How-to: Running RealFlight 7 on a mac using VMware Fusion.

Capt Buscemi

New member
IIRC, Parallels Fusion will allow you to run your Bootcamped Windows inside of a VM. So you can boot to a bare metal Windows instance or an OS X instance and run Windows in a VM. In both cases, you get the same Windows environment.
Yeah, I didn't know that either. I think my mind just folded back outside, and simultaneously inside of itself. Ooh look, there's a Higgs-boson...
 

Maj. Numbskully

Well-known member
Nice to finally have some definitive answers for mac users here in the forum now
thanks for keeping your word Kirby and to everyone else contributing
 

Zelatio

New member
Yes you HAVE to install a Windows using Bootcamp, then simply run Parallels. it allows you to run Windows without ever leaving the Mac environment.
 

kirby_

New member
No one asked but enough people have talked about it that I thought I would follow up on the "bootcamp vs running a VM" discussion with an explanation of what is going on under the hood (this is Fusion specific, but most of the important details are the same) that makes this work.

I’ll say upfront that this is not completely technically accurate and I have left out some bits on purpose. Please don’t nitpick with comments like: “ITS NOT PARTITION 2 YOU IDI0T!!!”

Short version:
Virtualization software like Fusion or Parallels can use either a file-based virtual disk, or a raw disk partition as source of the virtual disk. From the point of view of your Windows install, when you boot from Bootcamp then shut down and later boot from Fusion, it looks just like you moved the hard drive between computers.


Long version:
Think of the VMware Fusion software as a “player”. It plays virtual machines. A virtual machine is just a directory with a configuration file and bunch of virtual disk files. The config file tells the player “this VM has 2GB of RAM, 1 CPU, and a fake sound card.” The other important part of the config file is that is tell the player: “When you need to access the disk for this virtual machine, use this file called disk1.vmdk instead”. With these bits, the player has everything it needs to power on and run a virtual machine.

That disk1.vmdk file is a substitute for a real hard drive on a physical computer. When you first boot up a virtual machine, that hard disk is blank. When you install Windows in your virtual machine, the “player” (aka Fusion, Parallels, Virtual Box) writes to disk1.vmdk. When there is any disk activity in the virtual machine, the reads and writes go to disk1.vmdk.

Like physical hard-drives, virtual disk files are portable. If you know what you are doing, you can move disk1.vmdk to another virtual machine, change it’s config file, and maybe even get it to run. If you really know what you’re doing, it is technically possible to do a sort of raw copy of the contents of disk1.vmdk to an actual hard drive and get boot a real computer from that real hard drive. When doing this, you’ll run into the same sorts of trouble you would run into when moving a real hard drive between real computers. Unless the real computers are identical, you run into driver problems, boot device problems, Windows activation problems, etc.

Ok, almost last step. Instead of the configuration file telling the player that “this vm’s hard disk is at disk1.vmdk, do all reading and writing there”, Both Parallels and Fusion also support a config file that says: “this virtual machine’s hard disk is on raw disk partition 2, do all reading and writing there.” Why is this significant? Because reading and writing to a partition is exactly what your Mac does when normally booting and running Windows. The “Bootcamp” feature of Mac computers is just a way to boot a second disk partition. It also has some Windows specific helper drivers and applications, because otherwise your Windows installation wouldn’t have a driver for the trackpad, built-in camera, or other Apple specific hardware.

Finally, last step. When you boot Windows in Bootcamp, you’re reading and writing to partition 2 instead of partition 1 (partition 1 contains your OSX installation). So, when you run through the new VM wizard in Fusion and tell it you want to use an existing Bootcamp setup, it just sets up the VM config file to point at partition 2 rather than a vmdk file inside the VM directory. From the point of view of your Windows install, when you boot from Bootcamp then shut down and later boot from Fusion, it looks just like you moved the hard drive between computers.

One last note, as I sort of mentioned above, it is sometimes not trivial to move a disk between computers. Fusion (and I assume Parallels) has to do some tricks under the hood to make these problems invisible to the user and to fool Windows Activation. Otherwise, Windows Activation would get upset all the time because it thinks you keep moving your copy of Windows between computers.
 

Krautflyer

New member
I'm running RF7 on an iMac in Parallels. However, it did take me a couple of days to figure it out and there is very little help online.

My setup:
iMac running Maverick and Parallels 9. I run Windows 7 as a Virtual Machine - I do not have Bootcamp setup! Parallels runs Windows in Fullscreen mode on a seperate monitor.

My experience:
Started Windows and installed RF7. Everything looked normal, it seemed to install DirectX towards the end of installation, however, when I started RF7, I would get an error message after the splash screen saying that my video card could not render 3D images! The program would then quit.
I tried different screen resolutions, but it didn't help.
I tried to manually install DirectX, but no change.

Looking at the video card driver in Device Manager revealed that I had the standard Windows VGA driver installed.
Running dxdiag from the Start menu showed DirectX installed, but on the Display tab, all DirectX Features (DirectDraw, Direct3D and AGP Texture Acceleration) showed as not enabled.

On the Parallels knowledge base there are a lot references to Parallels Tools for Windows. I did not know whether I had that installed or not. When I clicked on Virtual Machine, the "Install Parallel Tools" option was grayed out! I finally figured out that you have to start Windows, then click on Virtual Machine, to get the "Install Parallel Tools" option! (Not that obvious when you are running the VM in Full Screen mode and don't see Parallels menu)

After installing the Parallel Tools for Windows, I was able to install the Parallels Display Adapter (WDDM) driver and voila: DirectX is enabled and RF7 works!

Here is my exact setup:

Parallels:
- Virtual Machine/Configure/General: 2 CPUs, 4GB RAM
- Virtual Machine/Configure/Hardware/Video: 512 MB video memory, DirectX9, Enable vertical synchronization box checked

Windows:
- Parallels Display Adapter (WDDM) as video card driver
- DirectX 11 installed

Realflight:
- RF 7.00.031 installed
- Graphics Quality Setting set to Medium

Works like a charm!
 

kirby_

New member
After installing the Parallel Tools for Windows, I was able to install the Parallels Display Adapter (WDDM) driver and voila: DirectX is enabled and RF7 works!
Thanks for the reminder, my setup for Fusion requires VMware Tools as well. I have updated my instructions to reflect this.
 

wgscott

New member
RF7, bootcamp and virtualization

I'm using RF7 in a bootcamp partition (a separate second internal SSD) on my 2012 i7 Mac mini with 8 gig of memory. It has the intel integrated graphics (Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB). It runs quite well on the bootcamp partition when booted into Windows 8.1 (clean install, RF7 is the only 3rd-party software except Firefox We don't use it for anything else).

I've managed to get it to run in trial versions of VMWare Fusion and Parallels using the bootcamp import option (i.e., it runs directly from the bootcamp partition rather than a virtual disk).

It works in both Parallels and VMware, but in both cases the graphics are quite laggy, so much so that my kid (the real user) says that he cannot fly the planes accurately. Both the graphics frame rate and the USB controller itself lag. In VMWare, which I am slightly more familiar with, I have tinkered with the settings to give it more memory (4 gig) and processors (I've tried 2, 4 and all 8), have dropped the resolution from 1080p to 720p, and within RF7 set the graphics to the lowest quality, but none of this really seems to make it usable. I've installed the VMWare tools and the parallels equivalent.

Any suggestions for anything else to try? It is so close to working properly that it just adds to the frustration. (A few years ago I tried this on older versions of everything and it barely worked at all.)

Vitals:
RF7 (interlink edition), OS X 10.9.4, Windows 8.1. in bootcamp, Mac Mini i7 (8 processors) with intel graphics, 8 Gig of memory, Samsung 1080p LCD TV as monitor, trial versions of VMware 6 and Parallels 9.
 
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kf0s

Member
wgscott,

As you noted, using Fusion or Parallels leaves something to be desired in terms of graphics speed. Supposedly, Parallels is better for 3D graphics, but you do lose a lot.

I'd suggest just using BootCamp when wanting to run RealFlight (or any of the other flight simulators or games). Things will perform much better graphically.

That said, I still run RealFlight occasionally without rebooting. I can live with the slight lagging.
 

SteveEJ

New member
I am new to RF and am running it on a Parallels install with Windows 7 Ultimate. It installed and ran out of the box with no apparent problems so far.

MBPr with OS 10.10 Beta 2 and Parallels 10 installed running in Coherence mode.

Not sure what I can do to provide further info but am willing to help!

Now.. For a Visionair model.. LOL
 

gprade

New member
Unable to attach controller to VM

I have a slightly different problem but with a similar config. I can't get RF7 to recognize the controller so RF7 never starts. OS X shows the USB dedicated to the VM and Windows Device Manager shows a HID Game Controller "working properly". Any ideas would be appreciated. The RF7 is a fresh install and I tried restarting the VM. RF7 runs fine on native Win7 box. Here is my config:

Native:
OS X 10.10.1 (Yosemite)
3.5 GHz i7, 16GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX w/ 4GB

VM:
VMWare Fusion 7.1
1 CPU, 4GB, accelerated graphics, full screen on second monitor
Win7 Pro w/ current fixes

The controller is an older Interlink Elite.
 

kirby_

New member
I have a slightly different problem but with a similar config. I can't get RF7 to recognize the controller so RF7 never starts. OS X shows the USB dedicated to the VM and Windows Device Manager shows a HID Game Controller "working properly". Any ideas would be appreciated. The RF7 is a fresh install and I tried restarting the VM. RF7 runs fine on native Win7 box. Here is my config:
Try it under BootCamp first. If it doesn't work in BootCamp, it's not the VM layer.
 

kirby_

New member
I tried only RF 7.x because that's what I have. I suspect the Drone edition "works" and in the worst case runs too slowly to be any fun. What IS true is that Knife Edge does not support running in a virtual machine. So you're on your own if it doesn't work out.
 

csgill75

Well-known member
Realflight Drone is based on Realflight 7.5 and should function the same on a Mac as 7.5 does. As mentioned earlier Knife Edge and Realflight technical support doesn't support virtual machine installs of any of their software but they do support a Boot camp install.
 

opjose

Well-known member
"Apart from routine updates, absolutely nothing has changed. "

So by definition something HAS changed.... e.g. those "routine updates".
 
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stewball5

New member
Thanks Kirby

I just bought RealFlight Drone Flight Simulator and will load it tonight. I will update you with what I find running on a MacBook Pro (2015) running OS 10.11.13 and vmWare Fusion 8.1.0 with Windows 10.
 

stewball5

New member
Running RealFlight Drone on a MacBook Pro with Fusion

Today, I had a chance to load and fly RealFlight Drone Flight Simulator on my MacBook Pro using an Apple 27" LED Cinema Display and vmWare Fusion. Using default settings except as noted below, all worked well. I am very satisfied. Configuration details are below.

MacBook Pro OS 10.11.13 (built in mid-2015)
Built-in display: Retina 15” (most of the time laptop is closed and Retina display is off
External display via DisplayPort on PCIe bus: 27” LED Cinema Display at 1920X1200 resolution with 32-bit color
Processor: 2.8 Ghz Intel i7
Memory: 16 GB 1600 Mhz DDR3
Hard drive: 1 TB high speed SSD

Graphics Cards:
Internal: Built-in Intel Iris Pro - VRAM (Dynamic, Max) 1536 MB
External: AMD Radeon R9 M370X - VRAM (Total) 2048 MB

No built-in CD/DVD player. External one used: Samsung 8x Ultra External DVD Burner - SE-218GN/RSBD - USB 3.0

Keyboard: Apple Bluetooth
Mouse: Logitech Travel Bluetooth


Virtual Machine running on vmWare Fusion 8.1.0 (3272237)
VM Tools: current version
PC OS: Windows 10 version 1511 - 32-bit OS running on a x64 based processor
DirectX 9 loaded
PC Processor: single core Intel 2.80 GHz
PC allocated RAM: 8 GB
PC virtual c-drive: allocated 276 GB; current use 203.3 GB

RealFlight Drone Flight Simulator version 1.00.025
InterLink Elite Controller by Futaba connected to USB 3.0
 

brichter1

New member
Getting RF4 to work on Parallels wasn't hard at all, the only tricky spot was getting G4 launcher to work, had to disconnect all the Mac drives from the VM. This was running XPSP3 under Parallels 8 on a Mid 2011 iMac 27, 3.4 GHz i7 Quad core, 32GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. GRaphics adapter is an ATI Radeon 6970M GPU with 2GB.

I bought the RF7.5 upgrade, and it states that RF7.5 only works on Win7, so I spun up a VM and installed Win7 Ultimate on it. I gave it 4 CPUs and 4GB RAM. Installed RF4, and it won't run, gives a 3D graphics error. I'm upgrading it to RF7.5 now, hopefully this issue goes away. I'll post the results.

Anyone having issues with the install can ask me questions, I'm happy to answer
 
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CMM

New member
Windows 7 okay; Windows 10 not

I had RF 7.5 running with no issues on Mac with Parallels running Windows 7. I've installed it now on Windows 10 and get a sound card issue and an unexpected error when it tried to load the main screen. Running a VM is virtually identical to running Bootcamp in resulting effect. Knife Edge should offer support.
 
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