DRL Sim vs. LiftOff

I’ve done most of my virtual learning in LiftOff so far, but having picked up DRL Sim cheaply a few weeks ago I finally found some time to try it out this weekend.

I should start by saying I’ve only flown Acro in LiftOff.

The first couple of hours in DRL Sim were spent going through the tutorials, which I’m sure are great for an absolute beginner but with all the training aids enabled I found very frustrating. To the extent that when I went to free roam in Acro it had completely screwed up my muscle memory and it took a while to get control back.

The last thing I did with DRL was try the “Solo Race”. I chose the Devil’s Backbone in Campgrounds. After many attempts I have only cleared this without crashing twice. My best time is 1 min 15 seconds. #1 on the leader board is 22 seconds, which, even allowing for a huge skill gap, seems ridiculous.

Anyway, I then went back to LiftOff to do a comparison. These are my impressions.

Control/response wise, they seem very similar. I’m probably not skilled enough yet to notice any minute differences.

DRL seems much more forgiving of collisions. If you clip something in LiftOff you’re going down and will likely end up upside-down. While DRL will bounce you and mess up your head with a sudden orientation change, there’s more of a chance you’ll be able to recover and keep flying. I tried one of the races in LiftOff for the first time - choosing what I take to be the easiest: the first one in the straw bales field - and I don’t think I once made it to the 3rd gate. Granted, the gates are less than a quarter of the size of those in the ‘easy’ DRL race.

I’ve read a lot online as to which the ‘best’/most realistic FPV sim is and, of course, opinion is hugely divided, to the point where I’m fairly sure it’s about 50:50 between “DRL is ace, LiftOff is pants” and vice versa. For me, they both seem very similar.

Having still not had chance to fly my actual quad properly, I only hope that both sims are close enough that I don’t have to learn all over again for the real thing.

I’ve only used lift off to practice when I first started and found it useful for getting the feel of the controls and for practicing tricks.

I found the racing scenarios frustrating and found that I crashed on most.

I’ll be honest, I use my sim when I can’t fly due to rain etc - otherwise I’m out flying for real.
There’s no comparison to that type of practice

You flew velocidrone at the big meet how did that compare?

From what I remember, that was also quite similar in feel. I’ve put a few more hours in since then, and also had my “light bulb” moment where I suddenly seemed to get the hang of pointing the thing where I wanted it to go, albeit without much finesse. :laughing:

It might be worth mentioning that I also did my first indoor flight with the Nanohawk using the goggles, rather than LOS, and managed to get out of the living room and up the stairs, which involves a 180º turn, before smashing into something on the landing. It may only have been a few seconds but it felt like an achievement. Still don’t feel there’s really enough space indoors for anything beyond practicing hovering.

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Don’t be put off by crashing and bumping in to things.
It’s as much a part of learning as fixing your drone will become.

I’d definitely recommend trying to fly in a park or over a playing field. I found the extra space with less obstacles to hit gave me better flights and more confidence.

Absolutely and I’m itching to do this. Just need to find

  1. The time
  2. A space
  3. A spotter to help find the quad when I inevitably ditch it somewhere unexpected

It would probably help to grab a couple more batteries as well. The one I ordered with the quad should be arriving in a week or so. Now I’m a little better on the sims I’m slightly more inclined to sink some more cash into the real thing.


Flying little whoops in doors is fun but you’re better off in angle mode for indoor whoops is what I found anyway. Forget trying to learn Acro on a whoop indoors. Lol it will frustrate you more than you will learn so isn’t really worth the time investment. Like @Howard78 said you’re better off finding some big open field to fly in and just practice practice practice lol


Totally understand.

I used to drag my nephew along as a spotter but mostly now fly on a local field sometimes solo or when others are flying.

I tend to grab an hour in the evenings when it’s quiet.

I’d also recommend a buzzer with an external battery such as ViFly - they’re so much louder and make it easier to find when the inevitable happens.

Fortunately it has one of those. Very loud and annoying in the house, but I’m sure it’ll be a godsend in the field.

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I’ve added one after our “Treasure Hunt” at Bennerley the other week.
Definitely would have made life easier

I have tried both SIMs.
I agree with your assessment:
i.e. for me they are broadly similar in terms of flying experience / control / sense of reality.
I spent MANY hours getting my skills up over the last 2 years, which I found translated VERY well to real flying in the field.

I’ve done the same and found DRL more similar to my real drones. I found liftoff very drifty, making turns quite hard to get right, definitely harder to manage things I can do in real flight. DRL tutorials seem useful but I gave up on them too however the feel of the quads feel more consistent with my real-life experience. But it’s true I’ve not tried anything like a race circuit in real life.