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Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:29 pm
by Robert ... iew/view/4

Nels Anderson runs FlightSim.Com and this is their 20th anniversary month. As part of a look back, various people from across the flight simulation community asked Nels interview questions and this one was from Matt Wagner of DCS/Eagle.

Matt Wagner From DCS

What are your thoughts on the current generation of virtual reality systems and their impact on entertainment flight simulation?

ANSWER: It seems like virtual reality has been "coming soon" for an awful lot of years now! But the current generation does show more promise of actually amounting to something. At the recent FlightSimCon I even got the chance to fly FSX using a virtual reality setup, using software from FlyInside and the Oculus Rift headset. So it's here now for those who want it.

I don't see it as having much impact on what we traditionally consider to be flight simulation. You really don't need a virtual reality system to immerse yourself into flight and frankly I cannot imagine wearing the equipment for the duration of a long flight. It's also currently difficult to deal with the many controls your need to use to fly an aircraft and there's no easy way to refer to charts. Perhaps solutions for this will be found in future VR systems.

It's more likely that it will open up types of simulation different from what we're used to, simulations that are more immersive but likely shorter in duration and more mission oriented. Once the hardware is cheap enough and truly accessible to the average person I'm sure clever developers will find good uses for it.

Interview with Matt Wagner
Web site:

Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:02 pm
by Tony
IMO the man is blind to the future, which is now :)


Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:14 pm
by Robert
I'm curious why the things he called out weren't demoed to him where he would even be aware they aren't problems since all you do is pull a window with something like SkyVector in and you have charts, or .pdfs if you want manuals, checklists, etc. As far as interacting with the cockpit, a good setup with Leap Motion may have had him as a convert. I also interact with my radios and cockpit all the time with my mouse and it's easy. I don't use Leap Motion and I would not say interacting with the cockpit is in any way difficult.

I think part of it may be the focus of possibly more "mainstream" flight simulation is flying airliners on routes with VatSim and such. There seems to be a big emphasis on that at the FlightSim website. I'm not even that big into the smaller jets myself, though they can be fun in formation work. I'm also not into airliners. I tend to prefer prop planes with one or two, maybe even three wings. When I go cross-country it's dead reckoning and looking for landmarks. I'm lower and closer to terrain and generally doing the kinds of things that VR flat out excels at and provides a huge thrill doing.

Nothing wrong with his opinion, and he did give a lot of publicity to FlyInside back during the KickStarter, and I know this also wasn't a real review where he would have more time and thought to explore this stuff, but I do wish he would have mentioned where his emphasis is. He said in another question that he likes to use flight simulation to practice IFR flying with ATC and I can see VR currently being at a pretty fair deficit there. He also mentioned aerobatics and flying in areas unsafe in a real airplane which presumably means close quarters, and for that, I think VR is a huge bonus.

His voice is a big one in the flight sim community though since he runs FlightSim, and if he just didn't like it since it does have lower resolution than a monitor or whatever, that's one thing. But the deficits he mentioned are either already provided and it seems somebody just didn't show him that it would do that or he didn't ask and assumed it wouldn't. It's a shame because that was a missed opportunity.

Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:49 pm
by admin
Guys I want to put a couple of words in for Nels. First off, I got to meet him at FlightSimCon, and it was a pleasure :D

As far as controls... everyone at FlightSimCon had about five minutes to try out FlyInside (long lines), and they were trying to learn our particular yoke/throttle in that time. Imagine using a controller you've never used before, without being able to see it, with a line behind you and people around you ;) I'm not surprised it seemed like a major limitation. That said, I think he would think differently if he had an hour to himself to learn FlyInside with his controller of choice.

Second we didn't have time to demo charts to people. In the five minutes they had, they were mostly being blown away by VR flight and learning controls blind. No time for charts, most people didn't get as far as binocular zoom. Mostly put the headset on, adjust it, say "wow" :lol: , fly a pattern, and let the next person take a turn.

FlightSimCon was a blast and a lot of people really enjoyed FlyInside, but that's the limit of over 500 people in 2 days with 2 Rifts :o Go easy on Nels, we couldn't give anyone special treatment or time to really explore the software. I wouldn't say his impression after only five minutes was unfair!

Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:35 pm
by Robert
I wasn't blaming anyone and especially Nels. I was just saying I could see where his emphasis and interest might be different based on the other questions he was asked and since it was you demoing, I'd say there might have been some miscommunication since you are obviously well aware of everything FlyInside does. And his comment above was in response to an interview question and not a review. I would bet he didn't have the chance to really research to see there are ways to interact with the cockpit or use charts and it's obvious from your comment that there just wasn't time to demo everything it can do.

My take was it was just unfortunate that he went away with more of a "meh" impression of FlyInside and VR flight because if he was blown away it didn't come across in his comments. I'm glad others did enjoy it, though. The more that get to try it, the more people might believe the oddball stories we tell them about a computer "game".

Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:13 pm
by Derek Speare
The date of that interview is Jan 14th of this year. Much has changed since then, and much has changed with the posture from DCS/Wagner towards VR since then. I believe they realize the enormity of it now; it's a no-brainer, but I suppose some need their bell rung really well to get it.

Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:25 pm
by Robert
Unless I misread the page and post, the January 14 interview was Nels interviewing Matt Wagner of DCS and I don't see VR even being mentioned. Maybe I missed it though. The interview I quoted was Nels being asked about VR by Matt Wagner in a turn the tables series for FlightSim's 20th anniversary.

I think what Nels may have been referring to was from trying VR with Dan at Flight Sim Con but I don't know that and am just inferring that from the timing. If that is correct, Dan has already covered the tight schedule and I'm sure Nels had his own time pressures too.

But either way, it's Nels' opinion and he is certainly entitled to it. He said in another interview question that he prefers IFR work which, just my opinion, VR in its current form may not be ideal for. But it sure as hell is for pattern, VFR, formation, aerobatics, and general fun flying.

He just wasn't all that enthused and listed his reasons but some seemed to be misinformed. The real proof of the utility and value of VR shows in posts like pkwaite's (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2354#p10680) where he talked about being a real pilot, trying FlyInside, and sitting in the cockpit of a 172 and laughing as he "took it all in".

That's the money shot. I just wish Nels would have had a better impression as VR has had an uphill battle in both the driving and flying sim worlds and I think a lot of that is misinformation, bias, and just people not having had the chance to try it for themselves because the barriers are fairly high. Certainly there are also scenarios where VR may not be ready yet and I can sure see not having the resolution to see brake points way in advance or it just being more difficult to fly IFR in VR.

I want to say emphatically that Nels is welcome to his own opinion. I just wish he had liked it better since that interview has gotten a lot of views and has probably justified a lot of opinions that VR isn't ready or as immersive as it is to virtually sit in a cockpit of just about any plane there has ever been and get a taste of what it's like to fly them.

Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:30 pm
by Tony
I have noticed in a post or 2 that Dan has his fingers in the pie for X plane :) if Dan works his magic then that just may sway me to buy my 2nd ever copy of x plane ;)


Re: Well, he at least tried it...

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:19 am
by Derek Speare
The "VR Battle for Hearts and Minds" is winning hearts and minds daily "on the ground", and there is no doubt about this. Be assured that in the racing sim world we are using VR, and all of the current titles have proper VR implementation with a very loyal, committed and influential base of users. If you're sim racing, you have VR in PCars, Assetto Corsa, Live for Speed and iRacing - that's all of them!

When I attended this year's Flightsimcon this past June, Pete "Frooglesim" Write shared his enthusiasm for VR in his keynote speech to commence the event, and he also is very positive about it as a whole for flight sims and discussed this in his recent re-review of FlyInside. Moreover, there was veritable "mob" looking to try Dan's CV1 demos at Flightsimcon as well. The value of VR for flying and driving games is self-actualized.

While some may not recognize the realities, history being full of examples of those who poo-poo successful ideas only to their own chagrin later, I can say that I'd not have even known about this person's remarks had I not read it here.