Oculus Rift Configuration Guide – Simulation Gaming

Introduction


The Oculus Rift is one of the hottest gadgets on the tech market right now. Sure the hardware isn’t ready for consumers just yet, but we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on the Oculus Rift DK2 (Development Kit 2). We already reviewed the basic hardware and features of the Oculus Rift, but also I want to take a more in-depth look into some of the experiences available on the rift; starting with Simulation style games.

Many of you will have an image of plug and play features that allow you to strap an Oculus Rift to your face then start gaming, unfortunately that’s currently not the reality. Setting up games for the Oculus Rift can be a hit and miss experience, hopefully I can help smooth out a few of these issues for you. This article is as much a review for those thinking about investing in the technology, as it is an Oculus Rift configuration guide for those who already own it.

Simulation-style games are a big market for PC gaming, so I’ve picked out a few of my favourites (that also have VR support). Of course, Star Conflict isn’t exactly a common sim-game, but there aren’t exactly rules excluding it.

  • Star Conflict
  • Assetto Corsa
  • Life for Speed (LFS)
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2

Helping me in my gaming adventures, I will be using the follow extra hardware.

Essential Oculus Rift Setup Advice

If you experience judder or low fps, drop your games graphics settings down to low. If the game runs smoothly at this point, you know it’s your graphics settings and not the DK2 hardware. If you have judder at low settings you know the problem is with a different part of your setup. It’s often also good to start games with AA and AF disabled, enable them later if the game is running smooth. I can’t stress enough how much easier it is to just get the basics working first then build from there.

Go into your GPU configuration software, this will typically be Catalyst Control Centre or Nvidia Control Panel. Set all major graphics options to “let the application decide”. This is especially important for AA and AF settings. For most games you will need V-SYNC as “let the application decide”, but some games don’t detect this properly. If your game is experiencing judder, force VSYNC on and try again, else force off and try again. Some games have their own ways of handing VSYNC and conflicts can and will occur.

If your game is still not running smoothly, go to the GPU control panel, switch your desktop display to 75Hz (if it supports it). If you can’t do this at your current resolution, this will likely drop your monitors resolution lower to one that will support 75Hz (my monitor drops to 1280 x 1024). This will prevent VSYNC from confusing the DK2 as both the DK2 and your desktop will now be running at the same refresh rate (75Hz).

Multi GPU configurations have also been known to cause stutter, albeit in very rare circumstances. If nothing else works, try running the game on a single GPU.

Be sure to adjust your IPD, lens distance and lens type accordingly prior to use. These can make a vast improvement to the overall visual quality, but they will not have any effect on the frame rate of your game, just the overall visual quality.

I find that it is worth disabling GeForce Experience and AMD Gaming Evolved software. These programs are tailored to adjust your graphics settings to get the best performance and quality, which may overwrite the settings you’ve used to configure your games for the DK2.

All testing was done with the Oculus 0.4.3 SDK. Please make sure you have the latest graphics drivers and all updates installed for your games prior to trying to replicate any settings in this article.

Thrustmaster Ferrari GT Cockpit 458 Steeling Wheel Review

Introduction


Gaming is a hobby and like most other hobbies, you can choose your own level of participation; do you just want to casually play games from time to time with a regular controller, or do you want to invest time and money in creating a really cool and more involving setup? Of course this can be an endless obsession; new computers, screens, seats, peripherals and more and while I’d love to go into creating a full setup, today I’ll be taking a look at the new Thrustmaster Ferrari GT Cockpit 458 Steeling Wheel, which promises a minimal fuss solution to improving the racing/driving sim aspects of your gaming setup.

There are lots of great racing wheels on the market and it can be hard to define which one would be best suited to your needs and budget. The new model I have here today isn’t cheap at £169.99, but it’s still actually rather affordable for a premium wheel; I think it’s safe to say that this is a mid-budget product. At this level of investment, you’re going to be expecting something of quality, and the first part of that comes from the official Ferrari licence that Thrustmaster currently hold. The 458 Italia Edition steering wheel is modelled on, you guessed it, the real Ferrari 458 Italia steering wheel.

The wheel is very well equipped and features all of the basics you need to get you started for use on both PC and Xbox 360. One of the more unique and interesting aspects of this wheel is that it features an adjustable steering column which is fixed to the pedals, making this a one-piece unit with a heavy-duty carry handle; it can even be folded flat and stored out of the way, such as under a bed or in a cupboard.

  • Metal structure is fully adjustable in length and height, to adapt to all gamers (adults/children) and any type of seating (sofa/chair/armchair)
  • Foldable with carrying handle for quick and easy storage
  • Wide, weighted base (total weight of more than 10 kg) for optimal stability
  • Streamlined “Musetto” body in the style of the Ferrari 458 Scuderia Black
  • WHEEL: 7/10 exact replica of the wheel on the Ferrari F458
  • Ultra-precise wheel, featuring 16-bit precision (more than 65,000 values on the wheel’s steering)
  • Sequential Up & Down paddle shifters crafted of metal, for Ferrari GT-style driving
  • Manettino® dial: lets you change settings directly while driving in the game
  • XXL realistic wheel: 28 cm in diameter!
  • Grips with rubber texture for optimal comfort
  • Headset connector lets you chat online (headset not included)
  • 2 metal pedals built directly into the cockpit, for total stability
  • Metal pedals with long range of travel, inspired by the shape of the pedals on the Ferrari car
  • Brake pedal with progressive resistance
  • G.V.S. technology– High-precision
  • Exclusive “G.V.S. (Global Vibration System)” technology: allows for vibrations in games to be felt throughout the entire cockpit – including the wheel, steering column and pedal set

The packaging is huge, but this is a pretty big unit overall so that was to be expected. The carry handle hangs through the side of the box, allowing you to move it around a little easier; although it’s still not easy to carry around due to its overall weight.

Everything is nicely packaged in the interior, with protective foam, boxes and plastic around the important components to help keep them safe and scratch free during transit.

In the box you’ll find a couple of setup guides and a small collection of high quality screws and an Allen Key; these are needed to attach the wheel to the steering column.