AviatorCast Episode 77: Virtual Reality with Daniel Church: FlyInside | Oculus Rift | Flight Simulation
What's the biggest upgrade you can make to your sim in the new year? Look no further than Oculus Rift with "FlyInside" for an awesome experience.
Today’s Flight Plan
What can you do to bring your simulator into the 21st Century? What is the single largest upgrade you could make without breaking the bank? Look no further than the Oculus Rift.
Many flight simmers have heard of the Oculus Rift already. What many don’t know is that it’s already working with FSX and Prepar3D. Not only is this an awesome upgrade for a hobbyist flight simmer, but a compelling product for actual flight schools as well.
Today we talk to Daniel Church, Developer of FlyInside. Daniel takes us through his thorough development of making the Oculus Rift work with both FSX and P3D.
It’s real, it’s here, and it’s just the coolest thing EVER that I’ve seen come to flight simulation- and that’s saying something.
Thanks for joining us, Daniel! Looking forward to this VR stuff busting onto the scene.
Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.
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Seeing is believing. This is AviatorCast episode 77!
Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!
Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer. As an aviator myself and a forever student of the flying art, I immerse myself in a wide range of tools to the benefit of my flying skills. Flight simulation is just one of those tools that helps me become a better master of the air. Today we will be discussing the use of virtual reality in a simulator. Yes, the VR revolution is here, it is real, and you’re going to want to be a part of it. But first off, welcome to this, the 77th episode of AviatorCast. It is my absolute pleasure to welcome you. You guys are awesome. Thank you for being here week after week. I am really excited for this new year, but as always, I just want to get on with new and great things. So I’m going to be planning on some things for the new year internally. I want to grow AviatorCast. I want to make it better.
If you haven’t here before at AviatorCast, we talk to inspiring aviators out there. We have interviews with these people, learn about their careers, what makes them tick. And get their passion for aviation and just some different storylines of how people go through an aviation career, how they enjoy it. Today, we have such an interview. We also get insight into the industry and what it’s like, what flying is like, things to do to improve your flight repertoire. We also serve the purpose of reigniting the flame or the passion for flight if you’ve lost it for a while or you’ve been out of the cockpit for medical or financial reasons, whatever it is, or maybe you’ve always wanted to fly but you’ve never taken that step, this is a place where you can demystify the industry, get the courage to go to your local airport, talk to them about it, that sort of thing. We talk a lot about those sort of subjects on this show, and we also talk a whole lot about flight simulation as well.
One of the first things we do as many of you know is we have a review that comes to us from iTunes or Stitcher or another place on the internet that gives us a look at what other people think of AviatorCast. So this week, we have a review that came to us from BomberBoy479 and he says “Amazing,” gives us five stars, he says “This has completely changed my life. I am now pursuing a career in aviation as a missionary pilot to spread not only the love of Jesus but also the importance of aviation for third world countries. Keep inspiring.” BomberBoy, super awesome. Two thumbs up. Good for you for deciding to pursue a career in aviation. There are many people out there that are doing the work that you are wanting to do in aviation by serving people, not only through supporting third world countries and those sort of areas but also through spreading the gospel, so great job. As a token of appreciation from us here at AviatorCast, we are going to send you a free AviatorCast t-shirt. It says “Fly or Die” on it, has a corsair from World War II, super awesome t-shirt. So to shoot me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you a t-shirt.
If you guys want a t-shirt, you want to review AviatorCast, go ahead and do that on iTunes, Stitcher, post it somewhere else where people can see it, show it to me, I will take reviews from anywhere. I really appreciate you guys sharing and spreading the word of AviatorCast, and hope that my small token of appreciation with one of these cool t-shirts can pack you back in some way.
On today’s episode, as I mentioned briefly, we are going to be flying in virtual reality. So we are going to be taking your simulator into the future. This is mainly for a couple things, for you flight simmers out there that are using a home-based PC, for you pilots that are using a home-based PC for training, for maybe a flight school that is on a budget that is looking for a cool tool to use for their students, Virtual Reality is here, it is part of the future plan, and it is happening. It is happening here in the next few months. It is absolutely going to explode, and I’m really excited to be able to give you guys a glimpse into what it is like to run the Oculus Rift which is one the most notable virtual reality headsets or gear, what it is like to run the Oculus Rift with Microsoft Flight Simulator or Prepar3d. I’ve been using one for about six months now.
I can’t say I’ve spent hours and hours a day on it, but I’ve done enough of it where it just completely blows my mind. I bring people into the office here, friends, acquaintances, pilot friends, things like that, I see them down in the seat and I say “You’ve got to try this thing out.” They put it on and they’re just blown away at how realistic it is. I have all the control set-up and so when they are in the Virtual cockpit, they reach out, they can feel the controls. Virtual Reality is here, it’s real, it’s one of the most immersive experiences you can have in a flight simulator, and if you haven’t tried it yet, I hope you can try it soon. We are going to talk to Daniel Church.
Daniel created a piece of software called FlyInside FSX. It also works with Prepar3d. So this piece of software essentially connects up the Oculus Rift with the Flight Simulator and it looks dang good. It works really well, he’s been in development of this thing for a long time now, and this is very, very good stuff. So if you guys are interested in this sort of thing, this is an episode for you, this Virtual Reality episode, and I hope you enjoy it. So let’s get into this hangar talk episode with Daniel Church from FlyInside.
Now, a special hangar talk segment…
Alright everybody, we are honored to have a very special guest with us today, we have Daniel Church joining us from FlyInside. Daniel, how you doing?
Daniel: I’m good. How are you Chris?
Chris: Doing fantastic. Surviving the Alaska winter which is nothing like winter. You’re in New York right?
Chris: Great. So you guys are feeling the winter too. Now, I want to get into quickly what it is you do because you have been working on some developments within the flight simulation community that are very compelling, and I have been using them myself. So tell everyone what FlyInside actually is.
Daniel: So, I’ve been developing a piece of software called FlyInside and what it does is it lets you use common flight simulators, currently Flight Simulator X and Prepar3d, and it lets you place them inside Virtual Reality, right now with the Oculus Rift DK. So essentially, you run your flight simulator, fly inside, feeds it into these goggles, and when you put the goggles on as if you’re sitting inside an airplane. It’s a full flight simulator but you’re in instead of looking at it.
Chris: That’s a really good explanation. So as I mentioned, I myself have been using it and I tell you what, other than the limitations that are present because of the Oculus Rift, being that it’s a fairly low resolution, other than that, I have to say that this is one of the most immersive and exciting technologies I’ve seen in Flight Simulation for a really long time. You really feel like you’re there. I mean, it’s so odd to be inside a virtual cockpit in a flight simulator, have this headset on and be able to peak around the corners and lean in and see the panel closer up or whatever it is. And although there has been the Track IR out there right, the Track IR has been pretty popular, this is a whole different dimension because it’s immersive. Your entire field of vision is full of the flight environment so it’s pretty incredible.
So tell us how the idea came about of actually starting FlyInside. How did you get to the point where you started developing this? Obviously, you probably started out as a flight simmer. So take us from there, and even kind of your love for aviation.
Daniel: Sure. So my grandfather was a pilot. He rode in airplanes in World War II. He got his private pilot’s license after and he always told me how much he loved flying and he was passionate. So, that drew me into the flight simulator world. I spend a lot of time with the older versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator while I was growing up and I had a lot of fun with that but eventually the interest kind of wear of. I played it less and less and I let it sit for a while. Eventually though, the past few years, I started reading about Virtual Reality. I think a few years ago, it was just a really cool experiment at Valve headquarters but what really drew me in, I was reading how people would have these goggles on. They’d be put in a room that’s just a cube with nothing else be on the cube, and just nothing fancy, unrealistic graphics, just a cube with a Valve logo on it, and they’d ask the person with the goggles step off the cube, and people couldn’t do it. They’d hear the person, they’d know it’s not real but at the same time, it tricks their brains in such a level that they just couldn’t step off the cube. I hadn’t had a chance to experience it yet but just reading about that, I can tell it had a lot of potential.
So once Oculus put out an order for them for their dev kits, I made sure I was in the first batch. I’ve refreshed that page about a hundred times and once I got my dev kit, I was thinking this could really bring a flight simulator back to life because there was just so many cool things about flight that are visual. You have the sky which looks beautiful. You have large geographic features around you which are cool to look at, and then airplane cockpits have their own thing. You have a hundred buttons and knobs and dials. Most people aren’t going to have the chance to sit in a 737 cockpit or something like that but just looking at pictures, you can tell that would be an experience just to be in it. So inside my dev kit, one of the first things I tried to do was get a flight simulator working with it so I could just experience it in one of those cockpits, and it sparked the idea of FlyInside for me.
Chris: Gotcha. So from there, a couple things. First, for those that are ignorant and haven’t heard about this yet, tell people about the unit itself, the Oculus Rift. I know there are others out there that are potential competitors but tell people what the Oculus Rift actually is, what it looks like, how it fits on your head, those sorts of things.
Daniel: Sure. So the Oculus Rift is what’s called the head-mounted display which kind of downplays what it does. The purpose of the Oculus Rift is to just place you into whatever world or environment you want to be in. So, inside the headset, there is just a fairly standard screen similar to a cellphone LCD screen, and a couple of lenses that blow that screen up. So you put the headset on and you can’t see the world around you, the only thing you can see is what’s on the screen and it blows it up so it just cover all of your eye. And then they put highly accurate sensors into the unit so that it can track where you’re looking, where your head is, how you’re moving, and it combines it all together where it updates the screen as you move your head so that it completely tricks your eyes, so that as you look around, the world moves as if you are actually looking around and it basically casts you inside this environment and dependent upon the demo you’re in, it can be hard to distinguish from reality.
Chris: Right. So you talked about tricks. You’ve mentioned tricking the brain and all these things that the headset actually does to make feel as though it’s real, not being able to step off the cube for example. So kind of just a quick funny story, we had a kid here in the studio, he’s five years younger than me, a guy here in the studio, and he’s a non-pilot, and we had him testing out the Oculus Rift in the simulator, and I kind of talked him through some things as far as how to take off, how to turn, those sorts of things, and then we had hhim come back in for landing. So my simulator is set up on this really simple kind of, I wouldn’t say flimsy but just a simple desk right now. It doesn’t have a lot of weight to it. And he came in down toward the ground and he really didn’t know to flare the airplane or anything like that, and he yanked back the controls and yanked the entire desk back toward him because he was so scared of the ground coming towards him. So it definitely freaks you out.
Now, if you’re a trained pilot, it also helps you really get that feel as though you’re in the airplane, and for the first time, it helps you use your peripheral vision to land the airplane and all sorts of things. It’s just amazing for VFR-type stuff. So as you said, it does trick your brain into thinking it’s real and I think inevitably that’s what a quality similar eventually does, whether that’s the airline level, whether that’s a home simulator, is it tricks your brain for even just seconds at a time, maybe even minutes at a time, that you are in a real airplane. It tricks your brain as if you’re in a real airplane so it definitely does all that.
So moving on from there, you got the dev kit, you started to play around with the simulator. Eventually you took this to a Kickstarter kit right to see how the community would support it. Can you tell us more about that?
Daniel: Sure. So actually, I worked on the project for probably six or seven months. No Kickstarter, just seeing if I could integrate with Flight Simulator X, seeing what was possible, what worked well, what didn’t, because I wanted to have a campaign with integrity. A lot of people promised features then they figure out that they can’t do those features or they go over budget or what-not. So I spent about six or seven months just derisking everything, building out features, sharing some video and screenshots, building up a mailing list which is obviously very helpful for a Kickstarter campaign, and by the time I launched the campaign, I had enough people on the mailing list who were excited for it that I managed to fund in a matter of days and at the same time, I had maybe a 70% working software demo where people could just pop into the rift and fly in Flight Simulator X and that was huge because it’s something people had been asking for pretty much since these dev kit started shipping, and they didn’t even need to back the Kickstarter or wait for the Kickstarter to try it, they could just download the demo, realize it’s amazing, and then go back to the Kickstarter because they wanted to see it finish through the completion.
Chris: And I think that’s a good point because at the end of the day, with something like this, seeing is truly believing. You really don’t understand how immersive it is until you actually experience it yourself. So like you said, having that working demo that can actually operate correctly… You know, I came in at a later time. I came in when your Kickstarter was already completed and you were still releasing the beta of the software to where now you have the paid version and I already know I’m going to buy the paid version so I signed up for that. It’s dang good. It’s just so fun to get in there.
Here’s another quick story. For me, this is full of stories because it’s just one of those things that is a paradigm shift for a lot of people. So, the guy I share an office with here, his name is Richard, his father who would be like a grandfather to you, his father was in World War II, and his father flew P-38s in the pacific. So, imagine how Richard felt when we loaded up a P-38 and he got to fly in the same airplane that his dad flew in. He was completely realistic. You got to look around the cockpit. The aircraft was from Milviz and they do some fantastic airplanes, add-on airplanes for flight simulator. It’s like this generational gap was just closed and he was able to place himself in that situation. I loaded him up in Pearl Harbor, we had him in the P-38, he got to choose the paint and everything and it was just a transformative moment, and you just forget that it’s not real.
Daniel: Yeah. Oh, that’s great. One distinction I’d even make, because a lot of people see the Oculus videos online but they don’t quite get it, where they’ll think it’s like Track IR where you can look around which yes you can look around but with Track IR, it’s very clear you’re looking at a monitor. Or they think it’s like 3D TV where things they’re still very clearly on a TV, it’s just sometimes they pop out at you a little. Or even they see those videos and they don’t want to touch it because they think they’re going to put it on and have a fish eye effect like in the video. But at the end of the day, what happens is you put the headset on and you don’t see a screen or a fish eye effect or any of that, you just actually see the world around you, almost as if you could touch it.
Chris: And it’s funny because if you sit someone down, anyone down, first of all, anyone looks like a complete idiot with the Oculus Rift on, you just look like a fool looking around. But you’ll put the Oculus Rift on someone and they’ll reach out for the flight controls. Their hands will be doing kind of this cat-clawing motion, like where is this thing, I need to grab it. And I actually, I used that effect to my advantage in my flight simulator in making sure that my yoke and my throttle and everything was in the correct position so that when someone does reach out, they actually do grab the throttle or they do grab the yolk. You know, I don’t have the full panel up there or anything like that but you can actually grab the things that you think you’re seeing. So that does help a lot.
And you saying that and saying that it’s not a 3D movie, it’s not Track IR, I think a lot of people out there have seen the Blue Angels video that is out right now. It’s floating around YouTube, it’s really popular. You can actually move your phone and see in 3D what’s going on from the cockpit of one of the Blue Angels through an entire show sequence. That is probably the closest example to the Oculus Rift or virtual reality that I’ve seen without actually putting the headset on. Now just imagine you being able to have your entire vision full of that look and being able to look anywhere and not only that, you’re controlling the airplane and going where you want to go. That is what FlyInside connected to the Oculus, connected to the flight simulator actually does. And so I think people making that connection, that Blue Angels video is pretty dang close to what it looks like and being able to move your camera around will give them an idea of just how immersive it is. But again, at the end of the day seeing is believing.
Chris: So one of the limitations with Oculus right now and I’m sure it seems like you’re very educated on this stuff and you keep up with the community, one of the limitations is actually being able to see your hands or manipulate things. Obviously, we have flight controls that we can buy and things like that. Can you speak a little bit to the future of what Oculus is planning for those things, what those may mean for say flight simulation?
Daniel: Yeah sure. So, obviously the first thing Oculus shipped was their head-mounted display which, it’s really cool but it doesn’t give you any form of input or a way to see your hands, anything like that. It’s just the part that actually lets you see. So, after that, a bunch of different third party technologies came about to try to solve this problem. One of them is the leap motion which it’s basically a camera you mount to your faceplate and that tracks your hands and tries to give you 3D position which FlyInside supports the leap motion. It’s pretty cool, you can see your hands but it has its limitations because the camera’s sensor resolution isn’t perfect. It can lose them or be jittery.
But coming about later in 2016, the Oculus has been working on what’s called the Oculus Touch which are a couple of handheld controllers where if you hold these controllers, they’re very, very accurately positioned in 3D space and they’ll give you things like mouse control or they have buttons, they have touchpads and they have perfect 3D positioning. So in the long-term, I’m planning to support those with FlyInside. I’m sure most products will be working with them because they give you a very robust positional input that lets you use your hands in that 3D space.
Chris: Great. Can you expound? It sounds like you’ve actually used the leap motion a little bit, right? I mean you’ve developed for it so you’ve actually used it a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit more what that’s like, and educate me because I haven’t actually used it either. That sounds pretty interesting.
Daniel: Yeah sure. So the leap motion, it’s this little camera you strap to the Rift like I said and it maps out your hands and after it maps out your hands, it tries to use some image processing and tries to map out your skeleton and it lets games access that skeletal data to see where the user’s hands, where the user’s fingers, that sort of thing. So I use that with, if you have it with FlyInside, you’ll see a 3D representation of your hands inside the cockpit which it’s kind of nice just to be able to see your hands.
And then the other thing I’ve set up, it’s still kind of preliminary stage. Most people try it, they say it’s cool and then may they use it a little bit but it’s not practical to replace the other forms of input entirely. But you can use it to click on things in the cockpit, click on panels, move virtual windows around. So it’s pretty cool technology. It gives you a taste of what hand input should be like.
Chris: Wow. That’s pretty impressive. That’s one of the bigger challenges I think moving forward but I think it’s just a matter of time before someone figures that out, whether or not that’s the leap motion or that’s the Oculus Touch controllers. It will be interesting to see kind of where it goes.
Daniel: Yeah. There are quite a few companies in that space at the moment.
Chris: Now, just kind of skipping forward a little bit, I have some other things to talk about here but just skipping forward a little bit, what is the projected worldwide release of the Oculus Rift? So in other words, if people don’t want a development kit which a development kit certainly works, when is Oculus going to release their rift?
Daniel: So if all things go smoothly which they should, it’s in production already, it should be shipping sometime in the first quarter of 2016.
Chris: Great. So just here in the next few months. Now, I have to say that largely, FlyInside is also plug and play so as long as your rift is working currently and you’re getting the test scene all set up right, it’s generally plug and play. Now, I know a lot of flight simmers or people that would be using such a technology like this for maybe even their flight school are wondering what type of computer is needed to handle this sort of thing, and let’s even speak a little bit to the type of simulator you would need as well. So just briefly, we could get into the weeds here on the type of flight simulator build you would need for the PC that is, but let’s talk a little bit about what is expected from a hardware perspective that they would need along with the rift.
Daniel: Sure. So with FlyInside, you’re either going to use Microsoft Flight Simulator X or Prepar3d, one of those two flight simulators. And if you have experience with those, you have a rough idea that they’re already pretty demanding on your hardware. Prepar3d is a GPU killer. Flight Simulator X is a CPU killer. And once you have FlyInside, you’re rendering a much larger field of view because it’s not just on a monitor, it’s for your whole eye. You’re rendering it twice and you’re drawing everything at a high resolution. So you’re going to want a higher end graphics card, a decent CPU, and you’re going to find that even if you built a computer to max out everything on ultra, you’re going to have to actually tune your settings a little bit more. Now you can’t just push all the sliders to the right even with a really good computer. You need to balance it a little.
Chris: Right. And I think with me, one thing I’ve noticed is that my flight sim PC is from 2011. At the time it was built to just be maxed on everything pretty much and be able to capture HD video at the same time because of the training stuff we do here. But what I found is that when I plug in the Rift and use FlyInside, that I was perfectly willing to make sacrifices on some of the sliders because what you’re doing by maxing out the sliders and the flight simulator or for those of you that aren’t familiar to sliders, in other words, trying to make it look as good as possible, the best looking flight simulator out there, the best looking video game out there. Instead of doing that, you’re not overcompensating for the lack of realism by adding more realism to the visuals, your realism comes through in the headset and with the Rift, and so it’s very easy for me to sacrifice things like aircraft shadows and a certain amount of anti-aliasing because I still forget for a few moments that I’m in a fake airplane. It just feels so real. So I think that although it is so demanding, and by the way you explained it perfectly, P3D being a GPU-hog and FSX being a CPU-hog.
So apart from those things, I think that most people are going to find that it’s an easy transition and one that they want to make, and they’ll find themselves using the Rift almost all the time.
Daniel: Yeah. At the end of the day, Oculus is recommending at bare minimum a GeForce 970 and I think with that, FlyInside will still run well. You just aren’t going to max out your flight simulator but it’s going to look so real around you that it doesn’t matter.
Chris: Right. And I’m running much older video cards in mine, and they seem to do fine, but it’s standing on shaky ground because not all of them will work. It’s kind of a pick and choose thing and that’s one thing I found just going through your forums, is some people will have the same card and just based on their PC set-up, it won’t work. So it just depends. So there may be an extra investment there for people to make if they want to upgrade to the Oculus or they might already be ready for it.
Daniel: Yeah. And especially the newer Maxwell level cards have some functionality that’s not just in the specs that’s going to, once I add support, going to really increase performance, but it won’t be available on older generations of cards because it’s actually a hardware change you’re taking advantage of.
Chris: Cool. So do you have any, other than what we’ve talked about so far, do you have any future view on how you feel that VR is going to change the flight simulation world?
Daniel: Sure. So I’ve spoken with quite a few flight instructors about this, a couple of companies and I think over time, it’s going to replace monitor-based flight setting for just about every home user, and a lot of flight school level things too. It’s just it’s so much more real and it lets you look around naturally that it’s going to draw people in and it’s going to keep them engaged in a way that current simulators don’t.
Chris: Right. I think that’s a completely fair assessment because when I look at what I have now, other than a couple setbacks that I’m trying to get past like the hands thing and being able to actually manipulate the controls and being able to actually view my iPhone for ForeFlight which is a flight-planning app, an electronic EFB app for the iPhone or iOS. Other than those limitations, whenever I can, whenever I’m not doing like an IFR-proficiency type flight on my simulator, I am just going and doing VFR stuff because it’s with the Oculus and it looks so real, and actually feel like I’m out there flying rather than just kind of going through the motions on instrument flight or something so I completely agree with your assessment.
Daniel: Now have you tried any of, the way I’d put this is I know that sim users like to have notepads, they like to have multiple windows open, they’re looking at things like ForeFlight and my goal is to encompass things like that, not just VFR is fun and easy, but I’m trying to encompass a more power user workflow at the same time. So you can actually do things like if you have an application on your computer, you can bring that in and plop it next to you in the cockpit to interact with it.
Chris: Well that would be perfect because although there is the idea of looking at the screen and actually touching like an icon you need to look at, although there is that expect to it, I figure that most of what you do with ForeFlight and everything is kind of preflight anyway and post-flight. Much of what goes on in between is just monitoring. So yeah, you can airplay things like having your iPhone screen actually on a PC and so if that same screen could be brought in the simulator, that’s a perfect solution. That’d work out really well. Because from an IFR perspective, you want to be heads down and just flying, and you want to be manipulating the instruments and things like that but if all of that stuff is in place, the simulation world from a training perspective completely changes because then you have a very low cost, incredibly immersive solution at your disposal, and you could even get into crazy scenarios about accidents and seeing if you could get through that crazy scenario yourself or even just general proficiency on shooting approaches to minimums and things like that all from the comfort of your home, and I know this directly competes with fixed based simulators that flight schools have but it’s an incredible tool. At the end of the day, it’s just an incredible tool. And if it’s not an incredible tool for a real pilot, it’s incredibly fun for someone that’s a flight simmer.
Daniel: Yeah. And having spoken with a few flight instructors about this, it’s not about to replace the six-degree of freedom gigantic jet cockpit simulators that they have, but when it comes to the smaller ones flight schools have where it’s basically a chair, a cockpit and then three projectors, why have three projectors when you can have the full field of view. It’s just a whole different story compared to that.
Chris: Exactly. And, big bulky simulators like that cost a lot of money and so if there is any way to pear that down and get back to some basics while still having control and all that, it just opens some possibilities or at the very least, fills quite a large void that’s been there for a long time. Some of the biggest challenges with a home-based simulator I’ve run into is that they just aren’t that immersive. And I’ve even gone so far as to tell flight simmers out there, being a real pilot myself, that an airplane in a flight simulator and a real airplane do not fly the same. And I think the biggest reason why I felt that they’ve never actually flown the same is just because of the visuals and how I am able to manipulate the controls based on what I’m seeing and feeling. But with the addition of the Oculus Rift, my landings have never been as good as they are now in the flight simulator. They are on par with what my real world landings are like because I’m actually able to see the field of vision. I’m actually able to see out of my peripheral vision as I’m coming down for the flair and I can make a soft touchdown and those sorts of things. Whereas it was just weird guessing game before with the flight simulator, with your speed and pulling back correctly. But now, it’s the mix of all those things. It’s the mix of what you’re seeing visually, what you’re feeling tactically with your hands, and it’s just a completely different experience. So I’ve been enjoying it. I hope you have to.
Daniel: Oh certainly.
Chris: What has the community response been like? It seems like obviously you said you built that email list and your Kickstarter campaign is almost instantly funded. What has the growth been like since then? Are there a lot of people as excited as I am?
Daniel: Oh yeah. It’s been a fantastic community response. People have been excited for the future. They have been understanding of bugs that happen when you take something as buggy as these flight simulators and tie them to beta-level hardware. It’s been hugely positive. That’s the best way I can put it.
Chris: Great. And for good reason. So do you have any final words from us before we depart here?
Daniel: I think what I would really reiterate is that you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve tried it. It’s such an immersive visceral feeling to put on the goggles and actually find yourself sitting in an airplane. You can’t guess at it and compare it to things you have tried.
Chris: Yeah. That’s a very good point. Where can people find FlyInside? What’s your website URL and other locations where they can interact with you guys?
Daniel: So my website is at FlyInsideFSX.com. You can see a video, learn about the software, purchase it. There’s a link there to the message board where plenty of people will be happy to speak with you about it. I frequent the message board of course. It has a free download too. You can download the FlyInside preview and be up and running in about 5 minutes. The biggest roadblock is just the hardware itself. You need Oculus Rift which I think in a few months that won’t be as much of a problem. With the amount of money I see people put into their flight simulator rigs, I think Oculus Rift the first consumer version is going to be a real no-brainer. It will be the best single investment you could make in a flight simulator set-up.
Chris: You have a really great ability to say things in few words because that’s perfect. Because I would recommend one big thing for this next year or a new upgrade for someone moving up in the simulator, moving to a simulator, it would be “Hey, if your simulator does not support an Oculus Rift and FlyInside, then you’re not doing it right. There’s no reason you should not be doing this.” And we’re not talking about breaking the bank here. Like you said, a lot of people build expensive flight sim PCs and commercial-level flight sim PCs or just incredibly expensive on their own, and so getting something like this is an absolute no-brainer. And it’s soon. It’s coming here in quarter one, and so it’s just something people should be planning on if they’re a serious flight simmer. It is really, really cool.
Daniel: Yeah. Everytime I see a post where someone just bought five new monitors to make a circle around them, I cringe a little bit because that’s so much money and they’re going to, I’ve had people email me because they were choosing between a 60-inch 4K TV and they tried different Oculus Rift and went that route instead.
Chris: It’s so true though. It’s so true.
Daniel: And the CV1, the resolution is going to be clearer, it’s going to fix a lot of the issues that people talk about with the current model to so it’s getting better rapidly.
Chris: Right. And then once they have the support of a fanatical community that has an open pocket book, it’s just going to accelerate the process that much faster. I tell you what, there’s no doubt that it is one of the next big things, if not the next big thing in gaming, and flight simulation being a subsidiary of the gaming industry, it’s happening. So you may as well jump on board and enjoy it.
Chris: Alright man. Well I really appreciate you coming on the show. We wish you the best success here in the future. I have a feeling that the first half of this year for you is going to be absolutely crazy because I can see a lot of these flight simmers jumping on board. And again guys, you can find Daniel at FlyInsideFSX.com and I will also mention that you can FlyInside P3D as well, Prepar3d. Daniel, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.
Daniel: Thank you. It’s great meeting you Chris.
Chris: You too. Thanks. See ya.
Join us next week for another exciting topic or interview with a great guest. Spread the AviatorCast message. Please review AviatorCast on iTunes or submit an audio question for the show at AviatorCast.com. All iTunes reviews and audio questions that are aired on the show will get an official AviatorCast t-shirt. You can write AviatorCast directly on AviatorCast.com where you can interact with the AviatorCast community or write AviatorCast at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.
For more information on Angle of Attack simulation training videos for FSX, X-Plane and more, go to www.flyaoamedia.com. If you are looking for a professional aviation training video services and other media, inquire at www.angleofattackpro.com. Now, for the final release clearance, back to Chris Palmer.
Chris: Alright, a huge thanks goes out to Daniel for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. Man, I am just so pumped for the future of Virtual Reality. Obviously I’ve already been experiencing it. I’m a huge believer. I will stand up and I will support it 100% because this technology is absolutely awesome. I see it going places. I see that it’s here to stay. I hope you guys can try it out soon as well. You know, the entry to getting into this virtual reality is not as big as you’d think. We’ve been spending tons of money over the years creating these powerful PCs that can run large resolution displays at a high frame rate. But I tell you what, there is nothing like actually being in the environment. The only thing that’s missing is that lack of motion but I’ve seen people almost fall over because they think this stuff is so real. This Virtual Reality stuff is awesome. It’s coming up here in the next few months. If you haven’t heard much about it yet, go ahead, check out FlyInside, learn more about the Oculus Rift. Notify yourself as far as when the customer version is going to be coming out which seems to be quarter one. Start saving your money. This stuff is really, really cool. I’m excited to share this with you guys, and huge thanks to Daniel with his expertise for sharing that with us here on AviatorCast. He’s been working on this for a long time so that when this customer version does come out, when this Virtual Reality thing blows unto the scene like I know it’s going to, he’s right there, he has a software, it’s working well. It’s already really awesome. So it’s going to be good stuff. Again, huge thanks Daniel and if you guys haven’t checked it out, go and do so.
Thanks to the Angle of Attack crew for all they do. These guys work hard day to day to keep the doors open here at Angle of Attack. Thank you to you, the listeners. We could not do this without you. If you guys want to review AviatorCast, it means a lot to us. It not only motivates us and keeps us going, but it lets others know in the industry or in the community that this is a worthwhile place to be. So if you enjoy the show, go ahead and review us. If that review is read on the show, I will send you guys a free AviatorCast t-shirt wherever you are in the world as a token of my appreciation.
So join us next week. We will have another episode lined up for you guys. Until next time, throttle on!
Chief Flight Instructor and President of Angle of Attack. Founded in 2006.
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