I tried AITrack and OpenTrack with my Logitech 1080p webcam (and a 640x480p setting in AITrack). I was a bit disappointed that independent of my head movement, the software generated view movement in MSFS with the latest versions of the two apps several days ago, especially at the extremities of my view settings.
Today I got TrackIR with the TrackClip Pro. Wow! Straight out of the box, after starting it up and starting MSFS, it has just worked great. I just used the default profile and have made no adjustments whatsoever so far. Here’s the yaw profile:
I was so stoked that I made a YouTube video of an EXTERNAL camera view looking around left, then right, and then down and behind me. The video is supposed to illustrate that with no adjustments to the default profile that I can easily take in a 360 degree view in the yaw axis, a 90 deg view down in the pitch axis.
Any herky-jerkiness in the video is just my uncertainty as a brand new user moving my head - the actual screen video is fantastically smooth. Undoubtedly it helps that I’ve cheated and have Pause On for the plane movement.
After starting TrackIR, MSFS did seem to take a long, long time to load initially compared to its usual load times for loading a saved .FLT file. Don’t know if it was making adjustments for the new presence of TrackIR? Second launch still seemed to take longer than usual without TrackIR but not as long as the maiden launch with TrackIR for the first time.
Couple of comments on TrackIR with the TrackClip Pro.
First, I thought it was pretty silly for the cost of the item ($180 for TrackIR, TrackClip Pro with shipping) that NaturalPoint does not include a head clip - a woman’s plastic hairband of the right size would probably do just fine. Instead, NaturalPoint expects that you have a headset and will clip the TrackClip Pro onto that - which might occlude one ear with the ear piece if you don’t plan to pipe sound through a headset in the first place but just want to hear your computer speakers clearly.
The other thing that I thought was lacking were clear instructions on how to use the camera mounting clip on the monitor and how to open the TrackClip Pro clamp to clamp it around a headset clip - without a more detailed explanation, I mistook the TrackClip clamp hinge for the clamp opening point until I realized you pull out on a piece of plastic on the other end of the clamp to open it (I thought the hinge pin was a locking pin that had to be removed to open the clamp!). It’s kinda silly to make the out-of-box experience with TrackIR a puzzle-solving challenge.
Haven’t found yet whether there’s a full user manual to download but there was no included advice on how to store the TrackClip Pro. I figured with my computer setup on a large dining room-sized kitchen table in a big nook that I didn’t want cooking grease from across the room settling on the IR LED’s when not in use. So I found that a plastic sandwich bag is just the right size to drop over the LED clip to shield the infrared LED’s from dust and dirt when not in use.
Edit_Update: Manuals for the TrackIR and TrackClip Pro can be downloaded from here: https://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/downloads/ (not mentioned in included product literature but discoverable below software download section on NaturalPoint website)
I did find that after I removed a paperclip from the thick Software Download Instructions card that behind the thick card there was a foldout Quick Start Guide for the TrackIR that detailed how to mount the camera, including the reasonably important point of using a a wire strain relief clip in the camera base to secure the wire just before it enters the camera - I managed to mount the camera with the stand backwards without securing the camera wire to the stand clip, not realizing that I was looking at rear views of the mounted camera in the TrackClip Pro Quick Start Guide that I was ignorantly using as my setup guide.
The ironic thing is that with the camera stand on the monitor backwards, the angle of the IR camera looking forward and down is a lot more adjustable. Otherwise, the top of my monitor is thick enough front-to-back to make putting the TrackIR camera stand on the monitor securely at just the right forward facing angle a bit touchy when the camera stand is used the “right way” around. The TrackClip passive reflective clip that comes with TrackIR by itself, to be mounted on a hat, seems designed for a lot higher forward facing camera angle than the TrackClip Pro, designed to be mounted lower down on the side of the head clipped to the sideband of a headset. Vertical camera angle really isn’t covered at all specifically in the setup instructions but I imagine I’ll get to that down deep in the TrackIR software guide in due time.
Yes all animals evolved with a neck that rotates so that you can look around without having to move your eyes a lot sideways. This device wants you to rotate with your head and leave your eyes where they are. I found it so unnatural I got giddy. It is also very expensive for what you get especially when you find you can’t use it. You could buy a lot of add ons for the same cost.
Previously I’d been having trouble in the 5th Sedona MSFS flying pattern tutorial looking around while flying as I don’t find it very handy to look around by using either the mouse or the keyboard. I found the free AITrack/OpenTrack software brought a new dimension of both immersion and capability in VFR flying - I could easily click away the co-pilot’s yoke and observe what I was doing to the flap control lever while moving it with the keyboard function keys at the same time using that free head tracking software with my Logitech webcam I’ve had for years for Skype.
Maybe some people are cut out to be jet jockeys and other people will never get away from the barf bag. I haven’t had any problem with either AITrack or TrackIR with any motion problems - perhaps because I’ve spent a significant fraction of my life looking through a dissecting microscope at 25x or 50x magnification for most of the working day where the distances you see and the movements of tools that you hold in your hand are tremendously magnified compared to the real life versions of what you hold in your hand and your associated real life hand movements. I haven’t experimented very much with TrackIR but with the out-of-the-box settings that I tried for version 5.4.2 of the software, as I demonstrated in the YouTube video that I posted above, I was amazed that I could look 180 deg behind myself without looking very far to the left to the left or right using the default settings, I did find the dead zone/reduced sensitivity area in the center not as much as I would like. But I had zero discomfort in looking around.
So one can go with the decent FREE head tracking. Some people say Aruco Paper is better than AITrack. But considering the cost of other peripherals ($250 for a Honeycomb yoke), I don’t think the current price, $135 with discount applied, for just the TrackIR camera and passive TrackClip hat reflector is excessive and it can be used in other games like first-person shooters as well as in flight simulators.
I can appreciate head tracking hardware/software, the same as VR, is not for everyone. But then, too, a corollary must be that that doesn’t mean it’s not for anyone. Some of us love it and find it adds significantly to the MSFS 2020 experience.
I’m using Smoothtrack and I’m quite happy with it. Make sure you don’t have too much interference on your WiFi, otherwise it can be rough (try experimenting with 2.4 vs 5 GHz, or just use USB tethering). I haven’t tried Trackir or any of the webcam solutions however, so I can’t compare.
I also really like the Trackir. It’s so nice on downwind to be able to glance over your shoulder to see the runway. Some say it feels unnatural but the way I have it set up works for me. Two thumbs up for Trackir.
I got my TrackIR last week and dreaded installing it. And, boy was I right about that. Back in the box it went for the time being.
The IR receiver did mount worth a darn on the very thin top bezel of my LG C9 TV. I would have had to tape it on there. That was a joke right up front. The (worthless) Instruction manual didn’t go over anything about that.
The software would not, no matter what I tried allow me to center my head at 0/0 degrees of X and Y. After screwing around with the software for an hour by myself and then watching videos for another hour (not supplied by TrackIR…) I gave up. It may be related to the height of my 55" TV versus where my head is at vertically. I don’t know, and personally, I don’t care at this point!
I’m not looking for any help, so please, save your time. Maybe some day, after having a shot of some 18 Year Sherry Oak Cask, Macallan Scotch Whiskey, I will be up for another try at it.
Sorry for sounding negative. That is not my intent. I just don’t care for cheese that much. It did not go well for me and I was really wanting it too.
Take that shot, in fact I’ll have one as well. I also have my monitor mounted high on the wall and placed the camera on a small stand on the desk in front of me. That way the camera gets to see the three reflectors all the time. Once it can see them you should be in business.
In camera view it was seeing all the reflectors perfectly so that wasn’t it. I had to tilt my head to the right (X) by about 20 degrees and nothing adjusted it out. Like I mentioned, back in the box and a dark cabinet it went. Maybe someday.
My place, 6 pm EST, shots for all, Dudes only! Who gets the yoke is a different problem… Spin the bottle?
It seems to me that a lot of folks making negative comments about TrackIR probably never performed the sort of adjustments and personal calibration so well described in the Jabbers tutorial video.
For example, some folks say that they have to turn their head so far to the left or right and then look sideways at the screen to see around and behind them. Jabbers clearly describes how to create small dead zones near the center of view and adjust the sim motion multiplication factor vs. the angle of real world phyiscal head turning so that you can look 180 deg behind yourself while only looking in reality about 45 deg to the left or right, and looking straight ahead at either corner of your screen when you want to look behind yourself in the sim.
The other thing that I wonder about with some of the negative comments is whether folks are talking about TrackIR 5 and v5.4 of the software? And whether folks were careful to make any hand-designed profile “Exclusive” so some other profile, like the Default, is not used instead when they launch MSFS 2020.
One thing that’s great about the interaction of TrackIR and MSFS 2020 is that you can make adjustments to your profile literally “on the fly” (pun intended) while flying in MSFS.
A great VR headset might be nice - but a VERY expensive experiment. And I like physically using expensive flight controllers that give a real tactile feel to the sim. I don’t particularly look forward to throwing away the use of physical controllers that I can’t see when “blinded” by a VR headset and flying virtually with a set of VR controller sticks. But maybe it’s like TrackIR itself, something you can’t imagine how new and useful it can be until you try it (and carefully follow an excellent setup tutorial).
Its terrible for standard Flight Simul. You move your head/neck and have to keep your eye in the same place. Look at ppl pn youtube using it, they move like robots. Its funny. It would only be interesting if the Monitor would move along with your had 1:1 hahaha. THis is just handy when playing fighters sim. Thats it. The POV and mouse along with chaseplane/ezdok is the best minimalist solution. Best option is multi monitors. As hor VR, i will wait 30 years until they come in glasses size.
So, keeping your head in the same place and having the world spin around you (moving screen with mouse and keyboard) is also perfectly natural - an adaption we were born with?
I think it’s the same thing as learning to catch a flyball as a kid or trying to hit a curving ball. Or bowling a strike by not rolling the ball straight at the pins head on. Initially, one might be spastic and disoriented because the physical/mental coordination isn’t there. But humans are amazing adaptive at what they can do - at least most of us are.
So from my point of view, folks dissing TrackIR are not really honestly criticizing the hardware/software but rather their own adaptability, whether they realize it or not …
Its was a very uncomfortable experience for me. But im not forbidding anyone to enjoy it. It has it PROs too. So good for you, if could pass through the CONs. For example: one of it pros is not having to look at my ugly face everytime i want to fly, like those webcam headtrackers.