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An in depth look at rFactor field of view

Discussion in 'rFactor' started by Steven Ciofalo, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Steven Ciofalo

    Steven Ciofalo

    I surf through sim racing videos on YouTube almost everyday and only in the rarest occasion is someone using a customized view that suits there particular racing rig/desk. I am making this tutorial to help everyone understand and utilize several ways of adjusting your view to best suit your scenario. Most of these setups using forced FOV usually require a Triplehead or a very large screen. However single-smaller display setups can still benefit from a good tune.

    The goal of this tutorial is to make using rFactor more like a full out Driving SIMULATOR and less like a racing game. It should make your racing experience much closer to the real thing. iRacing has these calculations worked out automatically but the same immersion can be found in rFactor with this tutorial.

    It may help to think about it in these terms.


    That brown rectangle represents an average widescreen monitor sitting an average distance from a user, overlaid in a real world driving scene. What is in that rectangle is all you should see in-game.

    That means you should not see your dashboard or wheel. And you should have your Steering wheel shut off in the display options regardless as you most likely have a wheel, in your hands, right in front of you. You do not need two.

    FOV: (In-Game Vs Real-Life)

    Your VERTICAL Field of View is the VERTICAL angle your virtual eye can see in-game.
    You can modify it in your rFactor under Settings>Display. If it is on "Default" then each mod/car will contain a different FOV and rFactor will use that. If you change it to a number "58" then rFactor will force that to be your FOV in all mods/cars.

    The extremes of the easily settable FOV in rFactor look like this.

    100 Degree FOV


    35 Degree FOV


    35 may seem close but if you compare to the first image with the brown rectangle it still isnt close enough. To calculate what you need to set your Field of View in-game to you must figure out what your RL-FOV is. That can be accomplished with the following method and measurements. (Get a tape measure)


    Take the 2 Distances (Side 1&2) and your viewable Screen Height(Side 3) and put those numbers into this calculator.


    Here is an example of my setup in the calculator.


    My monitor has 12" of vertical height and I sit 39 inches from the bottom and 40 inches from the top to my eye. The resulting angle is what my personal setups FOV is, 17 Degrees.

    Trying to set rFactor to this low a FOV is not possible with the in-game setup options. Instead, you must exit rFactor and edit the .cam files for the cars you want adjusted with notepad. Yes every mod would need adjustment should you decide to change them all below 35 Degrees.

    Cam Files are located in "X:\rFactor\GameData\Vehicles\Modname\Carname\Carna me_Cams.cam"

    When opened you will be presented with every camera available for the car. Starting with Nosecam, Cockpit, TV Cockpit, Swingman, Onboard1 etc etc. The one we are concerned with here is the Cockpit view. This allows for headbob and look to apex to remain intact. The default may differ per mod.

      Fov=(60.000000, 60.00000)
      Color=(164, 218, 249)
      ClipPlanes=(0.075000, 700.000000)
      Size=(1.000000, 1.000000)
      Center=(0.500000, 0.500000)
      RadiusLimits=(0.000000, 0.000000)
      OrientationRate=(999.000000, 999.000000, 999.000000)
      PositionOffset=(0, -0.1, 0)
      OrientationOffset=(-0.070000, 0.000000, 0.000000)
    The"Fov=(60.00000000, 60.000000)" Must be changed to "Fov=(17.0000, 17.0000)" or whatever yours calculates to be.

    * I also remove the "7" from the OrientationOffset line making it all 0's. This will level the view.

    Remember, once back in-game the FOV setting must be set to "default" for rfactor to use this adjustment in the cam file.

    NOTE: I also opened and changed the Headphysics.ini per mod editing the

    HeadMass=6.0 to HeadMass=3.0

    making my head lighter causing less intense bounce with the new zoomed view.

    You can also use the head movement removal technique from this thread I found here at RD. http://www.racedepartment.com/rfactor/22330-how-get-rid-head-movement-rfactor.html

    Here is an example of my adjusted FOV of (17 Degrees)

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v504/F12Bwth2/Game Screens/rFactor2010-04-1603-08-12-65.jpg

    VIDEO OF ME ON THE NORDSCHLIEFE @ 17d FOV (Note how much more prominent the banks and gradients feel)

    And here it is when you view it from real life.

    As a scary example here is a single lap of Bathurst replayed in the VLN mods default cockpit FOV of 62.5 Vs an adjusted 20.5
    Note the completely different(realistic) sense of distance.

    Here is a screenshot from a friend who is running SoftTH and we calculated he needed around 18.5 degrees of V-FOV in-game. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v504/F12Bwth2/Game Screens/SoftTH_rFactor_000163677824.jpg

    Now other then setting the correct In-Game FOV you will most likely have to customize the camera position and angle. This can be done in 3 ways.

    First is the simplest by just adjusting you seat position. Most times this is good enough.

    More severe editing requires that the "PositionOffset" and "OrientationOffset" lines in the cam file be permanently altered changing the origins and angles of the camera in game. This method requires you to leave the game to make adjustments and then return to see the results. An annoyance since you never really can be sure how great an impact a small change can have. NOTE: I believe the increments are in METERS.. So changing 0.1 to 1.0 would move your in-game camera 3 feet! I use it to make some right hand drive cars into Left hand drive EXAMPLE Bathurst Legends Ford

    The last method for adjusting your camera position is on the fly is with Cam-Controls.

    To use the cam-controls offered in rFactor you must bind them all. They are Cam up, down, left , right, forward, backward, tilt up, etc, etc, etc. These can also be bound to analog inputs which I do recommend. Using a joystick for more finite controls helps greatly. There is also a "slow" key you can define to slow the movement of your adjustments.

    To change your in-car (or any) view you must first enable/toggle "free-move". Another key you may need to bind.

    Once Free-Move is on you can use your cam-controls to move the camera around to infinite extremes. You will however notice that the movement is not based around the cars position but the worlds X,Y,Z. So up may only be strait up when on flat ground and forward may move the camera sideways or back depending on the cars orientation on the track. It is up to you to sort out and correctly move the camera into position every time the car is reset.

    Once set the view can easily be lost by pressing "Esc" while in practice and can lose "tilt" even if you only change camera views. Perhaps the most dangerous part of this method is the fact that since "free-look" MUST be enabled for the view to stay, the slightest mouse movement can cause your view to spin. Not the best situation while racing. These are the limitations of this method but it is far easier and faster than editing every cam file individually.


    (This video has some errors I have worked out since)

    Since originally writing this tutorial I have moved my monitor 5" closer so my v-FOV is now 20.5 degrees. That looks like this.

    After several months at my perfect fov I find it very difficult to drive with it set to anything else.

    I have found out how to enable the virtual mirrors in cockpit view. It greatly enhances the playability of a low FOV.

    Go into your rFactor\Userdata\Your Name\Your Name.PLR file and edit the following line. It will not effect server join-ability.

    Near the bottom:

    [ Graphic Options ]
    Broadcast Overlay="0"
    Texture Detail="3"
    Vertical FOV Angle="34" // 34=use default, otherwise is the FOV for attached cameras (horiz is calculated based on aspect ratio)
    Rearview="1" // 0=Off, 1=Center and Side, 2=Center only, 3=Side only (virtual mirrors only, in-car mirrors are on/off)
    Allow Rearview In Swingman="0"

    Virtual Rearview In Cockpit="1"

    Set it to 1 and you are good to go.

    I encourage everyone to try their perfect FOV for a day or so. If you can move your monitor closer while racing that may make a huge difference in the feasibility of using a low FOV.
  2. Caramidaru Andrei Bogdan

    Caramidaru Andrei Bogdan
    Mr. C Premium

    OK,IT will be more realistic,but in other hand it with more dificult cause only thing in my mind is rearwheel drive?

    and din't quite get the calculaton of FOV

    10-x u very much for all u;r effort
  3. Theo de Bruin

    Theo de Bruin

    Thanks for this. I am certainly going to try this!
  4. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld
    Founder Staff Premium

    What an awesome article is this :thumb: really useful thank you
  5. Connor Caple

    Connor Caple
    Slowest Racer in Town...

    Very interesting article.

    I have argued with people about 'cockpit view' not being realistic for years in racing games, having driven real cars for 32 years I feel qualified to comment *grins*

    I just got rFactor to add to my collection, so I shall be experimenting with this and then seeing if I can apply similar principles to GTR Evo.
  6. Russell Robitaille

    Russell Robitaille

    Nice tutorial. I'm sure this will help many.
    Personaly I use cockpit view. It gives me a sence of being connected to the car. Others views make me feel like I'm controlling an RC car or something, I just don't feel like I'm fully in control.
    I've played around quit a bit with FOV settings and seat position. I find myself torn between optimizing the fov to give me the best forward view of the track or a compromize allowing me to see the mirrors, instruments and a little bit of the side window. While optimizing for forward view will help me nail the apex etc. I find it compromizes the whole sim experience of actually sitting in a race car. I feel I might as well be using hood view. I can see a whole more around me.
    I guess it comes down to what you want to get out of the game. Do you just want to win or do you want a full sim experience. I personally try to set up my controller as close to the real car as posible, shifter type and wheel angle. I also use trackir to look around and set my view to where I think I would actually be sitting in the car.
    I may be compromizing my chances of winning more, but I think my sim experience is more forfilling.
  7. Billy Davies

    Billy Davies

    I've not got rFactor, but I do own Race On.

    I've applied what you say in this article to that (previously thinking that my FOV was spot on)... Wow, what a difference. Seemed a little odd to start with after bein used to my old settings for god knows how long but...

    There is much more realism now, closer to the track, closer to the action, easier to judge distances, feels more natural. Only thing I don't like is I have to use Virtual mirrors now, but this is a small price to pay for the overall better sim-like experience - especially love these new settings for open wheelers. :cool:

    Thanks very much Mr Ciofalo.

    Edit: And correct me if I'm wrong.. that first photo appears to be the interior of an MX-5 mk1? Your car? I got one of those too - epic for blasting down the coutry lanes :D
  8. Rhys Gardiner

    Rhys Gardiner

    Brilliant article. I had always wondered how sim racers such as 6e66o created their amazing cockpits, and this article not only tells me how it's done but how FOV works. Thanks Steven! :D
  9. Robert Woodward

    Robert Woodward

    ah man this is great, i can see everything way more clearly now ive tryed this, left and right view no longer look like a slow motion video and i can judge distances way better now. everything looks like its real size instead of feeling like you are sitting on top of the car. nice work thinking of this you have improved my sim racing experience a lot ! :D
  10. Denis Porokhniak

    Denis Porokhniak

    I find this tutorial not just unhelpful but even quite malicious for the community.

    First of all it suggests you shutting off most of the peripheral view by reducing your windshield to that small rectangle. As a result you simply wouldn't see cars right ahead of you if they are a bit on the left or on the right. That will automatically make you a dangerous driver when fighting for position or driving in traffic. To put it simply it is not realistic to shut off things you always see in real life.

    Have another look at the first picture. Try and paint black all the windshield of that car except the bit inside the rectangle. Let's see if the authorities allow that to race or drive on public roads. :wink:

    Secondly the author suggests tweaking cam files which as league organizer I find very naughty. Simply put, that is cheating in any league with forced driving view. Thankfully ISI thought about that, so rFactor checks the cam files when joining the server to prevent this. In any case tweaking cam files is a bad habit.

    I can see the overall point the article is making. But getting the distance and FOV right simply isn't worth sacrificing so much of the view that the real drivers can see at all time without turning their head.
  11. Robert Woodward

    Robert Woodward

    denis he did say this is best for tri-screen users who have left right view in the second and third screens , but anyway i had no problems seeing things even with no virtual mirrors on my one screen (cant afford three D:) it doesnt reduce veiw for me it makes everything way better to see and know where it is, like he said normal FOV is like having two cockpits, one on screen and one infront of your screen, the cam file change isnt really that bad because its just for people who need a smaller fov than 35 which is the lowest the ingame menu goes to and if you have a big enough/close enough screen you can make this change with no cam file editing. this isnt about how to hack rfactor its about how to calculate set it up.
  12. Billy Davies

    Billy Davies


    Have you even tried out the settings for yourself??? You'll notice in the comments that follow the article, any of us that have tried it out have said 'You can judge distances better', combine this with the buttons on your wheel that enables you to look left and right and virtual mirrors and it's far better for battling.

    I find your comments malicious and unhelpful.
  13. David Wright

    David Wright

    He does have a point though. There are two sides to this. In reality you have a field of view of almost 180 degrees. The screen view in a sim has to be a compromise if you only have a single screen liike most of us do.

    It is useful for people to appreciate the effect FOV has though on things like perception of track width and elevation. Then we might not get quite so many comments like "the track isn't wide enough" or "the slope isn't steep enough" when really its just down to FOV.
  14. Evan Madore

    Evan Madore

    I found in testing with Steve(zeos) that it feels awesome when driving in the correct fov. You really do though, either need a wide 3 monitor setup or multiple projectors. I myself have found a nice balance between correct FOV and being able to see. BTW, I am the driver in the side by side. That Porsche is too fast.
  15. Evan Madore

    Evan Madore

    Tweaking cam files does NOT restrict you from joining a server. I have been in "cockpit restricted" races, and have been able to modify it just fine.
  16. Steven Ciofalo

    Steven Ciofalo

  17. Xosé Estrada

    Xosé Estrada

    Basically this turns the cockpit view into a "mixed cockpit/hood view" that IMHO is similar to what you see in your car, you have to look down to see your speed meter etc. This kind of view is what most open wheel or proto cars have.

    But I also agree that this can lead, if the driver is not conscious, to a lack of awareness on what is happening around you.
  18. Evan Madore

    Evan Madore

  19. Samuel Starkey

    Samuel Starkey

    I like the idea of lowering the FOV and I have played with my FOV settings in all my sims non stop to get it right but the reason I continue to run rFactor in the 50's and 60's is because I can't stand it when with a FOV of 40 or lower you can be going 120mph in the sim but it looks like your doing 35mph and to me the sense of speed is important.
  20. Günthar Rowe

    Günthar Rowe

    I find the bonnet view is more realistic in many ways over cockpit. As you don't "see" most of this when driving in RL. Only thing with bonnet view is it's centred and often a bit high