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Best current quad sim?

evranch

Active member
#1
I want to work on my quad skills since I probably have all of an hour total flight time. Quite a few options out there right now but it looks like Liftoff and Velocidrone are kind of on top. I'm on Linux with a HD7850, a little out of date but none of these sims look like they should tax it too badly. I assume that the goal is to maintain 60FPS because... these things are fast. I'm sure once I hook up my goggles though, the low resolution will take a lot of load off the card.

Liftoff looks graphically beautiful and the option to build your own quad and customize your frame, motors, battery and props would be a great learning experience for me - IF the behaviour is realistic, of course.

Velocidrone claims better flight models but the graphics aren't as great and the options to change your loadout just aren't there. So I'm tending to lean towards Liftoff unless Velocidrone has a significantly better flight model.

Lots of reviews online are dated as both have been around for awhile, and people alternately claim both are "floaty" or otherwise unrealistic. So who has played lately and wants to chime in?
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#3
Liftoff was my favorite. It's reasonably realistic; I used it to learn how to fly a quad and was able to transition from it to real life FPV flight as my first RC flight (I'd never flown fixed wings or helis or anything else prior to it), so I figure it's pretty good. :) Plus, the Betaflight PID tuning in game gave me a reasonably good baseline to start off with tuning my quad, and let me understand a little better how it works without destroying a quad in real life.

Is it "Floaty"? Yes. All sims that I've played have had that feeling of "not quite tight/locked in" response feeling that I have IRL. But, it's one of the best simulators FOR flying, provided you want to learn FPV. It WILL help you learn to fly in that it gets you to think of how the sticks will make your quad react, and it gets your hands trained in muscle memory. It's not perfect, but it's the best I've found at getting a shot at really flying a quad and not costing you an arm and a leg in crashes and repairs. :)

I've used Velocidrone, and it's good; a lot of guys say they like it, but it wasn't my favorite. Same with FPV Freerider and the DRL sim. That last one really felt like a video game, though, and I was kind of "meh" about how it felt and played. Ultimately, they all have their pluses and minuses, and it breaks down to what YOU find best for YOU. I like Liftoff, and for ME, it's the best one I've found for learning to fly better, and it's only $20 through Steam, a small price to pay for the hundreds of dollars I'd have spent on broken props, damaged motors, etc...
 

evranch

Active member
#4
Thanks, I was also curious how the tuning worked in-game, so if it's realistic to Betaflight then it sounds like a good choice. Being on Steam is definitely an advantage too, I found that Linux games via Steam tend to work great out of the box, other games not so much.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#5
Thanks, I was also curious how the tuning worked in-game, so if it's realistic to Betaflight then it sounds like a good choice. Being on Steam is definitely an advantage too, I found that Linux games via Steam tend to work great out of the box, other games not so much.
It is good. The tuning isn't perfect; I tried pushing one of the PID numbers off to an extreme amount to see what would happen, and while it made the quad act differently in flight, it wasn't so horrible it was un-flyable. I kind of wish it'd made it really crazy, just so I could say, "Ok, don't do THAT in my tuning!"
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#6
I have flown several sims that do not require you to be on line.

My favorite is fpvfreerider for quads. It is the least 8bit graphicy one out there. I found all others to be too video gamish then actual simulator.

Hotprops was second on my list as that had actual boards of real areas to fly so its like flying in a panoramic scene. Controls are more in depth for tuning

Early Drl sim was a joke. Cant speak about its current state. It was video game perfect. No real feel to it.

All of them as stated felt floaty. That can be over come changing gravity settings if the sim has them.
 

evranch

Active member
#7
I hadn't seen that one, the FPV freerider demo runs well on Linux. The only issue I'm having with it is that I have too many controllers hooked up (Flightstick, Taranis, 360 gamepad) and it seems to be expecting me to have only one. But I tried it with the keyboard, and it runs super smooth. If I get that sorted out it definitely looks worth the $5 for a lightweight sim focused entirely on flying and delivering super-high FPS.

Hotprops is gone! The URL goes to a holding page. The dev said that he quit as it was just a hobby for him, too bad.

This one might be personal preference but should I practice with a springloaded left stick or not? My Taranis is set up normally for flying airplanes, no spring, but I'll probably buy a cheap beater transmitter for my quad project. I intend to learn to fly full acro, but when I'm working with this quad I'll probably be flying in iNav POSHOLD+ALTHOLD so I can park it easily without having to switch modes. It kind of feels like a springloaded left would be the best way to handle this.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#8
I hadn't seen that one, the FPV freerider demo runs well on Linux. The only issue I'm having with it is that I have too many controllers hooked up (Flightstick, Taranis, 360 gamepad) and it seems to be expecting me to have only one. But I tried it with the keyboard, and it runs super smooth. If I get that sorted out it definitely looks worth the $5 for a lightweight sim focused entirely on flying and delivering super-high FPS.

Hotprops is gone! The URL goes to a holding page. The dev said that he quit as it was just a hobby for him, too bad.

This one might be personal preference but should I practice with a springloaded left stick or not? My Taranis is set up normally for flying airplanes, no spring, but I'll probably buy a cheap beater transmitter for my quad project. I intend to learn to fly full acro, but when I'm working with this quad I'll probably be flying in iNav POSHOLD+ALTHOLD so I can park it easily without having to switch modes. It kind of feels like a springloaded left would be the best way to handle this.
Let's back up a second, then...You're asking if you should fly with a radio where the stick returns to center on the left stick? You CAN, but there are only a few reasons why I can see that you would WANT to do that:

1 ) you're flying a quad in 3D mode, where you have zero to full throttle from center to top, or full reverse of the engine from center to bottom (see the 3D mode in Liftoff for an example; I don't know if any of the other sims offer it)

2) You're flying in a different Mode, i.e. Mode 1 or Mode 3, where things tend to be reversed. Typically, Mode 1 and Mode 3 are found in European transmitters, whereas Mode 2 is the mode most US pilots fly on. On a 4 channel plane, Mode 2 would be throttle and rudder on the left stick, with elevator and ailerons on the right; Mode 1 would swap the throttle for the elevator, so that elevator and rudder were on the left stick and throttle and ailerons would be on the right. There are people who will fly something other than Mode 2, but we 'Muricans say they're just "wrong". :ROFLMAO::LOL::ROFLMAO: (Seriously, if you fly something other than Mode 2, more power to ya; I couldn't do it without LOTS of practice!)
 

evranch

Active member
#9
I'm mode 2, have been all my life. The other modes baffle me as well! I'm in an odd place here because I'm not really big into quads but decided I want to fly one for a practical job.

I know proper quad flying is done with a regular throttle stick setup. The reason I was looking at springloaded sticks is because that's the way that consumer drones like DJI are set up, to hover when the stick is centered. I think that might be how I want to fly my herding quad. I'm planning a pretty challenging usage case, and only think I might be able to pull it off because of decades of gaming.

If you watch Alex chasing and flying acro in FT videos, he's not really there in person - he's on the quad 100% unless he crashed the thing. But I want to switch between FPV flight and a LOS sheep drive as I fly with my FXT Viper goggles without the shroud. I'll be yelling commands to other people, walking on foot, waving my arms around - and flying a quadcopter. I can kind of do this with a plane already, but that's because planes tend to maintain their current attitude on their own.

So I can't afford to manage the quad 100% of the time, I need to be able to let iNav take the wheel from me in an auto mode and keep it from bouncing off the terrain. If this doesn't require self-centering sticks, no problem! But it kind of seems like it will, or else I will be gaining or losing altitude if I don't perfectly center it myself.

I guess I could learn to fly the correct way, and bind a cheap spring stick TX to that one specific quad for that job. All the other skills should transfer, it would just be easier, like flying a plane with SAFE.
 

evranch

Active member
#10
Oh yeah, and I got Freerider working with my Taranis! Definitely a good intro to the sport for $5. It's not too hard to get started, but I can see how hard it is to get up to the skill levels that racers have!
 

Vimana89

Well-known member
#11
Never used a sim for multi rotor or else I'd have one to recommend. I started out with a little tiny Hubsan fpv quad with altitude hold and learned on that, crashes and all. I also have a Drocon blue bugs 3, much more powerful with no altitude hold or other training wheels, but a smooth flyer when you get used to it, and capable of some slick moves the altitude hold ones can't do. I'm pretty new to rc in general but my best recommendation, whether on a sim or in real life, practice on something that has no altitude hold, and get the full feel for multi rotor. Also, if you have any interest in fixed wing and haven't flown before, a quad without altitude hold is the only type that can begin to prepare you to fly fixed wing.
 

evranch

Active member
#12
Well I've logged some time here in Freerider getting the hang of it in angle-limited mode and can now make multiple laps around a course without hitting a gate :) at least with the slow flight model, I think they call it "sluggish"? lol. Once I get the hang of flying I will probably pick up Liftoff for the tuning/OSD/cam and VTX simulation. Freerider is very focused on the mechanics of flight itself.

What I didn't expect was that when I put my goggles on I actually got a little nauseous after flying for 10 minutes, and at 20 I had to call it as I was honestly feeling a little ill. I'm not a seasick/carsick/airsick person and I'm not even flying aggressively!

However much I used to love drift car games these quads drift like nothing else in the world. It actually reminds me of playing Descent when I was young, but I was too young to feel ill then, I guess. I remember my dad couldn't play as it turned his stomach just watching me.

Hopefully with more hours under my belt that will go away because that would kind of wreck my fun :sick:

Vimana89 thanks for sharing your learning experience, definitely with these sims there is no option for that sort of altitude hold anyways, so I'll be learning properly. Then when I fly a quad with all the assists I will have internalized the skills and it will just be super easy. As far as fixed wing goes, I've been flying for ages so I'm not worried about messing up my skills in that respect.