A Hardcore Military Flight Sim That Will Run On A Laptop

A Hardcore Military Flight Sim That Will Run On A Laptop
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Modern flight simulators – not the recreational kind, the actual kind used to train pilots – are enormous, expensive things. They’re impressive, sure, but their cost and size mean they can’t exactly be used every day. That’s why a company has been given money by the US Air Force to develop something a little more accessible.

GameSim, a studio that’s worked with EA Sports and BioWare in the past, won the grant to develop something called TTRE, or Tactical Training Rehearsal Environment. “We designed TTRE to run on laptops for Air Force pilots”, GameSim’s Stephen Eckman tells me, “and it is designed to be portable so we didn’t want to have large external displays.”

While the “game-like” platform can be adjusted for any combat aircraft, right now it’s being lined up as an F-35 simulator, as the USAF’s newest jet needs what Eckman calls “5th Gen thinking”. Because of its extensive use of computer aids and advanced sensors, pilots have to learn not just how to fly it, but how to adjust their thinking to do everything else they need to do while flying.

What I find neat about the project is that it’s the opposite of what we normally envision for a military flight sim. Indeed, it’s almost an example on how to go about getting the most bang for your buck as a civilian flight enthusiast. TTRE in its current form uses consumer gear you can buy yourself right now, from the glasses it’s employing (Vuzix Wrap 1200DX) as a cheaper form of VR to the joystick and throttle (the Saitek X52 Pro).

It’s around $US1000 for both of those, plus the laptop/desktop you’d need. That isn’t cheap by game console standards, or even PC gaming standards, but by military flight simulator standards, it’s insane.


  • Wonder why they didn’t just go with the DCS series since they seem to do a good job, I’d have thought the Occulus Rift wold be an ideal choice for VR but then I guess that’s not actually out yet

    • Because they wanted something that ran on laptops, and flight sims usually have fairly hefty computer requirements.

      The Rift wouldn’t be great in that situation either, as it needs to be plugged into the mains.
      It also has some requirements – DVI or HDMI output from your computer, which usually means dual monitor configuration meaning your (underpowered mobile) GPU needs to work harder.

      Also, the Rift is available for order if you don’t mind the “Developer” kit, with a lower resolution display. That’s what I have, took about 6 months after ordering for it to arrive, they tend to do these in batches.

      • Rift is mains powered? I thought it was USB. Hmm, learn something new every day I guess.

        You seem to be operating on the assumption that this is a relatively generic laptop that they’re building it for, it just says laptop and portable and I doubt you’re going to get graphics of that quality from anything short of a laptop with a half decent GPU. Wouldn’t the joystick need mains power? I’ve got a Logitech G940 which is in a similar bracket and it needs mains power

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