Quick Start

Downloading, Installation

After you have purchased the game, we will send to the provided email address, a confirmation of your purchase and an activation code.  If you don’t see the message in 10 minutes, you should check your Spam or Junk email folder.  Keep this confirmation email, as you will need the code if you wish to reinstall the software onto another computer.  If you have created an account on this site, you can log into the account to recover this code.

Once you have downloaded the file from our server, confirm its size to be certain you received the entire file.  The correct size is included in your confirmation email. You should un-compress (unzip) the file into a folder where you have write permissions. This will typically be in Downloads, Documents or on your Desktop.  Uncompressing the .zip file will result in two .exe programs, a .pdf readme, and several data files. 

Next, run the .exe installer, and follow the prompts.  This will copy the program to your computer under your Appdata/Programs folder, and will place an icon to run the program on your desktop.

Starting VR

Once the program is installed, you should fire up your VR system.  If you have a Meta (Oculus) product, start the Oculus app, and optionally, Oculus Tray Tool.  In the Oculus App, under Settings->General->Unknown Sources, turn this ON.

If you are using an HP Reverb G2, run Windows Mixed Reality Portal, and optionally OpenXR Tools for Windows Mixed reality.  If you have OpenXR Toolkit companion app installed, please disable OpenXR Toolkit. This toolkit does not support games built using UnrealEngine.

Some users have reported problems if they have certain USB joysticks plugged in when using Freeflight Experience.  This issue has been addressed in update 1.14.  If you experience a crash on startup, please unplug USB joysticks and see if that helps. You can use the free app HIDHIDE to disable offending joysticks from being detected.

If you are using a Quest 2, you should connect to your PC through the link cable or airlink, and enable the connection using the menu in the Quest, and should be then taken to the Oculus white grid room.

Similarly, if you are using a WMR or Steam product, please enter that VR home environment. 

Each VR system has a unique way of recentering to your present position.  IT IS IMPORTANT YOU FOLLOW THE PROCEDURE FOR YOUR SYSTEM NOW.  If you are off center, you will not be in the correct position of interact with menus.  When recentering, I suggest you sit up as straight as possible, so your head is as high as it will ever be when sitting. 

Prior to First Run Game Activation (Version Beta1.02 and later)

Open the folder where you decompressed the .zip file and find the program “ActivationDialog.exe”.  Run this program and enter the email address you used when purchasing the program, and the five blocks of your unique activation code, copied from the email.  Do not enter the TFFE part of your code. I recommend you copy and paste, one block at a time, into the dialog.  When you are done, click on “Activate”.  The application will exit after creating a file in the necessary location on your system.

Launching the Game

Next start the game by clicking on the desktop icon. 

You will be taken to a training hill scene in VR, while the system checks your license on our server.  If you performed the previous activation step correctly, you should see a progress bar as the system checks your license. 

If the license server confirms your active license, you will be presented another screen with a disclaimer and some important information about VR sickness.  If you are OK with all of that, click “I accept”. 

If the check fails, you will get a message instructing you to run the Activation Dialog as described in “Prior to First Run Game Activation”.

Home Base

In a few moments, you will be transported to a sidewalk café, where we will choose where to fly.  The color of the site name buttons conveys the sites difficulty.  Greyed out buttons are sites not yet available but coming soon.

Above the site pictures, you will find the options button, one to practice control inputs, and one to exit the game.   Other buttons select different methods of controlling the sim.  For now, we will stick with VR+desk.  If that option is not highlighted magenta, please click on it now. The other options are for users that wish to hang in a real harness and control frame.

Options Menu

Adjust options to provide a smooth and fluid VR experience.  Page 12 of the development log provides some more technical graphics adjustments to improve performance.   2D clouds and turning off “Glory” can help. 

Picking your headset makes some superficial adjustments to the Glory rendering.  It is not necessary unless you have enabled this “glory” feature.

The 24 hours thermal cycle option makes thermals weak in the morning and evening, and strongest mid-day.  Leave this unchecked to have direct control of thermal temperature and strength.

If you are new to hang gliding, you should uncheck “Allow Pilot Yaw”, as this being checked makes it harder for beginners, and contributes to the likelihood you will feel sick.  Select where you would like to place your flight instruments (vario).  I recommend in the center of the base tube.    This is helpful, because it provides a natural visual indicator of your control inputs without you consciously looking at the bar all the time.

If you care about how your VR arms look, there are two pilot models provided. 

Practice Controls

Once satisfied with the options, you can try to practice control movements in simplified flight environment.  The goal is to learn to shift your entire body toward the direction you wish to turn, and to avoid moving your shoulders one way and feet the other.  If you have disabled “Body Yaw” this will be easy. You will be placed in the air, but for this exercise, the glider will be free to move only vertically, like an elevator, but can pitch and bank. You are given a 23 knot wind to play in, allowing you to practice banking, climbing and diving. Try viewing from behind and from the pilots perspective, and practice both prone and upright flight modes.

The right joystick on your controller acts like a pushbutton and is used to pause and un-pause the simulator.  When the sim is paused, a menu will appear near your left downtube.  Un-pause, and it will be hidden.

The game is only watching for the position of your hands compared to your head (forward or backward).  Sitting in a chair, you should lean forwards, bending at your waist, to sort of simulate your upper body being prone.   Trim position is when your hands are roughly under your chin.  When your hands are pushed forward in front of you, you are slowing the glider: Lean your head further forward and move your hands rearward to speed up.

Turning the glider is accomplished by moving both hands left or right.  The mid-point between your hands is all that matters to the program.   If you are new to high performance hang gliders, it is common to have difficulty with both directional control and speed control.  I will be introducing an easier to fly glider soon.  The way this glider flies is very nearly how the real one does.

If “Enable Pilot Body Yaw” was enabled in the options, pushing forward with one hand while pulling back with the other will twist your body, and can help you turn more rapidly.  This is important once you get the feel for the wing but is not something recommended at first.

Choose where to fly

Pick any site.  In a few moments, you will be transported to launch.  In front of you is your pre-launch check list, and a countdown to launch time.  If you click the right joystick now, it will pause the simulator (you won’t launch when the countdown gets to zero).  Pull the left controller trigger while looking straight ahead to center you before launch.

Familiarize yourself with the site

At this point, if you wish, you can try some of the options presented on the menu.  Site tour allows you to move freely around the flying site, exploring the terrain and creating a mental flight plan.  Just point the red laser where you wish to go and use the joystick to choose how fast. 

Customize the weather

Adjust Environment allows you to adjust the date and time of day, download an atmospheric sounding, adjust winds and clouds, or allow these to be determined automatically based on the sounding.   If you choose not to check the boxes relating to winds and clouds and have left the 24-hour thermal cycle box un-checked in the options, you can directly set the air temperature of thermals when they are spawned.  This is entered as degrees C warmer that the surrounding air.  Between 5 and 9 degrees is realistic.  It the 24-hour box is checked, this will be the max temperature, but the actual temperature will depend on the angle the sun us above the horizon.

The most realistic model of thermal heating is when you check both boxes.  The thermal temperature slider is ignored, and a complex physics-based temperature model is used.

Let’s Do This!

OK… Finally, time to fly.  Go back to the glider.  Before you launch, be certain to do a “hang check”.  Press the left controller trigger to recenter your prone position.  If you wish to stand up before launch, do so now.  When you are ready to go, press the right joystick in.  You are off! 

If you crash and need to relaunch, pause the sim and select that option from the menu.  If you have paused the simulator and can see you VR controllers, clicking the right joystick again will cause you to launch when the countdown reaches zero.  Always do the hang check (left trigger) before launching. Looking more up or down when performing this recentering can affect you proneness. Experiment.

Remember that your hands must be “seen” by the cameras in your headset for reliable tracking.  There are some other ways some of you might like to try controlling the game, using a control frame and harness that addresses this shortcoming.  I expect the next generation of VR to not require line of site.

There are only a couple of other things to know about in the game.  The “VG” is a way to improve the speed and performance of the glider, at the cost of easy turning.  You can apply “VG” by moving the right controller’s joystick to the left.  The number on the right side of the base tube will increase from 0 to 120 (percent).   Pressing the stick to the right will reduce the tension, improve turn maneuverability, but will limit your top speed significantly.  Leave the “VG” between 30 and 0 for landing.

If you are feeling symptoms of motion sickness, press the X key on the left controller to change you point to view to a following camera.  Many people find this view more comfortable. 

If you are having trouble finding thermals (or the landing field), press the button marked A on your right controller.  Thermals appear as red balls.  A billboard will appear over your landing field.  At fort Funston the “Danger Zone” downwind of the bush will be shown.  Press the “B” button to hide this again.

If your buddies have all skied out, leaving you to scratch below launch, and you want some company, press the left controller joystick in. A new AI flier will launch and join you in the sky.

Important tip:  When looking for thermals, listen for, and keep your eyes open for redtails.  They will show you the way!

Finally, be certain to stand up from your desk chair as you come into land. This will cause your simulated pilot to transition to the down tubes for a more effective landing flare. Please be careful you don’t lose your balance.