one field I felt like I was a giant towering over the field features, but the plane was also a giant, nearly the size of a manned airplane especially when you flew close to yourself. On other fields and planes, the size scaling felt more realistic so you'll just need to play around and find the ones that feel best to you.

1st person view or FPV is a great tool on the screen, but it doesn't play out so well in VR. If you put it in cockpit view on a model airplane, it puts you in the cockpit, but the scaling is way off and it can make you sick so I don't suggest you do that. Now, the one exception for me was the scenario of the Russian Thunder. It's sized to be a full scale plane and you are in the cockpit and it just looks and feels right. I was flying Russian Thunder and it was amazing! I was doing aerobatics and looking out the side and behind me as the smoke poured out and it just felt so cool to be able to do that.

RF8 is a great first step in the world VR RC simulation. I know as time goes on, the headsets will get better, the graphics will improve and tweaks will be made to make the experience even more realistic than it is now. Kudos to Knife Edge Software and Hobbico for making my dreams come true!

Joe Vermillion - RF8 on Older PCs and Game Challenges

RF8 does not disappoint in new content. And as always I find it to be very close to flying the real thing, with the exception of the reset button.

One of the features that really drew me in were the challenges that are built into RF8. There are 19 different challenges that let you race against the clock to move up to the next level. Each challenge has a differing number of levels depending on what it is. I find this to be a great way to practice and you will need to practice for sure. To beat the clock on most of them, you will need to get very good at doing what ever each task is. To get though them and get 100% is quite challenging.

There are Line of site challenges as well as FPV. And everything from fix winged air racing to Heli grappling challenges. Very fun indeed, as well as letting you hone your skills flying the real things.

One of the questions I wanted to answer for my self, was RF8's ability to run on a not so awesome PC. I am happy to report that even with the slower laptop I am running right now, I noticed that everything seemed to work fine. I am sure that a much nicer computer would make everything a little smoother and a lot prettier, but for now what I am using works great.

My laptop specs are as follows: Intel i5-6300 CPU @2.4GHz 8GB RAM Intel HD 520 Graphics Card

VR Flying From the Cockpit

There are a few planes that are very cool to fly form the cockpit via VR. Check out the Sbach...

RealFlight 8 - VR Flying from the Cockpit (8 min 23 sec)

Jim Graham - Online Sessions and FPV in the Goggles

I have to admit that one of my favorite features of RealFlight is the ability to fly with others online. I was excited to hear that it was in the RF8 release! You can join others on a hosted RF server or host your own flying field from your computer. It looks like you will only be able to fly with other RF8 users at this time but I'm sure after the release there will be plenty of folks to fly with!

FPV

In the real world I fly FPV almost exclusively. So in RealFlight I want to fly that way as well. With 7.5 I would use a nose view and fly with my monitor. With RF8 I had two new options. I could run it through my Oculus VR headset or my Fatshark Focal DVR with HDMI in. My theory is that I don't fly FPV in 3D in real life so why would I do it in RF8? I'm happy to report that FPVing around in my goggles is pretty cool and pretty realistic! One of my favorite fields is the 3D Boneyard. I can shoot through hangars, under wings and if I'm good through an empty fuselage!

RealFlight 8 - FPV View RCGroups (4 min 20 sec)

VR Dogfighting

ReaFlight 8 VR Online Session - RCGroups (3 min 53 sec)

Today I jumped on the multiplayer server and joined some dogfights in my Oculus headset...WOW! The cockpit looks pretty realistic and I was flying the pants off the plane. I was looking for the "VR sickness" signs and after extensive inverted maneuvers I left the session feeling fine! Flying the Boneyard in 3D is just plain fun. I immediately messaged Jason and Matt that they needed to join in! While I couldn't shoot a video of my 3D flying I did shoot a video of my 2D flying for you to check out. SO MUCH FUN!

You can create your own courses with whatever you want. I even devised a way to put dots on the ground. I fully believe that practicing in RF8 with your goggles 100% translates to your real FPV flying. Give it a try!!

FPV and VR Sickness (Cures)

I felt like I had to touch on this for those of you that want to try FPV with your VR headset. I have made a discovery - if you fly "nose" cam and have no reference to your plane your chances of feeling weezy go up much faster. I tried to dogfight from a nose view and immediately knew I made a mistake. I quickly switched back to a cockpit view and all was well. The cockpit gives your mind a reference to work off of and in a way helps stabilize you.

Nikolei Zinsli - New Planes and More

Let's face it, who doesn't like new stuff!? RF8 introduced 6 new models and several new scenarios. They are:

  • Riley Model B (plane)
  • Great Planes Factor 30cc (plane)
  • Synergy 766 (heli)
  • Gremlin 280 (heli)
  • Rise RXS255 (quad)
  • Tiny Terror 150 (quad)

Scenarios - Bayou Beaver, Eye in the Sky, FPV Racing, Golden Age Redux, Monster Performance, Showtime and X Factor Now with over 140 different aircraft to pick from, you could play with a new one every night and never get bored! Not to mention the hundreds of free models you can download from knifeedge software's community site.

As you saw in my recent review of the Ryan STA, I love the sleek lines of golden-age aircraft. So I was very excited to try out the new Riley Model B, as I had seen it several times on display at the Toledo Weak Signals Expo model competition. The lines and scale details in Realflight were very nicely replicated, even the rich Mohagany wood panels and radial engine heads peaking out fromt he cowl. Oh, and the sweet sweet sound of that radial....woo! And of course it flies as smooth as it looks. Now I want a REAL one!

I was also anxious to try out the new quads and FPV Racing scenario. I'm pretty new to the world of FPV and hadn't yet tried any of the drone simulators. Now that I'm having some fun with my little SPC Maker 95X, I was hoping that RF8 would allow me to practice FPV freestyle and racing. Unfortunately, it fell a little short for me in these areas. While flying around FPV and checking out the scenery is certainly fun, the physics of flipping, rolling & diving (freestyling) the quads didn't have the snappy response I get flying the real thing (granted some of this might improve with some simple rates & model tweaking). Also with the huge interest of FPV freestlye, I'd encourage them to make more 3d scapes like Apocolypse with large buildings & structures that we can fly around & through! Similarily, the FPV course was fun, but the gates seemed to be placed at random and had no connector dots to plot a course with so it felt a bit awkward trying to figure out what gates to go through in what order, and then remember it so I could try and do laps. And, adding multi-level gates would be a great addition to replicate real courses. However, actually practicing to just make it through the gates consistently was still good practice!

Matt Gunn - VR Thoughts and Experiences

I learned to fly radio controlled airplanes in the mid 90's on one of the original versions of RealFlight, so in a way I owe my career in part to this software! I had the opportunity to review RealFlight 7.5 in 2015; naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to try out version 8. Being an Oculus Rift owner, I really enjoy the virtual reality experiences this powerful headset offers. Coupled with RealFlight 8, the Rift headset serves up a true-to-life view of your aircraft in flight, and I'm loving it! I should note that I did not use the new Interlink-X controller that is offered with the software; I was given an early version with the disk only, and I utilized the Interlink Elite controller from version 7.5.

Strapping on the Oculus Rift headset, I chose a photo-realistic field and the Yak-54 3D version. Immediately, I felt fully immersed into the scene, and looking around proved that the sensation was natural with no lag. While wearing the VR headset, I'm able to look anywhere as if I were really on the field. I'm unable move positions however, which is alright with me because the walk of shame isn't necessary with the red reset button on the controller. Advancing the throttle, the giant scale Yak 54 was on the wing and I immediately broke into a hover, followed by a few hot laps to get the feel for following the aircraft. Gone is the aircraft tracking we've grown accustomed to; you now have to turn your head and watch the plane just like in real life. I honestly feel like this is as close to reality that a pilot can get to flying a model airplane. RealFlight has always been perfect at building the necessary muscle memory needed to learn to fly, but it lacked the depth and scale of realism in a 2D environment. Now your eyes trick your brain into thinking the experience is real, and it builds skill-level even further.

The experience is not without it's limits though. The 1080x1200 resolution of the Oculus Rift goggles makes the aircraft difficult to resolve at further distances. If you make wide sweeping circuits around the field, your aircraft can be reduced to a blob of indiscernible pixels - start doing rifle rolls at this distance, you can quickly lose aircraft orientation. My advice is to keep your aircraft closer for a more pleasurable experience.

FPV flying was fun, but the 360-degree instant head tracking felt unnatural as I began to quickly experience motion sickness. Flying FPV is a 2-dimensional experience when you look through a set of Fatshark goggles at a fixed-position camera view. Being immersed inside the RF8 world through the Oculus Rift goggles is a very unique experience, but a bit overwhelming to my senses.

Overall, I consider RF8 with VR capability to be a beneficial tool for teaching pilots how to fly, or to chase away those rainy-day blues and get some practice in. If your computer can run RF 7.5, you'll have no problem with RF8. But in order to take advantage of VR you'll need a graphics card that's up to the task. I use a GeForce GTX 1070 with no apparent lag or stuttering issues. Of course, you'll also need a pair of VR goggles, and the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive are a perfect compliment to this well polished rc flight simulator.

Learn More on the Hobbico Site

Head over to Hobbico to learn more about, and order, RealFlight 8!

Conclusion

Well there you have it! Multiple looks and thoughts of RF 8 from RC pilots that have used this software for years. It really fits in between 7.5 and X. It can run on low end machines but also has VR capabilities. You can once again join your friends online and fly together. There are new planes to check out and enjoy. You can practice FPV flight, or slip on your goggles for the first time and get a handle on what FPV flying is really like. RF8 has a lot to offer!

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Last edited by Matt Gunn; Oct 31, 2017 at 01:39 PM..
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Nov 01, 2017, 06:20 PM
TEAM FUTABA TEAM DURALITE
mithrandir's Avatar
S
W
E
E
T

thanks!!
Nov 02, 2017, 07:54 AM
Registered User
But why cant they offer the upgrade (at least) as a download? The last time I used a cd-rom was when I installed RF6 on my new pc a couple of years ago. Aerofly offers all versions and upgrades as downloads, and is a lot cheaper as well.
Nov 02, 2017, 01:15 PM
Registered User
Shifteer's Avatar
Seriously the need to keep buying boxes is just a piss off.
Nov 03, 2017, 04:10 PM
Registered User
My thoughts as well. Most PC software these days is sold by download. You have to be connected to receive the software updates anyway. I'd really like to try it but I have to wait for a local distributor to receive the boxes or wait for the RF8 upgrades to be released. That also entails distributor costs & postage on top of the cost of the sim.
Nov 03, 2017, 04:32 PM
Registered User
evlwevl's Avatar
Having gone to an IMac , I guess I'm still out
Nov 04, 2017, 11:00 AM
Registered User
I've been running RF on Parallels on my MBP for several years. Haven't upgraded to RF8 but RF 7.5 works great.
Nov 05, 2017, 01:38 AM
2 MANY TOYS :-)
Hoverup's Avatar
Anyone have a link for setting up Oculus Rift with RF8, connectivity, etc.?



Cheers - Boyd
AMA 80393
IRCHA 3553
LSF 853
Major USAF
Retired
Nov 05, 2017, 07:34 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
There’s nothing to setup. It just works. Once you have loaded up RF8, just put on the Rift and your there in VR.
Nov 14, 2017, 11:04 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoverup
Anyone have a link for setting up Oculus Rift with RF8, connectivity, etc.?



Cheers - Boyd
AMA 80393
IRCHA 3553
LSF 853
Major USAF
Retired
I am up and VR-ing. Wow what an experience. Instant motion sickness. Otherwise awesome.
I didn’t have a PC VR capable so I had to buy a new one, install software, get everything connected and calibrated. I was lucky and managed to figure everything out. I think this is so new that by the time a setup link is produced it will be out of date.
Nov 15, 2017, 10:35 AM
2 MANY TOYS :-)
Hoverup's Avatar
Anyone have a link for setting up Oculus Rift with RF8, connectivity, etc.?



Cheers - Boyd
AMA 80393
IRCHA 3553
LSF 853
Major USAF
Retired
Nov 15, 2017, 11:11 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoverup
Anyone have a link for setting up Oculus Rift with RF8, connectivity, etc.?



Cheers - Boyd
AMA 80393
IRCHA 3553
LSF 853
Major USAF
Retired
https://support.oculus.com it just works
Nov 15, 2017, 11:17 AM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
That's correct. You should not have to setup the Occulus between RF8. What specific issues are you having?
Nov 15, 2017, 11:25 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gunn
That's correct. You should not have to setup the Occulus between RF8. What specific issues are you having?
The only thing slightly difficult for me after setting up Oculus was turning on the Unknown Sources tab in General Settings in Oculus. Didn’t have to do anything with RF8.

Ed
Nov 15, 2017, 03:28 PM
Registered User
aerografixs's Avatar
I have a Fat shark dominator , will this work ?


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