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Regarding point 4 (the motion tracking): The makers of the Pagnian/Next Level Racing Motion Platform (Motionsystems.eu) have included something called "VR Headway" into their software - it effectively cancels the component of head movement caused by the platform movement.One has to enter the distance and offset of the VR headset vs the pivot point - and it works! In rolls the vantage point stays still, yet one can still move the head side to side like normal. One can even adjust the degree of compensation by changing the distance.
In my opinion the way to go is stationary tracking, and let the software handle motion compensation.
"Palmer [Luckey] ruled out motion cancellation for the Oculus SDK very early in the game, which is a real shame. VectionVR created and released a modified Oculus runtime to allow for motion cancellation, but it never took off as it required devs to compile support for the mod.
There are still efforts being made to create a way to do generic motion cancellation: https://github.com/matzman666/OpenVR-InputEmulator/issues/4#issuecomment-297819958
The more VR grows for simulation the greater the need to develop a generic approach to motion cancellation."
I believe Igor is working on a low cost 6 dof platform, but is some months away from a final design.
Its for OpenVR (=SteamVR), so primarily for Vive, but Rift users can run FS2 in SteamVR mode, so that's something for me to try this weekend.
The breakthroughs have come in 3 different areas: motion cancellation, simtools tuning and hardware tweaks.
The software I referred to in the previous post works, well most of the time. This solves the problem of staying fixed in the cockpit when the platform moves. You do need a vive/oculus controller fixed to your seat which the cancellation software tracks the movement of. This allows the software to know whether you've deliberately moved your head to the side as opposed to the seat moving and you staying still. In my experience the tracker communication to the cancellation software can glitch now and again, in which case you'd see the cockpit move when you bank to the side. Its not often though and this is just v1 of the software plugin.
SimTools is the open source software that takes the physics data from FS2 and decides how the motors driving the platform should move in response. It is very user configurable as it's used by lots of DIYers who've built their own platforms in different ways as well as a few commercially available platforms. Pitch is an easy one. Pitch up and you want the seat to tilt back. Pretty straightforward unless you want to do loop the loops, in which case you need a variation of the technique I'll describe for banking.
With banking what I was trying to achieve was that as I start to bank to the right say I feel the seat roll over to the right, but once I achieve say a 20 degree bank angle which I hold for a while I wanted the seat to imperceptibly return to neutral. I don't actually want to be keeled over at 20 degrees during the turn as its not what I'd feel in real life due to the g-force. By returning subtly to neutral it means I could then choose to bank more strongly to say 30 degrees and again feel the tilting force even though the platform was already maxed out at 20 degrees. I finally achieved this today after spending some time gaining a proper understanding of the washout gain/return functionality in SimTools. More info here if you're interested.[www.xsimulator.net]
By the way you don't notice the return to neutral in VR if its gentle as your eyes convince your brain that you are still banked.
It turns out a lot of my ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ to do with gearing slack and gritty movement were due to shipping damage which my platform experienced when I first received it. All the bits were there so I thought all was fine, but the motors/levers were jolted a bit too much. DOF Reality paid the return postage for me to send it back and they returned it much improved. Nice smooth movements without slack. Its not quite smooth as butter but then this is a $999 platform not something made by Boeing. The only remaining ♥♥♥♥♥♥ I had (which apparently no-one else has raised with the suppliers) was an odd alignment thing whereby the SimTools software would say that the motors should only be at say 50% but in reality mine had moved 100%. In other words they were reaching max displacement twice as quick as they should. If anyone else gets this problem the suppliers now have a fix.
So where does this leave me now? Having a lot of fun and very happy with my purchase decision, but I must confess to being hooked and wanting more. I'm now looking to do a DIY project of my own and build a G-Seat which is able to give persistent sensations of g-force: being pressed into the seat on a turn and feeling the seat pushing into your back as you are thrust forward in a fast jet. Apparently the airforce[www.stirling-dynamics.com] use them a lot.
I'm using P3D V4 and my biggest question (nobody can really answer) is: what about taxiways and runway-vibration or small movements from the wheels - can you feel these effects?
Or do I have to use a butt kicker for those effects anyway?
What would you recommend today for a constellation? FaseTech had some problems so they need more time to release their products.
Yes I'm on the mailing list for FaseTech. That thing keeps changing, getting bigger and looking more expensive every time I see it.
Right now I'm still not really using the 3DOF. The mechanical issues I had early on are sorted. It's now down to the SimTools software. I'm fairly sure there's a bug in the filter settings that presumably doesn't get noticed by the car drivers but matters for flying. With a platform that can only tilt/pitch/rotate by 10 degrees or so you rely on 'motion cues'. This is where the initial movement (the acceleration) is actioned by the platform, but once you settle at the new angle the platform slowly and imperceptibly levels off and the mind/eyes take over to convince you (which they do very well). This slow imperceptible thing is done by the washout filter and that's what is buggy. I've sent data to the developer to demonstrate the problem and he tells me he's working on it.
The other thing I've had trouble with is motion cancellation. You need to run in SteamVR and use an unmaintained 3rd party app to avoid your head moving in the cockpit when the platform moves. It was very unreliable for me, but since I relocated my buttkicker it's been better. The vibrations seemed to confuse the tracker - still it does cost me FPS to run in SteamVR, as I'm on Oculus. My 1080ti can't quite handle ultra everything and SteamVR.
As for runway vibrations these are more a job for a buttkicker, but you need something like SimVibe for the best experience rather than just bass frequencies from the normal game sound. SimVibe doesn't support FS2, but the SimTools people are about to release GameVibe which does the same job and I expect that will support FS2.
Right now, due to the filter and motion compensation issues I'm working on a G-Seat. This is what G-Seats are all about:
Below is my project. I'm trying to do it the simplest way possible, with the fewest components, rather than some over engineered victorian steam engine type thing. If anyone is interested, when I perfect it, I'll tidy up the design and document the build steps more clearly. Costwise it should come in at around £250.
The FaseTech - well, I checked their products. The new release looks great - modern and professional with black. But the inside looks the same as before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLQM-arAxdg SO - I can't see the price really. Is it better than DOFreality? Because of what - stronger motor? Even Software is the same. So I was wondering, why they sold a basic DOF-system for much more money.
Then I talked with Igor from DOFreality and he told me he's working on a 6-DOF-platform for professional flight simulation. That guy should cost around 4000$ - they aim to release around x-mas. But he asked me why I need 6 DOF - and I told him for flight simulation. His opinion is 3DOF is OK and will do its thing.
I'm flying just Airbus & Boeing aircrafts - and their motion is not that big, right? So I think a 3-DOF and (maybe) a second BK will really do it - what do you think?
4K $ is quite much - and there is another point: I don't have that much space in my room. Because it's also my office - and I have to move drums & piano to the livingroom (I'm prepared for discussion with the girlfriend). So all in all I think about 3DOF. 6DOF will need more space - also height.
But there is one thing - I really want to know, but can't test it: Can I program the SimTools, that while doing TakeOf the 3DOF-System will move UP and DOWN like this:
https://youtu.be/j9p5AORcY8o?t=12m11s (look at 12:11)
Do you have kind of metric dimension of this 3DOF-thing?
Thanks for your G-seat-link. I'm very interested how it goes on!
So I ordered a DOFreality 3DOF and refund it today by noticing the center joint - really now thinking about a DIY, or buying the FaceTech, when it's released - take a look at its heavenly heave: