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View Full Version : When a simpit will REALLY be cool



Lurch1962
07-10-2007, 08:41 PM
When I see pics of folks' simpits, I really admire the effort and craftsmanship. I'm sure it adds to the enjoyment when you're "strapped in" your very own plane, so to speak.

But when it's adorned with a 19" monitor placed on the "dashboard", I have to wonder if it's really worth it. Sure, it's a FAR better arrangement than an office desk, in that all controls are placed in the most ergonomic locations. But the really big limitation is that wee little itty-bitty screen.

Here's my own dream. A simpit, but with visuals ALL AROUND!

1) Think of TripleHead2Go, but add two more views to make a total of five. Or more ambitious would be to have all six necessary for a full 360 degree view of all 41,000 square degrees.

2) Allow to make each view SQUARE (not just be limited to rectangular like 4:3 of 16:9, etc). So on a monitor you'd see black bars at each side.

3) All five (or six) views are to be given a FOV of 90 degrees (that's 90 x 90 degrees).

4) The view directions are: front, left, right, back, straight up and, optionally, straight down. For fighter-only ops one could perhaps do without a straight down view because most of it would be invisible under your plane anyway. Not to mention it would be more complicated to project (see below).

5) Your simpit is installed within a cube whose walls are made of rear projection screens. This cube could be small enough so that you could stretch out your arms and touch it (~2m wide), or it could be larger if you wish. Bigger = a better feeling of space around you, but smaller = easier installation. The screens should provide a fairly constant image brightness as seen from a wide range of viewing angles, if central "hot spots" are to be avoided.

6) The simpit is positioned so that your head, while you are seated normally, is placed at--or at least very near--the exact center of the cube. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

7) The five (or six) projectors are set up for rear projection, one for each screen. (Obviously, there must be sufficient ceiling room for the projector supplying the overhead view.) With careful placement, these five (or six) views will just fill their respective screens with no gaps or overlap.

8) The player will now enjoy a fully distortionless and seamless view of the virtual world. (I know right away that some will claim this can't work with flat screens, and that they must be curved.) The gnomonic projection (as is used by ALL games) can only be seen without distortion when viewed on a flat screen and from a distance at which the projected view's angular size is also seen at the same angular size by the eye. I will stress again, even though the player is effectively in a "square room", his view as seen from the center will appear completely normal, with no edges or corners. The effect will be of a spherical space. As long as the player moves his head no more than about 1/4 the distance from center to screen surface, the effects of the edges/corners will be either invisible or not too objectionable. You can see now why a larger cube would be desirable.

9) For best effect, the simpit will have have working gauges driven by DeviceLink, but a screen of drawn gauges would be a very good alternative.

10) And now a really cool possibility opens up... a "real" working optical gunsight!!! Yes, just like the real McCoy. To avoid parallax errors, simply adjust the collimating lens so that the reticle appears to be projected at the front projection screen's distance instead of infinity. So if you move your head a bit, the reticle will still stay on a stationary target, just as in real life.

11) Some parts of the plane will have to be projected (unless you go full bore and make a full mock up http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif), such as the wings.

12) For best performance (fps considerations) at least one other computer will be required to do graphics rendering, and perhaps even one per view.

================================================

Of course, I'm describing an almost full blown simulator (full motion next?). Naturally, this approach works best for a dedicated fighter model. Some of the advantages...

1) You're in an environment which excludes all extraneous distractions.

2) You can move around naturally to get a better view if the framing, panel, etc. are in the way.

3) No need for TrackIR. (Yes, TrackIR is a heck of lot less expensive than this hare-brained scheme!)

4) Your full peripheral vision is now utilised.

================================================

But, there are some potential flies in the ointment which could mitigate against full realism, or at least versatility.

1) How to represent different aircraft, particularly fighters vs. bombers? In the latter you may have a lot of forward glazing, such as the He111. Do you instead ditch the simpit, and go with unobtrusive supports for your HOTAS/mouse/keyboard and project ALL of the visible interior and exterior of the plane? (This would be the most versatile approach if a variety of planes and crew positions is important.)

2) Unless provision is made to project that 6th view looking straight down, bombing ops will suffer. (Alternative: an in-cockpit monitor could serve as the "bombsight" and look down view.)

3) Besides the wings, how much else do you project as graphics?

4) And how to cope with gunner stations and the like?

Oh well, the result would still be "light-years" ahead of the current situation. And I feel it's an option that may not be too far down the road (for the truly well heeled)....


--Lurch--

Lurch1962
07-10-2007, 08:41 PM
When I see pics of folks' simpits, I really admire the effort and craftsmanship. I'm sure it adds to the enjoyment when you're "strapped in" your very own plane, so to speak.

But when it's adorned with a 19" monitor placed on the "dashboard", I have to wonder if it's really worth it. Sure, it's a FAR better arrangement than an office desk, in that all controls are placed in the most ergonomic locations. But the really big limitation is that wee little itty-bitty screen.

Here's my own dream. A simpit, but with visuals ALL AROUND!

1) Think of TripleHead2Go, but add two more views to make a total of five. Or more ambitious would be to have all six necessary for a full 360 degree view of all 41,000 square degrees.

2) Allow to make each view SQUARE (not just be limited to rectangular like 4:3 of 16:9, etc). So on a monitor you'd see black bars at each side.

3) All five (or six) views are to be given a FOV of 90 degrees (that's 90 x 90 degrees).

4) The view directions are: front, left, right, back, straight up and, optionally, straight down. For fighter-only ops one could perhaps do without a straight down view because most of it would be invisible under your plane anyway. Not to mention it would be more complicated to project (see below).

5) Your simpit is installed within a cube whose walls are made of rear projection screens. This cube could be small enough so that you could stretch out your arms and touch it (~2m wide), or it could be larger if you wish. Bigger = a better feeling of space around you, but smaller = easier installation. The screens should provide a fairly constant image brightness as seen from a wide range of viewing angles, if central "hot spots" are to be avoided.

6) The simpit is positioned so that your head, while you are seated normally, is placed at--or at least very near--the exact center of the cube. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

7) The five (or six) projectors are set up for rear projection, one for each screen. (Obviously, there must be sufficient ceiling room for the projector supplying the overhead view.) With careful placement, these five (or six) views will just fill their respective screens with no gaps or overlap.

8) The player will now enjoy a fully distortionless and seamless view of the virtual world. (I know right away that some will claim this can't work with flat screens, and that they must be curved.) The gnomonic projection (as is used by ALL games) can only be seen without distortion when viewed on a flat screen and from a distance at which the projected view's angular size is also seen at the same angular size by the eye. I will stress again, even though the player is effectively in a "square room", his view as seen from the center will appear completely normal, with no edges or corners. The effect will be of a spherical space. As long as the player moves his head no more than about 1/4 the distance from center to screen surface, the effects of the edges/corners will be either invisible or not too objectionable. You can see now why a larger cube would be desirable.

9) For best effect, the simpit will have have working gauges driven by DeviceLink, but a screen of drawn gauges would be a very good alternative.

10) And now a really cool possibility opens up... a "real" working optical gunsight!!! Yes, just like the real McCoy. To avoid parallax errors, simply adjust the collimating lens so that the reticle appears to be projected at the front projection screen's distance instead of infinity. So if you move your head a bit, the reticle will still stay on a stationary target, just as in real life.

11) Some parts of the plane will have to be projected (unless you go full bore and make a full mock up http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif), such as the wings.

12) For best performance (fps considerations) at least one other computer will be required to do graphics rendering, and perhaps even one per view.

================================================

Of course, I'm describing an almost full blown simulator (full motion next?). Naturally, this approach works best for a dedicated fighter model. Some of the advantages...

1) You're in an environment which excludes all extraneous distractions.

2) You can move around naturally to get a better view if the framing, panel, etc. are in the way.

3) No need for TrackIR. (Yes, TrackIR is a heck of lot less expensive than this hare-brained scheme!)

4) Your full peripheral vision is now utilised.

================================================

But, there are some potential flies in the ointment which could mitigate against full realism, or at least versatility.

1) How to represent different aircraft, particularly fighters vs. bombers? In the latter you may have a lot of forward glazing, such as the He111. Do you instead ditch the simpit, and go with unobtrusive supports for your HOTAS/mouse/keyboard and project ALL of the visible interior and exterior of the plane? (This would be the most versatile approach if a variety of planes and crew positions is important.)

2) Unless provision is made to project that 6th view looking straight down, bombing ops will suffer. (Alternative: an in-cockpit monitor could serve as the "bombsight" and look down view.)

3) Besides the wings, how much else do you project as graphics?

4) And how to cope with gunner stations and the like?

Oh well, the result would still be "light-years" ahead of the current situation. And I feel it's an option that may not be too far down the road (for the truly well heeled)....


--Lurch--

slo_1_2_3
07-10-2007, 11:02 PM
They could just make a helmet with the visor as a screen and then a track ir type thing so when you looked up your screen would move like it should, Get what I'm saying? I'm not sure how to explain it ,but in my mind I should get a patent for it but considering theres patents for mind control devices there would already be one

ploughman
07-11-2007, 04:54 AM
Slo, this thing (http://www.tekgear.ca/index.cfm?pageID=90&prodid=462&section=83&nodelist=1,83) is what you're talking about. They're working on a Mk. II (z1300?) with improved resolution and increased field of view, other problems were it didn't track as cleanly as Track-IR but for a first bash folk thought it did pretty well.

Airmail109
07-11-2007, 05:10 AM
Get 3 projectors link them up to triple head, blow them up to the correct size so that when your in wide mode wonder woman view is 1:1 scale, hide the areas you shouldnt be able to see below the forward fusalage

Troll2k
07-11-2007, 11:04 AM
You need the Elumens vision station.

http://www.est-kl.de/projection/elumens/vs.html

p-11.cAce
07-11-2007, 12:11 PM
Just build an ACES-II and hang a projector over it. Total cost=$1000 or less.

Obi_Kwiet
07-11-2007, 12:20 PM
I always think it's dumb how people put their simpit screen inside the sim pit. Real plane's windshields are not on the control panel. It'd be so much better to have a projector on the wall faceing the simpit. I mean, with all that time and money sunk into the think, another 1500 on a good projector is nothing. It's stupid to keep using a little 17 inch screen mounted on the control panel.

WhtBoy
07-11-2007, 12:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Obi_Kwiet:
I always think it's dumb how people put their simpit screen inside the sim pit. Real plane's windshields are not on the control panel. It'd be so much better to have a projector on the wall faceing the simpit. I mean, with all that time and money sunk into the think, another 1500 on a good projector is nothing. It's stupid to keep using a little 17 inch screen mounted on the control panel. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You mean like mine...

http://www.whtboys.org/Projector/shot3.jpg

http://www.whtboys.org/Cockpit/back.jpg

Keep in mind that I now have a touch screen instrument panel and a keyboard tray for the keyboard.

--Outlaw.

Lurch1962
07-11-2007, 05:09 PM
Whtboy,
I like your set-up! Can you post a pic of just the the 'pit itself in a side-on view? I'd like to get a better feel for the proportions.

I think you can enjoy a more immersive experience if you try one or more of the following:

1) Reduce the height of, or even eliminate, the forward-most shelf (the one that limits how low you can look).

2) Expand the size of the projected image in two ways:
- move the screen closer to you so that its angular dimensions increase, and
- fill the entire screen with imagery, either by placing the projector farther back or zooming in the projector's lens (if possible).

3) position the screen's lower edge closer to the floor, so that as far as possible the center of the screen is at the height of your eyes. In other words, you want to be looking horizontally, not up, at the screen.

4) The projector would probably have to be placed not too far behind and above your head while seated in your 'pit. You don't want the shadow of your noggin' or stick/throttle on the screen, of course, so hopefully there will be sufficient anti-keystone adjustment in the projector. The lower edge of the view will likely be not too high above your feet, and if necessary do feel free to place the screen's center some distance above horizontal if shadow-avoidance requires.

====================

The ideal is to obtain a projected image whose angular width is equal to 90 degrees (the game's maximum field of view). If the screen's image is 6 feet wide, the screen should be 6 feet from your eyes. So at the widest FOV you'll have a 1:1 correspondence with reality, and moreover the view will appear completely undistorted (no stretched oval reticles when at the corners)!

To get an idea, stand or kneel at a distance from the screen equal to the current view width with minimal blockage by your shadow (perhaps while a track is playing). You should do this while flying in "wonder woman" view at low level over a city. Hoooeeee! Where's that barf bag?!

The upshot of all this blather is this... What good's a huge projected image if its angular size is not really larger than that of a smaller monitor closer to you? (And you can drive a monitor at higher resolutions than a projector, if you wish.) So make the most of that large image, and really get "in" the game!

--Lurch--

WhtBoy
07-11-2007, 08:14 PM
Lurch,
The room dimensions and the optics of the projector are the limiting factor. Without cutting a hole in the back wall I can't move the projector any farther back. Similarly, the screen is as far away as I can move it without cuttin' into a supporting external wall (and one load bearing poster). So, as soon as you cut me a check for a bigger house and/or a different projector, I'll set that bad boy up just right. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Note that the distance from the projector to the screen determines the image size so moving the screen closer will reduce the size of the image (since the size adjustment on the projector is already at the stop).

As far as the vertical position of the screen goes, I am more comfortable looking slightly up as it allows me to lean my head back. The seat is from a car ('85 Fiero) so it can be adjusted easily. This also helps me stabalize my head, and thus, the TrackIR.

The shelf is there b/c I originally had a 21" monitor sitting up there. Actually, that's what I'm using right now b/c the bulb burned out on my projector and I can't decide whether or not to cough up the $300 for a new bulb or buy a new 1280x1024 projector.

I have made several significant changes to the rig including the aforementioned addition of the touch screen instrument panel (I may add another one soon as they are only $260) and a trim/prop pitch quadrant that makes use of Leo Bodnar's joystick controller. I hope to get some time this weekend to get some new pictures and I may throw them in a new thread.

--Outlaw.

Lurch1962
07-11-2007, 08:48 PM
Outlaw,
I just came across an interesting site detailing a simpit/motion platform project. Here's a page from it...

http://www.simprojects.nl/using_a_projector.htm

You obviously are aware of the considerations I outlined before. I only mentioned them so as to spur you on to further optimisation. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

I'd suspected that the projector-to-screen throw was a limiting factor due to the less-than-screen-filling view. Perhaps you could make the foreward shelf modular, so that it's easily removeable if you go back to projection.

I look forward to more pics!

--Lurch--

GAU-8
07-11-2007, 11:42 PM
i would like to use a projector, but i just dont think they make a fresnel lens that large......

WhtBoy
07-12-2007, 07:17 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Lurch1962:
Perhaps you could make the foreward shelf modular, so that it's easily removeable if you go back to projection.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I can't lower the shelf any b/c that's where the TrackIR sits and when using the projector the reflector is barely in the field of view as it is. I may go with the powered clip sometime in the future but since this rig is just a prototype for an all/mostly aluminum one, I'm not going to spend a lot of time tweaking it.


--Outlaw.

Don_X
07-12-2007, 07:35 AM
http://www.dimensionalstudios.com/musion_eyeliner_system.html

why not just go with this ?

Lurch1962
07-12-2007, 05:15 PM
GAU-8,
With a projected image you don't need a fresnel lens. A fresnel is more suited to placement close in front of a monitor to expand its relatively small image.

Don_X,
Were you referring to the monitor or holographic system? The monitor offers little to interest me. The 50" diagonal has a specified minimum viewing distance of 3.8m (!). That yields an apparent angle of only 19 degrees across the diagonal! With my flat screen 19" CRT I can get about 45 degrees at my comfortable viewing distance, or nearly 90 degrees when using reading glasses, and that's at 1600 x 1200.

--Lurch--

NP_Vincent
07-13-2007, 02:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by WhtBoy:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Lurch1962:
Perhaps you could make the foreward shelf modular, so that it's easily removeable if you go back to projection.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I can't lower the shelf any b/c that's where the TrackIR sits and when using the projector the reflector is barely in the field of view as it is. I may go with the powered clip sometime in the future but since this rig is just a prototype for an all/mostly aluminum one, I'm not going to spend a lot of time tweaking it.


--Outlaw. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You could also look at mounting the TrackIR to either side, as well as behind you.......

Might free up your center view a little.....

Taylortony
07-13-2007, 04:03 PM
Ohhh Dear Whyboys............ I see you are suffering from the problem that inflicts a lot of programmes on UK TV....... Namely the man on the right of the screen for the hard of hearing....... tell me when the guns are going daaakaaa daaakaa dakka...what hand gestures does he carry out http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

http://www.whtboys.org/Projector/shot3.jpg

WhtBoy
07-13-2007, 09:33 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by NP_Vincent:
You could also look at mounting the TrackIR to either side, as well as behind you.......

Might free up your center view a little..... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I did some toying around with puttin' it behind me Vince but the freakin' cats kept draggin' the unit off the shelf and I didn't have enough cable to run it flush along the floor and up the wall. No amount of beatin' will keep the cats in line and since I really like the little bastages there's not much I could do about it.

I'm still throwin' ideas around and may try and mount the unit down in the instrument panel. I'll probably have to get the powered vector clip for that though.

--Outlaw.

WhtBoy
07-13-2007, 09:46 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Taylortony:
Ohhh Dear Whyboys............ I see you are suffering from the problem that inflicts a lot of programmes on UK TV....... Namely the man on the right of the screen for the hard of hearing....... tell me when the guns are going daaakaaa daaakaa dakka...what hand gestures does he carry out http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't know who that ugly dude is. I wish he would get out of my house though. Maybe then I wouldn't be subjected to bass rumblings that vaguely resemble a 30mm cannon at all hours of the night.


--Outlaw's Wife.

Don_X
07-16-2007, 07:06 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Lurch1962:

Don_X,
Were you referring to the monitor or holographic system? --Lurch-- </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Neither , the passive stereoscopic projection. Though a holgraphic system sounds cool; I doubt that it would be practical for home use.

Maybe adding motion is the way to more immersion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYOmygb5XtQ

Probably the 3D goggles are the best visual solution to date,if not cumbersome to use.(Ok for Jet sims I guess). . . .ah for an open cockpit and a big fan atop the monitor . .I'll be happy then. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

NP_Vincent
07-16-2007, 04:37 PM
Coolio, just throwing ideas out there.......

http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif