View Full Version : My TrackIR Review.

06-12-06, 10:15 AM
I picked up the TrackIR4 Pro about a week ago. Natural point was great and shipped it out right away. They even replied to my request for the SDK very quickly. It arrived in a small white box a day later. Upon opening it, the plastic case was open inside the box, the tracker was still secure but there was no packing at all. After pulling it out I was really surprised to see how small this thing is. It's a good thing, I was thinking about not getting it because it looked so large in the pics from the website. It fits perfectly on top of my center speaker. I put a bic lighter next to so you get an idea of the size. It's small. It looks very well manufactured.

Install was a breeze. Installed the software, hooked up the TrackIR and it worked right away. I first jumped in to a game of GTR. All I can say is WOW. How did I ever drive without one of these before? It takes a sec to get used to but now it feels so natural. I found myself leaning from side to side feeling the Gs around the turns, tilting my head and watching the whole view rotate. When breaking in to a turn I would lean forward and lean back when powering out. You know those motion simulation rides at arcades and amusement parks, it started to feel like I was riding in one but fully interactive. It's hard to put in to words. It really puts your head in the game like they say. CMR2004 wasn't too great, as they don't have fully modeled incar views, just the dash. Race Driver2 was good, very smooth tracking.

I tested out Lock On, IL-2 and Pacific Fighter. They all work awesome. Looking around as your flying never made combat more realistic. It really adds to the game play. I can't wait for the Lock On Black Shark add on, It looks superb and MSFS-X.

So on to FPS. The TrackIR can be made to work with just about any game. It seems COD2 has some kind of mouse deal that doesn't let the software work but every other game works just fine. The software includes a mouse emulation program you just start up before you start your favorite game and it works just like a mouse with X and Y axis. I tested out Doom3 first. It really works well with FPS games. You can still use your mouse for precise aiming but use your head to look around. It does nothing but add to the emersion. I was a bit worried about how to keep it centered but you kinda keep it centered yourself with the mouse. If you look way off to the left you just bring your head back to center while moving your mouse to counter act the head movement. It's allot more natural than that sounds. Fear, Unreal, FarCry, painkiller all work great.

Oblivion really works great with it. When you’re riding your horse you just use the keyboard to walk and use your head to look all around. It even works great in third person. I had to stop playing after a while because I was getting a little woozy. I think it was my brain freaking out, thinking I was walking around in a forest looking around everywhere without really moving. It was awesome to say the least.

BF2, oowww poor BF2. This thing would be so perfect for BF2. I guess Dice has been looking in to full support for the tracker but for now it doesn’t work to great. It works just like the rest of the games but when you start to fly of course your head movement starts to fly the heli or jet and the way you have to hold the mouse-look button to look around doesn't work, it's inverted from your head movement. Also when you use mouse look you loose control of the vehicle, doesn’t work out to well. The jeeps and tanks work great. Ever turn a tank turret with your head, it's fun. Swat4 is also a fav of mine and the trackIR works great with it, really great.

The one and only thing I wish you could do it combine X, Y, of the mouse with keyboard emulation. You see you can't lean or duck with it in FPS. If you could emulate Q&E when you lean left and right or C when you lower you head you would be able to lean around corners in any game that has leaning while still keeping head movement. It can emulate the keyboard but not at the same time as mouse emulation. Looking at the Natural point forums it looks like this may already be in the works for their next software release. They also have a kick a$$ mod for HL2. You basically can do everything I just talked about but move the mouse to aim and use the tracker and keys to move around. The video looks like it's going to be very fun.

The software if very robust. You can edit each profile with acceleration curves and sensitivity, hotkeys for centering and pausing the tracker. You can set it so you spin around 3 full circles in a FPS game from a very small amount of head movement or have it directly mirror your movements inch for inch. After heavy use the trackIR unit does get a little warm. I wonder if you can OC it. :D

Part of the reason I'm writing this is because not enough devs are picking this up. It's super easy to program in to a game, easier than direct mouse input. I don't know why EA and Dice haven’t added TrackIR options to BF2. I'm writing them a letter for sure. With the SDK I'm going to try to build my own FPS combined emulation. Anyway that’s my review. Great product 10/10 I would recommend any FPS, Racing, FightSim or VR fan to get one, well worth every penny. And you all should write to Dice or anyone ells you can think of and ask them to support the tracker. :D

06-12-06, 10:30 AM
Wow, I've never even heard of one of these before now.

Sounds cool :)

DAMN, expensive :o


06-12-06, 10:49 AM
Definitly sounds cool, especially because sims, racing games and FPS are my favorite gaming types. Thanks for the review!

06-12-06, 11:54 AM
Not a problem. Yeah they are little exspensive but as I said worth every penny. I had been thinking about getting one for almost the past two years, I'm sorry I didn't get one sooner now. The TrackIR-3 is fully capable of doing 6-DOF just at a slower rate and only 33 field of view. It was partly the 46 fov that sold me, 120fps capture isn't too bad either, almost overkill. This thing isn't going anywhere but I'm supised so many people haven't heard of it. I'm really looking forward to the next software release, they say they have a big supirse for everyone related to FPS or mouse emulation. I'm going to try to get in the beta for the HL2 mod. I saw a video of it somewhere but now I can't find it. It looked sweet, full 6DOF, leaning, ducking, jumping. Shoot to the side while looking forward. Ooo I can't wait, it sounds like Valve is really working to get the mod out too.

06-12-06, 12:44 PM
I loved using mine for FS2004. Was neat to fly the entire "mission" in the virtual ****pit and you could look down at the instruments or out the window.

06-12-06, 01:08 PM
Yeah I know what you mean. I was flying a A-10 in Lock On last night for almost an hour and half just flying around looking at stuff. No mission, just gasping at how well it would track every movement and Lock On is only 2DOF. I'm going to pick up MSFS 2004 after work today and download the JetPakNG expansion for it, look like it should be fun.

FreeSpace2 Mmmmm I wonder.

06-12-06, 01:29 PM
Yeah, Freespace2_Open would be very tasty. Make sure you apply the Media-VPs to really take it to the next level of graphics.

Freespace 2 CD's (ISO) - http://www.freespacezone.net/
Freespace 2 Open - http://fs2source.warpcore.org/install.html


06-12-06, 01:45 PM
Does Freespace2 have 3D ****pits? Man this thing would be sweet with the old 360 Decent games.

06-12-06, 01:55 PM
Does Freespace2 have 3D ****pits? Man this thing would be sweet with the old 360 Decent games.

No, it's just a HUD, but that would be slick. I'll see if I can find a mod.

BTW, AFAIK there's a Battlestar Galactica mod for FS2_Open as well. EDIT: Here's the link for BSG. http://www.game-warden.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=36

06-12-06, 03:21 PM
Man that Battlestar Galactica mod looks awesome, I can't wait. I didn't even realize FreeSpace was now openSource. It looks like they’re doing some great work. I'm looking for some 3D ****pit mods as well... for anything. I'll let you know what I find. I wonder if they have thought about building in TrackIR support. I keep trying to download the 3 CD's for Freespace but the server is at max bandwidth. I’ll bet I can find a good torrent by the end of the work day.

06-12-06, 03:40 PM
Yeah, FS2 Open is the best... You should see some of the explosion and lighting effects, especially the nukes, in FS2_Open with the MediaVPs.

06-12-06, 04:10 PM
Yea! TrackIR rox :) I love mine since i got 3pro one year ago. Now i'm using 4pro :) Il2, LockON, F4AF :)
But it will shine with new WWII sims form Oleg M. and with BlackShark (6do cocpit!)