Have you always wished to participate in the DRL or any other racing tournament but lack the skills? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to fly a drone but don’t have one at the moment? The DRL Racing Simulator is the closest you can get to flying a drone, and all you’ll need is your PC, Xbox, or PS3 or PS4 gaming consoles.
The DRL drone racing simulator is a first-person view racing simulation. It is designed to teach you how to fly from beginner level all the way up to expert level, where you’re good enough to participate in the real Drone Racing League.
With the DRL Simulator, you can customize your drone, build a new drone, and fly in different scenes such as camping grounds, abandoned buildings, or even a US Air Force Boneyard.
Let’s look at the DRL drone racing simulator in detail.
About the Drone Racing League
The Drone Racing League, or DRL, is one of the most popular and one of the first racing leagues. Launched in 2015 by Nicholas Horbasczweski, the DRL aimed at making drone racing a popular sporting event, just like the NFL, the English Premier League, or Formula E.
Thanks to DRL and its partnerships with various broadcasting networks, now people can watch drone racing events on TV.
However, with the growing popularity of FPV drones, goggles, and with the release of the DJI FPV, people don’t want to stop at just watching the events. They want to try and fly the drone themselves and even maybe participate in the racing tournaments. In response to this, DRL joined the simulator world by releasing one of the most realistic drone simulators there is.
The Drone Racing League Simulator
I’ve got to hand it to the team behind the DRL SIM. The detail on the simulator is incredible. I’ve had the chance to play the game on my PC, and it feels like you’re flying an actual drone. Below is everything this simulator has to offer and how it compares to other simulators on the market.
So, what did it cost to set up the game?
To play the game on my PC, I went to the DRL official website where it cost $2.99 to download the game. If you purchase the game for PlayStation or Xbox, it may be more expensive, but it’s nothing more than $20.
A pretty reasonable price, don’t you think? And you don’t need those fancy rigs to run this game. A basic core i5 64-bit laptop with 8GB RAM and a 1TB hard disk is enough to run it comfortably.
Since I am using a Windows PC, I downloaded the game from Epic Games.
If you really want the complete drone experience, playing the DRL SIM with a keyboard and mouse won’t cut it. On the other hand, you don’t need an expensive drone controller. If you already have a PS3, PS4, or Xbox controller, you can use it on your PC with this simulator.
Currently, the following controllers are listed as compatible with the DRL SIM.
- BetaFPV LiteRadio 2
- FlySky FS-SM600 6CH
- FlySky/ Turnigy -i6 AFHDS 6CH
- Futaba T14SG
- Futaba T8J
- Interlink Elite RealFlight
- JR XG14
- Logitech F310
- Nikko Air
- Spektrum DX6
- Spektrum DX9
- Taranis QX7
- Taranis X9D
- TBS Tango Controller
- Turnigy 9XR
- Turnigy Evolution
- Volantex RC
- XBox 360
- XBox One
- XBox One S
As long as your computer is compatible with the controller, you should be able to use it to enjoy the simulator.
If your controller model is not listed above, you can test its compatibility with the simulator by going to this website (link).
If it’s compatible, it will be detected, and you’ll get a screen that looks like this:
As mentioned earlier, the DRL SIM is one of the closest ways you can get to flying a drone right from your desk. The graphics and controls make you feel like you’re flying a real drone.
Below is a screenshot of what everything looks like once you launch the simulator:
As you can see above, you get the following features.
- A Solo flight where you can fly the drone alone.
- Up to 32 different racing tracks and maps.
- A multiplayer option where you can compete with other drone pilots.
- A freestyle section where you can test your flying skills.
- You also get to build a drone, access community drones built by others, or test out different new features in the Physics section.
- You get to train on how to fly a drone.
- If you’re feeling confident about your drone flying skills, you get the chance to try out for the DRL league. That’s right! Some pilots have moved from the DRL SIM directly to the Drone Racing competition.
- You can also participate in live tournaments.
- A leaderboard to show the best pilots on the simulator.
Below is a sneak peek of some of the scenarios you’ll come across:
How easy is it to fly in the DRL SIM?
If you’ve never flown a drone before, it’s not advisable to go directly into the various missions. You’ll crash the drone, and you won’t enjoy your time with the simulator. Luckily, there’s a Beginner mode, an Intermediate, and a Pro mode.
In the Beginner mode, the drone has inbuilt stability, altitude hold, and angular limit. These features are enough to get you started. But for the best experience, it’s best to start with the training module where you get trained in the basic drone movements; yaw, pitch, throttle, and roll.
I checked that out too, and it has been simplified where you practice by taking off and landing on buildings, popping balloons along a path, or passing through diamonds. The tests help teach you how to control all drone movements simultaneously while following a path.
- It’s very realistic.
- It’s affordable and accessible to most users.
- It’s customizable – you can build a drone or even edit the maps.
- You get a chance to try for the DRL.
- It’s still not that easy to learn how to fly on the platform.
- There are some in-app purchases when you decide to build your own drone.
Alternative Drone Simulators
Below are other FPV simulators you can try, compared to the DRL, or install on your PC if the DRL doesn’t work on your system (highly unlikely).
» MORE: 9 Best Drone Flight Simulators for 2022 (FPV and Commercial)
Liftoff is one of the most popular simulators and mainly focuses on drone racing. Additionally, the simulator provides you with 16 challenging drone racing environments you can fly in and host competitions.
Not a fan of participating in contests? Not a problem. You can peacefully practice in Freestyle and Free Flight modes. Also, besides being on the racecourse, you can add some customization to your drone with a comprehensive collection of quadcopter parts offered by the simulator.
This simulator’s design is specifically for FPV drone racing. Although it may not have graphics as attractive as other simulators, it’s known for excellent physics and reliability. There also are plenty of drone options with this simulator, with most of them being close to real ones.
Furthermore, Velocidrone resembles a game that includes timed tracks for completion with added obstacles that test your skills. Therefore, it doesn’t allow you free movement. This simulator maintains its worth among drone pilots because it offers an authentic flying experience.
DCL – The Game
As its name suggests, this simulator is more ludic and less professional. It’s the official video game of the DCL (Drone Champions League), another leading drone racing company that broadcasts races live.
In addition, it contrasts Velocidrone in that it has exceptionally appealing graphics, but its physics isn’t a reflection of real flight. It has various game modes with different difficulty levels.
Is the DRL Simulator free?
No, it’s not. But the less than $10 price makes it accessible to anyone who’d like to fly a drone but can’t buy an actual drone.
Is the DRL Simulator realistic?
Yes, it is. Any movement you’d make with a drone in real life, you can make with the drone in the simulator. You also get to build your drone to suit your needs and imagination.
Does Xbox have DRL?
Yes. You can play the DRL SIM on Xbox, pS3, PS4, or your PC.
Can you use FPV goggles with the DRL Simulator?
Yes, you can, but don’t expect the highest video quality. Some users reported some latency issues. For the best results, make sure you use a converter.
How do you connect your controller to the DRL Simulator?
Once you’re sure your controller is compatible with the simulator, head over to the DRL SIM’s Controller Setup Guide. Most controllers, especially the Xbox and PlayStation controllers, are plug-and-play. But if your controller needs to be tweaked to match the simulator’s settings, DRL has provided clear instructions.
Flying a drone manually isn’t as easy as some tutorials depict it to be. And that is if you can get a drone. You may end up crashing several times, wasting money and time.
The DRL Simulator removes all of these barriers by giving a realistic experience where you can crash as many times as you want as you learn to fly a drone.
And they don’t stop there. You can gain the skills and experience needed to participate in the DRL, which has benefits such as sponsorships, cash prizes worth several thousands of dollars, and a chance to earn money from an activity you love.
Drone Racing League image
DRL SIM’s Controller Setup Guide (link)