Here are two very good flight simulators, and they are both for training yourself to fly drones, however which one makes you the better pilot? Firstly though, you must take in mind, FPV Freerider has been around for years, and has had many upgrades over a substantial amount of time, whereas the DRL simulator at the time of writing is still in beta stages.
Why use a simulator?
Firstly, it can improve your drone flying skills immeasurably. It has improved one of our newer FPV racing drone pilots from not being able to hover a racing drone to being able to fully control a drone line of sight. It can also teach you the basics of FPV, and save you countless crashes before you crash your own expensive drone that you have bought or built. It has also improved one of our other pilots from simple FPV acro flying to be able to gate race quite competitively.
Why these two simulators for review?
You may be asking yourself, why are we choosing these two simulators too compare. They were released at very different times, and are in very different stages of programming, and development. However, of the few simulators we have tried at drone insider, these two were the easiest to setup, and had the most realistic physics and flight characteristics.
Ease of controller setup
These simulators are both extremely easy to setup with an external USB controller. We used an Frsky Taranis X9D plus for both simulators. FPV freerider required no extra setup inside the Taranis. All you have to do is create a basic quad setup, and follow the instructions onscreen, however this can take a few tries to setup. For the DRL simulator, you had to create a couple of extra mixers to activate some switches for complete game reset, and quad reset for if you get stuck in the game. Both however had very clear instructions on screen, and were easy to use.
Ease of game setup
After setting up your controller with the game, it was very quick to get flying in both. For the FPV Freerider simulator, you could immediately go into the game, have a choice of 6 maps to fly, and fly. In the game you could also choose between auto level mode, acro mode, and a 3d mode. You also have the choice of two camer angles, a line of site mode, and an FPV mode, which can also be adjusted in game. You are also able to go into the game settings, and adjust the rates of the drone more carefully, the power of the drone, the FPV camera tilt, the field of view of the FPV camera, and some other more advanced settings as well. At the time of writing this review, you are not able to change the settings of the drone, which does make the quad setup very easy, as you don’t have to do anything. This also means that everyones quad flies the same in the multiplayer, mode, so all of the races are very fair. You could say they are lacking features by not having a changeable drone, however the ethos of DRL, is that everyone flies the same quad, so that racing is as close of possible.
DRL simulator is currently a free download from the internet. FPV freerider provides a free version, however if you want to unlock the full potential of the simulator will cost you $4.99.
Who’s it for?
FPV Freerider is perfect for a beginner. Not only does it have an FPV mode, but it also has a very realistic line of site mode. It’s great for learning basic controls, and how to control a drone before you dive into the real world, as you are much more likely to start flying your drone line of site, rather than FPV. However, due to the extra functionality of the game, you can tune the quad so it flies like a professional racing drone. The maps also have a race functions, so you can learn how to gate race on this simulator. This makes it very good for the hardcore racer wanting to improve their racing style. However due to the limited maps, and no multiplayer online feature, it does lack some things that other simulators have. But, the controls are extremely realistic, and it does massively improve your quad flying.
DRL simulator on the other hand is definitely not a beginner simulator. There is no line of site mode, and there is also no way to change the rates and the power of the drone. However, there are considerably more maps than on FPV Freerider, and the races are much more complex. They are considerably more fun to fly, especially when you have a few months of flying FPV under your belt. The maps are exciting to fly, and take some time to practice and master, and due to the realistic physics of the game, it gives you the opportunity to fly in places that you might never be able to fly in. At drone insider, this is our favorite drone simulator by far. It also has a multiplayer function, so we can all race each other online.
In conclusion, for us at drone insider, DRL simulator is the clear winner. It provides more exciting maps that we can fly, and we can race each other. Also, there are chances in the simulator to become a sponsored pilot by DRL. By earning 250 ‘props’ which are the ingame currency, you can unlock a tryouts mode. If you then come in the top 24 in a session, you can be invited to a race. This is against the other 24 pilots, and the top pilots in those races have the chance to becoming sponsored. However, FPV freerider is much much better for beginners. The line of sight mode, teaches you lots of good habits, and in the full version, you can change so many specs, so the simulator can evolve with you as you become a better pilot, and it does have a race mode, even if it isn’t as complex. Overall, these simulators are suited for different people, and hopefully after reading this review, you will know which one is best for you at this time. They are both great simulators that are easy to set up, and have great flight characteristics. They both have good and bad sides, and if your looking for something as good as flying a real miniquad, a simulator is not for you. However, if you want the experience of flying, and want to improve your piloting skills, they are great.