threebears

TrackIR Experience / Opinions Please

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If this is the wrong AVSIM Forum for this post, I apologise.  I'm thinking of adding TrackIR to my sim setup but, while the 'promotional' reviews are positive, I'd be grateful for some unbiased views from real users.  It's quite expensive, but are the gains worth it?  Are there any things to watch out for?

Andrew

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You're in for many varied opinions here I suspect,  but for me, it was a game changer. I've never flown without it since the day I got it. If it broke, I wouldn't fly until I got a replacement.

Setup is important for an optimal experience. Mine is set so that small head movements aimed at the center of my screen have almost no effect (keeps the view stable while looking forward), with ever increasing change as my head movement moves further from the center on the side to, up-down axis. (Tilt and forward-back are set fairly linear with my head movement). 

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I used TrackIR for many years before I moved to VR.  TrackIR really added a lot to the flight sim experience, very enjoyable.  I highly recommend it.  It really enhanced the sim experience.  The only thing better is VR, so, for the money, TrackIR is actually a very good deal from a cost perspective.

Best Regards,

Danny

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 A great sim tool.   I've enjoyed it for many years now in all types of aircraft!

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+1 for recommendation.

Sadly mine has been relegated to a box since my investment in a Lenovo Explorer VR headset.

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I've used TIR since v1 both in car racing and flying. Wouldn't, no couldn't fly/drive without it...Until VR a short 4 months ago. Now it's VR, won't fly without it!

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Thank you Ron, Glenn, Hillsboy, Danny and Odourboy - all very positive.  I have a couple of questions: my addled brain says that if I move my head to alter the view (in TrackIR) I'm going to struggle to look at the screen.  That's obviously not how it works: it must respond to small changes in head position, but how do you manage it, and how do you 'calibrate' it so that the smallest movements don't have the 'view' whizzing about?

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You set up a profile in the TIR software. Start with the default 'Smooth' and see how it goes.It takes a little getting used to but after a while you'll turn your head and not realise that your eyes are still pointing at the screen. Just try it, look at your monitor and turn your head from side to side without moving your eyes. You'll get it, I promise.

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I tried to explain the setup a bit in my post. But I'll elaborate a bit...

I've set up my 'flight sim' profile so that it doesn't react at all to small head movements.  This avoids sea sickness that you might feel if the view was always reacting to your smallest movements. Beyond a certain point, it's set up to increasingly react to movement to the point where, if my head is pointed to the left or right edge of the screen, my view is turned a full 180 degrees. Upward gaze is adjusted so looking toward the upper edge creates a 90 degree view and looking down is similar. This works for me. You can set up a profile to do anything you want in terms of mapping head movements to the corresponding view.

Might sound crazy yo someone who hasn't used s head tracker, but it will feel natural to you very quickly.

Edited by odourboy

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Or.

You could cut straight to the chase and get yourself kitted out with a VR headset. You will eventually anyway. 😄

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I use it on and off. It is great for GA flights, but I didn't find it too useful for jetliners. I stopped using it for a while after I got seasick during a flight, but I found out that one can avoid this by changing the settings. 

Peter

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As if you needed more encouragement, in my view it is the next essential add-on after a joystick. TrackIR is what made the virtual cockpit usable. As for struggling to look at the screen, try this. Hold your finger up at arm's length, then shake your head from side to side while looking at your finger. See? You can already do it! :)

P.S. For my money, EZCA is an excellent companion to TrackIR, for one single reason. It allows you to vary the TrackIR 'home' position dynamically, which you can't do  otherwise. I have it on a rotary knob, which in the virtual cockpit is just like moving the seat up and down.

Edited by MarkDH

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5 hours ago, threebears said:

It's quite expensive, but are the gains worth it?

There's a MUCH less expensive way to get exactly the same functionality (or better?) that TrackIR provides. The best software alternative is probably Opentrack - it's completely free (open source) and provides everything you get from TrackIR plus some additional options. The cheapest option is to use an Aruco tracker with a standard webcam - it's like a small QR code you print on a card and attach to a hat or headset. It's completely free and works surprisingly well - see https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=375&v=ajoUzwe1bT0 for an example. However, the best option is to use an LED clip which you can make yourself if you're OK with a little DIY (all of the information is available online), or buy ready made if you're not. You'll need a suitable webcam - a PS3 Eye camera (with a little modification) seems to work best and can be bought incredibly cheaply (only £2.00 in the UK). You can buy everything you need as a starter kit, complete with webcam, from https://delanengineering.com/products/head-tracking-delanclip-gamer/ or https://trackhat.org/shop/ and you can be fully up and running for less than half the cost of TrackIR 5.

If you just want to see if you'll get on with the whole head tracking concept and you already have a webcam, I'd try Opentrack with an Aruco tracker.

Edited by vortex681

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1 hour ago, qqwertzde said:

I use it on and off. It is great for GA flights, but I didn't find it too useful for jetliners. I stopped using it for a while after I got seasick during a flight, but I found out that one can avoid this by changing the settings. 

Peter

Hi Peter.  I spend most of my time with the PMDG 737 or the Majestic Dash Q400, and hadn't thought about motion sickness as a possible issue. 😕 I 'chickened out' at the checkout, so haven't ordered anything yet.

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4 minutes ago, threebears said:

Hi Peter.  I spend most of my time with the PMDG 737 or the Majestic Dash Q400, and hadn't thought about motion sickness as a possible issue. 😕 I 'chickened out' at the checkout, so haven't ordered anything yet.

See my previous post for a zero-cost way of checking out head tracking. I've been successfully using Opentrack for years after having compared it directly to TrackIR 5.

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Assuming your hardware is up to it get a Samsung Odyssey+

VR is a vastly superior experience and level of immersion than TracKIR.

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14 minutes ago, Avidean said:

VR is a vastly superior experience and level of immersion than TracKIR.

But considerably more expensive, even if you don't need to update your hardware. TrackIR and Opentrack work well on quite old hardware.

Edited by vortex681

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3 hours ago, threebears said:

OK all, thanks everyone, that's clear.  😁 I'm off to the e-shops!!

andrew

a note of caution ...... TIR is susceptible to interference from nearby light sources though less so with the PRO Clip sensor (ie less so than the cheaper HAT Clip & more accurate)

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Just now, vadriver said:

& more accurate)

Says who?

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I'll add one more tip. Make sure that you follow the TIR installation instructions and have the correct legacy SimConnect library installed.  Also, if performance is an issue, the TIR camera can be set to "Standard". This setting is for TIR 4.0 and sends far less information via SimConnect, since the tracking density is coarser than for TIR 5.0.

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I use TrackIR BUT - I also wear glasses and I often find it difficult to get the right focus as I pan around. As an example: looking at gauges, all is well but I cant see the overhead switch writing above. Tried going without TrackIR but really missed it so I found another way. I use TrackIR for general viewing on both internal and external views and I use AivlaSoft's SimpleCAM for dedicated cockpit views.

What that means in practice is that I'm on customised close-up views with SimpleCAM on take-off and landing (different customised views for different aircraft) and on TrackIR throughout the flight. Works for me and might be worth considering as a solution for you.

I do agree with the general sentiments above though - once you have TrackIR its really hard to go without. Good luck, whichever way you go.

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2 hours ago, Avidean said:

Assuming your hardware is up to it get a Samsung Odyssey+

VR is a vastly superior experience and level of immersion than TracKIR.

What is considered "suitable hardware for VR? I'm running an I7-6700K @ 4.4 with a EVGA 1070 TI.

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2 hours ago, threebears said:

Hi Peter.  I spend most of my time with the PMDG 737 or the Majestic Dash Q400, and hadn't thought about motion sickness as a possible issue. 😕 I 'chickened out' at the checkout, so haven't ordered anything yet.

Hello Andrew,

oops, sorry, I didn't mean to deter you from buying TrackIR. It is very enjoyable in general, and it really depends on your personal preferences for which purpose you use it. I personally didn't like it on longer flights because of the motion sickness, and because I didn't like having to wear a hat all the time. Other people do not have motion sickness, and attach TIR to their headset (which I do not use).

It is pretty cool to sit in a jet and to be able to move around in the cockpit. However, I found that TIR was not really relevant for the standard operations during a jet flight. You set up the FMS, make all cockpit preparations, depart, and sit there for hours without having to look around a lot since ATC takes care of everything. I personally tend to do something else during the actual flight, so TIR is not so relevant.

On a VFR flight, on the other hand, TIR really helps to look around, keep your distance to other planes, fly the pattern right and so on. Also, VFR flights tend to be shorter (say less than an hour), so I do not mind so much to put a hat on. 

It should be mentioned that you can pause TIR. Hence, if you want to enjoy TIR in a jet during the preparation of the flight, and disable it until final approach, you can do just that. And others already explained how to avoid motion sickness, and similar tricks worked for me. So, all in all, I have a very positive opinion of it, I just don't use it all the time.

Peter

 

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