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Discussion | VR, Triple Monitors or Ultrawides?

What's your preferred setup?

  • VR

    Votes: 632 41.7%
  • Triples

    Votes: 267 17.6%
  • Ultrawide

    Votes: 297 19.6%
  • Single Screen / Other

    Votes: 318 21.0%

  • Total voters
    1,514
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

My WMR headset broke, now I'm back to using the 2013 Occulus DK1, it seems to have a 50ms - 60ms latency, terrible resultion and keeps losing it's center. But It's still usable in AC. I think I will only replace this when VR's get cheaper. Quest 2 looks attractive, but latency, battery and degraded image quality doesn't seem the way to go. Plus I don't want to pay 300USD for a VR headset, they need cheaper alternatives.
 
Absolutely VR!

With my Q2 i run both AMS2 and AC at a very clear level of fidelity, AMS2 is completely sharp, with its added filter for sharpening. Both run at good FPS and its exactly like being in a car, with stereoscopic 3D to give depth.

I occasionally have to use panels if playing ACC, but its like playing a computer game then as opposed to actually been in a car with VR.

These new headsets are high resolution, basically zero screen door now too, they are night and day from the gen one headsets, VR is made for sim racing and flight sims.
What is the latency in AC at like 120hz or 90hz?
 
Reading through the first few pages of posts and seeing the poll numbers makes me think that the triple screen crowd has now become the “vocal minority” that the VR crowd use to be.
 
As a widescreen - user who tried VR, I experienced the obvious problems like not seeing the buttons etc. - I guess it would be possible to find a workaround.
BUT: Does VR in fact make anyone here faster or more consistent over 2-hour-session (minimum)? In my case I grew tired a lot faster with VR (even after 20 minutes) than in 2D - up to the point of avoidable mistakes. Laptimes were also considerably slower (e.g. around 2 seconds in LMP2 in LeMans).
 
I have a ultrawide but I have never tried triples or VRs to compare. Hopefully I will have the chance soon.
 
As a widescreen - user who tried VR, I experienced the obvious problems like not seeing the buttons etc. - I guess it would be possible to find a workaround.
BUT: Does VR in fact make anyone here faster or more consistent over 2-hour-session (minimum)? In my case I grew tired a lot faster with VR (even after 20 minutes) than in 2D - up to the point of avoidable mistakes. Laptimes were also considerably slower (e.g. around 2 seconds in LMP2 in LeMans).

Not seeing buttons is really not a problem in Simracing, because of muscle memory. You get used to it really quick. The con in VR is that it's more tiring for your eyes and also you sweat more, it's less comfortable than a screen for sure.

I think VR doesn't necessarily make you faster, altho a lot of inexperienced sim racers are better from the get-go in VR compared to Screens. And I also saw some really good sim racers who were actually surprised they were a little bit faster in VR, but I guess it's different for every individual. But for sure it's easier to start driving in VR.

VR makes you more consistent without a doubt because you can actually look through corners, it's easier to spot an apex and easier to see distances. It's also easier to see where your opponents are. But yeah if it physically constrains you I can imagine VR makes you less consistent.

So yes some pros some cons. For me way more pros.
 
I love how it is VR for the general public and for the eSports and aliens low nm wheels and single screens.
 
alwasys coming back to triples. Most comfortable and you get all the FOV you need. VR sometimes when I feel like it but for me VR is lacking in FOV, I know there is the pimax etc but I only have a quest2
 
Very interesting poll results so far, I have to say. Almost a complete 180° from what it would’ve been, only two or three years ago.

After using a monitor for basically 30 years, I’ve been all-in with VR since 2016, and I haven’t looked back. With the original Oculus Rift, I gladly gave up visual fidelity, for the ultra-immersion and send of presence that VR offered.
In 2021, modern headsets have basically eliminated the fidelity issue at default, and when super-sampling is applied, things look even better. I just can’t beat the spatial awareness, depth perception and just sheer fun, whenever I’m in VR.

I play, AC, AMS2, ACC, DR2, used to play PC2 forever. All are awesome in VR, especially DiRT Rally 2.0 - you can really get a sense of how close your bonnet is to the tight walls in Monte Carlo, for example, to within virtual inches.
 
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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
Yes, the Oculus Quest 2 plugged into a PC is awesome for VR, I use it daily. If your router setup is good enough, you can play PCVR wirelessly too.
I don’t really like ‘pimping’ my channel, but this is a decent video that highlights what PCVR gameplay on the Quest 2 is like:
 
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In my opinion, there is no turning back, after VR... I understand when people complaint about motion sickness, but i think that everybody can overcome that issue with time... I believe that for now, 90hz is enough for smoothness in sim racing and i´m ok with the "eye candy" sacrifice, because i feel that i´m really there, racing with others... It´s another level of experience...
My only regret is about ACC, because the sim is really good, but its VR optimization is very poor or inexistent and everything looks like s*it...
 
I really hope for a mixed reality or augmented reality headset where you can see your own hands and wheel while everything else is VR. I tried messing around with the q2 with its "keyboard" portal mode to see my wheel. It somewhat works but it definitely isn't good looking or seamless. And furthermore we need wider fov for the mainstream headsets, like the starvr one
 
When I first tried VR it was on the Playstation with Driveclub. God lord what a horrible experience. It looked like Driveclub but with a watercolour filter on and I felt physically sick after a couple of laps. I moved onto GTS and the sensation wasn't as bad and eventually went.

Then I finally got a decent graphics card and tried out PC VR. WOW. No going back. AC, the 1500cc GP mod and a Fat Alfie track set at 8am. Awesome.
 
In my opinion, there is no turning back, after VR... I understand when people complaint about motion sickness, but i think that everybody can overcome that issue with time...

This is a very personal thing. It took me 5 days x 20 minutes a day in Dirt Rally 1.0 to get my VR legs with my Rift in 2017. It was uncomfortable, but that passed.

Yes, the frame rate matters, but that is not the only issue.

When I added motion to my system I found that first timers in VR did MUCH better. This was a night and day thing. Instead of getting out of the rig looking green after 5 minutes, first timers would go for 15-20 minutes and be mildly unsettled or just fine.

This is a night and day difference for driving sims.
 
All gaming outside of VR is dead to me.
Do you play anything other than first person games? I'm pretty much in the same boat for sims, but for many other genre of games I'm still happier with flat, although I'm a bit of a gaming junkie and play various co-op games with friends that are top down or side scrollers.
 
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It's all good and well making these new VR headsets but you'll need a decent GPU to run them on, there aren't any.

What sim games are on the horizon? AM2 looks great in VR(game is let down by a few issues) ACC isn't worth the effort, AC still looks great, project cars look ok, dirt rally 2.0 runs ok, force feedback sucks though.

I want a bloody F1 game in VR. Give me some new games. We have new Direct drives and pedals and wheels and chocolate cake, but no new games.
Well said, I also think more content is required to justify these pricey hardware investments we make
 
Feeling quite the pauper reading about all these VR and Ultrawide rigs...tho a single 27" 144Hz screen with a G27 manages to provide plenty of immersion for me in assetto corsa - sweating palms and clenched teeth as I near the Nordschleife finish line with a couple of tenths shaved off my PB. Also read a lot on RD about how crappy my G27 is but if I take the ffb above 70% most cars feel much less relaxing to drive and my laptimes don't improve - so can't see how a DD would work for me either...
 
Feeling quite the pauper reading about all these VR and Ultrawide rigs...tho a single 27" 144Hz screen with a G27 manages to provide plenty of immersion for me in assetto corsa - sweating palms and clenched teeth as I near the Nordschleife finish line with a couple of tenths shaved off my PB. Also read a lot on RD about how crappy my G27 is but if I take the ffb above 70% most cars feel much less relaxing to drive and my laptimes don't improve - so can't see how a DD would work for me either...
You're fine :D You don't need to go down the rabbit hole unless you want to
 
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