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Oqvist

Simracing in VR

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Oqvist   

Been playing with my HTC Vive and Oculus Rift for some months now.  It´s amazing to for the first time ever be able to race in the right perspective. It´s truly 1:1 with the real world.   As soon as you put the headset on and center you sit right in perfect 3D which feels 100 % correct without the issues of 3D on a single screen. No need to build a complete mockup of an expensive carbon fibre cockpit you get it all for free much better and cheaper then you could ever do yourself.

It essentially don´t feel like you are simracing anymore. Done some online  races at VGP in Assetto Corsa a GT 3 league and it´s the best immersive experience I ever had by a long shot. No triple monitor setup I tried comes close.

There is lot of talk about resolution and it´s absolutely mind gobbling how good it will be when we get to 12K and 210 degrees of FOV. But that is many many years from now. My monitor will not go anywhere.  For formulas and GTs I have no problem at all racing with the resolutions we got now. I have no doubt Prototypes or any series would work fine either.  I can´t say I am faster if you do enough laps I don´t think there is a difference you find your speed. But I have a better understanding how the car works and it´s easier to sense where the front wheel are and I can see the undulations on the track in a way that is not possible at all in 2D. You can tell the difference between nasty kerbs and flat ones. So I get consistent faster and need less trial and error to see what works and what not. In close racing you can actually judge distances to other cars and don´t have to guess as much as when doing 2D painting racing.

The only con I can find is the fov need to use your neck to turn around but I guess it´s quite close to racing with an Integral  helmet. I never really felt handicapped by this though racing my McLaren with no rear mirror. generally you get enough information to realize where the car is even without helicorsa or spotters or other aids. 

 

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Oqvist   

Tough question. Rift is noticable lighter and since I found the headphones with the rift actually not that bad at all it does win on comfort. Also the cable on the rift is thinner and goes to the side and not up and behind my head so it don´t get annoying when the head lean against the headrest. This is maybe the biggest issue with the Vive more so then the weight for me. 

I have some thinner foam so I currently have considerable more fov in the Vive which increases the sweetspot of the lenses as well. No free lunch more noticable screendoor and lower res the more you blow it up of course. On the vive you can adjust the depth to the lenses where it´s fixed on the rift. I have some facial inserts for the rift on order as well to get similar benefits.

Rift does seem to have less funny things going on and thus a bit cleaner image. But it´s lenses kills contrast a lot more thent the Vive does. A lot of apples vs oranges in term of the fresnel lenses used. Screendoor is not as apparent on the rift but no problem seeing it of course. 

Will have to wait for new inserts and give it a go again but maybe Rift. Or Vive. I will change my mind tomorrow.

 

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nhill40   

I've never tried one, but my fear is that I would find it disorienting and actually lessen my sense of what the car is doing.

It's obvious that the primary sensation lacking in sim racing is the "seat of the pants" feel - equally obvious is that sim racing devs have tried their best to compensate with a combination of FFB, audio, and visual cues.  One visual cue I've come to rely on (and I'm going to do my best to put this into words, hopefully it makes sense) is how the visual representation of the track is moving in relation to a known fixed point - namely, the monitor frame (well, I guess monitor frameS now that I run triples!)

Does this add to immersion?  Hell no!  Does it help me understand a critical piece of cornering physics (yaw angle)?  For me, the answer is "definitely".

Are you able to speak to this, Per?  I would very much appreciate getting your take because this is all pure speculation on my part, as I've never even worn one of these things (let alone taken any laps wearing one!)

I try really hard not to be a Luddite and I'm also a firm believer the "your mileage may vary" principle STRONGLY applies to sim racing (which, yes, is grounded in real world physics, but how those physics are best conveyed to the end user quickly becomes highly subjective).  That said, I feel like having my head "floating" inside a virtual cockpit will undercut my ability to sense what the car is doing...at the same time though, ive heard enough sim racers rave about VR that I would love to be proved wrong! :D

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Oqvist   

Well as the fov is limited in the VR headsets the track is moving against black frames as well. More so then your triple screen probably. This is just a con. The less of this black frame the better if it wasn´t for the thing about the resolution.There is nothing that is easier with more black frames frames from what I noticed. Head isn´t floating it´s attached to my body. The headtracking is really solid if you keep your head still nothing happens it just feel natural. Much better then TrackIR.

 

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nhill40   

That's perhaps where my impressions are coming from - TrackIR.  I came to sim racing from flight sims, so when I first got into it I tried driving with TrackIR because I assumed that's what people did.  Really hated it and found it terribly disorienting, but VR is another level beyond TrackIR.

As far as my "floating head" comment goes, I agree your head is physically attached to your body, within the game I stick by my comment that it is indeed "floating".  The VR headset is tracking only your head movements with no reference points to anchor you to the rest of the environment.  In an actual car, you'd have a link between the fixed point of your butt cheeks and the moving point of your head/eyeballs.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate it and hope I don't come off as arguing pro-triples/anti-VR because that's really not my intent.  Rather, I'm coming from a set of assumptions of what would/wouldn't be helpful based on a very one sided set of experiences and I appreciate being able to pick your brain for your experiences.

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F19_CoNa   

I'm soo on the fence to get one, but again I'm worried about the resolution as I have not tested the CV1 or Vive, just the DK2 which was waaay to low res for my taste. Agreed that it's the over all exeriance that really counts.

Just too bad that the roll outs seems to have stopped a bit on both major players, and we probably won't see any next gen sets until 2018-19, at least that is what I read on most VR places.

Good thing is that new things like eye tracking and other features is being developed. 

I'm now actually waiting for the "Chinese machine" to start rolling, as they always do. Segways, drones and other stuff, initially not as good as the original, but they have momentum and spit out new models and improve quickly until they are the leaders.

I have already seen versions, and as the software is free...who knows how soon we will have new competition.

 

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Oqvist   

Yeah there is OSVR coming very soon and StarVR maybe also and some other projects. I don´t have the computer to run that headset only a not so cheap X 1080. It don´t appear to be better resolution wise but certainly fov wise.

I think it´s healthy they don´t pump out new beta versions every 6 months. Better revise the current ones. Vives you buy now don´t have the same cable I have for example. Better resolutions etc should come when we have the hardware to run it this is a good compromise afterall based on what an X 1080 is capable of. 30 cars in Assetto Corsa and I am getting in trouble and really have to lower settings and remove some supersampling. Not even remotely close max settings in DCS World either.

Interesting what they can do with eye tracking how much performance you could save but fear it will add to much latency with all the realtime calculations necessary. Of course may be applications when it´s worth it like movies or less demanding applications.

As for TrackIR the monitor don´t move with the head that is why it get odd. My head is just as floaty in real life as in game I can´t detect any physical difference in how my head behaves or how I look around. Of course I am not racing that hard IRL.

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nhill40   

Dammit, Oqvist - you've done it to me now...I kinda want one of these things! :hahaha:

I've been doing a lot of research after reading your thoughts and watched some videos - I gotta confess, it looks pretty awesome.  I think my "I need the monitor frame to serve as a fixed reference point" is frankly kind of BS after watching a few videos.  I know, I know - videos can't convey the full VR experience - but I tried really hard to imagine what it would be like, and I was very surprised how effective "virtual" fixed reference points were (e.g. the hood of the car, the dash, the A-arm, etc, etc).

I've already started working on preparing my wife. :D

It's not in the budget in the immediate future, but I'm thinking maybe around christmas time.  I am still concerned about motion sickness so, in addition to continuing to prepare my wife for a big cash outlay, I'm going to make it my project to see if I can try one of these things out before now and then to see if it makes me sick.

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Oqvist   
16 hours ago, nhill40 said:

Dammit, Oqvist - you've done it to me now...I kinda want one of these things! :hahaha:

I've been doing a lot of research after reading your thoughts and watched some videos - I gotta confess, it looks pretty awesome.  I think my "I need the monitor frame to serve as a fixed reference point" is frankly kind of BS after watching a few videos.  I know, I know - videos can't convey the full VR experience - but I tried really hard to imagine what it would be like, and I was very surprised how effective "virtual" fixed reference points were (e.g. the hood of the car, the dash, the A-arm, etc, etc).

I've already started working on preparing my wife. :D

It's not in the budget in the immediate future, but I'm thinking maybe around christmas time.  I am still concerned about motion sickness so, in addition to continuing to prepare my wife for a big cash outlay, I'm going to make it my project to see if I can try one of these things out before now and then to see if it makes me sick.

Yeah maybe racing in 2D helps with motion sickness? For me I get similar sensations as when driving a real car in VR. If I travel at a certain speed I get speed blind and if I then brake hard the body kind of want to keep moving. That is the closest I ever get to motion sickness in real life/vr. Thinking back I realize in 2D I don´t get those sensations so yeah maybe 2D racing is better then real racing in term of motion sickness symptoms? 

As for reference points it truly is the same as in real life. You can just put yourself in a real car and you will see how it is to drive in VR just with a narrower fov. Put on an Integral helmet and you can just about simulate VR fully. Perspective is just that correct. Just picture the world extremely pixelated with holes spreaded out in a diamond pattern all over the place. 

 

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nhill40   

I don't ever get motion sickness in an actual car, so I'm probably worried for nothing.  Motion sickness/headaches are just something I hear cited a lot when people are talking about the downsides of VR.  Who knows, maybe those people complaining of motion sickness/headaches experience those symptoms in real life, as well.

So you are sort of on the fence as to which you would recommend - the Rift or the Vive?  This isn't always a fool-proof indicator, but the Vive seems to be significantly better received in terms of Amazon reviews.

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cosimo   
4 hours ago, nhill40 said:

I don't ever get motion sickness in an actual car, so I'm probably worried for nothing.  Motion sickness/headaches are just something I hear cited a lot when people are talking about the downsides of VR.  Who knows, maybe those people complaining of motion sickness/headaches experience those symptoms in real life, as well.

So you are sort of on the fence as to which you would recommend - the Rift or the Vive?  This isn't always a fool-proof indicator, but the Vive seems to be significantly better received in terms of Amazon reviews.

Not my case, for instance. I never get car sickness, but I tried the rift with rF2 (and other sims) and I couldn't stand it for more than 10 minutes with any racing sim or rollercoaster demo. Space sims and space demos were completely fine. It was very bad, and the visuals were not as clear as I expected. Tried the DK1 and DK2, not the final version.

Contrary to popular belief, simulator/VR sickness doesn't originate from the delay in head tracking or similar BS. It is the mismatch between what your body/senses tell your brain should happen and what is really happening. For example, going through Maggots/Becketts at 250 km/h in a VR environment, you really feel you are there. Your brain is expecting a strong lateral acceleration that ... your body never feels. That is what causes the sickness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulator_sickness ).

It only happens to some of us though. You might be among the lucky :)

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Oqvist   

hmm so VR sickness is maybe something of it´s own. I don´t have trouble at all going 350 km/h at LeMans or something. But then I kind of imagine the g-forces in my head maybe it helps if you think you feel the G-forces? I lean a bit in my chair and I feel the pressure on my sides and neck stiffens up ;)

For me it´s more when I move in three directions at once it can get dizzying and it´s mostly the space sims and choppers.

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Piotr   

I am travelling and short of free time, but I managed few sessions with my new toy, Oculus CV1.

(+)

The "wow, I am inside the game" factor is really something. But the real shock came when I went for these new 2013 and 2015 Ferraris in AC. This is just  unbelievable how much change it makes to any 2D visuals. This cockpit is so tiny and all the textures are so close around you. They looked so real that I could not stop myself and I kept trying to touch them. Forget touching, it felt I wanted to lick or bite them.LOL It felt like being 18 months baby that is exploring the living room and wants to check whether something that looks good also taste good. What a nice timing that this 2013 carset was released today. This morning I rushed to download and check other cars.

Single seaters are stunning experience. Whatever triple screen setup one can have it will never position the cockpit edge few cm  from your chick. You look back and you see this air inlet just above your head!!!  And this moment when you get out from your bolid and go around it to inspect the tinest 3D details. WOW!!!!!

The tintops, both race breed and road cars are looking stunning as well.  I know I have my spare time filled for months taking all that machinery around the Ring. Less 'wow' factor only becasue they feel... exactly like it feels when you are in a real car ;-)

 

 (-)

Resolution. It's not there yet to make it fully comfortable and get rid of my screens. I am not able to read small readouts on dashboard or in on screen apps. I have to lean my head closer to them. Same happens with details of distant objects. Kind of hard to look up that 100m board when you are 300 m away. Maybe it takes time to get used to this.

The whole thing this needs to be really precisely positioned vs your eyeballs, which means you have to strap it strongly to your face. It's fine for short time, but after longer use the thing starts to warm up and then it's not comfortable.This is not the issue for playing single player when you can stop and take a break but I really cannot believe I would be able to do any MP race with it for longer than 30 minutes. As for whether it makes me quicker or slower in general I cannot say without back to back comparisons, but I suspect that lack of crisp vision of distant apex or braking point references will make it more difficult to stay on limit in consistent way.

Conclusions: I will use it a lot just for immersion of being "inside" games that I previously saw on screen. Plus the purchase it's justified for lots of content that can be spectacular in 3D. Not only games. Yesterday I purchased  "Apollo 11" experience which you can watch in either cinematic or interactive mode and it was great fun. Despite the fact that I so badly messed up docking with LM, that NASA will likely refuse to offer me anything other than janitor position...

 

 

 

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Oqvist   

Welcome to VR :)

I am cold blooded it never get that hot for me. Some use fans if you aren´t afraid of noise that can solve dual purposes for the open wheel racing. And don´t forget to play with supersampling. Some games have it already in the options so you can quick see the difference.

Don´t forget movies! It´s really like having your own personal cinema but way more immersive unless you live in a bunker with no windows whatsoever. I love eye candy but the immersion and feeling of being there wins me over both for movies and racing.

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Piotr   

I did back to back (triple vs vr) comparison this morning while hotlapping the current SYTYAF combo and to my surprsise I was 0,1 quicker with VR. I was convinced I will be significantly slower in VR due to bluriness and objects out of perfect focus, but it's not the case.

I noticed how different the track "feel" is. I would describe it in following way. Let's say you are on apex of corner 7 in Barcelona. When you drive with screens you have these apex right there, in front of you,  at the bottom of your screen. When you are with VR this apex is on your 9 oclock, or under your left elbow or under your a**, depending on your line.

 

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Oqvist   

Did you run the KTM race in VR?

I just preordered the oculus touch controllers. If you didn´t preorder the Rift you have to wait for the 27th october I think. They are to be released in december.

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Piotr   
On ‎2016‎-‎10‎-‎11 at 2:05 PM, Oqvist said:

Did you run the KTM race in VR?

Nope. I was worried it will be too much for mu gfx (780Ti) to run supersampled MP. Did not want to hit someone due  lower FPS I am used to.

On ‎2016‎-‎10‎-‎11 at 2:05 PM, Oqvist said:

I just preordered the oculus touch controllers. If you didn´t preorder the Rift you have to wait for the 27th october I think. They are to be released in december.

I don't even know what it is, but I will google it out :-)

 

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Chipwich   

I've been more flight simming lately, but tonight finally got the urge to hook up the G27 and try out pCARS in my Rift.  For my test I drove the Z4 at Donnington and the GT3 at Spa.  In each case I did about 10 laps to warm up and get a feel for the car, and the drove a 5 lap race.  In short, it was the best driving sim experience that I've ever had, and I can't imagine how good it would be with a buttkicker and a full motion rig.  Specifically, your sense of depth of field is so much better, you drive the car much more precisely.  I am hitting my braking, turn-in points, and apexes a lot more confidently and consistently.  Also, I drive out near the edge of the track with more confidence because I am much more aware of exactly where the car is.  The resolution is much less of a factor as compared to flight sims where you are looking at hundreds of feet instead of tens of miles or kilometers.  The head movement is very natural, and I find myself looking into the turns for apexes more often. I didn't compare track times with 2D, but it certainly feels faster while more relaxed.  If I were to get back into sim racing, I would think of VR as an advantage in my case.

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