I think I may have re-invented the wheel..

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I think I may have re-invented the wheel..

Post by pepsibottle1 on Thu May 24, 2012 12:11 pm

I know this might be a long post but please bear with me if you can. I thought about something that I don't think has really been done before and would like to hear your feedback on this as I go about it.

This all started a couple of days ago when I went to a check out a used G27 wheel that was posted on Craigslist. Guy wanted $170 for it and that's quite frankly not a very bad price. Even though I don't have a decent enough PC to run sims again, I still have Gran Turismo for my PS3 and besides, it's worth having for when I hope to return after this build I plan on completing in August.

Now I've never driven with a FF wheel before as I've always been stuck with an acient Microsoft Sidewinder wheel and thus was expecting to have something that would better simulate the forces acting upon the front wheels/steering rack. I mean, face it, it's pretty hard to drive on the limit when you can't feel what the car is doing you know. I asked him how FF was to him and he literally swore by it. And besides, the G27 is regarded to be a very good wheel throughout the community so what the hell?

After 5 minutes experimenting R-Factor (RealFeel mod to boot), I was dully disapointed. If this is what top-of-the-line was, it's ridiculous. Where I was expecting to feel continuous resistance from the front tires, I only felt momentary feedback when the car were to slide or hit a bump. That's not force-feedback, it's little more than a "rumble" effect. Even with the force cranked all of the way up, that did nothing to help the lack of initial resistance the wheel had in the first place. All the FF did was just work to yank the wheel from my hand. There shouldn't be any "yanking" unless you're going into a spin, but instead constant resistance based upon where and what the front tires are doing

So I looked further into the subject and it turns out that basically, this is how all wheels are designed; little to no inertia resistance and on top of that, all of the tire, engine and suspension simulation is gone to waste because now the front half of the car is basically simulated by the wheel's profiler settings instead of the sim itself. Laughably, there's no programming telling the wheel where the location of the wheel is in relation to the front tires to begin with. The initial problem of not having any "feeling" in the steering was far from remedied. Surely there is a better way.

With that said, I kind of came up with a clever idea for Force-Feedback.

First, we ditch the potentiometer and use a load cell. Some of you may be familiar with this because this term is used in very fancy pedal sets. Where a potentiometer measures the difference in original location, a load cell actually measures the force that is being put in. Think about it; when you turn a steering wheel, you're applying force against the wheel. Steering isn't measured by merely the amount you rotate it from center but rather how much force you put into it. Rarely is steering ever "centered" in real life because the forces on the front tires act upon the wheel. The wheel is in a certain location and we simply apply a slight bit of effort in order to move it.

Second, we would have the simulation itself monitor all of the forces acting on the front tires in relation to the steering rack. This is sorta how it should be in the first place, don'tcha think? Out of all of those factors, the sim itself would then determine the amount, type and strength of resistance that is to be sent to the wheel instead of offloading it through pre-loaded settings from the wheel profiler. Since all of this is within the program, we can factor this into the rest of the simulation (ie:weather, type of car, track surface) which truly makes everything unique and realistic. See why letting the wheel determine all of that is kinda stupid? And with the processing power of all of these fancy new processors along with the vast bandwith of USB, this cycle is more than possible to run in real-time.

Finally, the steering feedback and relative location is sent to the wheel and the FF motor is used to generate said resistance. The driver's steering input is calculated by how much force is put into the wheel and sent back to the sim where the process continues.

We now have a proper steering system; We get constant steering resistance which is directly impacted by our steering input and the sim reflects that it gets progressively harder to turn at speed, and each car drives differently since the steering system is now simulated in the game. Most of all, however, is that driving is made that much more realistic and entertaining.

Comments?
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pepsibottle1
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Re: I think I may have re-invented the wheel..

Post by Mystrsyko on Thu May 24, 2012 1:33 pm

I don't think load numbers will translate well into degrees turned. If you yank the wheel hard left, you're applying a lot of force, which would be translated as a turn near full lock, even if you only turned the wheel a fraction of that. You'll need a way of knowing how far the wheel is turned in relation to full lock and/or centered in order for the sim to know the difference between a sudden swerve and a full lock turn

I don't think reinventing the wheel would be necessary here, just reprogramming it. Making the sims handle wheel input and force feedback should be more than adequate. Either that or you have a poorly configured wheel. I have one of these and it handles force feedback much better than what you are describing, and it only cost me $100 retail. It applies a constant "inertia" centering force that moves easily when turned slowly, but takes more force to turn quickly, much like a real car, and it adjusts this based on FF input from the sim. I haven't played any modern sims with it, so that could just be because my ancient racing sim is doing all the work, but I doubt that is the case
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Re: I think I may have re-invented the wheel..

Post by ParaLanche on Thu May 24, 2012 3:54 pm

Rfactor is probably the worst sim to test a wheel on.
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Re: I think I may have re-invented the wheel..

Post by 24batista24 on Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:07 pm

I have a question. What mod did you use? Some mods arent compatible because they were made before the plugin was released. In some mods you have to upgrade the FF to realfeel. I find the realfeel quite good tbh. I think it just has to do with the mod honestly.
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Re: I think I may have re-invented the wheel..

Post by pepsibottle1 on Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:33 pm

24batista24 wrote:I have a question. What mod did you use? Some mods arent compatible because they were made before the plugin was released. In some mods you have to upgrade the FF to realfeel. I find the realfeel quite good tbh. I think it just has to do with the mod honestly.

F1 1988
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