Taking my sim-racing experience to the next level

Last updated on: February 24th 2017

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After many years of upgrades of graphics cards and systems to support triple screens, I decided that enough was enough and I was going to go to a single graphics card and if that meant a single screen to get good smooth performance, then that was what I was going to do.

Whilst I didn't miss the bezels and the hassles of SLI once on a 27" WHQD screen, I was starting to miss the 'feel' of racing. The 'immersion' aspect was really lacking, but I didn't want to go back to the cost of SLI and triple screens to get it back.


I started to look at bigger screens and came across a few threads on SuperFOV projects that had come to fruition with projector based displays, but the prospect of 16:9 on a projection screen, blown way too big both vertically and horizontally didn't really appeal as I have a small space in the 10'x8' spare bedroom that doubles up as my Office and also my gaming space.

I found many SuperFOV Youtube vids from Remco Hitman and then I stumbled across IDLH_ SuperFOV curved screen DIY project on the Assetto Corsa forums.... I needed something similar to that... but to fit in my small sparebedroom/office... the challenge was on to come up with something that worked for me.

One thing I realised very early on was that I needed a Short Throw projector, capable of HD at the very least... I looked at 4K projectors, but the thought of it costing me a divorce put me off quickly. I settled on the BenQ W1080ST as my beamer of choice. I got hold of one from Richer Sounds in Nottingham on a 30 day trial - thanks guys :) which I ended up not returning and got a really good deal with 5yrs warranty thrown in.

...SuperFOV @ 4K

Update: July 2015 - having had a PJ based sFOV setup for nigh on 18 months, I finally gave in as I needed better resolution and clarity for my brain to keep being immersed, so I have invested in a 65" 4K Curved TV. The immersion is 'different', but on the same hand, I believe greater. The screen is not wrapped around me any longer so the feeling of being inside the screen/vehicle is not so instant but the visuals are very clear now and the screen covers most of the natuaral primary in focus frontal vision (about 60° horizontal) easily and almost all of the nearly in-focus periphery (about 100° horizontal), leaving the completly out of focus vision beyond that (about 35° per eye at the horizontal extremes) without a picture.... so better than the current implementations of VR headsets which are close to this. The other added advantage is that the picture is no longer warped, nor needs to be warped further to display correctly on a curved screen... another contributor to the clarity problem. Don't get me wrong, the clarity on the PJ was not awful, it just was not brilliant at 1mm² warped pixels!

I have the TV mounted to the desk on a lift (homebrewed) that can change the height by 6 inches. I lower the TV into my desk to line up the virtual wheel with my own (and then turn it off of course!) when on racing titles, but lose the bottom 4" of screen.

My next ambition is a full race simulator conversion for the room... removing the desk and replacing it with a rig.... but I still require the screen for work and film and play... so the rig has to meet all my requirements. I have my eye on one... and with a bit of DIY can make it work for me... so watch this space.


Update: October 2016 - I got my Oculus Rift CV1 in June this year and since then have spent all of the little racing time I have had on only the VR enabled titles. I suprised myself with this as the DK2 was a very different experience indeed and got sold in under 3 months.

Despite my need for clarity and great visuals as a self confessed graphics whore, I just cant get past the immersion that VR brings to the table in virtual racing. I am used to wearing a helmet as I ride a motorbike occaisionally (and did for many years in the past) and used Track IR for many years in sim racing, flight sims and even FPS when enabled, so the letter box type view and the head tracking seem perfectly natural to me. I don't find the FOV restrictive nor do I get motion sickness and when combined with 2DOF motion, it is phenomenal.

I have been trying to sell my house and move since the summer and so have now put all the wheels and stuff in their boxes, but have left out my warthog Hotas and my rift to use with Elite Dangerous, yet another title that is incredible within VR... again it could do with better resolution, but there are tweaks to help with clarity and it's amazingly enjoyable. I have tried it with Motion as there are profiles that you can use to react to joystick inputs on my setup, but need to spend a lot of time tweaking to get it feeling right.

I can't wait for the next gen VR, it's going to change the world of gaming for even more of us!