More about my Gaming Groove

Not much this month with gaming. I’m still trying to sort out that “Gaming Groove”

I picked up Final Fantasy XV recently and ran into some issues with it. The gameplay was fun, but I wasn’t really digging the story. This is fine if the story was just a couple hours…but this being a 40 hour JRPG it really, really held me back.

So what do I do? Do I fight it to the end? Do I simply stop playing? I can only answer that question for myself. There’s a huge PSN sale that’s been going on for a few weeks, but I’ve opted to skip on some wishlisted JRPGs for the reason of length and time.

Then I got into some flight simming again…or tried to get my setup for it. X-Plane 11 came out recently with some much needed optimizations and is everything I want in a sim, or almost everything.

The problem is that I’m transforming it into a VR powerhouse. I love VR and I really think it’s the future of gaming…but there are only so many USB ports and space on my desk to use for this purpose. This is a problem.

For most of my games, I have no issue with space. Yet with X-Plane 11 and DCS I need:

  • Two USB slots for my Thrustmaster Warthog
  • One USB slot for my CH Rudder Pedals
  • One USB slot for my TrackIR
  • Space on top of my monitor for the TrackIR
  • Space on the left and right side of my desk for a giant 15lb HOTAS joystick
  • Space under my desk for the rudder pedals.

That’s four USB slots and a whole lot of little space to maneuver. I tried unplugging stuff, putting it in the closet…but when you gotta set all this up for a 30 minute “flight”; it’s very, very tedious and cumbersome.

The Oculus Rift on the other hand needs:

  • One USB Slot for the headset
  • Two USB slots for the sensors
  • One USB slot for the wireless controller
  • Space on the left and right side of my desk for the sensors

Now we’re talking about eight USB slots being used up. Not to mention I still need USB slots for my keyboard, mouse, headset, and webcam. When you’re trying to rearrange things in the back (all USB cables being black and unlabelled). It gets very confusing, very quickly.

Then desk space becomes a problem. I have speakers, a controller, and sensors all vying for the same left/right area on my little desk I bought at Target. I managed to create space for the sensors using a wall mounted shelf, but the speakers and controller are still fighting for a small area on my desk.

So I have to ask myself. Is it worth it? Do I want my computer to be a flight sim tool, or a gaming/VR powerhouse? I’m siding toward the latter. Which brings up a new problem: What do I do to fufill my desires to fly, especially cool WWII aircraft that I really like?

 

I’ve had the solution the entire time. Buried in my closet is my old Saitek X52 Pro joystick. It was the first HOTAS joystick I purchased before getting the Warthog…yet it fits the bill as far as what I need as I go toward a more casual gaming route.

  • Only requires one USB slot, doesn’t need rudder pedals
  • Takes up less space on my desk
  • Very light, weighs about one pound altogether.
  • Better compatibility with my games (Elite Dangerous even has its in-game HOTAS modelled after the X52)
  • Less buttons and easier to use.

So I got the right joystick, what about the games? It doesn’t really work well for DCS or X-Plane 11, so scratch those options. Yet it works great for War Thunder and Elite Dangerous…both of which are VR capable. There just so happens to be a big sale on War Thunder right now on a bunch of collector planes and about half a year of a premium membership, and a bunch of “Golden Eagles” for other stuff.

So I decided to go back into War Thunder, spent hours having fun yesterday flying different tiers of planes for different countries.

For civilian flight needs there’s also Aerofly FS2. It’s a more casual sim in Early Access, but it has all of the US Southwest, New York, Switzerland, and plans to add more regions (hoping for PNW!). It also has a choice of military aircraft as well and runs great in VR at a whopping 90+ FPS on my GTX 1080, where X-Plane would be lucky to crack just 30FPS.

So…yeah. I hate quitting on some good sims. When I get a bigger place and a bigger desk I’ll definitly consider going back into simming. But for now I just don’t have the physical space or time to do so.

So that sums up my feelings and frustrations. There’s a few other things…such as if I should get back into strategy games or not. But that’s a topic for another day.

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