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Discussion | VR, Triple Monitors or Ultrawides?

What's your preferred setup?

  • VR

    Votes: 615 41.5%
  • Triples

    Votes: 258 17.4%
  • Ultrawide

    Votes: 293 19.8%
  • Single Screen / Other

    Votes: 316 21.3%

  • Total voters
    1,482
This week HTC are launching two brand new Vive products, in a market that continues to grow at rapid pace. Has VR taken the lead in the sim racing world, and if not why?

I have fond memories of my first virtual reality experience in sim racing. I did a couple of practice laps before jumping into a race at the Circuit de Catalunya, being a track I knew well. Any doubts I had about how immersive the experience would be were dispelled almost immediately. A car in front of me was run wide on lap one, hitting a brake marker board which spiralled towards my head. Instinctively I ducked down in my seat, only for a sheepish grin to spread across my face, feeling rather foolish.

The Vive Pro 2 features a 5K resolution display, and an impressive 120Hz refresh rate.
As it reached mainstream market adoption, it became clear that VR was going to lend itself very well to sim racing. The immersive experience that it offers truly is second-to-none, with many converts of the opinion that they could never go back. That being said triple monitor setups are still a very popular option, with many racers enjoying the peripheral vision it offers. Similarly, this is something that can be very enjoyable about using an ultrawide monitor.

Of all the options then, which one is the best? Naturally the topic is incredibly subjective, often due to personal preference, budget or space. However, each also comes with benefits that even make them more suited to different aspects of sim racing.

One of the biggest criticisms of VR since its adoption has been of the low resolutions offered, particularly for the computing power required, compared with monitor alternatives. While virtual reality is still a very young technology and improving all the time, it has to be said that the more crisp image offered by monitors can be a lot easier on the eye, particularly during longer sessions. Furthermore, setting up a VR rig can be a little more time consuming, particularly for those who want to learn the nuances involved with recording virtual reality gameplay.

Ultrawide.jpg

Ultrawides and super ultrawides have fast become a favourite amongst sim racers.

Having tried all three, I've found my preference to be either VR or triple screens, but it depends entirely on the situation. If I am unwinding or practicing alone, I always choose to go with VR simply for the more immersive experience. However, I have found it a lot easier to use triple monitors, or even a single monitor when competing online. It can be trickier to memorise where everything on the steering wheel is, as required when playing in VR. Similarly, in-game menus tend to be easier to navigate on monitors than in virtual reality, which can detract from the experience of using the latter in some situations.

Overall, my go-to is usually VR, and when we consider how far it has come in such a short space of time, and the investment that is going into virtual reality and augmented reality tech, their future does look very exciting indeed.

Finally, we would love to hear your thoughts on this, and find out more about our community's setups!
About author
Charlie Lockwood
23. Motorsport and Sim Racing enthusiast.

Comments

I don’t get a lot of people... I mean yes vr might be complicated but it’s not rocket science. I got a g2 with a 3080 and main ACC. It looks better than on my screen. the devs are just lazy so u need to put work in. There are allot of ini settings and now we got sharpener. I hope vr numbers grow more and devs stop beeing lazy and optimize their stuff instead of us trying to do their work. For me the g2 is the lowest resolution and screen quality i would accept over a flat screen ... so I hope we get even better hmd screens faster.
 
first of all, i have all 3 of these
VR (HP Reverb G2) + tripples (3*27 inch 16:9 ) + UltraWide (34" 21:9)

but i prefer tripples the most for simracing,
because i cant keep the VR glasses on too long, my eyes start to object if i do.
 
Question for all you VR people. Is the recent occulus headset (the one going for about 300 quid) actually any good? I think it is the occulus quest from memory
 
This old chestnut again? :whistling:

Personally I use VR for sim racing because of the additional immersion and awareness it provides. It genuinely made me a better, faster driver when I first started using it 5-6 years ago. The unparalleled feeling of being "in the seat" makes all simulations that much more fun.

I also use it for simulations (I fly virtual planes and choppers too) as they are the only genre which has really bothered to exploit the potential of VR. Most non-sim VR games are pure garbage and do nothing to justify the high investment involved. My decision on whether to upgrade my VR gear in the future will depend solely on how into sim racing and sim flying I am at the time.

Question for all you VR people. Is the recent occulus headset (the one going for about 300 quid) actually any good?
I haven't used one, but I would say it might be worth a punt if you're really into simulations. The price makes it a solid choice for a first-time VR user. Bear in mind though that one of it's main VR-benefits, the fact that it is stand-alone (untethered), will not apply to racing sims. The Quest 2 is not powerful enough to run a sim on it's own so you'll need to be plugged into your PC (with a cable you pay extra for), same as any other HMD.

Also note that all new Oculus users now need to use their Facebook account to use their Oculus gear at all. If allowing Facebook to have even more monitoring over what you're doing is an issue for you, you might want to avoid anything Oculus.
 
Guys how is it with the VR setup for simracing when it comes to the VR sensors that you need to put in the room on specific places? I am not sure if i would be able to do that due to different reasons (like in one corner there is huge cabinet/closet, the room maybe not big enough to put the sensors where they need to be etc. )
Would it be a problem for sim racing? I know its probably mostly for movement/space recognition for other games and that is not needed i guess for sim racing becuase you sit in one place. But can you use VR without those sensors or use it if the sensors are not very well positioned and still have full functionality in sim racing titles without any issues etc?
 
Can't even imagine going back to 2D, it's like learning how to drive again. It's not only about the immersion, it's about the driving simulation.

But VR has certain requirements to make it a category of its own and that's why it still has strong limitations.

This is the way I went to overcome the obstacles:

1. Min 150° FOV (110 is unnatural)
2. Motion system (subtle to trick brain with visual)
3. Powerful PC (for decent resolution)
4. Hardware matching the virtual experience (optional, but still relevant).

Developers need prioritizing the UI and technology become affordable. It's a trend started already and not going to change direction, the result of this poll was inconceivable only two years ago, even for the niche voting here.

For the ones suffering with their vision while using VR they need to educate themselves about the headset in use. Things like IPD, quality of the lens, brightness, blue light, refresh rate, etc.

Just shared a 6h endurance at Bathurst with ACC in VR for the whole thing and didn't have any issue during and after the fact despite my old eyes.

Just a warm bath.
 
Ultrawide 4k 120fps for me!
Although VR is much more immersive I'm not willing to sacrifice beautiful 4k graphics and fluidity, and VR I admit hurts my eyes!
What true 4k ultrawide are you using?
 
VR.

Aside from the full immersion (someone else mentioned being able to see your rig as a pro for triple screens, to me being able to see my rig and my living room is a major detractor to immersion), the biggest benefit VR has over all other methods is true stereoscopic 3D vision. It is the only way to get true depth perception in sim racing, which instantly made me way, way more consistent and also makes elevations much more apparent.


There are so many more reasons a monitor setup is inferior in my opinion, but that is the single biggest benefit to VR and makes the rest of the benefits less important.
 
I've never bought a VR set because a) it's really demanding for the PC, b) I'm concerned about how damaging a VR set can be to my eyesight in the long run and c) I'm very sensitive to motion sickness. (I had a little touch of motion sickness when playing Half-Life 2 on a single monitor...)

Right now, I use a single monitor. Very old school setup, right? Space is limited on my desk, so triple screen is impossible. I'm not sure an ultrawide would fit. Honestly, I don't need more than a single monitor.
 
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Never thought Vr would be winning. I have ultra wide, but not a preference, just couldn’t fit triples. I find VR too confusing to setup the race and with glasses hate having to take the VR on and off to get everything ready.
It's a matter of getting used to, at the beginning it's annoying, you always forget something, but then it's much faster, you are on the prowl and once you have a few hours of practice you no longer feel at all discomfort related to VR.
I advise you to persevere and you will not regret it.
 
Have owned all three, i returned to just my triples. on 32' triples ATM, but thinking 40' is the go.

VR,
con too much sacrifice in visual fidelity to get smooth framerate
con awkward for button boxes, and makes all the cool gear like tablet displays etc redundant. need to learn muscle memory to find your gears etc.
pro a bit more immersive.

Ultrawide
Con no matter what you try, fov is just never great, and its always stretchy at the edges, can be overcome by running triples mode on it, but then.. uhh..
Pro, no need to screw around with monitors setting up nvidia surround etc.
Pro you get to see your whole rig, all your fancy addons,

Triples
Con, setting up, cost of mounts, finding cards/monitors with all the correct cables.
Pro. you get to see your whole rig, all your fancy addons, and if you go 32+ inch triples as immersive as it gets since the roof of the car is well the roof, and everything under the steering is not relevant either. so visually you are getting what you need to see.
I would change A bit more immersive to game changing immersion, also forget my steering wheel I can see the actual, Merc, Ferrari, Audi... I don't give a monkey's about my wheel and that can save you a fortune. Also a pro, it's the cheapest option.
 
I tried VR using the HP reverb. Hated it. I don't like something on my face, the heat from the headset and no vendor makes a set with the IPD that I have. I used to have a 27 inch 2560x 1440 screen which was fine. I bought a 38 inch, 3840x1600 144hz monitor recently. Shazam.
Heaven, I'm in Heaven.
 
I have over 3000 hours racing in VR, but I finally just got tired of the hassle of it. If I were just doing iRacing I would probably stick with VR, but I tend to race a bit of everything now and dealing with VR for other sims is a PIA and performance is iffy in a lot of cases. Unless it is running perfectly smooth 90fps, it bothers me. I have gone back to triple 32" and I really love it and the ease of use.

I dislike the space it takes though. I do still hop into VR on occasion to remind myself and see if I want to go back but, I really don't miss it as much as I thought. I will say I am a bit faster in VR as the depth perception for breaking and turn in is better IMO. Not by a lot, but a little bit, for me at least.

I am still a VR fan for other gaming though.
 
Question for all you VR people. Is the recent occulus headset (the one going for about 300 quid) actually any good? I think it is the occulus quest from memory
Its superb, i have it and the CV1, the Q2 is night and day better.

The CV1 has heavy screen door effect, plus low res, the Q2 has basically zero screen door and even at 3/4 native res is totally clear. At full res i cant run it, but its crystal clear.

Its light on the head as well and doesnt need sensors, so tracks from head set.

Best £300 i've spent.

I run off a 5800x 32gb ram and a 1080, it runs AC mostly at max at 45fps asw, AMS2 at medium / high.

Its a shame people that have only tried the old gen 1s discount going VR again, the new head sets are a game changer.

I stopped using VR after a while with the gen 1s, went back to screen, but the new head sets make screens so inferior.
 
Well, tried them all:

VR:
  • Awesome. Really awesome. It's soo immersive.
  • Sold it 1 month later due cats playing with the cables, jumping on my lap and no idea what the cats are doing or what happens in real life.
  • Hot in the summer
  • I got that VR-effect; it's difficult to jump from real life into the game and then back to real life. Started to think real life was 'fake' or so. The effect would go away after a hour.
Ultrawides:
  • I owned a 34 and do own a 49 now.
  • It's awesome. Assemble. Set FoV and forgot.
  • Ultrawides often are VA-panels, so ugly black-smearing when moving
  • Heavy

Triples:
  • The FOV is so great. It's even more immersive than a 49 inch
  • I hate bezels. That 'mirror-trick' wasn't available back then
  • My cats would often unalign my monitors, so aligning became an annoying chore
  • Requires lots of room

Singles (27inch and lower)
  • Raced on a 27 inch for a while. It's doable in hood cam, but that's it..
 
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