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.

13 comments:

  1. how did you manage to make the usb dongle work? in a mac as a host, i cannot share the usb dongle (its greyed out). any tip?

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  2. @Linoca Have you tried enabling the USB Controller in Virtual Box? I'll update my blog post with a screenshot and a little explanation.

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  3. Yep, tried that. PhoenixRC interface is greyed out on the menu, and even though I can set up the filter, Phoenix does not detect the interface. I am using 4.02 and a mac as a host.

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  4. @op & @Linoca Interesting, I wish I had a mac host to test this on:) Hopefully more people will try it and someone will figure out whats going on.

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  5. USB devices in general get taken by OS X when plugged, and will be grayed out in the guest. But "ejecting" usually gives access to

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  6. @schafdog Thanks for heads up on the OS X issue. Hope some folks try that and post back.

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  7. Have you tried running Phoenix on Linux with Wine?

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  8. @Eelis I have tried running Phoenix in Wine. No luck so far. One of the problems is that with Wine, there is nothing handling the USB dongle, which seems to have windows based drivers... If someone knows a way around that, I'd work harder on getting it to work in Wine. :)

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  9. Hi, I'm using 2.5.k with Vbox 4.0 with 128mb of video ram (max) set to winxp. The screen failed to show normally. Just pieces of squares filling the screen. Can you help? My hardware is Core i7 640 but with integrated video (lenovo x201s nb) thanks a lot for your help! I don't do dual boot as I work in Ubuntu joyfully as you do. thanks!

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  10. @starryalley You might be running into a limitation of your integrated video graphics. On my machine, I have dedicated 256mb of video ram to the virtual box, I don't think it would work very well with anything less. Do you have another machine you could try this on?

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  11. got it.. this nb isn't meant for running 3d games. However this winxp VM (only tried on VMWare Player on Ubuntu 10.10) is ok for running reflex XTR 5.03. I thus believed PhoenixRC is OK but ended up failure.. (both on VMware player and VBox). thanks for your comments :)

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  12. My 2007 iMac will not let me use the USB adapter. It says, State:unsupported.
    Does anyone know how to make it supported.

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  13. I just got this working, all pretty easy with the latest VirtualBox. I have a 2014 macbook pro, OSX host, and it was super easy! Just turned on 3D in the virtualbox settings, that's about all I had to change. The USB sharing worked fine too - didn't need to enable USB2.0.

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