A Great Gizmo!

First of all, click on the link above and find out all about TrackIR. If you really wanna get one, run down to Tecdrome at Sim Lim Square, level 5 near the escalators. It’s a game shop, and it sells gaming peripherals too.

Now, I bought this TrackIR thing around May 2005. Didn’t really use it much because at the time I was heavily addicted to Everquest 2, an MMORPG, hence I have very little use for it.

Lately, since I have been taking a break from Everquest 2, I decided to play my older unopened games which I bought last year too. Yeah I have quite a number of unopened/unfinished games cos EQ2 kinda took over my gaming life.

Anyway, I loaded up Falcon 4 Allied Force which I bought (yeah I know, downloading the Balkans campaign for free off the net as well as patching Falcon 4 original to Superpak 3 status is the same thing). I also decided to “get into” Lock On more seriously.

I do remember from my initial trial run of the TrackIR that it was really changing the way I play flight simulations. No longer do I need to use the POV hat switch on the joystick to look around. Now I look around the cockpit by turning my head.

“Wait” I hear you cry. “That is the dumbest thing I ever heard of. If I turn my head, I can’t see the monitor!!”

Well, not really. It’s a head-turning amplifier. You control how sensitive you want the amplification to be. You may turn your head 2cm to the right in real life but in the game you might have already turned 45 degrees or more. Looking up and down is the same. I have a weird problem with my head cos apparently I need to adjust it to almost max amplification for my head to look UP. Left, Right and Down remained at default settings, with some very minor tweaks to compensate for my unconcious head movements (which I didn’t find out about till I got this gizmo).

Anyway back to flight sims – yes, with this new gizmo, not only have I freed up 4 more keys at least (my hat switch is 8-way, but some games only recognise the 4 cardinal points), it made some game functions like PADLOCK VIEW obsolete. I do not need to “padlock” it in the game anymore. I can just LOOK at my target and use my head and eyes to track where the target has gone.

Trust me, if your head is titled up and to the right, your hands automatically know where to pull the joystick to, to bring the crosshairs over the target. In the past I have been trying to use the padlock function in the game but without much success. I usually get disoriented using the POV hat switch to slew the views around and it kinda gets all messed up.

What’s great is that now when the wingman says “Check your six”, I just turn my head and look at my six. If there’s a bandit on my tail I can pull a split-S without taking my eyes off target till it’s in my crosshairs and I get a splash.

I have tried to make TrackIR work with Operation Flashpoint though, but apparently the support for it back in 1998 (yes that is how old Operation Flashpoint is… it came out in 1998) was almost non-existant. It would be cool to turn the soldier’s head without turning the body.

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