Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR on Quest 2 – improving image quality while retaining a smooth experience

A week or so ago I put up a post to help with some hints around getting better frame rate with Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) in VR on the Quest 2. With this post I’ll be focusing on image quality this time, and taking advantage of ASW (Asynchronous Space Warp) using Oculus Link. I’ll also be using a handy tool that all Oculus VR users should have, which is the Oculus Tray Tool (OTT).

Before we get to the OTT, we’ll configure the main Oculus application first:

1 – Oculus Application

If you click on Devices and then click on the main Quest 2 option on the right hand side you’ll see Advanced options for render resolution. Click on this and then uncheck the box that automatically determines the resolution. Select 90hz and then ramp up the multiplier to 1.7. This will give you a resolution that is a little better than the native resolution of the Quest 2, including allowing for the two lenses and the pin-cushion effect found in VR (it isn’t like for like between a desktop resolution and VR resolution). This main step here will allow you to get some pretty amazing image quality, but without further tweaking in the OTT you’ll be struggling to hit any sort of smooth experience.

2 – Oculus Tray Tool

OTT is where the rest of the magic happens. It is likely that running at the higher resolution via the Oculus app will potentially hit the frame rate hard, so we are going to set a few options to help with that. All of these settings can be tweaked in the Oculus Debug Tool, but if you want to save specific profiles for different games OTT is definitely the way to go. Refer to the pictures below to see the settings that are tweaked. Set 18hz for ASW (thanks to various other gamers via various forums for this tip). This is a pretty clever trick if you find your GPU and CPU doesn’t stack up in general, or you are focused on image quality. OTT provides these extra ASW options. Setting it to 18hz means that ASW is forced on at 18fps. This means the remaining frames are calculated and re-projected to make up the full frame rate. Using the “Performance” graph on OTT (also available via the Oculus Debug Tool) I note the framerate maxes out at 36 fps.

In my experience with MSFS so far forcing ASW to 18hz actually runs surprisingly well and the image quality is amazing. Because you don’t move your head inside the cockpit too much, nor too fast, this 18hz ASW option works well. If you do move your head around fast though you’ll see picture artifacting and corruption kick in. For VR games where your head is moving around fast and frequently setting ASW to 18hz would not be advisable. Best to experiment and see. OTT provides other forced ASW options as well to experiment with. For MSFS 36 fps is more than enough for a smooth flight experience.

I should add at this point that the 18hz mode doesn’t seem to work with the Oculus Rift S. I’ve tried setting it to 18hz for the Rift S and it still seems to treat it like normal 40hz ASW. I will continue to experiment to see if 20hz is possible with the Rift S and update the article should it be successful. For other VR headsets there are re-projection options via tools that work in a similar fashion to ASW on the Oculus series of headsets.

I’ve recently picked up an Oculus Rift S and will be looking at ways to tweak MSFS for that too. Once I’ve played around with both for a while longer I’ll also be writing up a comparison piece on the two VR headsets. If you require more info on this feel free to ask in the comments.

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