When I started playing the Truck Simulator titles (for a second time) I didn’t really understand where it would take me. Many of my games are aimed at the ‘realistic’ end of the spectrum, from Railworks to Elite. The latter may rely on many assumptions about the future but it is still very much a trading/flight simulation game. It says much that PvP players of Elite like to refer to traders as playing Euro Truck Simulator in space 😉
I’ve just had a break from Elite and put in some time with Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator. One thing that became very apparent, much more so than in Elite, was the advantage of having some software that allowed you to look right and left. There is nothing worse than having to take your hand off the joystick to use the mouse to turn your view along the road to see oncoming traffic. Thank god we don’t have to do this in real life… (although it sometimes seems that other drivers may be doing just that!).
I have watched quite a few videos by other players and it is very clear that having head-tracking technology gives a clear advantage in simulation style games. So I went away and did some research. There are a number of options out there, most using a webcam of some sort with head-tracking software. In many cases webcam is a standard type and carries the risk of being hacked so your activities can be seen over the internet. I decided that the TrackIR solution best suited me. It’s not a cheap option but one of the things that swung my decision was that my favourite games are linked into TrackIR. It also uses its own infrared detection camera rather than an off the shelf webcam. I chose the pro-clip bundle because of issues that I read about regards lighting causing mis-tracking. That means that I have the pro-clip that fits on the side of a pair of headphones and the standard clip that fits on the peak of a baseball cap. Both work ok for me – so if I want to wear my headphones it’s time for the pro-clip and if I need to listen for the postie, it’s the standard clip.
It’s amazing that this purchase has been driven by American Truck Simulator! I was happy in Elite and Railworks just using the mouse to alter my view angle. Now I’ve been back to both those games to see whether the head-tracking improves the game experience. In Railworks it definitely does… Very much improved experience! I did a stopping run from Denmark Hill to Orpington and nailed the 8 coach stopping points every time – that’s a sign of a clearer understanding of the available visual cues brought by the head-tracking. Elite is a different case – gonna have to try out some combat where I expect to see real improvements but on a first test run I find that I can at least keep a good eye on the stations as I approach. Videos on YouTube certainly suggest that head tracking makes Flight Simulator much more realistic – flying a continuous curve approach as approved by the RAF should be a lot easier 🙂
I called this post ‘Driving Change’ and my Peterbilt has seen some changes. To summarize.. Bull bars (too many jobs in farmyards!), upgraded wheel hubs with blue paint finish. And a more distinguished door handle. Hidden from view, she now has a Paccar MX13 engine rated at 455HP and an Eaton Fuller 13 speed box with Retarder. Very pleased with her. I’ve also cleared my bank-loan, so it’s currently high profit on all jobs. It will soon be time for a garage upgrade and then we hire a driver! Business is good :-)
My Peterbilt 579 in her current colors…