After countless efforts over the past few days in the workshop to get the software for our simulator force feedback calculator to work, our fruits are starting to pay off – we managed to get readings all the direct X .dll output from the games we tested today, namely Need for Speed Most Wanted and EA sports Formula 1 2006 Season.
Our setup consisted of a dedicated gaming PC sending all raw force feedback values to a networked PC which will handle all the decoding, event situations and translate out actuator outputs via a USB interface board. The simulator will also feature a single or dual monitor screen setup for the operator.
These, together with Collin McRae Rally and Microsoft Flight Simulator are the games we will be focusing on the trade exhibition for our visitors and the general public when they come and test out of system. Highlight-able games will be Formula 1, chosen as it would be an interest to many now in Singapore, and the Rally game will be the best game to showcase the off-road effects and vibrations we can get from the game. MS Flight simulator will showcase the cross-platform ability of our gaming system able to transition from racing to flight sims with great ease, which is one of our key features. Ahhh it feels all good to get things accomplished and task ticked off the planner.
Dissecting Microsoft Direct X API for games, it’s kinda unreal you can get so much data at your finger tips when you are playing your Direct X-compatible game – too much to a certain extent. Different games will output different Direct X event values at different game events in the game itself, e.g. collision force feedback forces in Need for speed most wanted will output positive and negative values for frontal and rear collisions respectively. While the EA Formula 1 game seems to have force feedback on one axis from frontal feedback.
The lists goes on for skid, braking lateral-Gs when turning, nitrous boosts, gear shifts, vibrations from uneven/offroad surfaces – it just simply adds a whole lot of capability to our system and how we want it to be returned to the user as feedback. I guess we can all heave a sigh of relief with this software big block cleared.
Lastly, we finalized our design intent with our Supervisor Mr Choong today, we gave the go ahead for our design. Bringing the project back on timeline target. The plan is to have our Simulator running on electric actuators running off a serial or USB output from our force calculation PC (Gaming PC is separate from the force feedback PC). So we need to do alot of research and look for vendors in Singapore selling such systems to cater to our needs. Our actuators are Rod type Actuator with at least 50cm of travel and able to deliver 3 horsepower peak so if anyone out there who have contacts from the actuators and controller do feel free to reach me through the site’s contact form of leave a comment in this blog entry.