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Discussion | VR, Triple Monitors or Ultrawides?

What's your preferred setup?

  • VR

    Votes: 619 41.5%
  • Triples

    Votes: 260 17.4%
  • Ultrawide

    Votes: 294 19.7%
  • Single Screen / Other

    Votes: 317 21.3%

  • Total voters
    1,490
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

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...
Dont feel any way. This is how I started my sim racing voyage. G27 on a desk with a shitty 27in 1080 monitor. And i loved every second. But I fell down the rabbit hole.
 
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..tho a single 27" 144Hz screen with a G27 manages to provide plenty of immersion for me in assetto corsa
^^
I think all of us had a start like this and it was cool.

Now imagine to have nearly real immersion sitting in a car.
All the dimensions, all the proportions, all the details.
Believe me.... when i started AC first time in VR it was mindblowing.
It changes your point of view completly.

When you drive the Nordschleife then you will realize all the elevations.
For example Fuchsröhre... ive never thought its so steep!

Especially the open wheelers became more attention for me because its just awesome.
Sure, you see more then in an conventional car.
Immersion is just awesome.

I have an TS-PC (lot of buttons to map), Clubsport V3 Pedals and TM H-Shifter.
For my purpose i dont need a DD wheel. Probably its cool but my combo is what i like in VR.
This make the immersion even better.
 
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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.

I pretty much lost interest in games years go. Learning curves got steeper, control schemes got more complex and I didn't have the time or patience for them.

Save for maybe a new Cities: Skylines, nothing on a flat screen is of any interest to me.

Right now it's just sim racing with the odd VR shooter game for some variety. I like VR games because, immersion aside, the controls are simple and gesture based.
 
I left my HP Reverb to Space Engine only.

On flight simulators the immersion in VR doesn't pay the price on not seeing my Saitek radio and multi function panels where I can set almost all plane functions on the fly as the real thing with agility. If I try to do the same with mouse within the virtual cockpit I probably crash the plane.

In sim racing the nice 3d effect doesn't pay the price for the sweat, the heavy cable and headset and not see my button box, wheel buttons and my cup of beer.

VR is a very nice tech and it's impressive during the first days but at least new and creative solutions for all those issues come it won't be more than this.

Edit: of course there are lots of interesting non gaming VR applications ie Google Earth VR and many other but for simulators there's a long way to go.
 
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Feeling quite the pauper reading about all these VR and Ultrawide rigs...tho a single 27" 144Hz screen


The cost of your screen is probably not that far off a Quest 2 in fairness.

I wouldn't contemplate any other headset due to the prices of them. To me, triples seem like an excess but a VR headset which can do a lot of things beyond sim racing felt like a justifiable purchase.
 
Since I got into PC gaming in late 2019, I've only used VR for racing. Part of that is my setup and part of it is my preference. I use a Rift S. I have it running acceptably well in ACC, but every time I start up AMS2 I am reminded of how could it could be with the right graphics engine. I play it with earbuds, so once the engine is screaming I am lost in the world of the sim. I can tell if someone is near because I can feel the breeze of them walking by, but otherwise I am in the world, which I enjoy.

For me, the biggest negative is that the technology can be a little flaky. I end up rebooting my PC more often than I think I should have to because the sound doesn't work right or the headset acts a little weird. I'm sure it's also a factor that I have SimHub running another sound card to drive the tactile transducers.

I've started to get into stewarding ACC races and when I run it flat on my monitor I keep marveling at how great that game looks when not in VR. There's a part of me that wants to do ultrawides or triples to try them out, but I just don't have a good space for all that. So I will continue to "settle" for VR. First world problems, indeed.
 
Let's hope that all the sim/race game developers out there who do not offer a VR option for their racing game/simulator in 2021 ( yes already 2021) will see than more than one third of the RD players prefer VR, most of them exclusively.
I know, we are not representative of the mass, yadi yadi yada, still we are here to stay, we have cash and are interested, so stop shouting yourself in the foot, remove your fingers from you know where and get it done. :roflmao:
 
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.

The F1 mods for AC are awesome, you can create full championships with all the cars and names correct, there are YouTube videos available on how to do it.

Also (although not really to AC levels) you can put all the correct skins for the F1 cars into AMS2.
 
There are a few comments about VR being more tiring than flat screen racing. Wearing a warm headset undoubtedly contributes (although a £10 fan will completely negate that) but of course VR is more tiring: it's far more immersive, more involving... more emotional.
After a long race in 2D I'd need a cup of tea.
After a long race in VR I need a shower.
 
I voted VR because that's what I use, but I wish I could use single ultrawide or triples.
Why? Just look at this thread. Any discussion about VR turns into people explaining to others how to make it run well when someone has issues. Even with a 3080 and 5900X, RaceRoom felt too stuttery (I can notice microstutters) and ACC required too much work to look/run well and even at that point, I could see the jagged lines when viewing the distance which was just not going to work for long drives/endurance races.
iRacing, AMS2 and even the original Assetto Corsa are brilliant in VR, but RaceRoom and ACC are a better value. I'm considering moving to a 49" ultrawide, but they're just so expensive in Japan. And I don't have the space for triples.
Disagree, for example my oculus rift s is extremely easy to set up, there isn't much to do to make it work very well. The old headsets required more skills, this is no longer the case with the new VR headsets. If people give out a lot of info, it's because they fell in love with car simulation VR, it's so amazing! We're on the track. And for my part, I want to make others want to take the plunge, to take the step, because it's great. You have to have a decent pc for the game. In my case I am with a 1080Ti, it does not cost a lot anymore, and it is very sufficient for AMS2 for example, super sampling on 1.6, mostly all the parameters completely without the 'grass and two or three things that you don't even notice while driving and a good twenty cars minimum with the weather forecast on "storm", I am in 90 f / sec without flinching. As said elsewhere, the display in the straight line of the Nurburgring is perfect. Okay, go buy an Oculus if you can, you won't regret it.
 
Tried all 3, still went back to triple 27s. The comfort level is just different and I love to race long sessions and once the headset accumulates enough of your body heat it gets a little nauseating. Also it is a nightmare trying to navigate setting up a car in VR. I also suspect using my headset over a few months had some impact on my eyesight, but I cannot confirm.

Maybe when headsets get lighter and more comfortable, I could switch to VR again for good. But
 
VR for everything but a 21:9 for those few games that I caved to play that don't support it. My Valve Index is super comfy with my big chunky glasses, too. Also, the integrated audio solution is awesome. Maybe not as detailed at times as my main headphones (Philips X2HR) but the sound stage, positional presence and openness of them really add to immersion. I don't have motion but buttkickers / transducers do a great job of convincing my brain. Just needs some BCI to tell my brain I'm feeling g-forces and adrenaline and I think it'll be good.
 
I left my HP Reverb to Space Engine only.

On flight simulators the immersion in VR doesn't pay the price on not seeing my Saitek radio and multi function panels where I can set almost all plane functions on the fly as the real thing with agility. If I try to do the same with mouse within the virtual cockpit I probably crash the plane.

In sim racing the nice 3d effect doesn't pay the price for the sweat, the heavy cable and headset and not see my button box, wheel buttons and my cup of beer.

VR is a very nice tech and it's impressive during the first days but at least new and creative solutions for all those issues come it won't be more than this.

Edit: of course there are lots of interesting non gaming VR applications ie Google Earth VR and many other but for simulators there's a long way to go.
There are cableless vr headsets. And the weight is not bothering me at all. I put a nice over-ear headset over the vr headset and it feels like having a helmet on. My Stilo helmet feels very, very similar.

More immersion. I love it.

Im sitting in a rig with bassshakers, a vr headset feeling like a helmet and soon getting load cell pedals. Thats such a great feeling
 
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Tripple screen was never an option for me because its waste of money.
Once VR, always VR.
I was using VR for about 2 years and since I bought my first 49" I ditched it. Better graphics at 144 Hz and almost the framerates was just too good, but buying a Vive Cosmos wasn't a great decision as well. Tiny FOV and sweet spot together with tracking and framerate problems made it a pain in the a** to use, but I also love strong FFB and some workout while driving and no headset did anything to the sweat-issue yet.

The best bang for the buck was the purchase of TrackIR and IMO a must-have for every single-screen user. Far more reliable and easy to setup than VR without any performance-hit I can tell. You map a global button to center TrackIR and big mistake that VR doesn't offer a feature like that. I use VR occasionally, but usually I feel uncomfortable within minutes and what to get out.
 
I’ll admit that initially I only tried out VR because I don't have room for triples. The space where my Rig is is exactly as wide as a 34" 21:9 ultra wide.
That being said, I couldn't go back to pancake mode now. I'm on my third HMD, in fact two days ago I upgraded from an Oculus Rift S to a Reverb G2 and couldn't be happier.
People complain about the FOV with HMDs, but try putting a racing helmet on, and see how the FOV is. You'll be surprised how similar it is to a Reverb G2.
And for sheer immersion, the feeling of really sitting in the car, VR just can't be beat.
 
Interesting thread. Haven't done any Sim racing for 3-4 years. Was using single screen with Track IR back then. Probably going to combine triple screen with Track IR although it may seem unnecessary. Debating about monitor sizes for triple.

Sounds like VR is the future but maybe not quite yet until another generation or two
 
People complain about the FOV with HMDs, but try putting a racing helmet on, and see how the FOV is. You'll be surprised how similar it is to a Reverb G2.
I ride a bike to work and the FOV in my G1 is an awful lot smaller than my full face Schuberth helmet. In fact, I cannot even see the sides of my helmet when I glance left or right. The G1 is more akin to a diving mask. I thought the G2 was just a bit bigger than the G1? Can you really see all the way to the side in it?

EDIT: I just checked and the DOT requirements for a road legal helmet is 210 minimum. The G2 is spec'd at 114, which is the same as the spec on my G1 (I could have sworn the G1 was less), both of which are significantly smaller than the DOT minimum standard.

EDIT2: I forgot to say, that whilst the FOV is noticeably smaller than my helmet, I don't actually find it a big deal
 
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Sounds like VR is the future but maybe not quite yet until another generation or two

That completely depends on who you are listening to.

For many of us VR has been good enough to be worth it for a while now.

I started with a CV1 in 2017 and the resolution and SDE left me wanting more. However since I got my Valve Index coming up on 2 years ago, I've been pretty happy with it overall.
 

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