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Questions on the Fw 190


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One of the best things about IL-2 is learning about the aircraft we're flying.  Particularly with VR, questions naturally pop up about why something's designed a certain way.  After flying many hours in the 109 (F-2, F-4, G-2), I've recently transitioned to the Fw 190 A-3.  I've read through all the posts on the 190 I could find via search, but I'm still scratching my head about the items below.  Hoping the experts here can help educate me (and hopefully others that might have the same questions)...
 
1. Why the incredibly heavy canopy bar?  
 
The very first impression of the 190 in VR is - whoah - that's a thick A-frame bar right in your field of view.  Seems far more prominent than the 109's "birdcage" design.  Was the 190's frame so robust because it also served as a roll bar to protect the pilot if the aircraft flipped?  
 
2.  Was there difficulty turning and checking six, given the narrowness of the canopy around the head?  
 
Another observation in VR is how narrow the "peaked" canopy seems in the 190.  Even less room to move one's head laterally compared to the 109, and I wonder how 190 pilots turned to look out the rear.  Sit in a P-51 Mustang, then a 190 Anton and they feel dramatically different in the "headspace" available.  The 190 has a vastly superior view backwards compared to the 109.  However, how usable was it without one's head banging laterally against the sides of the canopy? 
 
3.  Why a magnesium fan?  
 
In reading about the 190's development, I understand that cooling the BMW 801 was the key challenge.  The 190 used a fan ahead of the cylinders to increase airflow across them and keep them cool.  I've read this was a magnesium fan, which seems strange.  That must have been a rare/expensive metal in wartime Germany.  Is there some property of magnesium why they used it for a cooling fan?  
 
4.  Why the two-stepped instrument panel?  Reclining chair to leave room for knees?  
 
The 190's cockpit is a little strange after many hours in the 109.  I love the automation of the Kommandergerat, and the side panels are sleek and clean.  But the front panel seems less usable than the 109, and the strange two-stepped design seems to hide gauges out of view.  Was there some advantage to designing the front panel like this?  E.g. was the pilot more reclined in the 190 so this was necessary to fit the knees? 
 
5: Why was the BMW 801 such an inferior engine at altitude?
 
I understand the BMW 801 was originally intended to be a bomber engine for medium altitudes.  But once it was fitted to the 190, why couldn't they have added additional superchargers or otherwise tuned it further for higher altitudes?  The later Jumo 211 was also designed as a bomber engine, but it served the Fw 190D well for high altitudes.  
 
Thanks for any input on these questions.  Love this simulator for how it's rekindled a long dormant interest in aviation and history.
 
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20 minutes ago, istari6 said:
3.  Why a magnesium fan?  
 
In reading about the 190's development, I understand that cooling the BMW 801 was the key challenge.  The 190 used a fan ahead of the cylinders to increase airflow across them and keep them cool.  I've read this was a magnesium fan, which seems strange.  That must have been a rare/expensive metal in wartime Germany.  Is there some property of magnesium why they used it for a cooling fan?  

 

I suspect the fan was probably Elektron - a magnesium/aluminium alloy - rather than  pure magnesium. Elektron had been in use in aviation almost from the start, notably being used in the construction of Zeppelins. It's main advantage was its very low density. An Elektron fan could probably be cast as a simple solid, whereas an aluminium or steel one would need a much more complex casting and/or additional machining to achieve the same weight.

 

Anyone who had been watching videos of the restoration of Kermit Weeks' Bf 108 will have noticed that magnesium alloy was used in that aircraft - in the wing tips for example if memory serves. I don't know whether the Bf 109 also used it, maybe someone else could answer.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elektron_(alloy)

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26 minutes ago, istari6 said:
3.  Why a magnesium fan?  
 
In reading about the 190's development, I understand that cooling the BMW 801 was the key challenge.  The 190 used a fan ahead of the cylinders to increase airflow across them and keep them cool.  I've read this was a magnesium fan, which seems strange.  That must have been a rare/expensive metal in wartime Germany.  Is there some property of magnesium why they used it for a cooling fan?  
 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_alloy

 

"The strength-to-weight ratio of the precipitation-hardened magnesium alloys is comparable with that of the strong alloys of aluminium or with the alloy steels. Magnesium alloys, however, have a lower density, stand greater column loading per unit weight and have a higher specific modulus. They are also used when great strength is not necessary, but where a thick, light form is desired, or when higher stiffness is needed. Examples are complicated castings, such as housings or cases for aircraft, and parts for rapidly rotating or reciprocating machines. The strength of magnesium alloys is reduced at somewhat elevated temperatures; temperatures as low as 200 °F (93 °C) produce considerable reduction in the yield strength. "

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20 hours ago, AndyJWest said:

I suspect the fan was probably Elektron - a magnesium/aluminium alloy - rather than  pure magnesium. Elektron had been in use in aviation almost from the start, notably being used in the construction of Zeppelins. It's main advantage was its very low density. An Elektron fan could probably be cast as a simple solid, whereas an aluminium or steel one would need a much more complex casting and/or additional machining to achieve the same weight.

 

Ah, I've heard of Elektron.  Didn't realize it was an alloy of magnesium and aluminum.  Light weight and easily cast makes sense for the BMW's fan.  Thanks.  

20 hours ago, bzc3lk said:

They are also used when great strength is not necessary, but where a thick, light form is desired, or when higher stiffness is needed. Examples are complicated castings, such as housings or cases for aircraft, and parts for rapidly rotating or reciprocating machines. The strength of magnesium alloys is reduced at somewhat elevated temperatures; temperatures as low as 200 °F (93 °C) produce considerable reduction in the yield strength.

 

"Rapidly rotating" - there we are.  Light weight and high stiffness for a rapidly rotating part at the front of the aircraft where heat wouldn't get too high.  Makes perfect sense.  

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3 minutes ago, Cpt_Siddy said:

Regarding the 3, Germany possessed most advanced presses at the time, so making mass produced pressings from their vast magnesium reserves seemed like no brainier. 

 

The FW 190 cooling fan would have been cast, rather than pressed. See photo:

632px-BMW_801D_Duxford.jpg

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23 hours ago, istari6 said:
5: Why was the BMW 801 such an inferior engine at altitude?
 
I understand the BMW 801 was originally intended to be a bomber engine for medium altitudes.  But once it was fitted to the 190, why couldn't they have added additional superchargers or otherwise tuned it further for higher altitudes?  The later Jumo 211 was also designed as a bomber engine, but it served the Fw 190D well for high altitudes.  
 
Thanks for any input on these questions.  Love this simulator for how it's rekindled a long dormant interest in aviation and history.
 

 

The Fw190 D9 used the Jumo 213 with the pressurized cooling system which enabled it to have a smaller engine block compared to the Jumo 211 but still retain the 35 litre engine displacement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_Jumo_213

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On 11/16/2019 at 11:57 AM, istari6 said:

5: Why was the BMW 801 such an inferior engine at altitude?

 
I understand the BMW 801 was originally intended to be a bomber engine for medium altitudes.  But once it was fitted to the 190, why couldn't they have added additional superchargers or otherwise tuned it further for higher altitudes?  The later Jumo 211 was also designed as a bomber engine, but it served the Fw 190D well for high altitudes.  
 
Thanks for any input on these questions.  Love this simulator for how it's rekindled a long dormant interest in aviation and history.
 

The only way to increase the altitude performance of the BMW 801 was to either add a turbocharger or increase the size of the supercharger, neither of which could be fitted into the FW 190. Kurt tank proposed the installation of a turbocharger under the fuselage, as well as a pressurized cockpit and larger wings for a 190B series, but the housing for the turbocharger was bulky and unwieldy and numerous problems with the cockpit design meant that the 'B' was abandoned: instead, Focke-Wulf decided that using the DB 603 and/or Jumo 213 would be a better way to increase the Fw 190's altitude performance.

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On 11/15/2019 at 7:57 PM, istari6 said:
1. Why the incredibly heavy canopy bar?  
 
The very first impression of the 190 in VR is - whoah - that's a thick A-frame bar right in your field of view.  Seems far more prominent than the 109's "birdcage" design.  Was the 190's frame so robust because it also served as a roll bar to protect the pilot if the aircraft flipped?  
 

 

I too cannot quite understand why the canopy is the way it is. There is that hinge-like thing above your head, it hampers the FoV somewhat. Many planes had full pexiglass canopies, why the 190 had that metal contraption running through the top?

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16 minutes ago, danielprates said:

 

I too cannot quite understand why the canopy is the way it is. There is that hinge-like thing above your head, it hampers the FoV somewhat. Many planes had full pexiglass canopies, why the 190 had that metal contraption running through the top?

 

That metal contraption is a hinge which enables the plexiglass to flex as the canopy narrows when being opened due to the tapering fuselage canopy guide rails.

 

 

Fw 190A.png

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59 minutes ago, bzc3lk said:

 

That metal contraption is a hinge which enables the plexiglass to flex as the canopy narrows when being opened due to the tapering fuselage canopy guide rails.

 

 

Fw 190A.png

 

Oh I get it, it was supposed to give way a little when you retract it. Great, thanks!

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On 11/16/2019 at 5:57 AM, istari6 said:
 
 
4.  Why the two-stepped instrument panel?  Reclining chair to leave room for knees?  
 
The 190's cockpit is a little strange after many hours in the 109.  I love the automation of the Kommandergerat, and the side panels are sleek and clean.  But the front panel seems less usable than the 109, and the strange two-stepped design seems to hide gauges out of view.  Was there some advantage to designing the front panel like this?  E.g. was the pilot more reclined in the 190 so this was necessary to fit the knees? 
 
 

 

Not using VR but TiR, I can see the gauges on the bottom tier of the panel with no obstruction without having to move my head. So perhaps your head position is set too high - I know a lot of people like to set theirs as far back and high up as they can to "improve" the view. Or it could be a VR specific thing.  

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2 hours ago, NZTyphoon said:

 Focke-Wulf decided that using the DB 603 and/or Jumo 213 would be a better way to increase the Fw 190's altitude performance.

 

And because of that we need that Ta-152 H0/H1. Would give this sim a very pretty USP, perhaps along with an Arado-234? 🙂

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11 hours ago, NZTyphoon said:

The only way to increase the altitude performance of the BMW 801 was to either add a turbocharger or increase the size of the supercharger, neither of which could be fitted into the FW 190. Kurt tank proposed the installation of a turbocharger under the fuselage, as well as a pressurized cockpit and larger wings for a 190B series, but the housing for the turbocharger was bulky and unwieldy and numerous problems with the cockpit design meant that the 'B' was abandoned: instead, Focke-Wulf decided that using the DB 603 and/or Jumo 213 would be a better way to increase the Fw 190's altitude performance.

 

The easy quick-win fix on the 190 was adding the outside ram-air intakes to the supercharger. Those gave an instant increase of 500-700m of critical altitude in second gear with increased hi-alt top speed at the cost of reduced lo-alt top speed. The affair was simple enough to even change the intakes between missions if necesseary.

 

The Jumo213A didn't provide that much of a gain in terms of critical altitude. Only the DB603E did.

The Jumo needed the two stage/ three speed superchager, which it got with the E/F variants. The E came with an intercooler, but it didn't fit the 190's cowling.

The Jumo213EB would have given the aircraft a (projected) speed-increase of 40kph over the already quite impressive D-13 top-speed.

20kph were due to a redesigned radial cooler, allowing the cowl-flaps to be closed flush at hi speed. Another 20kph was projected due to the now fitting intercooler and thus producing an additional 200hp.

Factory trials with a DB603E in a D-9 showed superior performance over a pre-boost rated, "vanilla" Jumo213A D-9. The performance-difference at Steig/ Kampleistung at 10km were a whopping 50kph in favor of the DB603E! Add MW 50 and off you go...

The D-14 and D-15 (both to be powered by the DB603EA and E) were cancelled early in '45 for undisclosed reasons - despite the DB being the slightly better engine all things considered...

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10 hours ago, bzc3lk said:

 

That metal contraption is a hinge which enables the plexiglass to flex as the canopy narrows when being opened due to the tapering fuselage canopy guide rails.

 

 

Fw 190A.png

 

I've long wondered what this hinge was there. Never have I thought of this. 

you opened my eyes on this!

 

On 11/15/2019 at 11:57 PM, istari6 said:
4.  Why the two-stepped instrument panel?  Reclining chair to leave room for knees?  
 
The 190's cockpit is a little strange after many hours in the 109.  I love the automation of the Kommandergerat, and the side panels are sleek and clean.  But the front panel seems less usable than the 109, and the strange two-stepped design seems to hide gauges out of view.  Was there some advantage to designing the front panel like this?  E.g. was the pilot more reclined in the 190 so this was necessary to fit the knees? 
 

 

the seating position in the wulf was notoriously more leaned/ this gave the pilot advantages with high G load. your body not being standing up right, it is easier bear higher G.

 

so as you guessed, there must be room to fit the pilot's legs, hence the two stepped dashboard.

not everyone like it, but the layout turns to be exactly to my taste. upper panel is flying information, with outer instrument being less important (i.e. speed and ATA, and most out are altitude and RPM) for a plane in a dogfight.

 

lower panel beeing flight management on the long term, so not much needed in the heat of a dogfight.

 

I could speak extensively on how well this cockpit feels at home to me, everything being where I would like it to be.

 

11 hours ago, NZTyphoon said:

The only way to increase the altitude performance of the BMW 801 was to either add a turbocharger or increase the size of the supercharger, neither of which could be fitted into the FW 190. Kurt tank proposed the installation of a turbocharger under the fuselage, as well as a pressurized cockpit and larger wings for a 190B series, but the housing for the turbocharger was bulky and unwieldy and numerous problems with the cockpit design meant that the 'B' was abandoned: instead, Focke-Wulf decided that using the DB 603 and/or Jumo 213 would be a better way to increase the Fw 190's altitude performance.

 

 

just have a look at the prototype Fw190 V18. it just look like a frankenplane with part of P-51 and Fw-190, even with a Me-109 engine.

 

always looked odd to me but quite interesting. Like a awful sight you can not take your eyes off...

 

 

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regarding the thicc A-bar of the canopy, simply put, the way it is in this game is heavily flawed.

the view to the front on a fw190 might not have been the best for the pilot, but it was certainly no way near as bad as it is in this game. there are quite a few videos of actual planes or reproductions of the thicc armoured front glass panel that prove how flawed the fw190 cockpit is handled in this game.

 

the reason for this is, as far as I can remember (as has been explained by the developers in the past a couple of times), that they cannot implement it into the game for some reason.

 

here are a few videos to show you how it should probably look like

 

Spoiler

 

 

 

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I'm sorry to say so but the cabin struts of all Fw 190 types are miserably modeled in BoX. Cockpit photos of original restored FW show a completely different picture. Other combat simulator companies have done a much better job. Compare yourself.

FW Cockpit_1.PNG

FW Cockpit_2.PNG

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4 minutes ago, Grancesc said:

I'm sorry to say so but the cabin struts of all Fw 190 types are miserably modeled in BoX. Cockpit photos of original restored FW show a completely different picture. Other combat simulator companies have done a much better job. Compare yourself.

FW Cockpit_1.PNG

FW Cockpit_2.PNG

 

I have no idea what you are trying to show there, but given that the picture at the bottom is from a viewpoint much further back than the top one, it really proves nothing. And where is the photo of the 'original restored FW'?

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4 hours ago, unreasonable said:

You are remembering the reflections on the restrictions of the representation of refraction.

I believe so, yes. but honestly, it does not need to be physically accurate as nothing in this game really is, so I still dont get it why it needs to be like that in this game

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2 hours ago, AndyJWest said:

 

I have no idea what you are trying to show there, but given that the picture at the bottom is from a viewpoint much further back than the top one, it really proves nothing. And where is the photo of the 'original restored FW'?

 

Two years ago during the long discussion about the front bar, enough photos of original FW were shown in this forum. The defenders reacted the same way at that time: "not the same view angle". After the evidence was so overwhelming, the framing was finally corrected but unfortunately only half-heartedly and badly. If you have the chance to try the other combat simulator e.g. at a friend or so, please do it, you'll see.

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13 minutes ago, Grancesc said:

 

Two years ago during the long discussion about the front bar, enough photos of original FW were shown in this forum. The defenders reacted the same way at that time: "not the same view angle". After the evidence was so overwhelming, the framing was finally corrected but unfortunately only half-heartedly and badly. If you have the chance to try the other combat simulator e.g. at a friend or so, please do it, you'll see.

 

I own the DCS FW 190 D. And it is a simple demonstrable fact that the screenshots you show aren't taken from the same viewpoint. Not that it matters really, since IL-2 GB is an air combat simulator, not a 'copy DCS' simulator. If you want to argue that the IL-2 GB FW 190s don't match the real thing, show photos of the real thing, not DCS.

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The "Fw 190 bar" has been discussed to death for literally at least a decade.

 

The exact viewpoint and field of view are irrelevant. The problem is that there is a refraction effect that cannot be modeled in games for technical reasons.

 

Games have handled this limitation in several different ways. Some have tried to strictly maintain the correct geometry, while others have created something that looks right in a typical view.

Edited by Mitthrawnuruodo
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IMHO the 3D model is correct, except that the top bar may be a little wide. The problem is the viewing angles and the way BoX renders images.

 

You are comparing closed game canopy to open RL canopy - you should use open:open. 

 

2040561084_Fwopen.thumb.jpg.c6e5bfd3eb4af3778d6343d7ba655875.jpg1252678701_Fwclosed.thumb.jpg.142b1c8ebb6b0c4965bec5d578f43fd2.jpg

 

If you use an outside view you get less distortion and the frame looks very like the photographs of real planes taken at a distance.

 

453559050_Fwoutside.thumb.jpg.a559f3d9ed82f3777bd7ecb60d2015aa.jpg

 

There is also the odd phenomenon - which maybe someone can explain - that objects take up more screen space and look much larger when they are at the outside of the screen area: compare the national markings on the wings, but it is also true of the frame in the top pictures. These shots were done only after rotating the camera around my default head position, zoomed back. Not sure why this happens: it does not happen to the coffee cup on my desk when I rotate my head! 

 

1469100986_wing1.thumb.jpg.e9acfc2104029a97799885c0fd5ca8bd.jpg2119737664_wing2.thumb.jpg.2da8cdaeb1b0556872674178747c8cc2.jpg

 

I think this may be because when you zoom back the focal point is behind the point of rotation, so things you are looking straight at are further away: but I am not sure if this accounts for the magnitude of the change in aspect.

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31 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

I think this may be because when you zoom back the focal point is behind the point of rotation, so things you are looking straight at are further away: but I am not sure if this accounts for the magnitude of the change in aspect.

 

It's a perspective projection distortion caused by the rendering math that transforms a 3D scene to a 2D image.

perspective_distortion.png.133c3366e65997188677b20a5887a766.png

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What I think your diagram also shows is that the closer you are to the objects, the greater the degree to which the object at the side will look bigger than the object in front.  Since the pilot head is very close to the cockpit framing, this will be especially noticeable.

 

All in all, it just reinforces the point that if you want to compare the actual 3D model with RL you have to do it from a comparable distance in each case, while looking straight at the object compared. 

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I think I remember that in an earlier thread about this, someone posted that it is much less of an issue with VR, because of the different angles viewed with two eyes. On a screen you have one angle from very short distance, which makes it look very big.

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7 hours ago, Yogiflight said:

I think I remember that in an earlier thread about this, someone posted that it is much less of an issue with VR, because of the different angles viewed with two eyes. On a screen you have one angle from very short distance, which makes it look very big.

 

Yup. As far as vertical frame members go, unless the width of the frame is almost equal to the spacing between your eyes, any object in the distance is going to be visible with one eye or the other. Even with TrackIR, you can move your head sideways - probably a good habit to get into anyway, as relative motion between a distant dot and the frame makes the dot easier to spot.

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53 minutes ago, AndyJWest said:

Even with TrackIR, you can move your head sideways

Yep, that's what I do. I don't have that much of an issue with the 190 cockpit view, I always prefer it over the 109's. Even with the Erla hood, the longitudinal strings on top are always where I don't need them.

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12 hours ago, Yogiflight said:

I think I remember that in an earlier thread about this, someone posted that it is much less of an issue with VR, because of the different angles viewed with two eyes. On a screen you have one angle from very short distance, which makes it look very big.

 

The visibility of the perspective projection distortion is determined by the mismatch between the game FOV and the FOV from our eyes to the display.

 

The apparent distortion can be eliminated by selecting an appropriate game FOV for your monitor size and viewing distance to make the FOVs match (imagine the monitor being a slice of the view pyramid from the eyes to the game world).

 

Unfortunately, this correct game FOV is usually too small to be feasible unless you use triple monitors, ultrawides, or other very large displays. Interestingly, FOV adjustment is a topic that frequently comes up in sim racing communities. In Il-2, it is made rather complicated by the lack of a numerical FOV setting.

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On 11/17/2019 at 11:14 AM, EpeeNoire said:

I believe so, yes. but honestly, it does not need to be physically accurate as nothing in this game really is, so I still dont get it why it needs to be like that in this game

 

To do refraction in software you need either full optical ray-tracing or a second 3D view port offset from the primary view port. Needing multiple viewports is, as I understand it, one of the reasons VR is so demanding on systems. Adding additional view ports, at this time, is going to tank your frame rate in a serious way. 

 

Honestly, I'm not sure what people expect to gain by removing the 'bar' either. Unless you are in VR, the gun sight itself is blocking most of your sight picture. 

 

What you gain over the 109 is the ability to turn your head without putting your face through the canopy. (Anyone remember the AI 109's from the original Il-2? When the pilots turned to the right, their faces were so close to the canopy window that their goggles would clip through.) 

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21 minutes ago, Voyager said:

To do refraction in software you need either full optical ray-tracing or a second 3D view port offset from the primary view port. Needing multiple viewports is, as I understand it, one of the reasons VR is so demanding on systems. Adding additional view ports, at this time, is going to tank your frame rate in a serious wa

But don't we have something like that already with the mirrors?

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3 minutes ago, Yogiflight said:

But don't we have something like that already with the mirrors?

 

It's so demanding that there is a graphics setting specifically for mirrors. The quality is much lower than the normal render pass. It wouldn't work well for something as important as the Fw 190 windscreen.

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