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TrackIR converted to a shooting simulator input?

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:18 am
by RSColonel_131st
Hi People

Crossposted from simHQ, where I had this idea first: ... ost2596421

In August is was fortunate to have a go at a shooting simulator at Hurlburt Field Air Base, FL. The kind of stuff where you have a large videowall and wireless or cabled M4, Beretta, M249 to score hits on video scenes running from a projector.

I was wondering - wouldn't it somehow be possible to create a similar item with TrackIR and an Airsoft Gun? The problem though is that as far as I know (don't have TrackIR yet) it controls the view, not the crosshairs.

Now, if you used it to emulate the mouse in Arma, you could in theory create a very large "center zone" where you can push that little floating white rectangle around, without actually rotating your character. If you can somehow scale and calibrate the TrackIR mouse emulation to match the angle movement of the plastic gun, you could in theory aim onto the screen using the iron sights of a full-scale airsoft pistol or rifle.

Of course, there are other hurdles to sort this out - like a wireless trigger and movement control for your character - but has anyone actually ever tried something like that?

Re: TrackIR converted to a shooting simulator input?

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:58 am
by Seth Steiling
Theoretically, this shouldn't be too difficult. There are some issues that would need to be addressed:

The TrackIR software should allow this as is, using mouse emulation. But, to make it really useful, the first-person character and gun models would need to be removed. Trying to reconcile aiming with the gun controller while also watching the on-screen gun model would be very confusing, I think. If you removed those models and instead only saw the reticule on screen, I think it would be much easier to make the adjustment. This sort of view adjustment would need to be made available natively in the game module. And, even with this kind of implementation, I think it would be difficult to actually synchronize your movements with those of the virtual cross hairs.

Movement wouldn't be too difficult to incorporate into the hardware. You could probably get by with a POV Hat-like thumbstick, like on a 360 controller. You would definitely need to map more buttons than just that on the modified controller though (i.e. reload, grenade toss, crouch, sprint, zoom, etc).

As I said, I think it's relatively feasible. The main problems I can foresee:

1) It's probably going to be a bit less accurate than using a mouse/thumbstick for aiming, so while it would offer a cool immersive and experiential advantage (a la the Wii), it could be a competitive hindrance.

2) The Vector Clip/TrackClip might be large enough that, mounted on a gun controller, it blocks your view of the screen a bit.

3) You sacrifice one of the coolest aspects of TrackIR's implementation in a FPS: freelook.

Having said all of that, if you decide to give it a go and experiment with the idea, please report back with your results! :) I think it's a very fun concept, and it might just end up working out really well. I think someone tackled this about a year ago, but we never heard back about how it went... so I'm still curious. :)

Re: TrackIR converted to a shooting simulator input?

Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:10 pm
by RSColonel_131st
For Arma, the 1st Person body and gun shouldn't be that much of a problem... if you wanted, you could alpha-channel away the textures.

Problem could be that the crosshairs are moved by pixels, and the ironsights in your hand are moved angular - no direct relation between these two. So you'd have to calibrate the software, depending on the distance you're from the trackIR unit and screen.

But I'll keep onto this. Breaking a gamepad apart and an Airsoft gun would likely cost under 200 bucks, which is cheap for such an idea.