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Discussion | VR, Triple Monitors or Ultrawides?

What's your preferred setup?

  • VR

    Votes: 621 41.6%
  • Triples

    Votes: 260 17.4%
  • Ultrawide

    Votes: 294 19.7%
  • Single Screen / Other

    Votes: 317 21.2%

  • Total voters
    1,492
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

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.
I had a Rift S, now a Valve Index.
Your experience is subjective and doesn't reflect the hundreds/thousands of complaints online about VR having issues for others.
 
VR is definitely the best choice imo. But the issue for me at least is that I have to take frequent breaks due to eye strain and it getting very hot.
 
Used to be VR only, but now spending more time on 49" Ultrawide with TrackIR.
It's more hassle free, higher quality visuals experience, may be not as immersive though.
VR is just way too slow to fully mature.
 
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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.
Good to know. Still undecided. Knowing my luck I'll have nausea with VR. I wasn't able to do more than a couple of laps with real life carting, or riding shotgun in my brother's M3 on a track before I turned green. Gravol in advance didn't help.
 
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
You could be right, it's been a long time since I wore a helmet. You know how memories get kinda blurry over the years. :)
 
I had a Rift S, now a Valve Index.
Your experience is subjective and doesn't reflect the hundreds/thousands of complaints online about VR having issues for others.
Like your argument mentioning others having problems is subjective as well and doesn't reflect hundreds/thousands of people just loving it and having no problems....
 
Given I've been on sims since Indycar and Nascar I have come through all this with some fairly low graphical standards and frame rates. There were times I didn't have the required PC but would put up with terrible frame rates and graphics.

I think because of this I am quite happy to accept the graphical standard of VR is less than flat world because apart from the some more pixels and a bit of fps, flat driving offers me nothing new really and VR is a COMPLETELY difference experience.

I seriously wouldn't trade a 4k triple setup for VR. That bit of extra flat definition means nothing to me.
 
VR causes me nausea and i hate i cannot see the real hardware (the buttons on the wheel and keyboard, the telemetry tablet, and so on) so i discarded it
I hate framing on triples but it was the best solution until i discovered ultra wide monitors and my choce will always be only one: Ultrawide
No nausea, no frames, just a single field of view
Best for me
 
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You can assign a button to re-centre VR in every racing sim I've played (which is most of them).
So I guess you don't know AC, Captain Obvious and VR is not just racing games.

Apart from that: Why is VR so performance-demanding? SteamVR is just horrible while rendering two screens from different angles is used with triples all the time, with one screen more than in VR. IMO the hole VR-implementation wasn't thought through very well.

Games like Lucky's Tale were early examples that common pancake-games like Assassin's Creed could be a lot better in VR without all this roomscale-mechanics that would evolve with time anyway. VR is still a niche market because it wanted to be like "Ready Player One" from day one, but still failing on the execution. You can pick from hundreds of very outdated looking VR-games with tons of bugs that more or less require a roomscale-setup, often with a lot of room. Who wants to play like that? People with kids, cats or dogs probably not, people that don't like staying or walking blindly inside their living room probably not. You can still grab items more easily with a simple XBox- than a VR-controller trying badly to simulate hands. I don't say those full roomscale VR-games are not necessary to sell VR, but they should be just one genre of a much bigger VR-market.
 
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
I have been nearsighted since I was 9 years old. I am followed by an ophthalmologist, I have visits every two years.
I have had a VR headset since 2017 (Oculus Rift) and I switched to the Oculus rift S a year and a half ago.
I just took an exam in April and my glasses should not be changed, I have no worries.
 
I had a Rift S, now a Valve Index.
Your experience is subjective and doesn't reflect the hundreds/thousands of complaints online about VR having issues for others.
It reflects my experience, the Rift S works great, even with a 1080ti, in AC, ACC and AMS2.
 
So I guess you don't know AC
Ummm... AC definitely has a recenter binding. I have to use it a lot at the start as my HMD tends to take a minute or two to figure out where it is (bit like its owner :D). But also, you could use AHK or VoiceAttack to trigger the recenter if the game doesn't have a specific binding as I've done similar things for other 'features'. Not exactly 'out-of-the-box', but in the sim realm, not much seems to be for me anyway.

EDIT: I just remembered that I never use the AC launcher, so I double checked. You are correct. The native launcher doesn't have the recenter, and it only appears to be in CM.

Apart from that: Why is VR so performance-demanding?
I have wondered that myself for the same reasons you specified. The barrel distortion explains some of it, but I'm not sure it explains all of it https://smus.com/vr-lens-distortion/. I'd be interested to know if anyone has an answer to this.
 
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So I guess you don't know AC, Captain Obvious and VR is not just racing games.

FYI, AC allows you to map two buttons (Glance Left & Glance Right) to a button box and if you hit them together it will re-center VR. Not ideal, but it works. I haven't pulled up AC in a while, but I "thought" I mapped both of those to a single button.

The centering issue does seem to depend on the VR system and game you are using.

I set my Valve Index up close to two years ago I've not had to recalibrate it since then. I understand the Vive is the same way when using base stations. Part of the setup process is setting the headset on the floor in the center of the play area. After that you are done. The base stations are permanently mounted and paint the room consistently from that point on.

When I had an Oculus Rift CV1, I occasionally had to run through the setup to get the tracking to work properly and that setup with cameras asked you for your height while you were wearing it. Because of how it operates, the cameras are less reliable.

I've not setup a WMR headset from scratch, so I can't comment on the setup.

For all room scale games, I have had ZERO setup time for nearly 2 years.

My rig is mobile and I roll it to the center of my media room usually pretty close to the same place. In some titles like iRacing I can shut the computer down and come back the next day and start it up and it will remain perfectly centered. In other games like Dirt Rally 2.0 I have to press the VR Center button every time I start the game.

In the software makes a difference category. Let me mention that iRacing always just works with everything. I've had setup issues with SimHub and my NLRv3 with Dirt Rally 1.0 and 2.0 and with some other titles. iRacing always worked without a hiccup. Similarly with VR it has always worked well.
 
In the software makes a difference category. Let me mention that iRacing always just works with everything. I've had setup issues with SimHub and my NLRv3 with Dirt Rally 1.0 and 2.0 and with some other titles. iRacing always worked without a hiccup. Similarly with VR it has always worked well.
After over 12 months of faffing around with various titles, I have to say my experience concurs with this one. Not that I'm unwilling to tolerate the faff for certain other sims, but yeah, they seem to have a decent dev/QA team responsible for that part of the code.
 
So I guess you don't know AC, Captain Obvious and VR is not just racing games.

AC is a very old game but, as noted above, it can be done. If using CM, it's a single button and couldn't be easier.

As to the second part of this sentence, the topic of discussion is racing games as per the opening post and the name of this website.

Any shortcomings of VR (and everyone seems to accept there are some) can be attributed to the lack of a 'cheap' mass market headset failing to garner enough players. Now the Quest 2 is selling millions and people are using phrases like 'No VR, no buy'. It will keep improving now the players are arriving.
 
Ctrl-Space always worked in AC. CM probably just adds the ability to rebind default.
 
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AC is a very old game but, as noted above, it can be done. If using CM, it's a single button and couldn't be easier.

As to the second part of this sentence, the topic of discussion is racing games as per the opening post and the name of this website.

Any shortcomings of VR (and everyone seems to accept there are some) can be attributed to the lack of a 'cheap' mass market headset failing to garner enough players. Now the Quest 2 is selling millions and people are using phrases like 'No VR, no buy'. It will keep improving now the players are arriving.
The center-button was just one example and TrackIR works out of the box without doing a click with most titles by just being active. And when I quit TrackIR I'm back to normal-mode without restart or fiddling with graphics-settings. If VR would be that easy and common with AAA-titles it would be dominant in the gaming-industry by now, but it reached only tiny 2,13% on Steam till February. Without all this roomscale-stuff VR is rendering two overlapping screens with a little distance, so it's pathetic so many pancake-only games getting still released nowadays.
 
I don't restart or change any graphics settings - don't even open Steam. All my VR games, after an initial launch, appear in the library in my headset.

VR didn't take off because it was clunky and expensive. Things have moved on as evidenced by this comment from a recent article:

The new Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset has reportedly sold more units in a single quarter than any other virtual reality headset in history,
 

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