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What is the best VR Headset for DCS now (autumn 2020)???


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Hey guys,

 

I'm wondering what is the best VR headset on the market for DCS right now? And for those that have VR technology, is it worth it nowadays?

 

I've tried a couple of VR headsets a couple of years back (not in DCS) and have always been left a bit underwhelmed. The resolution was just too poor for me to ever justify it. Now I see more and more people are using it so I'm wondering how these things run and look nowadays?

 

For reference here's my PC specs:

 

Ryzen 9 3950X

NVidia 2080 Super

64BG RAM

evo 970 2TB SSD

 

Currently running a 38" screen and can run most maps on high settings smoothly except for densely populated areas or airfields on the Syria map. All other maps run very well under most circumstances (don't own Normandy or Channel Maps).

 

Cheers!

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Its certainly improved, and your system can probably run it on reasonable settings. Current best headsets really are Valve index and HP reverb. There is a new reverb due to come out in early November that is tipped to be the best overall for VR sim platforms. Check out some reviews on youtube.

 

As a VR user myself I cannot go back to a flat panel. Feels so constricted and I have no sense of height and direction. Other people still can't get on with it, it definitely takes some adjusting. I think everyone expects a instant wow, when actually it takes a few sessions to be converted.

 

Not using the keyboard is and adjustment for some and it takes time to set up a headset properly and you will always be tweaking settings! If you like this and are fairly tech savvy, it is easy. If you want plug and play then you may get frustrated early on.

 

Also worth noting that I think people's experiences differ wildly, partly depending on how they run and optimise their PCs, but I also think its how you play DCS multiplayer on missions with loads of units and AI are probably too tough for a really smooth experience, at the other end single player with relatively simple missions can be smooth all the time. At least that's my experience.


Edited by Hoirtel
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I see, thank you. So the jist I'm getting here is that VR is extremely performance-hungry and my graphics settings/ details settings would have to be reduced a fair amount to get the same level of smoothness as on my monitor?

 

Basically for me, if I don't have a silky smooth picture I am not interested. VR or flat screen, doesn't matter.

 

Tbh it's SP missions or campaigns that interest me. Only dogfighting 1v1 in MP. Not sure if this has a big effect or not.

 

I think similarly I am not interested in turning all the graphics and textures to low just to have a smooth experience in VR. So yeah, I'm still not quite sold.

 

And just out of curiosity, what sort of system does one need to have VR running butter smooth with graphics set to high settings for everything? I mean my PC is no slouch exactly. There's only a couple of GPUs that I could upgrade to but I can't imagine those would make big leaps in performance for me. More like a tonne of money for a few extra fps at most?

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graphics and textures to low

Far from it with your specs and mission type you previously mentioned.

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I doubt you would have to go to low settings, it depends on what you use now. I run VR on a i9900k and 1080ti which is very similar CPU performance with a bit lower GPU (although a bit more, yet older VRAM) I run pretty high settings and not all settings are applicable to VR anyway (some of the AA settings) I also mostly play SP missions with a few units and also campaigns, some campaigns can be heavy on traffic at the starting airfields and these don't always run that smoothly. However its worth getting past this bit to the main part of the mission. If you use the supercarrier, this is currently pretty awful in VR for deck movements. I can get away with a few statics around and as long as the island isn't in view it runs fine. For me the SC is the absolute worst part of DCS in VR, I hope it will get better as it seems like an optimisation problem to me at the moment.

 

I too was exactly like you wanting best graphics and quality etc, when I tried VR I wasn't all that impressed (rift S) but as I had invested money in getting there I made myself use it and over a few days I began to be surprised at just how much difference it made, and once you start to engage with the game and get used to it, its difficult to go back despite how much better the graphics look. It really is the difference between watching flying on TV and being there yourself.

 

Also 1v1 dogfights in VR are absolutely amazing! Couldn't do it with track IR - head all over the place losing my direction staring out of the corners of my eyes. I'm more of a ground pounder but dogfighting like this is really really exciting! But, you really need to get used to VR before doing spins and turns etc. To acclimatise your sense of balance I really recommend basic patterns around the airfield with regular breaks.

 

Ultimately its difficult to find out if you like it without committing, all you need to try is a VR headset your system is fine. Probably best for you to try a secondhand reverb G1 and see how you like it, thats the cheapest and best option right now. New reverb will be much more expensive but should mean that secondhand G1 units are around.

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Ideally if I can run textures on high and at least shadows set to dynamic (low) that would be fine. That's what I have now. I absolutely can't stand having to compromise for flat shadows only.

 

So is "HP Reverb" same as the G1? So like this basically?

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-Reverb-Professional-VR-Virtual-Reality-Headset-Windows-Mixed-Reality/143783893691?hash=item217a301abb:g:AjAAAOSw2S1fhHma

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For the type of experience you are asking: you better have to wait a little for the CPU revamped DCS engine (maybe early on 2021 or late 2020). That way you can have the eyecandy you are asking for.

 

With your rig you will opt for a cheap headsep like the Quest 2 or a HP G2.

Those two will be the most common used headsets in 2021 with very high quality on both of them (with the Quest 2 Link update).

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For the type of experience you are asking: you better have to wait a little for the CPU revamped DCS engine (maybe early on 2021 or late 2020). That way you can have the eyecandy you are asking for.

 

With your rig you will opt for a cheap headsep like the Quest 2 or a HP G2.

Those two will be the most common used headsets in 2021 with very high quality on both of them (with the Quest 2 Link update).

 

With regards to " CPU revamped DCS engine" - are you referring to Vulcan implementations? Coz I highly highly doubt we will be seeing that any time soon unless I've missed something that came out the horses mouth?

 

So just so I understand the basics - does the quality/ price of a VR headset affect only the visual aspect of the experience or how it runs also? I mean does a more expensive/ better VR headset also make the game run smoother with more details or is this entirely a restriction of the PC and the headset is just all about the visual quality?

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It is tricky as we all have personal preferences as to what is the bar for acceptability. I had an Oculus Rift CV1 when I first got DCS. It was ok but I was a bit underwhelmed. I then got an Odyssey+ and still underwhelmed in DCS. More recently I got a Reverb and that was the trigger, DCS & VR became a great match (with the caveat of performance with certain missions as has been mentioned)

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Ideally if I can run textures on high and at least shadows set to dynamic (low) that would be fine. That's what I have now. I absolutely can't stand having to compromise for flat shadows only.

 

So is "HP Reverb" same as the G1? So like this basically?

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/HP-Reverb-Professional-VR-Virtual-Reality-Headset-Windows-Mixed-Reality/143783893691?hash=item217a301abb:g:AjAAAOSw2S1fhHma

 

Yeah I have high textures and low shadows. I'm the same low shadows is a bare minimum. Headsets are basically twin monitors running two angles of the same view, higher res headsets require more system and performance as in fps will be much less than a normal panel. Usually we look to hit 50% of the headset refresh rate to allow the software to make it smooth. 100% of the refresh rate is better but not really possible at the moment.

 

Research the headsets on youtube before choosing. HP are good choices but you may have reasons for going elsewhere. That one on eBay looks like a good price to me but I haven't looked. I got a G2 on preorder....


Edited by Hoirtel
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Yeah I have high textures and low shadows. I'm the same low shadows is a bare minimum. Headsets are basically twin monitors running two angles of the same view, higher res headsets require more system and performance as in fps will be much less than a normal panel. Usually we look to hit 50% of the headset refresh rate to allow the software to make it smooth. 100% of the refresh rate is better but not really possible at the moment.

 

Research the headsets on youtube before choosing. HP are good choices but you may have reasons for going elsewhere. That one on eBay looks like a good price to me but I haven't looked. I got a G2 on preorder....

 

Yep, cheers, I'll definitely have a look. Are we expecting yet another performance hit with the G2 since it will be higher res I assume?

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Yep, cheers, I'll definitely have a look. Are we expecting yet another performance hit with the G2 since it will be higher res I assume?

 

Actually its the same resolution but with better screens and lenses. Quite a sensible direction really as the G1 was so good.

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Actually its the same resolution but with better screens and lenses. Quite a sensible direction really as the G1 was so good.

 

I'm just looking at reviews online. So am I right in saying it's really a choice between the HP Reverb and Oculus Rift S? People seem to be impressed with the sharpness of the image with the Reverb.

 

Also just out of curiosity. You know how with track ir you quite often have to reset your default/ neutral head position as it sort of looses it's original centre point after a whole bunch of twisting and turning - is that the same with VR headsets or they stay oriented in space relative to the neutral point constantly without having to hit a button to re-center?

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Looking at this video here it looks like the G2 is night and day compared to all prior headsets? I'm almost thinking I might just get that brand new instead when it comes out. Hmmm...

 

 

Ha ha, welcome to VR... I guess it really depends on your budget etc etc. Its supposed to be very good. Your card will probably run it fairly well, but as with any headset you get, you will want more. I'm planning a 30 series upgrade when they are available.

 

I currently use a rift S. Its not a new headset, it has a fairy low res screen, visuals are comprised. however, it is very easy to set up and can be quite smooth. I think everyone agrees it needs a high rate of super sampling to get acceptable quality out of it which you could certainly do with your hardware. It could be a good option to see if you like VR, but if you do, you will want to replace it. As it has a low res screen the aliasing (jazzy edges) can be very obvious and off putting although you do get used to them.

 

Also oculus have changed their policy requiring all new account holders to sign in via facebook, which I wouldn't like to have to do.

 

In short, only consider a rift S if you can get it cheap. Think they are discontinued now so probably only second-hand units around.

 

Yes - re-centering is a thing with VR too. I usually do this at the beginning of a session and it generally only needs re-doing if I take my headset off for a toilet break or something.


Edited by Hoirtel
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With regards to " CPU revamped DCS engine" - are you referring to Vulcan implementations? Coz I highly highly doubt we will be seeing that any time soon unless I've missed something that came out the horses mouth?

 

So just so I understand the basics - does the quality/ price of a VR headset affect only the visual aspect of the experience or how it runs also? I mean does a more expensive/ better VR headset also make the game run smoother with more details or is this entirely a restriction of the PC and the headset is just all about the visual quality?

Revamped CPU engine: it´s rumored to come in a few months and it´s different to the Vulkan upgrade (in fact Vulkan will do nothing without the much needed multi CPU upgrade in my opinion).

Many draw calls start from the CPU and the game is allraedy CPU bound, so: to scale graphics (as using VR) is a needed factor. That way you won´t need to quit shadows, etc to achieve the fluid experience and eye candy you are asking here.

And, yes: better resolution of the headset implies both increased CPU and GPU workloads on your PC.

So: you have a good system right now and waiting for improvements when the multi CPU engine rolls out. You would see benefits there and can start to evaluate the VR path from there.

I mean: people are happy downgrading graphics, acepting 45 fps as a tradeoff, etc to allready enjoy the inmersion, but, in my opinion, there is a path from ED to improve things in a big way in 2021.

And the Quest 2 and HP reverb G2 will start to shine there as more people can be able to enjoy the experience with a decent Pc that is not that much on the high side. (Specially with the Quest 2 starting price).

But if you want the best experience: The HP G2 and its cable will do the better job (of the two mainstream headsets). Alltough any of them will be fine.

 

Also: VR is in it´s infancy and things can change quikly. (You can expect a Quest 3 or HP G3 in a couple of years or sooner). There are allways things that can be improved (FOV, etc).

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I have no doubt that with VR you are at a tactical disadvantage against 2d pilots with a good trackir setup. Even with the very best VR sets the resolution just isn't there yet. Neither is the field of view. The neatest part of VR, looking around like a real pilot, having to crank your neck to check 6, is another one of its disadvantages.

 

We still have servers that insist on no labels of any kind, which is really unfair to VR pilots.

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Revamped CPU engine: it´s rumored to come in a few months and it´s different to the Vulkan upgrade (in fact Vulkan will do nothing without the much needed multi CPU upgrade in my opinion).

 

Citation ? I wish you were correct , but this post reflects what i opine based on statements from Wags , Nick and Kate .

https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=4523442&postcount=264

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"Hold my beer"

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Yep, cheers, I'll definitely have a look. Are we expecting yet another performance hit with the G2 since it will be higher res I assume?

Not neccesarily. Bear in mind we have tools to cranck up the native resolution as much as 2,5 times. And that takes a lot of resources.

So some guy with an old Oculus CV1 and pixel density setting to 2.5 may have the same performance than some guy running native resolution (pixel density to 1.0) on the newest Reverb, despite the headsets being so different on native resolution.

I'm just looking at reviews online. So am I right in saying it's really a choice between the HP Reverb and Oculus Rift S? People seem to be impressed with the sharpness of the image with the Reverb.

 

Also just out of curiosity. You know how with track ir you quite often have to reset your default/ neutral head position as it sort of looses it's original centre point after a whole bunch of twisting and turning - is that the same with VR headsets or they stay oriented in space relative to the neutral point constantly without having to hit a button to re-center?

I just hit recenter once when I don my Oculus and DCS is already started, and another time the moment I enter the cockpit. Unless you take the headset off, or something weird happens, no need for more. I binded it to my hotas so no big deal at all.

I have no doubt that with VR you are at a tactical disadvantage against 2d pilots with a good trackir setup. Even with the very best VR sets the resolution just isn't there yet. Neither is the field of view. The neatest part of VR, looking around like a real pilot, having to crank your neck to check 6, is another one of its disadvantages.

 

We still have servers that insist on no labels of any kind, which is really unfair to VR pilots.

Yeah people have been cheating for decades with trackir, checking their 6 in the blink of an eye, but who cares, I´m all in for flying, not for my position on a leaderboard :lol:

On some occasions I´m able to spot my tanker at 20 miles out, who needs labels?

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some guy with an old Oculus CV1 and pixel density setting to 2.5 may have the same performance than some guy running native resolution (pixel density to 1.0) on the newest Reverb, despite the headsets being so different on native resolution.

 

 

Well, I got myself a CV1 for my first VR experience and although I am quiet happy of having done that, especially because I had it at 50% of its price new in a completely unused state, I'll get myself a G2 for X-Mass.

 

I worked a lot at my PC cooling and can run both CPU and GPU at full boost at reasonable temperatures playing DCS in VR, image quality improved a lot.

 

But there is the matter of the pixels or "grid" that you can see just as you would when you stick your nose on a high-resolution screen, only in this case, it is much more obvious since the lenses are focused on it.

 

If the experience is still pleasant, I'm limited when it comes to what I can read inside the cockpit and higher resolutions would be welcome anyway.

 

Personally, I don't mind lower frame rates for as long as image quality is there, so I'm not after 90 FPS, 32/45 will do if it stays smooth and constant.

 

I'll see what I can get from my system with the G2 when I got it.

 

 

who needs labels?

 

Me, at the moment I do...

 

 

......


Edited by Thinder

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Citation ? I wish you were correct , but this post reflects what i opine based on statements from Wags , Nick and Kate .

https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=4523442&postcount=264

 

AMD have been assessing this sort of issues and try to limit the amount of cores used to 4, the problem is not only DCS, but the way processors works during the game as well.

 

Using Ryzen Master, some of the cores will shut down when not in use and resources allocated to the remaining active cores, their clock will be boosted as well.

 

A Ryzen 7 3700X is in theory faster than a Ryzen 5 3600X but I get better results when benched with an RTX 3080 with the 3600X.

 

https://forums.eagle.ru/showpost.php?p=4525129&postcount=181

 

The next generation Ryzen have a different architecture for this reason as well.

 

......

MSI B450 GAMING PLUS MAX 7B86vHB1(Beta version) BIOS, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB, 32GB Kit DDR4-3200 Crucial Ballistic Gaming Memory, 22' Samsung, HP Reverb G2. Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS.

Mirage 2000C, F-15C, Mig-29, A4E.

Avatar: Escadron de Chasse 3/3 Ardennes.

So far so good...

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Anyone got any opinions on the Vavle Index? A friend of mine who is much more clued up on this stuff reckons it's the best option due to FOV and head-tracking which is considerably more precise than the HP Reverb.

 

Tbh it's still a tough decision for me here. I mean I really need both - high res (little screen effect)/ good image quality and something that will run smooth enough to think it's real life. As soon as I have fps drops swiveling my head left and right in a dogfight, that will totally defeat the purpose of having VR in the first place.

 

And if you can't read gauges without leaning in close to them or can't see aircraft and need labels on then that I'm sorry to say is just going to kill the experience for me. This new G2 does look like it will probably not have this issue though so it's just a question of whether the head tracking is good enough and if I can run DCS at least with low shadows and high textures and still get a smooth image... hmmm...

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I have no doubt that with VR you are at a tactical disadvantage against 2d pilots with a good trackir setup. Even with the very best VR sets the resolution just isn't there yet. Neither is the field of view. The neatest part of VR, looking around like a real pilot, having to crank your neck to check 6, is another one of its disadvantages.

 

We still have servers that insist on no labels of any kind, which is really unfair to VR pilots.

 

Hmm, as spoken by a 2D user.... You clearly haven't spent that much time in VR....

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Anyone got any opinions on the Vavle Index? A friend of mine who is much more clued up on this stuff reckons it's the best option due to FOV and head-tracking which is considerably more precise than the HP Reverb.

 

Tbh it's still a tough decision for me here. I mean I really need both - high res (little screen effect)/ good image quality and something that will run smooth enough to think it's real life. As soon as I have fps drops swiveling my head left and right in a dogfight, that will totally defeat the purpose of having VR in the first place.

 

And if you can't read gauges without leaning in close to them or can't see aircraft and need labels on then that I'm sorry to say is just going to kill the experience for me. This new G2 does look like it will probably not have this issue though so it's just a question of whether the head tracking is good enough and if I can run DCS at least with low shadows and high textures and still get a smooth image... hmmm...

 

 

I don't think tracking will be an issue with the G2 while playing DCS, the only issue it has at this level is with controllers, it is not developed as far as the Oculus 2 for their use, but is better suited for flight simulation.

 

If you manage your desk lighting well enough, with level and contrast it will track just fine.

 

 

 

......

MSI B450 GAMING PLUS MAX 7B86vHB1(Beta version) BIOS, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB, 32GB Kit DDR4-3200 Crucial Ballistic Gaming Memory, 22' Samsung, HP Reverb G2. Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS.

Mirage 2000C, F-15C, Mig-29, A4E.

Avatar: Escadron de Chasse 3/3 Ardennes.

So far so good...

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Having tried both Index and Reverb the latter has noticeably better clarity for reading instruments and spotting, though it has a smaller sweet spot so you tend to move your head rather than your eyes more. I had no issue with this. For me the slightly larger FOV of the Index was a nice to have. I do prefer the audio of the Index.

 

Head tracking was the same for both although it is possible to get poor tracking with the Reverb in poor light. In my experience the Reverb tracking either works flawlessly or is not working well at all and is generally easily fixable. There is no aspect where the index is smoother once the Reverb is set up right.

 

The Reverb G2 adds the Index audio and addresses the sweet spot issue and reportedly adds even better clarity with its new lenses so for me for DCS is the best option, so I have one pre-ordered!

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