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Cockpit Mirrors, ViewPoint and XY Scale

Discussion in 'Stock Car Extreme' started by Gringo, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Hello All,

    I am new to RD but not new to the sim-race community. I have some experience modding on ISI driven sims.

    GSCE brings some amazing physics and attention to detail. I want to congratulate the Reiza team for a job welll done . I have been watching you guys grow over the last 3/4 years and I recently supported the team by purchasing the latest offering. Thank you Reiza for a great product.

    I normally drive from the cockpit without using the virtual mirror. From a sim like GSCE I expect that the cockpit view willl give me the most "realistic" visual experience. I expect that if I have the hardware (a very wide screen ratio) I should see a rear and side view mirrors that show me whats behind the car in a reasonably accurate way.

    At the moment that is not what GSCE is offering and I hope that when time permits this issue can be fixed.

    For me its a big immersion killer if the rear view mirrors don't give me an image that is believable. In my past experience I often remapped cockpit mirrors on rF mod cars to suite my liking. I figured nobody was racing from the cockpit or if they did the side mirrors were never visible on 16:9 monitors anyway. Now were are in the age of Track-IR, Oculus VR, Triple screen and 22:9 monitors... now many people can see and use the side view mirrors, if they are made useable.

    The problem I find in GSCE is the mirrors on most of the cars are not mapped properly for the MIRROR material being used. I don't understand the inside details of the problem exactly, but I know how to work around it. What I would like to do is offer my findings with some screen shots of GSCE v1.252 in hopes that Reiza will mend this pretty serious buzz kill to my simulation immersion :).

    So to describe the issue I have would be this. There are two problems, the scale between width and height of the image in the mirror, the second is the view point of the mirror.

    It seems that the X:Y scale on all the cockpit mirrors except the Camaro, Opala, and Stock cars is not correct. Is it only me, nobody else finds this annoying? ( :) ) The image in the mirror is compressed in the horizontal by various amounts as listed in my table below. In my screen shots provided I have "corrected" the distortion by using a MIRROR.bmp with dimensions that "stretch" the image back to (near) correct 1:1. This is not a great solution as I just guessed on the correction, and I am only using it to point out the issue.

    Looking to the table I made you will see the size of the bit map I used to "correct" the X:Y scale of the mirrors for a given car. Then I have some notes about the quality in my opinion of the rear view from that car. The column XY ratio refers to the size of the bitmap used. If I understand correctly Reiza uses a 2048x128 (or 16:1) pixel bitmap for standard mirrors (ie. virtual mirror and cockpit). The standard bitmap works fine for the stock virtual mirror but the cockpit mirrors on many cars for some reason have been mapped differently (or vice verse).

    I think that a detail like this would be important to Reiza and with the right tools they can make the mirror image scaling pixel perfect.

    I hope that Reiza will agree with me and look into the cockpit mirrors when they can and sort this out.

    Some notes on the screen shots... They are quite low res as I am simulating 3440x1080 on a 1920x1080 laptop. I am waiting for my new rig to arrive :). You can still use the images to get a feeling for what I am discussing here. Seat and mirror positions are all at 0,0 for any screenshot. The FOV is set to 36 degrees.


    This is F Classic with what I think is 1:1 scale for the rear view mirrors. The overall image seems reasonably realish :)

    F Extreme... looks good after the correction

    F Reiza... looks good after the correction

    F Retro side mirrors overall view point/coverage are not very usefull (by design?).
    Hard to see I know but the lead car (black) can only just see the yellow car in the RHS mirror
    The blue car is not visible... a massive blind spot to be sure
    Another shot as the cars go into the corner and the blue car just comes into rear view
    IMO for better game play the mirror POV should be compromised to show a bit more behind the car, The Copersucar mirrors could be made a bit more useful.

    F V12 I generally like the side mirror coverage on this car (using a 2560x256, 10:1 mirror.bmp). The rear view is obstructed by wing and wheels with a bit of a blind spot directly behind the car, but you can still spot your rivals position for the most part. I would like to see the other cars with similar rear/side view mirrors.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    F Vee Made a change to PLR setting Self In Cockpit Rearview="1" to remove cockpit.
    The blue car is ready to pounce but you won't know it until its too late :)
    The next image is from the cockpit of the lead car at the same moment. You can see below that the cockpit mirrors are not very useful on the Vee due to the cockpit obstruction. If IRL the cockpit obstructs the mirrors as shown I can accept that but maybe a compromise can be made for game play.

    F3 I generally like the side mirror coverage on this car (using a 2048 x 256, 8:1 mirror.bmp).

    Mini The mapping on the side mirror is scaled differently than the inside rear view mirror. The view point on the side mirror could be a bit more game play friendly, but it looks like this is the way it was intended.
    Hard to see I know but notice the "o" in mobil in the side mirror... the horizontal scale is stretched
    This is the same Mobil sign now in the rear view mirror... the "o" is round and if you look you can see the size of the sign in the side mirror is bigger than that in the rear view mirror. The mapping on the mirrors is different.

    StockV8 The XY scale seems ok to me but the side mirror view points too far left. The green car should be visible in the red cars side mirror in this scenario.
    The side mirror view point is very far to the left (its useless imo)

    MetalMoro Left vs Right side mirrors are not mapped evenly and overall view point/coverage is not very useful (by design?). IMO for better game play the mirror POV should be compromised to show a bit more behind the car. No screen shot examples for this car.

    Camaro Side mirror view points too far left, but not to bad and probably by design. IMO for better game play the mirror should be mapped to show a bit more behind the car

    Opala The rear and side mirrors point in believable directions and the horizontal scale looks good

    Phewwh! Thats a lot of post.

    I put some effort into this post as I hope that you will agree that this cockpit mirror thing is important and worthy of a fix. Please give your opinions on this issue.


    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
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  2. Sure you are not the only one to have noticed this, but you were the first to make such a detailed comparison, which is really welcome. I hope Reiza can change this as well, because this IMHO is the most immersion killer in this sim, not to mention that it really cause some accidents sometimes. i drive using trackir, but in cars without the center mirror, you have a really hard time maintaining your situational awareness.
  3. Alex Sawczuk

    Alex Sawczuk
    Reiza Studios Premium Member

    Hey Greg! Long time no see! Used to do all my AIW back in IDT days :D

    I'll pass this onto the car guys :)
    • Like Like x 2
  4. Hi Alex, Great job and a fantastic success for you and team Reiza. I have been offline for a few years but I feel its time to build another rig. I am looking forward to spending some time with your creations.

    I have to say some really great stuff I see here in the Extreme version. I was just leaving the sim race scene when Reiza started up, but I did keep an eye on what was happening from time to time. It is really amazing what has been done with rF as a base. The physics and the AI are really really good. Some of the things I see the AI doing are very impressive (you know AI is special for me). For instance the power on wheel spin tail slides the V12's do on corner exit is fantastic. I am looking forward to running on a few of the tracks in particular... Jacarepagua, Spielberg Historic, Johannesburg Historic, Buenos Aires. All tracks from the past that are now recreated again in the highest detail.

    A bit more time and I should be up and running again.

  5. I thought there was something wrong with my install, I've basically wasted an afternoon changing FOV, seat position, plr files and still have mirrors that are basically useless. It seems with the Stock car I have the choice of weird reflections of the inside of the car, or useless reflections of the scenery alongside the car, but no sign of the cars you're trying to race. I can't believe Reiza released the game like this, from what I've read it's been a problem since the game released and yet most people seem OK with this.

    Off topic, I've not played rFactor so I'm also finding the interface a bit of a mess with some settings hidden in config files or obscure places (head shake settings in the controllers menu for example...why?!)

    Game Stock Car Extreme does many things really well, but it mirrors that don't work isn't acceptable for a modern sim.
  6. Be patient Rich, Alex said they will take a look at this ;)
    Nice to see you here :)
  7. Hi Leon, good to see you too!

    I hadn't spotted that Alex was from Reiza and that they're looking into it, oops :redface: Hope they can fix it soon. :)

    What is it with modern sims? The mirrors aren't right in Assetto Corsa last time I looked.... this sort of thing didn't happen in my day (ahem GPL) mutter mutter, ramble ramble etc. etc. :p:D
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. yeah as I stated elsewhere, Grand Prix Legends (1998) has the absolute best mirror rendering of all racing sims, both old an new. Don't know why it is so. It is the only one to have proper and realistic (and, so, useful) mirrors
  9. Slalom823

    RDTCC S10 Champion Premium Member

    So for some cars like the v8's there is not currently a way to adjust the angle of the side mirrors?
  10. It's a really good description of the mirrors, I would definitely like to see some improvement, but where you ask for compromise on the rear view, whilst I do agree to a certain point, I would still like Reiza to be conservative about this - if a formula car's view is restricted then that is how I want it to be. Of course in reality there is a blind spot behind the car so I would hate to see a completely unrestricted view of the car behind me as it would not be realistic.

    But yes, a slight increase in view to the rear might be welcome - I agree the V12 has a good rear view - there's still a blind spot but the view is still 'believable' and useful.

    And yes, I agree that certain cars viewpoints are wrong, for example pointing outwards towards the grass, and these need some fixing so that they point more rearward.
  11. Actually, that's just about absolutely perfect...

    I've been to Jim Russell, Skip barber, and Bridgestone Racing Academy, F1600s and F2000s, and they all say the same thing, you want the edge of your rear-wing (generally speaking) to be just barely visible on the inside edge of your mirror. That FRetro example is actually just about perfect. You don't want your mirrors and don't want your focus to be behind you. You want to maximize the rear-side so you have as much rear-side visibility as possible for when someone pulls out from behind you and starts coming on your inside. That's why you sometimes (even more-so before when driver's didn't use the HANS device) see driver's leaning their head over when they want to see behind them for a moment, because they have the mirrors setup like in your FRetro pic.
    If there is a physical thing blocking the mirror, then their is a physical thing blocking the mirror, I'm personally very much against any sort of compromise since we know the way it's supposed to be and it shouldn't be any difference just because it's a video game. Those mirrors should possibly be angled a little more outwards like in the FRetro example above, but I can't tell for sure, it's hard to tell without a rear-wing to use as reference but I'm pretty sure.

    I forgot to mention - and sorry for repeating this incase it's already been mentioned (haven't read the thread) - but you should have options to move your mirror to whatever position you like. I think you need to hold down ctrl, or shift, and/or ctrl+shift while pressing your seat up/down/left/right buttons. This should angle the mirrors how you want and I think you can even change the FOV if you want to go that far.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  12. Right.

    I agree with designing rear views "as accurate as possible" in principle but the mirrors in GSCE are not mirrors (the mirror image comes from a special camera hard coded in rF) and have limitations not found IRL.

    As you know you can not move your head in GSCE (rfactor) to change the rear view coverage of the mirror system used in the game. That would be where the compromise comes in, with behind, and left /right rear view coverage to compensate for the mirror system limits and give the sim driver some useful information.

    Just to be clear the pictures in my OP are not the default images from v1.252 and were corrected only to scale x-y more or less even with a modified mirror.bmp. The rear view coverage presented in my example is not even close to what you can get if you map the mirror material correctly.

    In addition the "mirror camera" position is important and IMO as applied to GSCE are out by some margin (its way too close to the rear axle on the retro and other models too... as a result the side coverage is reduced and other cars appear "out of position" ).

    Any way its a small detail but this mirror thing has quite a few considerations from a design standpoint especially if your game supports different car models with big differences in mirror positions and what you want to "see" from each mirror. If the mirror camera was defined on a per car basis it would be much easier. However mirror definition in game comes from the track scn, the vehicle cockpitinfo.ini and the PLR file. This makes anything but a simple unobstructed rear view very challenging.

    As of v1.31 GSCE some (temporary I hope) fixes have been applied to the cockpits but now the virtual mirror is distorted.

    GSCE deserves better rear view mirrors period.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. If you have a track IR or freetrack or anykind of head motion "thingy", then the mirrors actually do move/change according to your head movement just like in real-life. At least in rFactor 2 it does, and I'd be extremely surprised if it didn't in pre-rF2 ISI engine based sims.
  14. Pictures always help the conversation. Here are a few screenshots from a project I have been working on. These examples are my interpretation of a reasonable rear view in ISI GM2 with some compromise for the sim racer to get useful rear view information.. What I have changed from the original mod content is the mapping on the (car) mirror mesh faces, and the position of the "mirror camera". Moving the mirror camera forward towards the front of the cars allows the very narrow FOV of the mirror camera to see along side the car to some extent.

    Here are 2 before images (default for the mod when released). You will notice (at least one thing ) that the the horizontal scale is compressed many times.
    FYI I have changed the cockpit viewpoint a little bit from the default (if you recognize this content)

    Now some screens from a few cars to give an idea of what I think can be done to design a "believable" side/rear mirror in GSCE (rf).

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    My concept here is an attempt to get two levels of rear view difficulty by switching on the cockpit body to increase the mirror obstruction for "hardcore" pilots. Even without the cockpit obstruction the view directly behind the car is quite limited. As it should be (imo).


    PS. I see that my screenshots have been down sampled (by photo bucket?)... so please find full size images at this link if you like.

    http://s290.photobucket.com/user/gringosan/library/GSCE CPT Mirrors
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
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  15. i never thought that mirrors FOV can be so immersive until i saw this thread.
  16. Great work @Gringo!
    I'm using a 16:10 monitor, resolution 2560x1600, FOV 40.
    What is the best setup for me? You can share your settings?

    Yours mirror got an excellent quality!
    My even regulating, do not serve for anything.
  17. StrongManBR

    Thank you for your comments.

    My display is a 34 inch 21:9 (3440 x 1440) but I use a custom resolution of 3440x1080 (approximately 29:9) to increase my horizontal FOV.

    I use 45 degree FOV in game and I position the screen for a distance of about 35-40 cm from my eye point.

    The mirror modification you see in the examples cannot be created with settings... Reiza must correct the problem in the GSCE car models.
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  18. Can't you edit the mirror FOV as-well as the positioning?...
  19. The mirror position is defined in the *_cockpitinfo.ini.

    Mirror FOV (vertical FOV) is a per user setting in the PLR file... "Rearview Height=" normally this value is 14 (degrees I assume).

    However I think the FOV can also be affected by the "mirror" lines found in a tracks SCN.

    I have always tried to us the ISI standards as found in stock content for the variables in the SCN and the PLR files, otherwise the virtual mirrors will be affected (distorted usually).

    The final "edit" for the cockpit mirror would be the mapping of the mirror material onto the rear / side mirror objects of the car model. The thing to consider is what portion of the "mirror texture" do you map to each mirror. Scale, FOV, and "where the mirror points" are all affected by the mapping of the material / texture.
    Last edited: May 18, 2015
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  20. Can you share StockV8_2014_cockpitinfo ?
    MirrorPos=(0.00, 0.92, 0.52) ?
    I've tried shift + seat keys but it did not come close to what you did! Great work!
    Rear-view finally will serve for something!