Can I play The Freeflight Experience without a VR system?
Unlike airplanes which are often flown with reliance on instruments which help gauge speed, altitude, and attitude, hang glider pilots rely on subtle cues… visual, audio, touch and smell, to seek out and find updrafts to sustain flight. Some of these cues (visual and sound) can be now be adequately reproduced with the latest VR technology. Without the immersion of a VR display however, and the ability to naturally look in any direction, the value (from a training standpoint) of a hang gliding flight simulation is tremendously reduced.
What about VR sickness?
The Freeflight Experience is a highly dynamic VR experience, and it is not uncommon for users to initially find the first-person view experience uncomfortable. VR sickness is caused by inconsistent sensory signals from the vestibular (inner ear balance) and visual (eyes) sensing. Because we cannot yet accurately simulate the sensations of movement, some users will experience nausea when playing the game, and this discomfort will persist for hours after exiting VR. Generally, with repeated exposure, the symptoms diminish. Some users experience vertigo (dizziness) but do not report nausea.
To help our customers who experience VR induced motion sickness while flying the sim, we provide a third-person chase cam view, where you can watch yourself and your wing from a view similar to a trailing action cam in VR. Many users report a much more comfortable VR experience, probably because the glider image allows you to focus on something not moving around in your view. Over time, as your tolerance to experiencing the contradictory signals from your eyes and ears improves, you can graduate to flying from the pilots perspective.
Can I hook up a fan to create wind in my face, and drive this with data from the sim?
Yes. The simulation will support such devices by exposing data through a blackboard. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.
What do I need to use the sim while hanging in my harness?
If you want to try this out while hanging in your glider an a stand, or a mounted control frame, all you need is an Android phone, and a Wi-Fi router connected to your gaming PC.
You will attach the phone to your hang strap, and it will send your control inputs to the simulator through Wi-Fi.
Download the “SensorStreamer” application from the Google Store and install on your phone. connect the phone to the Wi-Fi Network. Look up your phones IP address, and confirm your PC can “ping” your phone, by typing into a command prompt window on your PC “ping XXX.XXX.X.XX” where you replace the X’s with your phones IP address. If your PC and phone can communicate, it will reply with several lines saying how long it took the phone to respond. If it doesn’t work, make certain they are on the same network (the IP’s are the same except for the last digits).
Next, go into your C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Local\Programs\The Freeflight Experience Open Beta/TFFE2/ folder on your PC, and look for a file called “AndroidIP.txt”. Replace yourusername with whatever folder name is found on your system. Right click and edit this file, changing the contents to your phones IP address.
Before your start the game, run the SensorStreamer app, create a TCP Server on Port 27015. Create a packet called “json gravity”, and check the box “gravity”, and save the packet.
Next click “Stream”, using the TCP Server and json gravity, using high 200ms period. click “Start” and then launch the game.
From the Cafe menu, select “VR + Harness”. Here you can confirm your phone is connecting, and tipping the phone causes the correct inputs to the simulator. When hanging in your rig, use the sliders to adjust the height and fore-aft positioning of your view, so the real and virtual base tubes are generally in alignment.
Then return to the main menu, pick a site, and go flying. Be certain to select “VR Desk” before you try to fly using your handheld controllers.