UPDATE: After receiving around 70 requests, we are closing applications for private beta testing at this time.


X-Plane’s native VR is nearly ready for beta. Possibly as soon as next week, we will be moving into private beta testing of VR-capable builds. We are looking for a small number of volunteers to participate in the initial private beta.

Qualifications

All the usual beta disclaimers apply, but you should also expect a much greater risk of encountering bugs in the private beta! We need testers who can follow directions and provide clear & concise bug reports. We are also looking for a variety of hardware to cover.

Basic system & hardware requirements are:

  • Windows 7 or newer operating system
  • A VR-ready GPU, such as GeForce 900 or 1000 series, or AMD RX 280 or newer (no Intel GPUs are eligible)

How to Apply

Send an email to me that includes:

  • A recent X-Plane 11.10 log.txt
  • A brief overview of the VR equipment you own, such as which headset, controllers, and if it’s room-sized or not

My email is my first name at X-Plane.com. Please do not attempt to apply in comments! If you cannot follow the directions above, you will not be selected to participate in the private beta.

DO NOT PANIC IF YOU ARE NOT SELECTED FOR THIS ROUND OF TESTING. Like usual, there will also be a public beta that anyone can use to test VR.

About Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer came to X-Plane to update the manuals and stayed for the bug testing. You'll most likely see her on the Q&A site or answering bug reports.

92 comments on “Private VR Beta Testers

  1. I am at here since XP9, but I do not have VR equipments. What kind VR equipments do you think to use at XP ?

    Very thanks,

  2. Sweeeeeeeet!! I’m not much of beta testing kind of guy (not because I don’t like experimenting, but because I don’t have the bandwidth to write detailed problem reports, which will undoubtedly be required of any good beta tester). I will wait until late in the beta to to test things out when (hopefully) most of the big bugs are squashed.

  3. Great way to start the day, good laugh 🙂

    Excited about VR, but I’ll wait till next-gen headsets are more widely available and “proven”, like Pimax 8K.

    Cheers!

      1. Pimax 8K actually doesn’t run 8K. That’s how many pixels it has, but it’s stretching the image at the edges like early 16:9 TV’s used to do.

  4. 1.Does the test start at the same time as the public test?

    2.What screen is displayed on the monitor during VR playback? Full screen? VR mode output?

    1. 1. No. That would defeat the purpose of a private beta.

      (The purpose of a private beta is to get some initial feedback on the code in a controlled environment – when we first let the code out of the lab, if it fails on half the machines, we can get 4 emails, not 400 emails.)

      2. The main monitor shows the left eye pre-distortion, unless you change the main monitor to show an iOS or something.

    1. The initial version of VR will be for Windows only. As was mentioned in other posts (buried deep in the comments section):
      – Mac VR will come after we finish the port to metal – we need the most modern version of Metal for dual-eye.
      – Linux VR may or may not come out whenever we port to Vulkan or Steam supports GL-based VR, whichever comes first, assuming it’s not a giant mess.

      1. doh, “when we port to vulcan or steam supports”. does that mean i should hold off buying the vive for a while longer then? that sounds like some time away.

        1. If you’re concerned about buying the Vive and having it not be useful on your Linux system, you should hold off indefinitely – there is no guarantee that it will _ever_ work on Linux.

  5. It would be nice to be beta tester. Would be a good experience. Good luck all.

    Thank you for the news Jennifer.

  6. Will it be possible to turn VR on and off on the fly? I think using the monitor for flight planning, switching to VR for taxi/take-off/climb and then back to the Monitor for long cruises a very good option on other platforms.

    Thanks

    1. Yes. You toggle it in the preferences, and there’s a big “shut off VR” button on the main monitor in case your head-set goes berzerk and you can’t see anything. But I’m hoping you can mostly get by in VR – putting the headset on and off a lot can get tedious.

      1. Is VR still coming this year to everyone or have you kinda misled us a little in the past few weeks by going private beta?

        1. Not sure how we could have misled anyone with a private beta in the last few weeks. The post is pretty clear that private beta is still forthcoming and no VR beta has happened at all yet.

          1. Because you indicated that VR would be available this year now it appears that this will ONLY be a private beta, not a public beta as was ‘indicated’.

          2. Grrrr.

            Back in November, I had this exchange with a user.

            Back in November, this exchange occurred in the comments:

            A user: “Are we still looking at getting VR this year. Or has that gone pretty much kaput.”
            Me: “Yes.”

            VR this year has been our target this entire time, and my team is BUSTING THEIR ASSES trying to do it.

            But they may not succeed. If we start the private beta and every user’s PC catches fire and erases it’s C drive, not only will those beta users be really angry with us, but we won’t have a public beta because the code won’t be ready yet.

            I this situation makes you feel “mislead”, the cure is for me to not answer any more questions about schedule ever again. We can do that if that’s really what you want.

          3. Guys. The Laminar crew I have learned to love, as they are with heart and soul behind their grand simulator. A small bunch that is bringing us amazing things and making our beloved XP the best damm simulator on the planet! You won’t have these types over at good old Lock Martin, where probably everyone sits in his own little programming cubical and never gets to hear any whining users or has the oportunity to openly make fun of the boss they never get to see. The working climate at Laminar (apart from the whining users 🙂 ) is a climate that I would love to work in. Having fun with my colleagues, poking fun at my boss Austin, and working on what I love. Heaven. But there is only so much a small crew can do. They are made of flesh and blood, and probably do have a very small private life every now and then. It is christmas you know, so give them a break. They are allready working there asses of for us and for that I am building a shrine next to my pc… 🙂 I also cannot wait for VR, but if they put out a load of garbage, then we will all be whining: “What’s this load of crap?”. When its done, its done. And we can then stick out our tongues at all those Prep, DSW, Aero guys and boldly say: “you wasted your money!…” 🙂 Ben and the Rest: keep up your (fantastic would be a huge understatement) work, and if you find time: Merry Christmas!…

        2. You really ought to relax. Theres still roughly two weeks left in the year. With any luck we’ll get it by then, if not then I’m sure they’ll be working as hard as they can after a little Christmas break to get it done. I, too am eager to get my hands on this update, but patience is a virtue!

          1. I am relaxed. I was simply indicating that this private beta thing came out of left field and over the last several months all talk about VR was about a public beta this year, then suddenly “Nope private beta” with no real word if there will be a public version this year.

  7. Almost brings a tear to my eye. To think it was just 4 years ago we began down this journey. VR has come a long way and so has X-Plane. The future is looking bright.

  8. Woooo! Can’t wait! Too bad I didn’t see this until it was too late :(. I’d love to have put my 1080 + rift to work :p

    Can’t wait for the actual release, I built a new computer and bought a rift solely because of X-Plane VR! Hoping it might be a good supplement to my PPL-H training.

    1. It’s when you’ve got a big room and sensors that are far apart in the corners of the room and capable of tracking the user facing in any direction.

      My Rift equipment is not that – I have a 3 foot by 3 foot working space that is littered with GPUs and the Rift sensors are both front, so the tracking gets iffy if I turn 170 degrees.

      X-Plane works in both scenarios; if you have a lot of space you can walk around a lot and explore the entire plane or do a full walk around; if you don’t you can “teleport”, which moves you in VR space without walking in real space.

      1. That’s so cool! I could theoretically do a walkaround in my room scale space and then climb into my cockpit which is directly adjacent to it! Thanks for the posts Ben.

  9. Jennifer I sent you a proper e-mail request
    I’ve got the HTC Vive for over a year already .
    I also have the Pimax 8K. headset on order as part of the kickstarter.

    Shout out to You Ben. 🙂

    being retired with a long history in the computer industry. Affords me a lot of time for testing. 🙂

    .

    1. I will be *VERY* curious about your experience with the Pimax 8K. To me, it is the minimum spec that I will be willing to spend money on… A decent resolution and decent FOV.

      Do you have a channel or some profile somewhere that I can follow?

      Cheers!

  10. I am one of those VR flyers that cannot wait for native VR support. The demo of FlyInside had me hooked immediately, but it was limited in usage time. Since I heard that native VR support is planned/on the way, I refrained from buying FlyInside (also I found the control manipulation was awefull). One of the things that has left me wondering with x-plane and native VR was: I have the full equipment with Yoke, Pedals and Throttle Qaudrant and of course my Vive. It has been said that you can fly x-plane totally in VR without any external hardware, or you can still use your hardware, and just use your VR hand controllers to Flick the switches and turn the dials. All good, but how are the pedals controlled when totally in VR without any external control hardware? Its something that has not been mentioned. Yoke is easy, throttle qaudrant also (although I am wondering about multi engine throttles). But how will the rudder pedals work? With the Vive I could buy extra tracking pucks which I could strap on my feet (or glue to a shoe), but the Oculus Users do not have that luxury if I am not mistaken. So how will this be done? To be honest, the VR wait is killing me… 🙂

    1. Currently in VR, if you don’t have rudder pedals attached, we input a little bit of rudder for you when you input roll (using the VR controller or hardware Yoke much to the chagrin of CFIs everywhere). It’s good enough to fly around with under basic conditions but you will not be able to land smoothly in a crosswind. The problem with VR is no different than having a joystick without a rudder axis.

      As far as multiengine throttle controls in VR…there is a bigger hotspot to grab all throttles at once easily which is the most common use-case, but there are smaller hotspots to grab each lever individually so you can taxi with differential thrust for example. It’s quite nice.

      1. Is it not possible to set the analogue thumb controls on the Oculus Touch to control rudder? If so, is it possible to switch off the auto rudder as it would no longer be needed?

    2. “With the Vive I could buy extra tracking pucks which I could strap on my feet (or glue to a shoe)”

      Made my day! You’re in to deep man!

      1. I am so excited bout what I’m hearing, and as dumb as this sounds… can I get confirmation that I will be able to use my existing hardware, pedals,button boxes,throttles etc. as well as virtual hands and buttons…at the same time while in VR

        1. Yes. You can use any physical hardware you want while in VR mode – the joystick system is not disabled. Basically the VR controller lets you touch the 3-d cockpit the way the mouse would, so VR replaces the mouse, but the HID/USB joystick system still works.

          1. Does X-Plane display a virtual hand in place of the controller when using motion controllers? How about when your hand is off the motion controller?

            I’m one who will be using HOTAY, but would still like to use my touch controllers for buttons and switches. I’m anxious to see how this works out for me.

          2. We show a controller in virtual space so you can see what you are interacting with. If your hand is off the controller, you can see where (in virtual space) the controller is sitting – since your head is ‘in’ virtual space, you can thus reach out and grab the controller without seeing it.

      2. Well, it would work… They just have to have a clear sight to the base stations for the tracking. 🙂

  11. The mobile/App perspective: Are there any plans to have 3D in the mobile version of X-Plane? I mean those cardboard constructions with lenses that fix your mobile close to the head/eyes. I could imagine controlling pitch and bank by moving the head (and thus the mobile) accordingly; maybe even yaw, but I’m ussure about thrust. Of course I won’t be responsible if some guys bang their heads against walls while thinking they are flying…
    Now if you can control the thrust by making sounds to the mobile’s microphone, you’re allowed to be a child again 😉

    1. Yo mean like Google Cardboard? Maybe – it’s something we’re aware of – I think Chris has a cardboard kit for his phones.

      I like the idea of the engine thrust being a function of microphone input noise I’ll use my 3-year old when I need afterburners. 😉

    2. LMAO, I love your ideas for the controls! I don’t do mobile gaming but this is the one feature that would make me get the mobile phone version of X-plane! I might have to get military aircraft so I could “pew pew pew” into the microphone as well. =D

  12. Will be fix the problem of light through the clouds? Now i’m flight with overcast but i can see the airports as in clear sky…it’s unreal!

  13. Hi Ben,

    Is there going to be any way of importing and manipulating extra windows into the VR space? I’m thinking Navigraph maps or Little Nav Map windows etc.

      1. Excellent, thank you for the info……..I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
        In the meantime Merry Christmas to you and the rest of the X-Plane team.

        1. Yes. Core 2.0 is a good option in addition to developers adopting/updating to windowed plugin menus using the latest x-plane SDK.

    1. If we could import any window into VR space, then it would be cool to import video window of my webcam for video chat as well seeing my hands operate with hardware controls 🙂

      1. On the new Core 2.0 and Dash Rift environment (currently in public beta) and with Windows 10 and latest graphics drivers this is already possible. You can basically drag any window you want into your VR space and pin it there. For example, it means I can still follow a twitch stream and its chat even while in VR.

        Other headsets … well, maybe they’ll follow up with similar functionality at some point.

        1. Awesome about Core 2.0. My dream is having shared cockpit with other person using VR (I am deaf) so I could use webcam/video chat software window pinned in my VR space and other person do the same so we can chat (ASL signs) through that pinned video chat window in VR space!

          I have Pimax 8k ordered so looking forward for wider FOV and better resolution.

  14. Can you give some details on what resolutions and anti-aliasing will be available in VR? Shimmer & aliasing will probably be an issue (as with all VR titles on the current generation of headsets). In simple titles, you may crank the resolution up by 1.5x or even 2.0 and call it a day, but as this is basically 4K, I don’t think it’s doable in X-Plane. Has some graphical fidelity been cut back for VR, for example, no SSAO? Or did you manage to drop temporal AA into the mix, which works great on man complex titles (with foliage etc.). Just very curious what to expect here.

    1. In non-HDR VR runs at 4x MSAA right now – we may add some flexibility there – we hacked in 4x because no MSAA looked bad. In HDR you can have whatever the UI has, assuming your graphics card has fill rate.

      You can have all of the rendering options in VR – if it’s too slow, turn them down, e.g. if your 1060 can’t run max 8x SSAA + FXAA + SSAO, don’t cry about it, fix your settings. We didn’t hard limit them, although we may at some point provide some warnings, e.g. so users who were flying at 25 fps on a monitor consider retuning settings.

      Resolution is always just a problem…the headsets don’t have much. We can render to an oversize buffer (and we do) and have AA but in the end it’s not a substitute for the 2K headsets everyone is waiting for.

      1. I should say: res is a problem in that you can’t sit back in your seat and read the small text on your instruments – the letters are too small on the glass of the headset. But it’s not a problem in that you can still fly VFR, look around, then scoot forward a little and everything is readable. If you’re young and have 20/20 vision you might find this annoying…if you’re like me and long overdue to get glasses (I’m getting to be that age) then it won’t be that different from real life. 🙂

        1. I am totally fine with the image in the Oculus if it’s completely clean. It may be soft, but as long as you downsize an image to it, it can be alright. I just suspect the levels of supersampling required might not be possible with a current GPU, no matter how top-end – without making other sacrifices (SSAO is a tough one to turn off).

  15. Hi Ben and seasons greeting to all at Laminar Research.

    My question is are we still going for a public beta of XP_VR for Xmas?

    Best regards
    Dave

    1. Yes, I’d like to know this too. But I guess that they probably don’t know yet so don’t want to make any statement. And from my point-of-view, I’d be exactly the same so I don’t blame them at all!

      We will just have to wait and see but based on their work and efforts on X-Plane up till now, I have every confidence that whenever it get released, it will be don’t right and it will blown our socks off! I’d rather wait a bit longer and see a job well done than for them to release something riddled with bugs because the community is pressurising them.

      Just my 2 pennies’ worth!

      Dazzy.

      1. Spot on, as stated yesterday the team at LR are working very hard at trying to get a public beta of VR for Christmas. All we can do is hope they succeed, and understand that they truly did their best if they don’t make it.

  16. Hi Ben,

    Firstly, thanks to all the team for the outstanding work that they are putting in, making the best flight sim even better!

    I have a small request which I thought I should mention since we are fairly early in the VR build…

    In DCS, you can assign a button on your controller to ‘move your head forward’ (zooming). When you press it and hold, you move forward in the direction you are looking and when you release the button, your position moves back to normal again. It gives the impression that you are ‘leaning in’. This is great to be able to turn on cockpit switches with the mouse while wearing a headset and it gets around the issue of resolution limitations – not being able to see the instruments that clearly. It works really well and you con monitor the engine instruments etc very easily. It would make being able to input a flight into the FMC feasible while wearing the headset for example.

    Is this something that can be implemented into X-Plane please?

    Dazzy.

    1. Hi,

      We could do this, but … I’m amazed that you’d want such a thing. My experience with the VR headset during dev has been this:

      1. Any motion you make naturally with your head is insanely easy. It’s the only setup I’ve used where “looking over your shoulder” just works. (I’ve flown full motion cockpits based on X-Plane, and while the physical motion cues are fantastic, the lack of parallax out the window when moving your head isn’t as good as VR.)

      2. Any time your head moves virtually without you moving, it’s nauseating.

      When you ‘teleport’ in X-Plane, we don’t slew your head linearly, we instantly jump you because slew motion is disconcerting. The jump is ‘different’ enough that it’s not bad, but short teleports can feel weird because you brain can tell what the ‘delta’ was.

      My concern with lean in is: because you’d be able to see the before and after for this lean in, the mouse based lean in would be a lot worse than just physically leaning in.

      cheers
      Ben

      1. Hi Ben.
        If DazzyB’s idea is technically possible, could you say if sim/graphics/view/pilots_head_x / y / z etc will be editable by plugins when flying VR?

        This question has been bugging me for months as the flyinside plugin only allows pilots_head_psi / the / phi, but no actual x, y or z movement.

        If the answer’s yes, that’s brilliant, although I fully appreciate tweaking those values will require a 747’s stock of sick bags.

        1. I’m not sure what happens when plugins interact with the VR system right now. Our general model is that the VR headset’s 6 degrees of freedom are an _offset_ from an anchored camera position – we have to do it this way or user movements in physical space don’t show up in VR, which is very uncomfortable with the headset on.

          So in theory we can set things up so that XPLMCamera and pilot head position writes change the base of this offset, but I’d strongly recommend caution — we did implement “camera-attached” VR so you can be in circling views in VR, but frankly it’s a way worse experience than sitting in the 3-d cockpit or standing on the ground.

          VR also has an option where you can be on the ground and NOT anchored to the plane – unlike the 3-d cockpit mode (where you take a walk), in VR if you get out of the plane with the parking brake off, you stay and the plane goes. So that doesn’t work well with the “write pilot’s head position” mode.

      2. Ben, I’d like to weigh in here. The feature Dazzy asked for isn’t one I’d use personally, but when it comes to deciding whether or not to make nausea inducing movement in VR available I wish that all developers would give us the option (with a warning). Some of us don’t get motion sick, and would prefer not to teleport. That said, if it’s a lot of work to implement I would understand not doing it.

        1. We haven’t taken away features just because we find them unpleasant – so feel free to orbit around your plane while it flies…keep a barf bag nearby. 😉

          But we haven’t intentionally _added_ additional features where they (1) might induce motion sickness and (2) we thought we had another solution.

          So our teleport is instant – we don’t slew and neither do other games Chris looked at. We don’t have ‘move head in’ – you have your physical body. 🙂

          1. Makes perfect sense to me, I find leaning forward to look at my instruments both natural and convenient. Can players like Dazzy set a hot button to temporarily teleport to a preset camera position closer to instruments? Same feature he asks for, but without slew.

      3. I, too, thought the “VR zoom” function would induce sickness. However, I can say that it is not as jarring as other forms of view manipulation and it is a very useful tool. It really helps us overcome the limited resolution of current-gen VR displays.

        Physically leaning doesn’t always work — sometimes the gauge is on the other side of the cockpit. Sometimes we are trying to resolve a distant landmark – something that doesn’t get bigger when we lean (but is easily seen when “zoomed”).

        An analog-based zoom (like a mouse lean) does sound sickening. But a simple zoom button that magnifies a portion of the screen would be very useful.

        The more rapid the transition between normal FOV and “zoom” FOV, the better. IMO, instant would work. In DCS, the zoom transition is brief but uncomfortable.

      4. Hi again Ben, and thank you so much for the response!

        There’s a very valid reason that I’m asking for this feature…

        I use a little utility called iVRY – https://twitter.com/ivry_vr?lang=en (there’s also the same thing for Android too called VRidge – https://riftcat.com/vridge) for my iPhone 6S Plus which basically, in combination with one of these…

        https://freeflyvr.com/

        …turns my iPhone into a Vive. It uses SteamVR and only costs me £27 all together (and I get 120 degrees FOV which the Rift doesn’t even provide!). The experience in DCS and all my other SteamVR games is phenomenal and extremely immersive (especially since the FOV eliminates the edges around the image). I also get head-tracking using the phone’s built in motion sensor. VR using this method opens up the VR world to almost everyone that is on a tight budget (like me).

        The downside to the above is that I don’t have forward/backward motion tracking (which is why DCS provided the zoom feature). So I’m not able to naturally lean in.

        The great thing is that as long as X-Plane VR supports SteamVR, it will work using this method, which opens up the VR market in a huge way for you guys too 😉

        Dazzy.

    2. It may be that XP has this already – (but does it work in VR?)
      There’s 10 (now 20?) custom camera positions – and it’s custom per aircraft.
      Set up a custom camera over the instruments, and ‘save’ it (something like Alt-Numpad-number). The behaviour is to toggle, so the same button can be used to zoom in and back again. But it does ‘slew’ so, yeah, I’m waiting to see if its buckets of fun or something else…

  17. Moderator: You can delete my above comment, if I understand Ben’s reply to Brent he answered this. I think it sounds like the “anchored camera position” in the cockpit is not something we can move.

    1. Same here! My dad turns 91 next month, and he was a B-25 Flight Engineer in the 1940’s. He LOVES flying my motion sim in VR and for Christmas I’m really hoping to put him in the Khamsin B-25 with native VR. =) Maybe that will be extra motivation for our dev’s who are already working themselves to death. =P

    1. We’ll look at it. We use Steam’s OpenVR API — our hope in making that decision is that as the zoo of HMDs increases, vendors will provide OpenVR drivers (to get access to the library of Steam VR games) and things will “just work”.

      But as of now, Chris has only run with the Rift and Vive, so that’s the only sets we can say “yes, these definitely work” for.

  18. Excited! I’ll be watching this space for the public beta announcement. Based on what I’ve read above, this may be the thing that finally pushes me into getting the Touch controllers for my Rift.

  19. Actually, there are 2, 8-K versions, One is 2 X 4k Displays for a total of 8K, the other one However is Native 8K per eye ! I signed up for the kickstart for the 2 X 4k Displays. Both have 200° field of view which is the reason I ordered it. I will post a YouTube video review When my headset arrives. In the meantime I will continue to use my HTC Vive which I’ve used already for A year.

  20. Hello,
    i see in the video, the user work with controllers. Many users for Oculus, doesnt have the touchcontrollers. Is that possible to work in a aircraft with the 3d-mouse? When i must set a button on copilot panel, i outside from the guardian-systeme and the controller will not work.

    Regards

    1. We’re looking at options for non-touch-controller users, but right now they’re required. I strongly recommend them – being able to interact with the overhead panels of the airliners is fantastic.

  21. Exciting news! However Using SteamVR as platform might be a mistake? First off, it displays a blue circle around you (for safety reasons) It cannot be turned off and is a total immersion killer.
    Second, from my experience, it does not work very well handling prop aircrafts at 45fps or below. The propeller gets this strange warp/wobbling effect (due to ghosting). Same with Oculus. The only time I have not seen this is with the FlyInside software. It also has the zoom function discussed earlier. Very handy for viewing landmarks at a distance. Like having a pair of binoculars in the cockpit. Since good VR experience (along with proper ability to host own multiplayer servers and fly multicrew) is what X-Plane needs to stay current and competitive, I hope that this part will not dissapoint. Looking forward to try it out when public beta begins.

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