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Discussion | VR, Triple Monitors or Ultrawides?

What's your preferred setup?

  • VR

    Votes: 632 41.8%
  • Triples

    Votes: 266 17.6%
  • Ultrawide

    Votes: 297 19.6%
  • Single Screen / Other

    Votes: 318 21.0%

  • Total voters
    1,513
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

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
For all the people suffering from nausea, this is my story:
I suffer from severe motion sickness in real life, whether it's a car, a boat or even a train.
Due to hereditary disfunction of the inner ear fluid, I can get nauseous without any apparent reason while sitting or standing still.
When a mild earthquake hits my region, I get sea sick and it lasts for hours.
Yet somehow, my brain managed to adjust to VR in just two days.
At first, I wanted to puke just from looking around.
But then I played it smart - a closed cockpit car(prototype), a fast track with no elevation changes(Lemans), taking a break whenever I sense even a hint of sickness, and voila - all the sickness is gone and I can drive for hours.
I have a fan pointed at my face, so the heat is not an issue, it even complements the immersion while driving F1/IndyCars.
I'm using a now ancient Oculus CV1, and I will never look back.
People are overblowing the screen door effect, it is NOT that bad at all, it is not Duke Nukem 3D from the 90's.
VR is not a matter of personal preference, it's a must have for any serious simulation.
Nothing can beat it, not even a real car chassis with an ultrawide projection screen.
I would still see the non moving car, I would still see the screen.
With VR I'm not getting any kind of distraction.
I'm living the dream, or at least I'm imagining I am. :)
 
VR is not a matter of personal preference, it's a must have for any serious simulation.
I love my VR and don't see myself going back to pancake in a hurry, but I don't think statements like this are accurate and that it is actually highly subjective. If it wasn't then there surely would have been a much bigger uptake of VR amongst the real-life racers who dabbled in it during the virtual races that were organised last year. This actually suggests to me that the immersion of both is so far off the real-life experience that it doesn't really matter either way
 
That's quite a win for VR so far. As someone who started with a dk2, and now use the mighty reverb g2, thankfully issue free, lol, I can't race any other way now. Every year that codemasters ignore vr for f1 hurts, but I can't go back to flat screens.

That is the one title that I would try if it supported VR even though I feel like my needs are currently being met.
 
That's quite a win for VR so far. As someone who started with a dk2, and now use the mighty reverb g2, thankfully issue free, lol, I can't race any other way now. Every year that codemasters ignore vr for f1 hurts, but I can't go back to flat screens.
I'm not sure its a win as you could argue the total of the other 3 monitor based setups is higher. But its still significantly higher that what people may expect.
 
I'm not sure its a win as you could argue the total of the other 3 monitor based setups is higher. But its still significantly higher that what people may expect.
You know what they say about statistics. Lol. But it's higher than I expected. And a lot higher than it would have been only a year ago I think.
 
My experience has been pretty much plug and play, though I did waste a lot of time researching and preparing my system for ACC only to roll it back to default as my system can in fact run it just fine without making it look like a PS1 game.

I have had issues in some titles (non-racing) figuring out the interface and configurations (Skyim VR (mind-blowing by the way) Star Wars Squadrons (also mind-blowing) but my two teenagers have had no such frustrations so that one has to be on me.
 
VR, can't go back on flat screen(s) since I have an HTC Vive, even if the first days weren't easy.

I had motion sickness for about 3 weeks before I could do a lap. I even took some pills to prevent sickness, it worked well. Then, my brain started to accept VR. However I havn't been sick in standing games.
Since I played Gran Turismo 5 with 3D glasses, I knew the thing that was lacking in any racing game was the perception of depth. Despite GT5 was very limited in 3D because of the hardware (720p, 24fps/eye), feeling the distances allowed me to better appreciate the tracks, braking zones and where to hit the apex, etc.
HTC Vive is a great experience, but after a couple of years of use, I was seeing 2 major flaws: very noticable "screen door effect" while static (in race, no time to pay attention to it) and a very narrow FOV, not wide enough to be safe in a pack of race cars.

About 6 months ago, I finally bought a Pimax 5K Super. I was looking for the 5K since the first versions came out, because the major feature is the very wide FOV: 150-160°. It's also compatible with HTC/Valve hardare, so I didn't have to purchase anything else.
HMD crashed sometimes until a FW update came very quickly and since, I don't regret it.
The FOV is incredible, it's quite confortable and lighter than the Vive and have way better SDE.
Cons are: a shorter cable, colors are a bit more faded (LCD), lens are very close to the face and you can't adjust them in depth, I don't think it's glasses friendly and finally it's not cheap.
 
While VR is dominating the market Devs should prioritize performance and visual quality of it but it happens the opposite. There are even some idiot companies (i.e Kylotonn) publish games even without VR support.
 
While VR is dominating the market Devs should prioritize performance and visual quality of it but it happens the opposite. There are even some idiot companies (i.e Kylotonn) publish games even without VR support.

Yeah exactly, most train and bus simulators don't support VR. The main reason for me those games get exciting is because of VR. I was never really interested in Trains, but to look around and enjoy beautiful scenery is actually really cool.
 
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.
What are you talking about? AC has a reset VR button.
In other games you use the controllers, that also has a reset VR button.

I do have kids, and love to play in VR, I guess you don’t like VR, but no need to talk gibberish. A lot of games does the hand controls brilliantly. Guess you never tried one.
But that’s OK, you can play on the screen. A lot of people does. VR isn’t a niche anymore, especially not in SimGames.
 
While VR is dominating the market Devs should prioritize performance and visual quality of it but it happens the opposite. There are even some idiot companies (i.e Kylotonn) publish games even without VR support.
I wonder how much implementing VR costs, as those companies that don’t support it in their games seem odd to me that they don’t want their product to excel in all areas and add such an innovative and exciting experience.
If companies like the smaller sim devs can add it surely it’s not too much to ask for it to be standard, especially in the F1 games.
I used to love wrc games before I got a oculus, but I’ve not played it once since, which is shame.
 
What if you have a one of those true 4K projectors (preferably with the best colours, blacks, refresh rate, and longest lifespan possible) projecting onto a screen that spans an entire wall or 3 walls if that can even be a thing?

Museums and art galleries do the whole "project onto walls" thing and they look super crisp and immersive, so imagine that but with racing simulators.
 
What if you have a one of those true 4K projectors (preferably with the best colours, blacks, refresh rate, and longest lifespan possible) projecting onto a screen that spans an entire wall or 3 walls if that can even be a thing?

Museums and art galleries do the whole "project onto walls" thing and they look super crisp and immersive, so imagine that but with racing simulators.
That's absolutely been done, mostly for airplane cockpits, but not always. I know of at least one person who has been selling a 2 person cockpit projection screen system for a while.

 
What if you have a one of those true 4K projectors (preferably with the best colours, blacks, refresh rate, and longest lifespan possible) projecting onto a screen that spans an entire wall or 3 walls if that can even be a thing?

Museums and art galleries do the whole "project onto walls" thing and they look super crisp and immersive, so imagine that but with racing simulators.
You still would miss the depths of sight, and you still would miss the scale of things. You would end up with a huge cockpit, so actually it’s better with smaller screens nearer you. (In my opinion.) I have raced on a 300”screen, 3 *32, 3 *27 and a “SuperFOV” (where the cockpit went in the screen google it.). In my opinion 3*27 and SuperFOV worked the best for screens. But VR even first generation, blows those away. For me, at least. Because the scale and totally immersion.
 
I use my rig for both sim racing and MSFS 2020 so I use a combination of many screens mainly because of MSFS. I use an Alienware computer with a 3080 video card. My main screen is a 40" (4K), my secondary screen is a 24" (1080P), my third screen is a phone running Sim Dashboard for all racing games and even works with MSFS and my fourth screen is an iPad that can run many related apps including running as my third computer screen. I could run my phone as another computer screen but use it for mainly telemetry.
 
I have also use a video projector with 120" screen. My biggest problem was the scale of things if you run in cockpit mode. If you like external views, it was pretty nice.
 
I feel like being such a pleb, with my single 24' 60hz monitor ! Even worse, I play (Assetto Corsa) with a controller :|

Yet I'm having fun and I perform rather well, I guess it's what matters.
While I prefer the spatial awareness and immersion of VR, it's a candle in the sun next to good fundamentals and experience. I have 200+ hours on controller and single display and am proud of it. I'm content driving on any setup and have more respect players that have to make up for simple setups with skill
 

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