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Nov 02, 2017, 08:32 PM
Knife Edge Software

RealFlight 8 VR Tips

Here are some things we would like everyone to know about VR. They are grouped into two different sections based on whether they apply specifically to performance or to the overall experience.

VR Experience

The current virtual reality headsets provide roughly half as many pixels as a standard widescreen monitor. VR is not about a high resolution presentation. The hardware isn't there yet. Instead, it's about the experience.

Even if the aircraft doesn't look quite as good as it does on your monitor, it's far more immersive to look around the world freely, tracking your model just like you would at the field. VR lets you do things like glance between your model and the runway when lining up for a landing. If you get away from yourself and lose orientation, no longer can you rely on the movement of the camera as a clue; you really need to fly your way out of it. A simulation should feel as close to the real thing as possible. VR adds a new level of realism that has nothing to do with adding pixels.

PhotoFields and VR
PhotoFields do work in VR, but you won't get the full experience. Because the panorama used to create the PhotoField is monoscopic (2D), the entire simulation has to be rendered that way. This means that you don't get the 3D effect that lets you judge distance, etc. in VR. This might make the aircraft's scale seem strange, and it might make it harder to focus on the aircraft against the background.

The 2D panorama also means that you can't move your head around. Your look direction is tracked, but your position has to be locked.

We know that many users swear by the PhotoFields, so we kept them working in VR. Just bear in mind their limitations.

3D Airports and VR
3D airports (all airports except PhotoFields) allow the full VR experience. In these flying sites, the terrain and all objects are rendered in full stereoscopic 3D. You can even walk around if your physical VR space is big enough. All camera modes are enabled at 3D fields.

Camera Modes and VR
For extra fun, try the different camera modes. Models with cockpits are particularly rewarding. Scaling is applied to cockpit cameras to make the aircraft feel bigger - your head wouldn't fit inside many model canopies! In general, the cockpit VR experience will feel like flying a full-scale aircraft.

Some users may experience VR-sickness with flying camera modes. This is a hazard with any application that moves the camera around, not just RealFlight.

VR Performance

Framerate is Important!
Maintaining 90 frames per second (FPS) is critical for a good experience in VR. The system automatically locks the framerate to 90 fps. If it can't sustain that, it drops all the way to 45 fps (and even further to 22.5 if needed). At framerates below 90 fps you can expect to see some doubling of the image and generally have a subpar experience. Therefore, it is important to check your framerate and adjust settings as needed to achieve 90 fps.

Checking Your Framerate
First, make sure you are running version 8.00.019. Then simply turn on the NavGuides gadget within RealFlight and look at the "Graphics Frames/Sec" readout. Note that some airports and aircraft are more demanding than others. You may find your framerate varies depending on what you are doing and where.

Improving Your Framerate
Improve your framerate by adjusting RealFlight's graphics quality settings. The simplest way to do this is to select Simulation->Graphics. from the main menu and choose a lower setting. For finer control, select Simulation->Settings. from the main menu, navigate to the Graphics->Quality settings group, then tweak individual settings. (Note that changes to some settings do not take effect until the sim is restarted. See each setting's description for more info.)

You should do whatever it takes to achieve 90 fps in VR, even if it means lowering quality settings beyond what you might otherwise find acceptable for regular sim usage. Some of these settings aren't very noticeable in VR and won't be missed. For example, normal maps add a lot of value on a standard monitor, but provide almost no benefit within VR. Turn them off for an easy and painless gain.

"VR Quality" Setting
Within a separate Virtual Reality settings group in the Simulation->Settings dialog you will find a "VR Quality" setting. Its name makes it a tempting target when trying to enhance your VR experience, but use it only as a last resort! Lowering that setting will have more of a negative impact on the visual quality than anything you might change in the Graphics->Quality group.

That is because the VR Quality setting alters the resolution of the entire image being presented to each of your eyes, which is then scaled up or down to match the physical resolution of your headset's screens. If you lower it, everything is rendered at a smaller size and then stretched to fit (think of it like zooming in), which creates ugly artifacts.

We strongly recommend keeping this setting on High unless you have a compelling reason to change it. On High, visuals are rendered at exactly the right size for the hardware, meaning no scaling occurs.

When Should I Adjust the VR Quality Setting?
  1. Your graphics card is at the very low end of what is supported and struggles to sustain a desirable framerate even after reducing standard graphics quality settings as described above. Lowering this setting just might give you the last little boost you need to experience VR.
  2. Your powerful system easily maintains 90 fps everywhere you fly even with all the graphics quality settings cranked up, and you are looking for ways to further improve the visuals. Increasing this setting will result in
    supersampling of the entire image for each eye, which can add a small amount of antialiasing. Be sure to verify that you still see 90 fps with it raised.

V-Sync and VR
If you are using VR, make sure Vertical Sync is disabled in RealFlight. You can find it under Simulation>Settings>Graphics>Hardware>Vertical Sync.

If you need additional help with RealFlight 8, please contact Product Support.
Last edited by Jeremy Sebens; Nov 03, 2017 at 12:36 PM.
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Nov 02, 2017, 08:58 PM
Registered User
NoobRc's Avatar
Great post Jeremy, thanks! Where is the vertical sync setting typically? Graphics card settings? RF or Oculus?
Latest blog entry: My second EF Laser 74 v2 - Gas
Nov 02, 2017, 09:45 PM
Knife Edge Software
The vertical sync setting referred to here is the one in RealFlight. It's an option under Simulation>Settings>Graphics.
Nov 02, 2017, 09:54 PM
Registered User
NoobRc's Avatar
Originally Posted by Jeremy Sebens
The vertical sync setting referred to here is the one in RealFlight. It's an option under Simulation>Settings>Graphics.
Thanks, done!
Latest blog entry: My second EF Laser 74 v2 - Gas
Nov 23, 2017, 08:50 AM
Registered User
There is now a download version of RF8 for those not wanting to buy a box with a disc:

This is for the software only version. Owners of RF7 above get a $20 store voucher I believe it is, but I had RF6.5 so no discounts.

If you have VR goggles its definitely worth getting. I've got a high end PC with a MSI GTX1080TI graphics card so I was able to maximise all the settings. I also have the Occulus Rift CV1 goggles with 3 sensors. The 2 sensors included with the Oculus are fine with this title. I set the VR setting to its highest graphic setting, switched on normals to improve the look of the textures etc. Even at the high settings when the plane moves towards the end of the flying strip its becomes grainy and the resolution drops off but its still very much recognisable and flyable. The sound is surround sound so you can hear the plane flying behind you. It is a lot of fun. RF6.5 didn't have acro mode quadcopters and the Tempest 280 in RF8 is a new interesting aircraft to fly. Moving around in VR often makes me dizzy and a little nauseus and so I couldn't cope with flying the quad in FPV mode, particularly when standing up. There is no stationary point of reference. I think if they animated the blades or showed part of the quadcopter frame in view it may help? But standing and watching the aircraft flying around caused me no issues. RF8 in VR is the closest experience you can have flying a real RC plane. Thanks to RealFlight for making the jump into VR, its a great experience and clearly one of the top VR titles now.
Last edited by stewjw; Nov 23, 2017 at 09:10 AM.
Nov 25, 2017, 04:55 PM
Registered User
These tips are just copy/pasted from the Knife Edge forum post;

Still, good to know though.
Dec 02, 2017, 04:42 PM
Registered User
I just downloaded this and it installed as it should, ran as it should and delivered a good experience.
now to import all my other planes and have a play.
my rift worked seamlessly too.
frame rate is a bit poor, but gets the pucker feeling really going when you fly helis in close.
plenty more work to do to configure properly.
Last edited by peterreebok; Dec 02, 2017 at 05:05 PM.
Dec 02, 2017, 05:36 PM
Registered User
Peter, do you have enough PC horsepower to get 90fps?
Dec 03, 2017, 04:44 AM
Registered User
I have an I5 6400 with 16gb ram and a 11gb 1080 ti graphics card.
Better be good enough.
Only played with it for a half hr, sure there will be plenty of fiddlin* in times to come.
Dec 03, 2017, 02:53 PM
Registered User
Sounds like a nice setup Peter. Maybe an i7 board would be a bit better. I've always found that framerates tend to drop a bit when close-in and close to the ground, esp flying 3D fields. Once I'm up ~+3m they increase.

I'm still sitting on the VR fence for now so I will be very interested to hear how VR guys like yourself make out, and what settings you need to use. Thanks.
Feb 12, 2018, 04:38 PM
Registered User


I bought a nice new laptop (to replace my 7 year old one) during Boxing Day 2017 Microsoft Store sales. It's an Alienware 17 R4 with i7-7700hk, 32gb ram, 256 gb ssd, 1 tb hd, and a gtx 1060 w/6gb ram graphics. As a bonus it also included a Dell mixed reality VR headset plus controllers.

So far, I am really enjoying VR games with this setup. Realflight 8 (download version btw) works great with my WMR setup thanks to the SteamVR WMR interface. With the right settings I get 90fps with the 3d obstacle course (both day or night ones). I love flying VR from the cockpit of the Messerschmitt, racing through all the hoops/gates.

I've found that, with VR, 3d planes and Heli's work best from a fixed view (pilot box) and it really makes you feel you are out at your flying field. You do need to keep things reasonable close in (say within ~75-100m) or the image gets a little hard to see and orientate.

I've also found that VR with FPV racing quads using the quad's camera does not work very well because it's too easy to shift your head a little off centre and this screws up your yaw control. For good FPV quad racing practise you are still best to use the standard non-VR format imho.

VR is still in it's early stages of development an I am sure it will continue to improve. Still, I'm very glad I've jumped in now!
Feb 21, 2018, 01:36 PM
Registered User
@Jeremy: I never had RF and just plan to buy it. And I wonder, how many switches do you need to work on your radio to use RF-8 comfortably? I mean, how many channels do you need to have - for things like hold, flight mode, controlling the game like pause, rewind...?

I ask this because I'm not sure if using a 6-channel radio is fine or is it better to buy RF with the controller. In Heli-X I just use keyboard for several things, but I guess this is not an option anymore once you're in VR.
Feb 26, 2018, 06:38 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by azaz44
I never had RF and just plan to buy it. And I wonder, how many switches do you need to work on your radio to use RF-8 comfortably? I mean, how many channels do you need to have - for things like hold, flight mode, controlling the game like pause, rewind...?

I ask this because I'm not sure if using a 6-channel radio is fine or is it better to buy RF with the controller. In Heli-X I just use keyboard for several things, but I guess this is not an option anymore once you're in VR.
If I were you and do not already have any RF sims, and fly mode 2 (throttle and rudder on left stick) I would buy the new RF8 combo with the RF-X controller that is expected to be available early next month (march 2018).

If you fly mode 1 (throttle and elevator on left stick) then you will need to follow the instructions from RF on how to do this. Not too hard imho.

I have used RF Sims for many years and I find it so much nicer and easier to use the RF controllers (I actually use the older interlink Elite controller but I am thinking about purchasing the rf-x controller separately since it does offer a few more features). It is a lot more convenient to have a RF controller close to your PC and just need to plug it into a USB port. You will tend to use it more often. Also, avoids wear and tear on your field Tx.
Mar 07, 2018, 04:19 PM
A man without a plan
helifrek's Avatar
I already have realflight 7 (I think, it might be 6.5....) can I upgrade to 8? I already have a rift and the controller and everything else I need.

I am running an I5-6600K and a 980ti, hopefully enough to run it. I want to upgrade to the 1080 ti eventually.
Jun 21, 2018, 10:58 AM
Registered User
Can anyone post some inexpensive VR headsets that work with RF8? I'd like to try it first before breaking the bank.

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