Velocidrone is an FPV simulator that has many promising features, such as multiplayer, track editor, real-life drones, and race tracks that match real-life specifications. With the minimum computer requirements being lower than most simulators, and a $20 price tag, is it the best simulator for those cold stormy nights?
Disclaimer: This article was written solely by a member of the FPV Community. Views and advice in this article are that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of GetFPV.
Minimum Machine Requirements:
- Operating System: Mac OSX, Windows 7, 8 and 10 (64 bit only) CPU: Intel I3 1.7ghz. GPU: Intel HD4000. Memory: 4GB Disk: 12GB
- Windows Users: DirectX 11.0, Shader Model 5
- OSX: Metal and OpenGL ( Not available on Maverick and earlier operating systems )
- Linux: OpenGL
I first got exposed to this simulator when I saw Evan “Headsupfpv” Turner post a video about it on facebook. It blew my mind about how fast he was going, and how he was at full throttle the whole time. At that moment I knew I wanted the simulator, however, I was skeptical about whether my machine could run the simulator, given that I did not have a gaming computer or anything close to it.
Upon first inspection, the user interface is quite good. Buttons are large and you can tell easily where to go. Setting up my Taranis QX7 was pretty simple. However, there was no setup wizard, and you have to assign the throttle stick to the throttle input yourself. One neat thing about the controller setup is that you can also assign switches. This is good because you can hit reset, start a race, and many other functions without ever needing to touch the keyboard.
The flying experience is also really nice upon my first time trying. The physics are way better than FPV Freerider, and the DCL simulator. One downside is that the simulator comes at a high setting, and graphics need to be set up to suit your computer. Videos about that can be found in the links section below. This took some time to change while the game had lag. After that, the simulator ran really smoothly and gave me good first impressions.
The setup of the game was a bit challenging. To get the game, you have to go to the Velocidrone website, and not from Steam. Unlike the FPV air, DCL, or DRL simulator getting Velocidrone working is harder. Many steps were needed from downloading the files to extract the files, and without any guidance, it would be hard to do. Thankfully, Velocidrone has a YouTube channel showing you how to set up the simulator from downloading it all the way to playing it. (find it here)
After downloading the game, there is another thing you have to do before flying. Setting up the controller! Setting up the controller is very easy in this simulator. There is a setup wizard that takes you through everything. It took me about five minutes to get my controller setup, and as long as windows can read your transmitter, Velocidrone should be able to work. Velocidrone has also kindly provided a radio setup video here, which helps a lot if any problems occur.
Velocidrone blew me away on how well it flew. Although it was not like real life, the performance of the virtual drones was very close. The default physics could be better with the hang-time being a bit off, but this can be changed in the settings. I was genuinely surprised that there was no noticeable lag on my low-end computer and the drone flew smoothly. Overall, the simulator is realistic and I really like how it flies.
Another great thing about Velocidrone is the number of drones and the number of maps. The drones of Velocidrone are all prebuilt unlike Liftoff, but there is a wide selection of drones, from freestyle quads and race quads. For a few dollars more, there are also X-class quads and micros. The number of maps is also really good, with some at night, and some in scenery that you can only fly in the simulator. However, on some maps, there is a noticeable lag, with there being too much load on the CPU from the map features.
There are many settings to fiddle with within Velocidrone. Things like resolution and frame rate can be edited to suit the needs of your computer. This is really good, with a wide range of machines the simulator can support. The start tone of the race, the battery of the drone, and the type of propeller. The simulator also supports changing the wind speed and direction for each map, which I think is not that accurate. However, I do like the idea.
Settings on the drone can also be changed, like the PIDs and rates. The setup page looks just like the one in Betaflight but in a different color. The rates also match what Betaflight puts out. However, I do think the rates compared to Betaflight are not that accurate. I would make the values higher than it is in Betaflight. However, this may be because of my slow computer.
Multiplayer and Community
This is the biggest thing that sets Velocidrone apart from all other simulators. Velocidrone has weekly competitions and series of races that allow you to fly against other people. This is the best way to get better, while not needing to hit the bank for parts. There is also a setting to fly with your buddies online, which is really easy to set up. Starting a party to fly with other people can be done with very few clicks of a mouse.
Not only are there tournaments and virtual races on Velocidrone, but there is also a leader board for each official track released. In some cases, the top 10 on these tracks can earn a prize. You can also see how you stack against very good pilots. These leader board times are also published on the Velocidrone website for the public to see. Many “pro” pilots use this simulator such as headsupfpv, SFPV, and Minchan FPV all use this simulator. In this video by Joshua Bardwell, Evan “headsupfpv” Turner has said how the multiplayer of Velocidrone is very good. It has also helped Bardwell himself improve in racing.
A track editor is present in Velocidrone, allowing you to modify any existing track, and creating new tracks. This user interface is not really good, and it takes lots of time and practice in order to create a good track. For many functions, keyboard shortcuts are needed, and it takes a long time to memorize them. The track editor may be a powerful tool, but I do not like how it is hard to use, with the user interface being sub-par. Velocidrone has made a series of videos about how to create tracks here.
Pros and Cons
- Many models to choose from
- Realistic Flight
- Great physics
- Well developed multiplayer
- Active community with discord and facebook
- Used by professionals and very fast pilots
- Smooth on a low spec computer
- Easy to use
- Portable (can install on a laptop)
- Can be used to get better
- Geared for racers, but also has freestyle maps like bandos
- Rates compared to betaflight are not that great
- Hard to set up after download
- Track Editor could be better
- Some lag on certain maps
If you want a simulator and do not want to be let down, I can recommend Velocidrone. The simulator works on low spec computers and has an active community on Discord and on Facebook. The multiplayer works very well with formal races on a weekly basis. Although the track editor and the rate settings lack a bit, it gets the job done allowing you to practice during the rain. For about $20, this simulator is a must for anyone that wants to get into this hobby, or for an intermediate pilot wanting to get to the next level.