Live for Speed - Hardware, Rennspiel - Das Spielemagazin. Kritisch. Ehrlich. Aktuell. Das Spielemagazin. Kritisch. Ehrlich. Aktuell.

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Entwickler: Live for Speed
Publisher: Live for Speed
Spielinfo Bilder Videos
Computer simulations generally have a huge disadvantage to reality: Your FOV (field of view) is quite limited due to the small screen. While this is not a big problem with 3rd person shooter games, because you can just turn around to see what goes on next to you, this is not so easy with racing simulators. But with this kind of game it is very important to see where your opponent is on the track. A quick look to the left or right would be the ideal solution. You can do this with keyboard or joystick buttons in LFS and some other games, but these buttons are not always in reach, especially not while being mid-turn or counter steering heavily. Furthermore you sometimes just want to take a quick look to the side, e.g. to have a better view of the apex or to look into your rear mirror. There exists a hardware which wants to cure this problem. The system is called TrackIR and I have tested it today.


Thanks to VecTreX and thd for their help with the translation!


How does it work?

TrackIR is an infrared camera working with 120 FPS (TrackIR Pro) or 80 FPS (TrackIR). The driver recognizes your head movement based on small reflective points which can be put onto your headset, earphones or whatever else. When you turn your head slightly to the left, the ingame view also turns to the left. The advantage of the infrared solution is the high precision. Normal webcams only have a maximum of 30 FPS and are not that precise, because reference points are missing. Furthermore the recognition of the movements takes a lot of CPU time, which is not the case with TrackIR. The field of view of the TrackIR camera is 32°, so you don't have to sit directly in front of the camera to be seen, it's also possible to sit a bit aside.


The driver software

After starting the TrackIR software you can choose between different presets for several games. An individual configuration, by setting the movement speed, linearity and dead-zone for each axis, is also possible. After you have completed the configuration it is recommend setting a key (one that is not used for other functions in the game you want to play) for the center function. It is important to center the view ingame so that your view is not disturbed when you sit relaxed behind the wheel.

For the test I now start LFS with the latest Patch H installed, which adds support for the TrackIR Enhanced mode. The device is being detected automatically; no further adjustments of the settings are needed. Generally you set all TrackIR settings in the driver software and not in the game, what makes the whole thing easier.


Live for Speed

To get used to the new possibility of moving your head it is important to drive some offline laps alone or against the AI first. So I went for my first race at Blackwood GP in the single player mode and I get the first Wow-feeling immediately after the start. Every small movement of the head is being translated to the game immediately and without any delay. For the first time you really have the feeling of sitting in the virtual cockpit - you can just turn to the left or right or take a look at the beautiful environment. The look back into your rear mirror is also much easier now.

After the race I get the first disappointment. As I'm a driver who steers quite forceful at the 900° wheel, I automatically move my head a bit. Now it's disturbing if these small movements already get translated to the movements in the game. Due to the small vibrations you loose the feeling of the car, because important reference points are missing. Fortunately it is possible to change the dead-zones in the TrackIR software, so that the ingame view doesn't move immediately. These settings are a good solution for the problem. Despite these settings you first have to get used to the fact that you move the view with your head. Normally you just move your head unconsciously, but now you have to take care of every single movement. After some time you get used to it and you can completely use the advantages of TrackIR.

So now how does TrackIR work during an online race? For this test I go onto a well populated server and join the race action. After a successful start the car in front of me spins. I instinctively take a look to the left to see my spinning opponent - and I promptly miss the entry point for the next corner. Fortunately the run-off is big enough and I'm able to rejoin the race with only a few places left. This happens to you quite frequently at the beginning. It's easy to loose your orientation with TrackIR, because reference points at the track are not there where you expect them to be. After some time you get used to it, but it's still a disadvantage. So now I have to regain my lost positions again: I'm quite successful at it and it makes really fun to overtake the opponents and take a look through the side windows while driving beside them. Now you really have an advantage with TrackIR because you can see more easily where the other car is and what its distance to you is.

To sum it up you can't really say whether TrackIR is an advantage. But what I can say is, that it makes much more fun to drive with it - and that's the main thing.



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