Jan 7, 2011

Phoenix RC Simulator in Oracle Virtual Box 4.0 on Ubuntu 10.10

It is now possible to run Phoenix from Linux host by using Virtual Box 4.0.  During the last year, I've tried several times to run this sim in an Xp virtual box on my Ubuntu system.  The closest I was able to get prior to this week, was the splash screen and a crash.  For this reason, I'd been dual booting my machine with Ubuntu and Windows, but due to the extra effort required to reboot and start Windows, the amount of Sim flying I do has tapered off.  That is all changing now!!

Below is a screenshot of the sim running inside the virtual box.

Just how is this done?  It's fairly simple actually.  Virtual box Guest Additions includes support for Direct X, which must be installed in safe mode.  Once this was installed, I installed Phoenix and all the update, waiting until the last update to install Direct X.  Then to my amazement it actually worked.

There are still a few issues, but I can live with them!  VB only allows 256mb of video memory to be allocated to the OS.  This results in a medium graphics setting by default in the sim.  Also, I've noticed there is a transparent airplane that appears, looks like part of the splash logo, as you fly through certain areas of the screen.  This has not been consistent, and while bothersome, does not really affect my practice flights.

This may not work on some machines for obvious reasons...  The overhead to run a game in Virtual box is fairly hefty.  I have a Core i7 930 processor, 6 gigs of ram, and a 1 gig video card, and it pulls this trick off without a sign of lagging.  I'd be curious to see how well this works on older hardware...

It has been mentioned that you need to setup your USB dongle that comes with Phoenix, to work in VB.  A good place to start is the settings button for your machine in the VM VirtualBox Manager.  You'll find a USB settings button, and under this you'll need to check the box Enable USB Controller.

In this screenshot you'll notice that because I unplug the transmitter before turning off my VM, it is not listed...

Once this is done, boot up your VM.  From the menu choose Devices>USB Devices, and make sure that the Phoenix USB dongle has a checkmark next to it.  That should be all there is to setting up the USB interface in the VM.