As a developer, you’ll (hopefully) want your products to be VR compatible. To do so, you can of course use a real headset. If the need for debugging arises, that may not be very practical.

So, here’s how to fake VR in X-Plane:

  • For starters, you’ll want to bind a key combination to the “Toggle the 3-d mouse cursor in VR” command. This can be done in Settings -> Keyboard, and will allow you to switch between using the mouse in VR, and in the normal window to exit VR mode. It can by quite hard to get out of VR mode without this shortcut.
  • Start X-Plane with the --fake_vr command line argument (see “Using the Command Line Options” if unsure how to do that).
  • In the Settings menu, the VR options should now be enabled. When checking the “Enable VR Hardware” checkbox, the left-eye view will be rendered in the X-Plane window.

There are a couple of noteworthy things to keep in mind when using this. Let me start with the good news: this also works on Mac! On to the bad news… this is very much in the category of “nasty hacks”, which means:

  • Quite a number of rendering artifacts when faking VR, but it should be good enough for testing out things like user interfaces and the like.
  • No support for VR controllers
  • …or even for actually moving the fake headset about 🙁

27 comments on “Faking VR for fun and profit

  1. Happy New year!!
    Thank you for the tip!

    P.s.: is there any news about Raknet? What did it introduce?

    1. I’m sorry, but no new features are currently being planned for the fake VR mode. To quote Tyler: “it’s *just* there to help UI devs who don’t own a headset”

      1. Could have an option to run with two monitors. That way we could look at each monitor with each eye and have an un-faked faked virtual unreality.

  2. Hi, I have tried to report a bug at your bug page regarding something else but I get no confirmation that it has been saved. I have pressed Send Report several times now without any success! Sorry for writing this here but I see no other way to contact you 🙁

        1. We recently fixed an issue where reports with certain attachment types were being rejected by the Google Apps email server that receives the reports (not even getting as far as the spam box!). That’s unrelated, but was fixed last week. I can say with confidence that if you saw a confirmation page on the bug reporter page from Friday onward, we received your report; before that, we probably received it, unless you had attachments with file types Google didn’t like.

          1. Okey, thank you.

            I will give it a week or so, and if I don’t have any response will report it again.

            Happy new year!

  3. Unless I’m missing something this mode doesn’t seem very useful, given both eyes are not rendered and I can’t rotate the view since I have no controllers. Personally I’ve been holding off on VR due to low resolution, narrow field of view and nausea concerns, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in VR. Quite the contrary. Other freeware developers may feel similarly.

    1. It is exactly as useful as it needs to be to verify that UI you developed for 2-D will work in VR… and not an ounce more useful than that. 🙂 If you want to do serious VR dev, you’ll still need a headset… there’s not much we can do about that.

      1. Right. The feature exists for “I make a plugin with UI windows using the XPLM3 and my users have a headset but I don’t.” You can confirm that the call to make your modern window pop up in the headset works without sending betas to users and waiting.

  4. Sorry unrelated, but just wanted to thank you all for the amazing work you have put in on Xplane over the last year.
    2019 promises to be a big year with the implementation of Vulkan and many other additions and improvements.
    All the best for 2019 guys, I wish you every success.

    1. on same thread , keep an eye on x-enviro 1.10 – the team is heated up to ensure an edge over hifi welcomed entrance in xp arena…
      am surely holding breath to build a special pc for xp in 2019

    2. +1
      Also sorry for unrelated comment, but talking about improvements I really have to say that:
      Though sometimes a little demanding for my GPU, the default clouds now look very nice! In some conditions even close to amazing… : )

    3. +1
      Definitely looking forward to what 2019 brings for X-Plane. Will you guys be having a developers’ Live stream in the near future? Looking forward to hearing about Austin’s recent float plane adventure.

        1. Might want to clarify that was in reference to the video or vulkan, before all the 10 year olds find this website. 😉

          1. 10! I’m in my 40’s and obsessively google “vulkan x-plane” most days 🙂 I can’t wait, for VR it will make an excellent immersive experience even better due to hopefully much higher fps.

  5. “As a developer, you’ll (hopefully) want your products to be VR compatible.”

    Surely 11.30 hasn’t just been pushed to release without fixing bug XPD-9388 (Software hangs upon exit when using VR). I’m still having to kill the application in task manager if I want to exit x-plane. Please consider the 6% of customers who do all their flying in VR before updating the base sim with such a glaring bug.

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