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Quad Simulator

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#2
Is there a good quad sim out there that I can practice racing and/or freestyle without trashing my rl quad?
Yup! There are several! :)

Velocidrone, http://www.velocidrone.com/ works as an FPV simulator on both Mac and PC. Not one of my favorites, but there are a lot of people I know that like it.

Rotor Rush - http://rotorrush.com/ - Also for Mac and PC, allows you to simulate flight on the TinyWhoop/Inductrix style frames. I haven't flown this one myself, but I've seen some reviews that say it's pretty good.

DRL Sim - https://thedroneracingleague.com/2019-tryouts/ This one works for the Drone Racing League, and is used as something of a qualifying tool to see how you'd place for their courses. It also runs across Mac & PC, but I couldn't get it to run well on my Mac Mini from 2016, so I kind of gave up trying to use it. You may find it runs better for you with your setup, depending on what you have.

Liftoff - http://www.liftoff-game.com/ - This is my favorite. I'm not a huge racer; I like to fly more freestyle flight. This one gave me the option to do so with tons of different courses to run through, as well as the option to build my own courses. This one also has a Betaflight tuner in the game, and tuning corresponds fairly well with real-time tuning. I actually used the settings in game to get a really close approximation of real world tuning for my quad.

Of these 4, I know for sure that Liftoff, DRL Sim, and Velocidrone will all work with Spektrum and the OrangeRX USB wireless dongle; I have tested those and gotten them to work. Rotor Rush says it will work as well, but I myself have not verified that; your mileage may vary. :)

Everyone has different feelings about the simulators; some say that it doesn't feel like real life, that they're too "floaty". I spent 40 hours (spread out over several weeks) in Liftoff, learning how to fly a quadcopter in Acro mode on a transmitter. I then got a racing quad for my birthday, purchased an inexpensive box headset, and went flying a week later. Pulled it out, flew it around, and was doing loops and rolls with it, no problem, just like I did in Liftoff, and everyone who watched me was amazed, considering I'd never flown in real life before. Practice with a transmitter (don't try to use a USB gamepad like a Playstation or Xbox controller; it will NOT give you the same feel!) and you'll benefit from it. It's not quite the same as real flight, but let me tell you that you WILL benefit from the practice and getting muscle memory set.
 
#3
Awesome! thank you for the reply.

I also am more into freestyle than racing, so liftoff may be what I'm looking for.
I have a gremlin right now, but haven't flown it in arco mode much yet (the few times i do, i lose orientation and crash within a couple minutes). I've been sticking to horizon and angle modes to play it safe, but it is probably teaching me some bad habits.
Eventually, I'd like to get a 5" or 6" quad so I can use my "go pro", but i want to learn how to fly better before I get one.

Thanks!
reub
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#4
Awesome! thank you for the reply.

I also am more into freestyle than racing, so liftoff may be what I'm looking for.
I have a gremlin right now, but haven't flown it in arco mode much yet (the few times i do, i lose orientation and crash within a couple minutes). I've been sticking to horizon and angle modes to play it safe, but it is probably teaching me some bad habits.
Eventually, I'd like to get a 5" or 6" quad so I can use my "go pro", but i want to learn how to fly better before I get one.

Thanks!
reub
You're going to love Liftoff, then. The guys there have actually put the FT Gremlin in, and it flies pretty close to what the actual Gremlin flies like! Again, not 100%, but you get the feeling of size being somewhat accurate, and you CAN change between Horizon, Angle, and Acro mode (I think Liftoff calls Angle mode something else - I'm not sure, as I've only really ever flown it in Acro mode), but I think you'll find you'll like it. And for $20 via Steam, it's WELL worth the price, especially when you figure that it'll help you learn the basics and that any crash in the sim is saving you $$$ in busted props, busted frames, damaged batteries, broken motors, etc. :)

I know there are more sims out there than what I mentioned; these are the few that I know of and in most cases have had experience with. Velocidrone has a trial version; Rotor Rush does as well, from what I could tell from their page. DRL is supposed to be free; I didn't delve into it too much because I couldn't get it to run smoothly on my Mac Mini, so it may be totally free or you may have to pay for additional tracks, parts, etc. I last tried it over a year ago, and I honestly don't remember the way it was laid out for price.

Liftoff is the only one that doesn't have a demo, but I feel is WELL worth the money. You get a bunch of different courses to fly (My favorite for freestyle is Hannover, Germany; there's some really cool structures to fly through, with metal framing that reminds me of the Death Star run in Star Wars), you have a bunch of different frames that you can change out and customize with different motors, battery packs, etc. (some of which just seem unrealistic, like putting a 6S battery on a 5" quad frame)
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#5
I haven't tried liftoff, but I hear great things. I got Velocidrone before Liftoff was released and I haven't wanted anything else. It's not perfect, but it's close enough to get and keep up on muscle memory, I play it all winter so that spring isn't just starting over.

Start in acro mode. Ditch the self leveling stuff, especially if you want to freestyle.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#6
I have tried a few of the sims and the main one I fly is FPVFreerider.

I tried drl.. way too cartoony and no real feel to it at all. Too video gameish flight characteristics.

Tried the original liftoff when there was an un paid release early on. Didnt like how it felt. Was either to loose n sloppy or spring tight. I will assume since it is very popular that has all been fixed.

Hot props is my second favorite as that one can be tuned to feel like a better presentation of real fpv flight.

I prefer Freerider as that feels the closest to my real quads. Add in the boards are not as cartoony as all the others so you get a better feel of real world flight.

Also they have made all the multigp universal time trial tracks as well as other boards in an open flight setup not just follow a specific path. They also finally added in a feature where you can design your own boards for what ever you need or want to do.

No buying add on packs, no forced online connection. Its under 10 bucks with the option to contribute more.