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Trying VR in BeamNG.... Sort of

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by IonicOwl, Dec 13, 2021.

  1. IonicOwl

    IonicOwl
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    Following some interesting discussion in this thread about using head tracking alongside a HMD, I thought I'd have a go and see what sort of VR experience can be possible in the game's current state.

    I'm fully aware that the game has no VR implementation yet, nor are there any plans to implement it in the immediate future. Despite this, I wanted to see if there was a way to achieve a pseudo-VR experience by leveraging the head tracking functionality that the game already supports via TrackIR. Depth information is going to be missing of course, but that is expected.

    The HMD I'm using is an Oculus Quest 2, connected to my PC using a link cable.

    The first thing I realised was that TrackIR wasn't going to work. I'm now running Opentrack instead of TrackIR. Even though the game natively supports TrackIR, it appears you need a TrackIR device for it to work. Opentrack will support many input devices, including the Quest 2 it seems.

    upload_2021-12-13_13-24-20.png

    With the Oculus Rift Runtime selected and after hitting the Start button, the software is actively tracking the headset, as you can see from the tracker data above..

    I tried running the game using both the native Oculus Link utility using desktop view and SteamVR. Both launch the game in a theatre type arrangement.

    With Oculus Link, this is what I see:
    OculusScreenshot1639401189.jpeg

    Desktop View doesn't remove the background ambient sounds whilst in game, nor does it hide any of the controls. It also hijacks some of the button mappings from the game, so pressing the change view button in Beam also brings up some keyboard options for Oculus Link. Not ideal, but I don't think this is an intended use case for desktop view.

    Using SteamVR was an interesting experience. Despite BeamNG not being a VR game, you can still launch the game in SteamVR by going to your library within the virtual environment, finding the game and launching in theatre mode. This is much better than using desktop view in Oculus Link, much more game focused as you'd expect.

    OculusScreenshot1639402626.jpeg OculusScreenshot1639402706.jpeg

    As you can see there are issues with the cropping.. Not sure where that problem lies, but worth noting. This makes using the in-game menu impossible (would have been the same on the old UI too).

    Tracking is hit and miss. Opentrack works, but clearly needs some tweaking. As you can see in the second screenshot in SteamVR, every camera view is hugely offset to its intended position. I later figured out that this is because I started head tracking before starting the game, and something somewhere had zeroed the camera incorrectly. If I started the game, tabbed out, sat in a neutral position and then started tracking, the camera would appear almost correct, albeit with highly exaggerated movements. For example in cockpit view, everything looked ok, until I leaned back in my seat ever so slightly, which would make me clip right through my in-game seat. Looking over my left shoulder (in a LHD car) would put my head outside of the car... that sort of thing.

    All in all, it sort of works. Not the full immersive VR experience you'd expect from a natively supported VR title, but an interesting topic of investigation. A fully immersed viewport would be a nice inclusion, rather than looking at the game through a window like you would be if you were using a monitor. Depth information is something I could live without in the short term. I'm only interested in head tracking in the first place because I don't like the tunnel-vision you get when playing racing games through a static display. Playing Garage to Garage scenarios made me realise how important it is to be able to lean forward to look up and down a street before pulling out into it.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone else who has a VR headset/HMD has tried this out, or if there are other things I could have tried that could have improved the experience. I'm completely new to VR, so I'm bound to have missed something. Also, whilst I'm 100% aware that VR implementation is not on the immediate roadmap, and for justifiable reasons, I'm curious as to the barriers faced by the developers if they had played with this before. Is it a performance issue, a limitation of the engine? Could compromises be made perhaps, marking it as an experimental feature maybe? Interested to learn more.
     
    #1 IonicOwl, Dec 13, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
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  2. den_chik

    den_chik
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    You have to define the limits for your axis of movings. And also set the button to reset tracking to zero point while you shift your position.
    --- Post updated ---
    Cheap DIY tracker or original TrackIR seems better choice for that.
     
  3. TYLERTJ

    TYLERTJ
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    It’s interesting, BeamNG used to have native oculus rift support, wayyyy back in the day, but it was removed
     
  4. IonicOwl

    IonicOwl
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    Ah that's good to know in future. Was really awkward trying to sit in a neutral position, whist peeping at the button to start tracking through the gap in my headset. I did look into using a normal head tracker, but it doesn't help when you want to look to the side of you and you can't because now you can't see your actual display. That's what a proper VR headset should overcome, so long as the viewspace is 360 degrees.

    I wonder if it was way too buggy and they removed it to reduce support requests or something like that. I really hope that they bring it back soon.
     
  5. Gobi Masala

    Gobi Masala
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    Ive tried that as well and honestly a monitor is much better. I got very nauseous after trying it like that for like 5 minutes so it was basically unplayable for me. You can try dragging the virtual screen closer so its like a screen wrapped around you which I think looks a lot better.
     
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