FPV Freerider may be the most well known FPV Simulator program out there in the FPV racing community. While it’s still in its infancy, the game has spread out far and wide amongst the community. As a learning resource it can’t be beat. If you’re looking for a very solid, low cost option for an FPV Racing Simulator, this is a great choice.

The video above gives a quick overview of the features you’ll find in FPV Freerider. There’s certainly no lack of options and functions in the game. While it may seem simple on the surface, there is a great level of detail put into this little gem of a game. Read on to get more in depth details about FPV Freerider.

Main Menu

FPV Freerider main screen

Graphics Quality

Very straight forward graphics level selector. At the highest level the game looks great and gets the job done. You aren’t going to find a review on PC Gamer sharing how amazing the graphics are, but for a quick FPV Simulator, the graphics are adequate and facilitate a good feeling of flying.

Audio Volume

The menu has a volume slider to adjust how loud the in-game sounds are. This is an interesting thing. The only reason you hear a miniquad while flying in a video is because the recording camera is mounted to the miniquad itself. While you’re actually flying in real life, you don’t hear the same sounds as you do when you watch a video. I’ve been playing pretty consistently with the sound on and I think it messed with my brain when actually flying in real life. I don’t hear any sounds at all and I think a part of me has this weird disconnect between flying in real life and not hearing any sound like I do when flying in a simulator. Like not hearing the increased pitch makes me feel like I’m not actually increasing throttle. Rant aside, I would recommend flying with the sound off. It can be a little distracting. Play some excellent music instead.

Level Select

FPV FreeRider Level Select

FPV FreeRider Level Select

There are six levels to choose from in FPV FreeRider; desert, island, meadow, playground, carpark, and two towers. Each level has a different layout and general atmosphere to them. Desert and Meadow are similar in that they are both open fields with gates setup to practice time trails. Desert with a simple loop course while Meadow has a full figure-eight track. Island and Playground are very similar, both feature a small island with a large number of trees with some open space in-between all the trees. Playground is fun to fly around because you start getting that feeling of what it might be like to fly around in a real world setting. Carpark is a beast of a level. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actual Carpark with so many support pillars. That aside, it’s incredibly good practice to see how sharp you are on your overall spacing and flying abilities. Great practice to be certain. Also be sure to fly under the garage for super secret basement level.

Input

FPV FreeRider Input Options

FPV FreeRider Input Options

FPV FreeRider allows you to switch between USB Controller, Keyboard, and Touchscreen controls. Keyboard is insanely difficult to pilot with. You basically have to constantly tap the keys to get any sort of real control. In other words, don’t use your keyboard to fly. Touchscreen controls are meant more for the mobile version of the game. Yes mobile! Now you can crash and practice to your heart’s content while riding public transportation. The real juice is in connecting a USB Controller to practice flying. I highly recommend you connect your actual remote controller that you intend to use to your computer in order to practice. Getting actual hands-on experience with your controller and getting a feel for the actual dynamics of the controls is incredibly important. If you happen to own a Taranis and want to connect it to Windows 10, we’ve written a how-to guide just for you. If you want to rant for any reason, about connecting the Taranis, I’m here for you.

Calibrate Controller

Calibrate your controller every time before playing. It not only helps to make sure that your controller is actually connected and working, but this way you can get into the game and fly accurately. Nothing is worse than loading into the game and suddenly doing a full on reverse somersault. The calibration works well and I have not found any problems with it. It immediately lets me know if my controller is not being recognized by my computer instantly.

We can’t state enough how easy the process is.  Just follow the on screen instructions to quickly bind your transmitter to the correct axes.  A trim adjustment was recently added so that you can fine tune your calibration after binding.  FPV Freerider remains our absolute favorite sim in terms of the binding process – it’s just too easy!

 

Custom Settings

FPV FreeRider - Custom Settings

FPV FreeRider – Custom Settings

This is where the game can take a quick turn from enjoyable hobby to intense micro-adjusting and tweaking. FPV racing quads give you a lot of freedom in fine-tuning the settings to get the feeling of flight that fits what you want it to do. There are a lot of adjectives that can be used to describe the way a quadcopter flies; mushy, sloppy, tight, sharp, icy, loose, brisk, charpu-esque, and many others. Getting in your settings exactly how you want them is like finding that perfect combination of options in Mario Kart.

FPV FreeRider is no different when it comes to modifying the settings of the in-game physics and properties. Do keep in mind that the settings on your transmitter are going to affect the controls when playing FPV FreeRider, so be sure to check your settings before launching full speed ahead.

It is worth noting that FPV Freerider has fallen behind the competition in their settings adjustments.  Most other simulators have moved towards a more true to life quadcopter setup.  These simulators mimic the look and feel of customization software like Betaflight or Cleanflight.  This doesn’t make Freerider a bad sim, as the feeling of flight and default physics settings are widely praised.  However, if you are looking to better understand things like PID adjustments, expo, and other software controlled customization features, the options are pretty simplistic here.

Anyway, let’s get into a quick breakdown of what you can expect when adjusting these settings:

Rates – Throttle, Yaw, Pitch/Roll, Self-Leveling

Adjusting these settings changes how much rotation or movement occurs when you move a control stick. For example, if you set your Throttle to a low value it will take more movement on the stick to increase throttle. If you set your throttle to a high number, it’s going to react to movements quicker and with less overall input. Really play with these settings to see what type of responsiveness you prefer. A lot of people may find that increasing throttle suits them, but without playing with the sliders, you may not get a good feeling for what you like in real life.

If you are looking to advance your skills quickly, be sure to continuously bump up your rates.  We feel that increasing your rates is one of the best ways to increase your skills as a pilot.

Camera (FPV)

Angle

The angle setting speaks to the angle of the FPV Camera that sits on the quadcopter. This simulates what angle you prefer when flying. A more aggressive angle, a higher value, may mean that you prefer faster flying and because the quadcopter is flying at more of an angle the increased angle will allow you to better see where you are flying. Adjusting this setting is a great way to really push your flying to the limit and seeing how it feels to really “punch” the throttle.

FOV

FOV stands for Field of View. This is a fairly common term among a variety of fields, but essentially it comes down to how much you are seeing all at once. A higher FOV is kind of like the fish-eye effect you get from a GoPro camera, whereas a smaller FOV is more like tunnel vision. You’re seeing less on your peripheral and focusing on what’s directly ahead of you. Translating this to real life flying, you may find that you prefer an FPV camera that offers a wider angle of view versus a more traditional FOV camera. Generally you’ll find that a standard FOV is more common among FPV components, so that may sway what angle you prefer to use while practicing.

Physics

Mass

What goes up must come down. Mass is the term for how much stuff something has. Or more scientifically, the quantity of matter in a body regardless of its volume or of any forces acting on it (thanks Google!). When you have more mass, your quadcopter is going to behave differently than if it has lower mass. For example, when you toss a full can of soda between your hands, it’s got some weight to it. You can feel it has this desire to keep moving as you catch it. When the can is empty and you toss it back and forth, you can feel the empty can doesn’t really have as much impact as it did before. The same idea can be applied to your quadcopter while flying. If your quadcopter has more mass, it’s going to take more effort to get it to come to a full stop and turn around in the other direction. While it’s hard to really adjust this setting for real life, playing with this does give you a good sense of what it’s like to adjust the weight of your quadcopter.

Drag

Drag is when something really sucks and it bums you out. What a drag man. Oh wait, quadcopters. Right. Drag in relation to physics is kind of like being bummed out. It’s a measure of how much something slows down when moving through stuff. Your happiness going through life can be slowed down by negative vibes. Your quadcopter gets slowed down by the air its flying through. More drag means more slow down requiring more thrust. Adjusting this slider allows you to experience what more or less drag feels like. It is difficult to make your racing quad to be more aerodynamic and reduce drag, but there are certainly ways to accomplish it, such as tucking in loose wires tightly.

Angular Drag

Angular drag is like drag, but on the Ru Paul show. No wait, quadcopters. Angular drag is similar to drag, but this is in terms of rotation. While I may wear many hats, physicist is not one of them. In short, you can play with this setting, but of all the settings, this one is the least impactful in my opinion. This setting being available probably has more to do with the fact that FPV FreeRider was built using Unity.

Gravity

In general, I don’t recommend changing this particular setting. If the default setting is meant to simulate Earth, when would you ever want to simulate flying on the Moon? For reference, the Moon has about one-sixth the gravity of Earth.

Help

FPV FreeRider Help Overlay

FPV FreeRider Help Overlay

Clicking help displays a quick little overlay with some added detail. It’s not completely comprehensive, but it’s good for getting in the quick facts. Again, don’t use your keyboard for this FPV Simulator. Not only will you be disappointed, but you do the game no justice by trying to play with your keyboard.

In-Game Settings

FPV FreeRider In-Game Settings

FPV FreeRider In-Game Settings

Self-leveling vs Acro Mode

One of the best benefits to practicing flying a quadcopter on FPV FreeRider is being able to switch between self-leveling mode and acro mode. I am still very beginner when flying acro mode, but I can tell you that the experience gained from practicing acro mode is huge. Vesp will tell you personally that the experience he had practicing acro has really paid off in real life. I’ve seen the guy fly and he is ripping balls. The skills you learn really do translate well into real life, and acro mode is no exception. I can’t express enough how valuable this feature is.

High Rates vs Low Rates

Low rates is like driving to the supermarket in your mom’s minivan. It gets the job done. You get there nice and peaceful. High rates is driving your mom’s minivan on drugs! No sorry that’s the wrong metaphor. It’s like driving to the supermarket in the most beautiful car in the world, a Lamborghini Muricelago. You will immediately notice the difference when switching between low and high rates. High rates is as though you went into the custom settings and just boosted all the rates. Oh, high rates. Duuuuuude.

Camera

FPV FreeRider does give you the option to try flying between the first-person perspective an line of sight. This game is called FPV FreeRider, not LoS FreeRider. It’s a nice feature to have, but I would recommend sticking to FPV mode. I suppose if you’re coming from a toy quad like a Hubsan and you want to get a feel for the controls in line of sight mode, it could be good for that. Honestly though I’d say just get into it. Don’t worry about crashing and failing on FPV mode your first time. It’s a simulator and no one has to know.

Reset

If you happen to crash (could happen), you can restart the level back to the original starting point. Pretty straight forward. Useful if you happen to get caught somewhere you shouldn’t be. Like that one time I was super hungry and went to my neighbor’s house and ate their food. High rates man. So good.

Exit

When you’re done flying, exit the simulator. Click and it’ll take you back to the main menu. I like that this exit button is in the same place as the main menu so that when you rage and want to quit the game you can do it really, really fast.

Pause

Pause!

Timed Race – Lap Count

Each map has its own course you can fly through. Some levels have very obvious gates, whereas other levels will just have places you have to generally fly through. The gates are lit up with a light to help you know where you need to go to next. I’m always a fan of time trails when it comes to anything where you are racing. While flying aimlessly doing a #yoloroll is fun, it’s great to practice racing. Having a strict path to follow and timing yourself really helps to push yourself and improve your skills. Most of the time I spend practicing involve doing time trails and seeing if I can improve. My best time so far on the desert is a blazing 24 seconds. I know, I am that good.

Overall thoughts

The game sells online for $5. If you think of every crash you have in FPV Freerider as one less that you have in real life, $5 is an amazing steal of a price. The game has solid graphics, very realistic flight controls, and translates into real life extremely well. If you are looking for that single FPV Racing Simulator to help you learn how to fly real racing quadcopters, FPV Freerider is a great option. You really don’t need to go much further than FPV Freerider before going out into the real world and crashing into the ground.

Moreover, we have been very impressed that the developers have kept the game up to date – even after their release of FPV Freerider Recharged!  New modes like 3d flight have made their way into the game, alongside new maps.

Even though it is a simple map, updates like this keep the game fresh!

The feeling and abilities you learn in the game carry over into actual flight really well. If you are able to actually plug in your remote controller to your computer and practice that way, you accelerate your ability to fly that much more. You can’t always fly a quadcopter outside, but you can always fly FPV Freerider inside.

Looking for a more advanced simulator with more bells and whistles?  Well, we got you covered!  Check out our comprehensive simulator list here for more options.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons