Vr the pinnacle.jpg
There’s no denying it, VR is the most immersive way to take part in sim racing. You might hate it, it may make you feel ill, but the feeling of occasion and speed is on another level compared to monitors.

Have you tried VR and gone back to monitors?

I first tried VR about 8 years ago at a Game of Thrones experience, my wife and I queued for over 1hr to experience traveling up a lift and looking over the ice wall. Actually it was a 4D experience where we stepped into a prop lift, had wind and sounds blasted at us - after all the hype, I was not impressed. We were using the first commercial version of the Oculus and everything looked fuzzy and out of focus.

I then tried VR in 2018, I was at a tech event and experienced the HTC Vive for the first time. Placing the headset on I was in ANOTHER lift, but this time when the doors opened there was a plank and I was at the top of a skyscraper - yes, this was Rickie’s Plank Experience and it scared me big time!! After pulling myself together, this was the first time I thought VR could be a good experience in sim racing.

The first time I tried VR was with Project Cars 2 and with all the flaws that Project Cars 2 had, it was for me the best sim racing experience I have ever had! To be able to look around inside a car, glance over your shoulder to see a fellow competitor, or move your gaze to the apex of a corner - these are things that you can’t do with monitors (not easily anyway).

After many many hours of Project Cars 2, I realized that other sims also supported VR and for almost a year I played in AC, iRacing, and RaceRoom all in VR. You can imagine how excited I was to learn that ACC was coming out and that it supported VR. I remember the sheer disappointment I had the very first time I tried ACC in VR. ACC looked terrible and it ran terribly too. Not to worry I thought, it’s early access it will get better.

Well, ACC has improved - frame rates are up and it is way more stable, but it still looks terrible. There was even a time that I tricked myself into thinking ACC looked good and I raced around for several months in VR believing just that. I kept on believing right up to the day I hopped back into Project Cars 2 and was instantly blown away.

The fact of the matter is ACC in VR isn’t very good. Whether it’s due to limitations of the Unreal Engine, or the dev team don’t have the time to make any improvements - I don’t know.

Over the last year I’ve read various comments from sim racers across various platforms, saying things like “VR is dead” “no one plays in VR” “dev teams don’t have time to accommodate 5% of the player base”.

Is VR dead? Absolutely not! Do a portion of sim racers play in VR? Absolutely yes! Are a small portion of sim racers using VR? That is true. BUT VR headsets are getting better, the resolution is improving, they're getting lighter, connectivity is better, and our computers are getting more powerful to accommodate VR.

Does this mean that VR is the future and everyone will end up playing in VR? With the Metaverse around the corner and VR being a HOT topic, perhaps we’ll all be racing around in VR sooner than you think.

Do you think VR is the future and best way to experience sim racing?
About author
Damian Reed
PC geek, gamer, content creator, and passionate sim racer.
I live life a 1/4 mile at a time, it takes me ages to get anywhere!

Comments

For now VR is definitely the king.
But it's not the "pinnacle". VR headsets will get better and better the next 20-30 years until the (true!) VR will be directly induced into your brain, at least this is likely to be the successor from todays point of view. Neuralink from Elon Musk is doing a lot of research on that front, I guess more and more will join the train
 
VR is by far the best way for me to experience immersion in SIM, nothing else puts me in the car and on the track.
Perfect? No, but way better for me than one or 3 pancake.
Is it the future? Not sure, as it might not be for every one, I see it as co existing with pancake, while gaining popularity as the image quality will improve.
 
Yes and No,

Immersion is unreal. peroid

The technology is not fully there, and the outrageous cost of the hardware to run them and get acceptable visuals is out of the question for most.
$1600 for a G2 or Index, Avg cost of RTX 3080 ti is $2500 that's if you can find one, $1000+ for i7 and mobo here in Canada.
 
I can‘t do DCS without VR, or any other flight sim for that matter, but for driving sims I‘d rather just play flat as my eyes are mostly always forwards, as opposed to a combat flight sim where my head is permanently on a swivel.
 
I'm playing racing sims and flight sims only with my Oculus Rift CV1 since I bought it in 2015. No way at all to go back to a monitor. It's just so unrealistic compared to the experience with a VR Headset. I mostly play AC and with the correct settings (1.5 Super Sampling, 45 HZ ASW mode), it looks really great in VR and I can use the same high graphics settings and racing grids with up to 30 cars as with a 60 Hz Full HD monitor. And I have only an old PC with Intel Core i7-4790K CPU + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

The best VR implementation have PCARS2 and AMS2 with the Madness Engine. AMS2 with its very good physics and FFB is the best choice at the moment to test sim racing in VR. But also Raceroom and Rfactor 2 work verk well in VR, only ACC with its blurry graphics in VR isn't good at all.

VR newbies should also be aware, that it will take about 2 weeks to get used to the VR experience and get your VR legs. And the MOST important setting to prevent sickness is to lock the onboard camera to horizon in the game options. That's the same thing, that the human in-ear does in real life, when you look in the distance when driving a real car.
 
First sim racing experience in VR was PC1 and it was bad... system was not fast enough, picture quality (standard VIVE) was more meh than ok... i was hyped, but not rly satisfied. ;)
Some time later i had a new system, i discovered AC etc... still with the standard VIVE but able to use SS and able to see what's might ahead in terms of picture quality. :D
Since release of the Reverb G2 a happy user and mindblown by the sharpness and ability to look far ahead into the distance... it's just awesome!

btw: i am using a 5600x, which is very cheap and it should max out your frames in every sim title.
But the GPU part... i must agree, you want the fastest card that's possible. :)

I always say, if you like roller coasters, you should like VR too! If not, just try it... you might get used to!
 
Jason Chamberlain
Premium
Ah, nothing like the occasional VR thread to drive up engagement ;)

I got to experience Project Cars 2 in VR with a Buttkicker one time and that became my goal. I only use VR now and I have a setup with Simhub and 2 pucks under my seat to give me some tactile feedback. With that and earbuds for the sound, I find that I completely disappear into the world. I don't have a good way to play "flat," so that's also part of why I am VR only.

The biggest drawback for me is the heat. This time of the year, it's great, but in the summer here in North Carolina, it does get really hot. My family and my wallet would not appreciate it if I made the house feel like a server room just so I can do a long session in VR.

I even do ACC in VR. I'm sure many would say that my experience is completely unacceptable, but I've learned to live with it. I do admit that when I have watched a race on my flat monitor or when I watch a streamer/YouTuber I do kind of wish I had a way to do triples. But I can deal with it, despite just having a 1060 Ti and a Rift S.

There is a part of me that would like to try triples, but that's too much for me to invest at this point.
 
I think VR needs to solve its 2D interfacing issues so that we can finally get big streamers using it. The current situation makes it look like no youtube/twitcher streamers use it, whereas as is the problem is more that its bad for dealing with the concerns of streaming. Those concerns are also issues for VR users that add friction, interfacing with discord and launchers is all a lot harder and more complicated as is having overlays of the things we want projected where we want them. VR is incredible for racing with but we need PC concerns dealt with and thankfully that really is just a software problem at this point.
 
RCHeliguy
Premium
I think VR needs to solve its 2D interfacing issues so that we can finally get big streamers using it. The current situation makes it look like no youtube/twitcher streamers use it, whereas as is the problem is more that its bad for dealing with the concerns of streaming. Those concerns are also issues for VR users that add friction, interfacing with discord and launchers is all a lot harder and more complicated as is having overlays of the things we want projected where we want them. VR is incredible for racing with but we need PC concerns dealt with and thankfully that really is just a software problem at this point.

Good points!

Room scale for things like Beat Saber has worked really well for YouTubers.


For sim racing it definitely doesn't translate as well.

Also some people with triples have a 4th monitor on top with all kinds of valuable information on it. VR should be able to show all that information as well, and there are some, but still many missing tools for those 4th screens are not available in VR.
 
I do sorta wonder if triple screens with accurate head tracking that translates 1:1 to your camera position in the car could be the best of both worlds. Obviously facetrackIR or whatever has nothing like the precision of a VR headset's multiple base stations. Being able to lean your head to look around A pillars and so on would go a long way to closing the gap in immersion, and having the 3d projection always match your perspective (instead of being an arbitrary fixed FOV) would help the closeup 3d effect. Ultimately triples have a lot less vertical fov than headsets but that's a little bit to their advantage since they focus on rendering the part of the track you actually want to look at.

Haven't yet had a chance to try VR though, once I do maybe I'll be convinced it offers something triple screens can't replicate.
 
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Yes and No,

Immersion is unreal. peroid

The technology is not fully there, and the outrageous cost of the hardware to run them and get acceptable visuals is out of the question for most.
$1600 for a G2 or Index, Avg cost of RTX 3080 ti is $2500 that's if you can find one, $1000+ for i7 and mobo here in Canada.
Whoooaa ! You can play really good quality VR without absolutely breaking the bank, but yeah a good spec computer is what cost the most and what is needed most. I would say its a bit steep for the low end gear sim racer but for your average high end gear its pretty much like slashing on a direct drive. Triple pancake setup is MUCH more expensive than VR.

My headset Rift S = 500$
i7 + RTX 3070 (is well enough) complete computer = 3000$
In Canada
 
Two Hands
Premium
For me VR is the way to go. I still race in 2D sometimes, usually if I just want to get in some quick hot lapping and I don't feel like putting in my contacts. There are also some older Sims I occasionally fire up, mostly for nostalgia that don't have VR support. I did a fair amount of Race 07 races back in the NoGrip days.

The way I see it the enjoyment from being behind the wheel increases with each bump in immersion. A wheel, VR and some sort of tactile device is as close as I can get to my real track time. It's kind of incredible what we have access to these days.

I can't help but compare the price to the real thing and marvel at how good we have it. I'm lucky to get 3 or 4 track sessions out of a set of tires in the real world and maybe 5 sets of tires could cover the cost of my whole rig, minus the games.
 

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