Six simple ways to improve your sim gaming experience with the right gear
When it comes to PC gaming, many realistic race car simulator games like F1 2020, Assetto Corsa, DiRT: Rally do their best to help sim racers feel like they’re in the driver’s seat with their sim racing rig setup. The best race car simulators incorporate realistic racing physics alongside gamers own sim racing rigs involving Fanatec, Eyeware Beam, and other realistic-feeling cockpit configuration features.
With the help of this specialized iracing equipment and online racing simulator software that offers advanced features like responsive 6DOF head tracking, gamers can experience augmented reality (AR) head tracking in-game with real-life head movements translated into on-screen actions with that increases racers’ field of view.
The possibilities are endless for racecar drivers to feel what the actual experience is like without the difficulty and risk of getting behind the wheel in real life. Combining all of these together into a dedicated simulator rig can create an absolute showstopper that’s certain to offer one of the most immersive racing experiences you can get. We’ll show you 6 easy ways to build your own simulator racing setup.
How to get into sim racing? Here are the 6 key components that you’ll want to take your racing further with the best sim racing rig.
One of the main components you’ll need to set up a sim racing rig is a head tracker and eye tracker. You may already have one of these if you’ve played other simulation games or done some streaming. In addition, a sim racing rig has a few extra parts that match the vehicle you’re simulating. Not only will you need a wheel to drive your simulated race car, but you’ll also need pedals to get it moving and a seat to emulate the feeling of sitting inside a sim racing racecar. You can find plenty of examples on the Reddit iRacing sub or Simracing subreddit.
Sim racing head tracker
Head tracking software is a big part of experiencing the next level of racing simulation when you’re part of online sim racing leagues through steam. One of the biggest uses of head tracking software is to move the in-game camera around based on your head movements, providing a natural-feeling for controlling the game’s camera. This 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) technology is available through dedicated hardware such as the kind that Fanatec, Tobii, or TrackIR provides, but those are expensive compared to affordable and often just as effective alternatives like our Eyeware Beam eye tracker and head tracker app available free in beta on the Apple App store. There is no expensive headset, glasses, or additional hardware needed. Only your iPhone or iPad.
Eyeware Beam’s head tracking app is free while in beta and can be used on any iPhone or iPad to make your phone a remote head tracking device. Using the TrueDepth selfie cam on your iPhone or iPad, the app makes use of Face ID technology found on Apple’s latest devices to track your head position and integrates that with 200+ OpenTrack compatible games. In addition, the head tracking runs entirely on the iOS device, so you won’t have to worry about wasting precious CPU/GPU resources on your computer. This is especially important if you stream your gameplay, as ensuring your CPU/GPU isn’t strained is important for providing a good-looking and non-laggy stream for your viewers.
Pedals for your sim
If there’s anything that you’ll need to play sim racing games such as DiRT and the Test Drive Unlimited series , it’s the ability to get your car moving! Whether you want a more realistic racing experience or are hoping to get better lap times, a key part of any sim racing rig are racing pedals. They’re capable of giving a more tactile, realistic experience than you could get by using the acceleration button on any controller of keyboard. Racing pedals have a wide price range, but you’ll generally be looking at three digits unless you go for a very budget-minded set. You can find plenty of options on the Next Level Racing store, Ricmotech, and plenty more examples listed on Box This Lap.
Steering wheel for your simulator
Being able to move a car back and forwards is important, but it’s almost as important as being able to steer it! If you’ve been to an arcade you might have seen how the racing games make use of controllers designed to resemble steering wheels, and you could use these controllers to both steer your car and navigate through menus. Good examples are the FSW Series 2 and ones from GTR Simulator or Ascher Racing. Nowadays, there are a wide variety of steering wheel controllers that can be used with PC racing games such as Assetto Corsa Competizione and ToCA Race Driver 2. In addition to the basic steering wheel, these controllers come with a variety of buttons for easily controlling other aspects of your game. As for the price, these too have a wide price range, and can go from a few hundred dollars to nearly $1,800.
Sim racing seat
You could use your usual desk chair when playing a sim racing game, but why do that when there are options out that can provide a more definitive racing experience? There are simulator racing gaming chairs out there designed to be like real race car chairs, and no sim racing rig is complete without one to make you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat. Just like with racing pedals and steering wheel controllers, a great racing seat may cost you at least three figures, and the exact price varies wildly depending on the quality and brand. Some options include Trak Racer seats, Playseats, and also GT Omega.
Sim racing eye tracker
If you stream to viewers on a site such as Twitch or YouTube, you can show your viewers where you’re looking on the screen with the use of an eye tracker. Eye tracking also has a variety of other uses, such as using a Vtuber avatar, selecting a window with your gaze, participating in the viral eye tracking challenge, and much more. Normally you’d buy a Tobii product to get the job done, but if you use Streamlabs OBS or any other streaming tool that offers the same functionality, you can make use of the Eyeware Beam app.
In addition to the head tracker previously mentioned, it also comes with an eye tracker that integrates with the streaming/recording software like Streamlabs OBS or Crossclip. If this is the route you choose we have already covered the best tools in 2021 for beginner and pro streamers. If you have other idea and can envision other ways to benefit your rig, Eyeware Beam has provided early access to its API. Build your own head and eye tracking enabled software tools instead.
Buying a pre-built rig
If you’re just getting into sim racing and you can find someone willing to sell one, you might find it a good idea to purchase a ready-built sim racing rig. We suggest you find one made by Simetik or from FSIM if possible. A pre-built sum comes with all the parts you need and is more or less ready to use when you buy it. From there you can get used to working with a sim racing rig, make changes to the setup, and learn what sort of build works best for you. It can be a lot easier to learn the technical details of a racing sim setup and how it works as a whole than if you buy each part individually. As for price, you can expect them to range from about $450 to the higher hundreds, with some rigs costing over a thousand dollars.
What you need to know
You may have started reading this article thinking what is iracing and why should I do it. Creating a high-quality sim racing rig can be an expensive prospect, generally costing a couple thousand dollars. Fortunately, you can ease some of that financial burden by using Eyeware Beam for your head and eye tracking needs along with a combination of some of the six easy ways to make your simulations more realistic. It’s currently in a free beta and is capable of providing easy-to-use and affordable immersion to your sim experience.
Head tracking and eye tracking with Eyeware Beam is compatible with OpenTrack compatible simulator driving games on PC that include Grand Prix Legends, NASCAR DRIVING 2003 Season, F1 Challenge, ToCA Race Driver 2, Richard Burns Rally, Colin McRae Rally 2004, Live For Speed, Cross DRIVING Championship 2005, NASCAR SimDRIVING, GTR FIA GT Racing Game, rFactor, GT Legends, Crashday, netKar PRO, RACE, Test Drive Unlimited, DiRT, VBS2 2.0, RACE 07, X Motor DRIVING, RaceRoom DRIVING Experience, Project Torque, iRacing, F1 2010, Test Drive Unlimited 2, Turismo Carretera, Assetto Corsa, DiRT: Rally, F1 2019, F1 2020, Kart Kraft, and Assetto Corsa Competizione.
Download the Eyeware Beam iOS app from the app store to play your favorite sim driving games. All you need to get started is a Windows 10 computer and iPhone or iPad with iOS 13+ that supports Face ID (list of supported iOS devices) and these instructions or this onboarding video.