What is VRC?
VRC stands for Virtual Radar Client. VRC is used to connect to the VATSIM Virtual Air Traffic SIMulation network. VRC simulates the radar system used by air traffic controllers to guide aircraft along their routes through the simulated world on VATSIM. VRC is developed by Ross A. Carlson, a controller and instructor in the VATSIM Boston ARTCC. (ZBW) Portions of VRC (mainly the underlying networking and voice libraries) were contributed by Chris Serio and Ben Supnik, also of the virtual Boston ARTCC.
Development of VRC began in April of 2005. Phase one of the closed beta test began in November of 2005. Phase two began in March of 2006, and VRC was released in April of 2006.
Why Make Another ATC Client?
VATSIM began with ProController, which was then replaced by ASRC. ASRC is a fantastic program with many great features and excellent reliability. VRC was developed as an alternative to ASRC, primarily for users with multiple-monitor computer systems. VRC also takes a slightly different approach in terms of its user interface. Where ASRC strives to more closely model real-world radar systems, VRC was designed more for ease of use in the simulated radar environment found on VATSIM. Realism is a secondary concern, instead of a primary design goal.
Single vs. Multiple Monitor Support
As mentioned above, VRC is design for use on multiple-monitor systems. The goal is to keep the primary radar screen as uncluttered as possible. This is achieved by moving all secondary functions to floating tool windows which are intended to be dragged onto a side monitor. These secondary functions include flight strip editing, chat, communications control, the controller list, the arrival/departure list, etc. The only items that are kept on the main screen are those that the controller interacts with very often, such as the radio text area, the command line, and current weather information.
Because of this design approach, many users with single monitors may find the VRC interface quite "stuffy" or uncomfortable. It is possible that a future version of VRC may bring a more single monitor friendly version of the interface, but there are no such plans as yet.
Major Differences From ASRC
Following are the most notable areas where VRC differs from ASRC:
In order to fully understand the concepts laid out in the manual, you should have at the very minimum: knowledge of basic Air Traffic Control terminology and procedures, as well as access to the sector files, alias files and POF files used in the area where you intend to control. Check with the Air Traffic Manager or training staff in your area in order to acquire the necessary files and information.
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