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    Battle of Britain museum visits 2 - 11 Group Operations Room
    33LIMA
    By 33LIMA,
    The prologue My second planned visit to an historical Battle of Britain site was to the Battle of Britain Bunker at Uxbridge, in London's western suburbs. This was the site of the Operations Room for Air Vice Marshal Sir Keith Park’s 11 Group, which bore the brunt of the Battle. The bunker was used for other purposes after the war but is now restored, close to its 1940 appearance, as the centrepiece of a museum run by the local council, Hillingdon. You can find the museum’s website here and background on the history of the bunker on Wikipedia, here. The Ops Room ‘played itself’ in the Battle of Britain film, in 1969. So as with Bentley Priory, my trip to Uxbridge ticked three boxes – seeing the movie location, visiting an important historical site from the Battle, and seeing the museum exhibits. Uxbridge, like Stanmore for Bentley Priory, is at the end of a Tube line, two in fact. I walked from the hotel to Leicester Square and took the Piccadilly Line out to Uxbridge, the last half or so running in the open. It’s a walk of maybe 20 minutes to the bunker, though the route is a little convoluted. I was even more pressed for time that day, so I hopped on a black cab at the taxi rank in front of the station for a c.5 minute door-to-door ride. I turned up shortly before opening, which is ten till four-thirty, with last admission an hour before. This gave me an opportunity to photograph the two ‘gate guardian’ replicas and the museum exterior.   The visit This Spitfire IX, finished as 5R-E of 33, Squadron with ‘D-Day stripes’, is near the bunker entrance.   This squadron has no particular connection with the Battle of Britain, having served in the Middle East until returning to operate with the 2nd Tactical Air Force supporting D-Day and later operations in NW Europe, ending up with Tempests. But it's a nice replica!   By contrast, the Hurricane is very much at home here, being a Mk I, RF-E, in the colours of 303 (Polish) Squadron, which operated with great distinction during the Battle, from nearby RAF Northolt. Behind it, in a brick wall and just out of sight to the right in the photo below, is a green door leading to the back garden of the house in which 11 Group's Air Officer Commanding Keith Park lived during the Battle. The inexpensive tickets were purchased at the shop/reception area just inside the bright, modern exhibition centre. There is another building next to this which looks like a large blockhouse, partly camouflage-painted, whose function apparently was, and is likely still, to house and protect the generators used to provide power to the bunker.  Sadly, I didn’t have time, after my bunker tour, to see much of the exhibition centre, though I did get to take this picture while waiting for the tour to start. If you arrive between bunker tours, the exhibition, as well as the museum shop, provide plenty to do and see while waiting. I think my only company for the tour was a school group of well-behaved teenagers, Polish I think. The guide was a smartly turned out ex-NCO type, Ray, who started us off with the inevitable safety briefing, which included the fact that access was via 72 steps, down the original wartime stairway, to what was known to those who worked there as ‘the Hole’, sixty feet underground. The tour proper started, in front of the site’s small but imposing memorial to the role of the bunker, with a short history of the location. Apparently, these were the grounds of a ‘big house’ bought by the government and turned over to the Royal Flying Corps in WW1, after the locals had objected to its original intended use as a PoW camp. The bunker itself was built in the run-up to WW2 to replace the previous above ground one, to reduce vulnerability to air attack. This is the concrete-shrouded bunker entrance. Behind the blastproof steel door is a small guardroom complete with an RAF-uniformed mannequin guard, who looked rather bored. This is the view looking back the upper flight of steps from the landing onto the second flight, which leads on down at about right-angles. And here are some views of the Ops Room from ground level. With Ray delivering his informative spiel. One of the snippets of information from this relates to the map – the GSM, or General Situation Map. Apparently this was rolled up and stored somewhere else in the bunker when it was converted to other uses – a comms centre I think – for the Cold War. When eventually found for the restoration, it has deteriorated a bit and some trimming was required. However its general shape and appearance seem to be much as it was during the Battle. There are some wartime pics taken of it which show more location names, so perhaps there were different versions, even then. Here's some of the plot markers in close-up. The ones with one or two yellow flags denote friendly fighter squadrons, those without having the 'H' prefix which denotes them as a hostile raid. Apparently there were different styles of markers used at different periods. Similarly with the map, comparison with wartime photos suggests that there were also some detail differences with ‘the tote’ on the back wall – where a column using a row of coloured lights displayed the status of each squadron in each of 11 Group’s geographical Sectors. This was named after the UK’s former national horseracing betting shop chain, presumably from the resemblance to the typical ‘bookies’ display boards listing horses, courses, races and odds. Also on the tote, below the squadron status display, were separate ones for each sector indicating cloudbase height, cloud cover level and information on local balloon deployment. Along with the map, all the information is placed so as to be visible to the personnel looking down from the control dias. The map – covered in a transparent overlay which the British Army used to call ‘talc’, or perhaps it is glass or perspex - had some markings from D-Day, presumably because of the 75th anniversary. Usually, the aircraft markers on the table are laid out to show the tactical situation at the height of what became Battle of Britain Day, 15th September 1940. Ray’s talk described the operation of ‘the Dowding system’ (which seems to be a modern term, unused until recently) whereby ‘tellers’ would receive details by land line of friendly and enemy or unidentified formations from the Filter Room at Bentley Priory, passed on from the radar/RDF chain, the Observer Corps, and other sources, including the ‘Pip Squeak’ IFF system. ‘Plotters’ around the table would then place markers on the GSM and update them as more information came in, using trays of markers stored below the table edges and moving their ‘plots’ with (ideally) billiards cue-like rods with electromagnets on the end. As enthusiastically demonstrated by one of the other visitors! The Sector stations listed on the tote (which generally also had additional ‘satellite’ airfields to which one or more of their squadrons could be deployed) had their own control rooms, usually built on the actual airfield. The Group control room ran the battle, deciding which Sectors would intercept which raids and passing these instructions to the relevant Sector control room, which scrambled their fighters and directed them to the target. Looking backwards from the ground floor map, there’s a row of desks which were manned amongst others by (I believe) the ‘tellers’ who received plot details by land line before passing them onto the 'plotters' at the map table. Above their desks are the curved glass panels designed to give the Controller and his assistants, sitting at the upper level, a clear view of the map, regardless of lighting – if you take a flash picture from up there, Ray told us, you’ll see it doesn’t reflect on the glass and interfere with your view. I left my flash off throughout so as not to be a nuisance. The angled section of the upper level, to the left, is where you may remember Winston and Lady Churchill sat during their visit on Battle of Britain Day, as portrayed in the film, when Churchill asked Park what reserves he had, to be told 'None!' These are their desks viewed from the upper level; you can more clearly see the D-Day markings on the map from this angle. In describing fighter armament, Ray passed around three .303 rounds in a belt. I ended up with them last (before handing them back naturally!) and was surprised to see they were in non-disintegrating metal links. But I suppose these are less likely to come apart and get lost than the real disintegrating Prideaux links! The talk lasted for about three-quarters of an hour, after which we were ushered up to the upper level. I didn’t have much time left by this point, so what I had, I concentrated on the 11 Group controller’s area. In the upper right wall, next to the tote, is a rectangular glass panel that was installed after the Battle of Britain, to give VIP visitors ‘a room with a view’, not least King George VI who used it twice, apparently. In the foreground is the Duty Controller's station... …and this is the view while I was sitting in his chair. I managed to resist picking up one of the ‘phones and in a suitably authoritative voice, calling ’This is the 11 Group Controller. Ninety-two Squadron, intercept Hostile One Zero!’ But here I was, sitting exactly where many such an order was given, looking down at the GSM and the tote, just as the real Duty Controller did. A feeling to be savoured! In developing their justly-famous and long-lived sim, Rowan decided not quite to replicate the precise mechanics, but the feeling is uncannily similar. As I sat there looking down, I could almost hear the Rowan WAAFs, much as the real ones would have done, announcing politely but firmly ‘New raid detected…!’. Simulation and history met in my mind. But I had a date with a Premier Tours bus at Victoria (which I only just met). So I had to go back up those 76 steps without waiting for the rest of the party and without touring the exhibition area. The two gate guardians were of course waiting for me up there. My taxi driver had given me his card and was there within minutes to whisk me back to Uxbridge station for a train and tube ride back into central London. I’d had no time to peruse the museum shop so failed to pick up a copy of the book I was after there – the Haynes ‘workshop’ manual ‘Battle of Britain – RAF Fighter Command’ which ‘does what it says on the tin’ and has both wartime and modern photos of the bunker I’d just visited. Which I know, because I got a copy of the book the next day at the Imperial War Museum Lambeth, at a much reduced price to boot, on my last museum visit of my brief London break. So I’ll close these two museum visit reports with a photo of the real Spitfire on display at the IWM - despite the later-war camouflage and markings, R6915 is a real Mk Ia which flew and fought during the Battle of Britain. But there are more than ever Battle of Britain-related museums and sites to visit, and I fully intend to work my way through some more of them on future trips. It’s all rather wonderful that so many people have worked (and still work) so very hard, some as unpaid volunteers, to keep alive the history of the Battle. It's all the more vivid for being on display where it was actually fought. If you can make it to Uxbridge or Bentley Priory, they’re highly recommended. If you can't, well I hope these reports and the links in them will give you an idea of what you're missing! You can find more information about the Battle of Britain Bunker museum here: Website: http://battleofbritainbunker.co.uk/ Friends (supporters) site: http://friendsof11group.co.uk/

    Battle of Britain museum visits 1 - Bentley Priory
    33LIMA
    By 33LIMA,
    The prologue 'Not really a mission report', you might say, but I was 'a man on a mission' in this case, and there is a strong combat sim connection! Like reading up on the subject, a museum visit can be a great way of deepening your ‘feel’ for the historical background of a sim you’re playing...thereby enhancing that semi-mystical quality called 'immersion'. I’ve been playing A2A’s most excellent Battle of Britain II solidly now for about six months, which has spurred me to expand my stock of books on the subject. And I enthusiastically grabbed the chance proffered by a short break in London last week to pick and plan some related museums to visit. Online research soon identified the two I most wanted to see and this report records and illustrates the first of my visits. I hope it and the one to follow will be of interest to anyone contemplating doing likewise, or those too far away to do so, and a useful supplement to the museums' own sites - which for Bentley Priory, you can find here. The 1969 film Battle of Britain has many memorable moments. For me, one of those moments is right at the end. Lawrence Olivier, playing Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding - head of RAF Fighter Command and architect of the defensive system that nowadays bears his name – walks out of his office at Fighter Command HQ and onto the veranda. The tide has turned and he can sense his battle has finally been won. He looks out across the beautiful gardens, south towards London, like his own command bombed but not broken. The camera follows his gaze, up into the blue sky, as Ron Goodwin’s majestic main theme wells up. Churchill’s famous tribute to ‘the Few’ is displayed, and the credits begin to roll, starting with the Battle’s real participants and their casualties. The scene was of course filmed at the real HQ at Bentley Priory. Finding that it was now a museum, open to the public, I was quietly thrilled to think that  I might see Dowding’s office, stand on that veranda and savour that same view – walking in the footsteps not only of ‘Sir Larry’, but also of Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, the great man himself. I’ll try to avoid duplicating here what you can readily find in the museum’s own website, and concentrate on what I saw when I went there. I had three nights at the St Giles Hotel at the bottom of Tottenham Court Road, a few yards from the junction with Oxford Street with the Centre Point block just across the road and the Post Office Tower behind the hotel on the other side. Bentley Priory was open ten till five (four, October to February) but only on one of the days of my stay – the Monday – so it was then, or never. I took the London Underground aka ‘Tube’ from Bond Street station a short walk away. Bentley Priory is in Stanmore, right out in ‘the leafy suburbs’, and the last station on the Tube’s Jubilee Line. You can walk the last mile or so, mostly uphill, but I jumped on a number 142 double-decker London bus at the stop immediately outside Stanmore station. The whole journey took over an hour each way, with about the last half of the Tube part out in the open, which is a bit less wearing, and more interesting, than being whirled along noisily in a tunnel. As a sop to any railway fans reading this, this is Stanmore station looking north. The station is used by conventional ‘overground’ trains as well as the Tube, all third rail electrified and operated by London Transport – or Transport for London aka TfL, somebody having decided such a rebrand was worth the cost and effort. Marketing and design companies must have seen them coming, as the saying goes. Those bright red buses can be seen a long way off.   The visit - outside in The 142 service bus’s PA announces the museum stop, so I had no worries about when to hop off. The problem came when I turned left onto the drive leading to the museum, for it was sealed behind closed and apparently locked black iron gates. A carload of visitors prompted the (civilian) security chappie to emerge from the nearby gatehouse, letting me in too and allaying my fears that I had got the opening days wrong. The drive curved off to the left, and coming around the corner I stopped to savour my first real-life view of the former Headquarters of RAF Fighter Command. The building is surrounded, mostly at a respectful distance, by upmarket housing built or clad in similar fashion (sandstone?) to the Priory, and you can’t wander off too far before seeing signs saying ‘Residents only’. Apparently, like many such buildings, the Priory was camouflaged dark green and dark earth on the outbreak of World War 2, but this wasn’t reproduced in the film and the museum has sensibly chosen not to deface the fine building for the sake of turning the clock back. Of course, my first stop was the two aircraft prominently displayed outside. There seems to be a significant market for fiberglass replica Spitfire and Hurricane ‘gate guardians’ these days, and my first few minutes were spent photographing these two at Bentley Priory. The Spit apparently replaced a real one, of a later mark, since restored to flying condition. The replica looks well, although purists might find minor faults here or there. I wasn’t interested in rivet-counting or nit-picking. Those over-wing Type B roundels do look a tad small, though... Having built the Revell 1/32 Spit in the 1970s, I naturally recognised the squadron codes as belonging to 610 ‘County of Chester’ Squadron. There’s a plaque in front telling you the replica represents the aircraft flown by Cyril Bamberger. On the other side of the big pine tree is the replica Hurricane.  As the plaque says, this one is in the markings of a machine flown during the Battle by Pete Brothers of 32 Squadron, complete with that unit's oversized code letters. Even though I knew these weren’t real aircraft, they made a suitable impression and of course I could not resist getting plenty of pics, despite the overcast skies. Stepping into the museum, this is the impressive sight that greeted me. Helpful staff on a desk ahead and right took my modest fee, gave me a site map and suggested I start by viewing the c.10 minute introductory film, run as required as visitors arrived. The staff immediately understood me when I described wanting to walk the scene at the end of the Battle of Britain film and I accepted their suggestion to ‘fly a holding pattern’ in one of the fine adjacent display rooms while waiting the few minutes for the next showing. The intro film is projected onto a wall just in front of you and is conventional – until it cuts to describing the role of Dowding. Suddenly, camera obscura style, the light goes on in the previously blacked-out room on the other side of the wall-screen. Behind the projected images, you can now see Dowding’s actual office, complete with his desk, green desk lamp and other fittings of the time, as featured in the BoB movie. A uniformed actor speaks to some of Dowding’s pronouncements as the story continues, ending with the Battle won and the great man being bidden ‘Goodbye, sir’ as his silhouette leaves the office for the last time in his career. It avoids the controversy over how Dowding was let go with little recognition at the time, but it’s still ‘lump in the throat’ stuff and not to be missed. After that you’re on your own, and can wander inside and outside at your leisure. Which is what I did, taking pictures as I went. This statue is of Dowding, just outside the door into the screening room and his office next door. A little further on is this group of typical RAF fighter pilots and the obligatory dog.   In a room beyond is a mock-up Spitfire cockpit, complete with leather flying helmet and goggles, primarily for selfies. Yes I did get in, to find that the flying controls don’t operate realistically. So I quickly abandoned any notion of dismantling, smuggling out 'one piece at a time' and shipping home for re-assembly as a simming cockpit. And yes, as nobody was looking, I did don the gear and take the selfie, but I’ll need to be suitably bribed or have drink taken, to post that one! On a mantelpiece dominated by a fine portrait of King George VI, next to a silver or pewter Spitfire - a Mk XIV by the look of it - is a trophy, engraved 'Air Defence of Great Britain' and 'Kenley Inter Flight Cup.' Note the framed 1930s cigarette cards, to the right - I still have a couple of mostly-filled albums of these from the 1970s, as distributed with Typhoo Tea when it was sold loose-leaf, inside those little folded paper 'bricks'. Nearby is a wall display of squadron crests from the Battle, complete with their (mostly) Latin mottoes. I was soon to regret not paying the latter more attention. Other items on display here include a glass table-encased model of the Operations Room... ...and an actual RAF Ops Room clock, whose coloured triangular divisions tied into the colour codes of the arrows used on the Ops Room's plotting table to indicate how up-to-date the raid's plots were, as well as their direction. There's also a display of the Observer Corps, justly granted the 'Royal' prefix later, without whom enemy aircraft crossing the coast could not readily have been tracked, the RDF/radar stations of the time looking only out to sea - notwithstanding the Battle of Barking Creek when it all went a bit skew-whiff. The next room is a circular one adorned with many modern air combat paintings of the Battle. In this room there are also small consoles which invite you to take a quiz. I selected the ‘Expert’ version and only got 9 out of 14, earning me a ‘Wing Commander’ rating. If you want to do better, you will need to brush up on two topics – the meanings of the Latin squadron mottoes, and the phonetic alphabet used pre-1942. There are rather a lot of questions on these two things in the 'Expert' quiz, compared to what I would have expected would really represent expert knowledge of the Battle, if you will excuse my sour grapes! The museum map showed the next room to be the Operations Room. But I knew this had been moved underground before the Battle (to a bunker nearby, replaced during the Cold War with a deeper, nuclear-hardened one, no longer accessible). The museum’s Ops Room is actually a recreation of the first operational Filter Room which was in this building before the move underground. The display comes with a lot of supporting and fresh-looking carpentry and some cast or sculpted figures of the operators at their own particular type of plotting table. The Filter Room was where the actual reports from radar and other sources were first received and then compiled from the relatively raw data into usable information, before being passed on to the co-located Fighter Command Ops Room, and to those lower down the chain of command at Group and Sector level. There’s much good stuff on Wikipedia and other places online, but best single-source illustrated description I’ve seen of how ‘the Dowding system’ worked is in the Haynes 'Workshop Manual' title ‘Battle of Britain - RAF Operations Manual'. The museum Filter Room display includes informative panels - visible on the right, in the picture above - illustrating the roles of the personnel involved, and the tools they used. One of these panels is pictured below. Downstairs, there’s a corridor adorned with amusing, ‘gentle caricature’ portraits of RAF commanders from the Battle onwards. This opens out into another room displaying more aircraft paintings, like this one, which if a touch whimsical, I particularly liked and would consider buying as a print, if obtainable. Retracing my steps, I passed through the pleasant tea room in a ground floor conservatory. Had I not been up against the clock, I’d have loved to sit there a while and sup a cuppa - two sugars, please! - but it was time to go outside and retrace those famous footsteps… …to be continued!

    Il2 DD Update Dev Blog 225
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,
    225   Dear friends,   The Summer is in full swing and we're working on finishing the Bodenplatte project. P-51D, P-38J, B-25 and Tempest 3D models are nearing completion, their textures are being made right now. Today we can show you the cockpit of Hawker Tempest Mk.V:     As we announced before, all Bodenplatte planes will have 4K external textures. Here are Bf 109 G-14 shots that show the texturing made by Martin =ICDP= Catney: In addition to the models, we're working on the important features like more detailed pilot's physiology effects. Fatigue caused by a high G stress, (in)ability to bail out and other such things. After that, we'll get to repairing, refueling and refitting the aircraft on the ground.     At the moment we're moving to a newer FMOD version and our sound designer converts all the sounds to the newer sound engine. The main result of this work should be a fix of the disappearing sounds issue after playing for a while that was caused by having too many of them. We also started the research on making the aircraft and ships visible from several times farther distances. This task is very complex since it involves many various parts of the project - we can't make it at the cost of a significant performance loss in the graphics and network subsystems.   The work on the Bodenplatte map is nearing completion and we'll be able to show you the screenshots showing the result of this tremendous work soon. This also means we started the work on the Career mode for it that will be called Battle of Rheinland. Starting on September 17th, 1944 and ending on April 1st, 1945, it will include several new mission types characteristic for this timeframe on the Western front. All the required information - squadron histories and emblems, pilot biographies, awards, news, etc. - was accumulated with the help from our community members and we're very grateful to those who participated in this task.   Another important thing we must tell you is that American, British and German infantrymen models for Bodenplatte project are finished - they will man the guns, drive the vehicles and appear as airfield personnel. And here's the model of the Royal Air Force pilot for Summer of 1944:     Now let's talk about other our projects. For Tank Crew, the next update will bring Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G that has autonomous electric turret turn mechanism for instance. And in September we plan to release the two scenario campaigns for Tank Crew - Breaking Point and Last Chance, telling about the fighting near Prokhorovka. Players will be able to participate in the battle from both sides. Today we can show you the title art for these campaigns that were created using in-game tank models and the screenshots of Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.G in the sim.       The next update is planned to include two - actually four - new aircraft for Flying Circus - Halberstadt CL.II, Halberstadt CL.IIau, Bristol Fighter F2 Falcon 2, Bristol Fighter F2 Falcon 3. After that, to complete this project we'll have to release Amiens-Arras-Lille map that will come with improved visual models for ground vehicles. Here are the screenshots of the coming planes:       You can discuss the news in this thread

    Summer Sale has Begun! June 25th - July 5th - 50-66% Off
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,


    Dear Pilots!

    SUMMER SALE HAS LAUNCHED! 

    June 25th - July 9th 2019

    In Official Webstore and on Steam

    Battle of Kuban = 50% Off (First time at this price)
    Battle of Stalingrad = 66% Off
    Battle of Moscow = 66% OFF
    All Collector Planes = 50% Off (Including the U-2VS)
    All Scripted Campaigns = 50% Off
    All Rise of Flight Content = 66% Off
    Cliffs of Dover BLITZ = 66% Off

    OFFICIAL WEBSTORE

    STEAM

    As usual, if you purchase a plane you already have you can send it as a Gift to a friend or squadron mate.

    NOTE: having at least the base game (Stalingrad) on Steam means you can launch it from the Steam client without entering a login and password and you can access your IL-2 content purchased elsewhere if you link the accounts.

    I recommend to buy it directly from the original webstore

    Another foray into Virtual Reality (VR)
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
      The technology for Virtual Reality (VR) has come on enough in recent years for it to be considered viable for home gaming including in some Flight Simulators. The latest set of Headsets released this year have improved on what there was somewhat with some calling them 1.5 or 2nd Generation. Even so opinions on these seem to be mixed with some declaring they are the new messiah and others putting them in the box and sending them back to the shop. So is it the new messiah or just a very naughty Scuba Mask.     After patching up my hands (more later) the subject on trial is the Oculus Rift S, which improves on somethings over the Rift CV1 such as: •    Resolution and clarity.
    •    Ease of Use.
    •    Price.  but is not so good on some other aspects
    •    Sound.
    •    Lack of mechanical IPD setting. The Rift S price seems competitive and includes 2 controllers however, like myself and others you will likely be plugging your own headphones into the provided Jack to improve sound quality: Those ultra cheap earbuds plug right in to the headset!   Rift S also has internal tracking using 5 cameras so doesn’t use or need external base stations (Lighthouses) like the Pimax 5K+/8K and Vive do. This means 6 Degrees Of Freedom (6DOF) comes included. Rift S is also said to be one of if not the easiest to setup and live with. All you do is install the Oculus App, plug in the headset and pair the wireless controllers with onscreen tutorial.  A spare USB 3 and DisplayPort is what you need to plug in the hefty cable.  I am also running Windows 10 with an RTX2080 card which specifically had a USB type C connector on it for VR. So, taking advice from other users I plugged the headset directly into that using a USB 3 to USB C adapter. (Note I am running a mid to high end gaming PC currently and quite frankly anything less might see you disappointed regarding performance if you were say using it for DCS.) Once I had stuck in the AA batteries onto each controller both paired straight away so setup was no issue at all for me. Earlier headsets and others like Pimax 5K+ have a mechanical InterPupillary Distance (IPD) setting. Being a single display Rift S only has a software controlled IPD setting and this seems to be a large negative point people are throwing at it. This is basically the distance between your pupils and so is important to know so you can set the correct value.  Rift S comes with snazzy box and two controllers!   The initial Oculus “First Steps” program (App) is a joy and really gets you into being able to use the controllers to grab and throw objects and interact with the world. The Oculus App store is an advantage for Oculus being one of the most developed. Here you can find some free gems like BBC VR spacewalk and 1943 Blitz. 
        Screenshots alone are useless on conveying what VR is like you have to try it and get your VR legs, which translates as getting used to things to stop that part of the brain that thinks it is real and making you feel sick. Try a VR spacewalk or a Dogfight in DCS and this is what you initially will be fighting as well.   Impressions After using Rift S for a few weeks this is a real showcase for the potential of VR especially concerning interaction with computers and even VR games such as Robo Recall which are really pretty amazing.
    But I don’t want to give the wrong impression because you still basically have a 3D monitor in Scuba type mask at the end of the day and this will not be for a lot of people.  It is advised that you have lots of space around you for games such as this because you are essentially flailing yourself around pretty much blind. Also you will find that although your in game hands can rip robots apart and throw them about – your real hands are no match for the wooden furniture you just hit and need patching up. In fact possibly the first time blood has been shed for real during a computer game. Robo Recall - the only blood shed was outside the game! (Oculus.com)     VR games make you sweat and so your VR lenses will steam up. Some get around this by blowing a fan in their face others like myself came up with this solution which also lets me stay in touch with the real world but makes things less comfortable: Yep I have pulled the rubber mask off!   Speaking of which Rift S has a promising feature maybe for the future called Passthrough where I can be in any game and switch to a view through the external cameras. If you are thinking just like the F-35 helmet! – erm sort of like the F-35 helmet…….…in 2001 maybe. Was thinking I might be able to make out the keyboard but no chance. (maybe in a few years) When it comes to flight sims there are lots of mixed views and opinions. I can see why some have returned it because some people won’t put up with headaches or bother trying to overcome sickness for computer games. Some will be disappointed at the view in the Rift S which is better than the original Rift but still less than a 1080p monitor.   Track IR 5 V Rift S Let me say I have used TrackIR for over 10 years and so SA and positional awareness in Dogfights is not an issue. Nor is Air to Air Refuelling in fact recent DCS patches seemed to make things a lot easier. In Falcon I find it easier to join when the tanker is turning for some reason and do most of this automatically. These are things it seems I will need to spend time practising in Rift S / VR before I can be as proficient as before.
    The Field of View (FOV) is similar with both but with TrackIR I can still get a more realistic range and look around a lot easier with much better clarity. If I compare 1 v 1 tracking with the Rift S and my head then the FOV is much too small on the Rift S, so it is not just a pain in the neck I am getting. (Note I don’t wear glasses). With Track IR I often have to F12 reset the view or shake my head to get it back to where it is supposed to be (things I do now automatically). The Rift S doesn’t have that issue but it is also not perfect with for example sometimes presenting the HUD display too low or high to use. Other differences with Rift S include a 3D rendered cockpit thus the cockpit switches stick out in a way you won’t be used to if you used a 2D monitor. Also, the sense of scale is different and you can do things like stick your head out of the side of the aircraft which might be Useful for Choppers maybe (something I don’t fly).   Also…. Of course there are other changes you need to adapt to……..for example with the VR Headset I can use HOTAS, rudder pedals and mouse fine, but a keyboard is a no. Also not so great having to lift up the scuba mask to look at the many docs I have on tablet for the more complex sims, also if you need to write anything down like coordinates during a CAS mission forget that. So, for example trying out the A-10C the other day and need to eject but no practical way to get at the keyboard and no clicky way to eject myself. Alternatives might be using Voice command software instead and there are ways to get some documentation into the DCS kneeboard such as the third party DCS Kneeboard Builder which may help to a degree.   Natural-point Track IR 5 - the King   (naturalpoint.com)   Potentially I suspect Generation 3/4 headsets could address some of the the current issues and be very good. Something that could add to this in future is Hand Tracking so you can manipulate controls in clicky pits with your hands / fingers. So, in summary if you are tempted by one of these then do research into it and look up the many Pros and Cons or at least make sure you buy from where you can return it easily. Whether it is for you is entirely down to who you are.
     

    DCS Weekend News: 21 June 2019
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
      DCS Summer Sale 2019 is Here! Starting today and lasting until July 14th, enjoy 50% off on most DCS World products. This includes most of the aircraft, maps, and campaigns available on the DCS e-Shop. Note that this is the first time that the DCS: Persian Gulf Map has been discounted to 50%. If you have been holding out on this map, now is the time to add it to your collection! Exceptions to 50% off include the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet, DCS: Christen Eagle II, and DCS: I-16 at 25% off, and DCS: F-16C Viper, DCS: F-14 Tomcat, DCS: Fw 190 A-8, and DCS: MiG-19P Farmer are not participating in this sale due to being in pre-order or recently released. We will also be participating in the 2019 Steam Summer sale with equivalent savings. Hornet Update Hornet development continues with focus on the INS/GPS-guided weapons like the JDAM and JSOW, new functions to the air-to-air radar that includes Latent Track While Scan (LTWS) and Multi-Sensor Integration (MSI), and smaller updates like SA page declutter, AIM-7 lofting logic, updated multi-target attack capability for INS/GPS-guided weapons, new HUD symbology like FEDS air-to-air gunnery SIM training mode that displays predicted gun round impact, corrected NVG rendering, and PRECISE coordinate entry for both the Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI) and INS/GPS-guided weapons. AGM-154C JSOW and MSI AGM-154A JSOW The Hornet team has their nose to the grindstone working on the Litening targeting pod, the AGM-84D Harpoon anti-ship missile Bearing-Only Launch (BOL) to start, INS and GPS navigation and alignment, and Track While Scan (TWS) radar mode. Now at 25% off, it’s a great time to add the Hornet to your hangar if not already there. Related to the Hornet, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is making fast progress with the new model and textures, radio communications, and animated deck crew. Later this summer we will be providing much more information about this exciting new module. Open Beta Update Today we released another update to the 2.5.5 Open Beta. Highlights include: Improved canopy and cockpit door network synchronization for several modules Corrected game crash when crashing aircraft with cargo still attached F/A-18C: Added MSI for LTWS sub-mode, corrected loft function for the AIM-7, added declutter options for the SA page, and corrected waypoint coordinate entry bug AV-8B Night Attack: UFC ALT functions now fully operational Fw 190 A-8: Prop pitch can now be assigned to a controller Please find the complete changelog here Barring any major issues, we plan to move the Open Beta to the Release Build next week. Sincerely,
    The Eagle Dynamics Team

Portal by DevFuse · Based on IP.Board Portal by IPS


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