My next game session was cut short, very much so. My EDtracker had arrived, quite early, and already pre-assembled/configured. This input device will be mounted on top of my headset and translate my head movements into a joystick-equivalent input, best used for free head-turning in the cockpit. The game conveniently allows for seperate control settings to this ends; one of the many wonderful and well thought-through features of Elite: Dangerous.
went through calibration and drift-setting exercises because the device
worked a bit strange after I just installed the drivers and I tried it
first in the game without this. This took me the better part of the
evening, I am not very much aquainted with flashing, firmware and
embedding circuitry into software. My main problem was that I first had
to understand that you have to "load"/"flash" two different programms;
first the calibration firmware and then later the drift-control firmware,
which also allows you to do final settings, like for example setting the
sensitivity (which I really recommend to do in conjunction with the
game settings in order to make the input feel really natural and
comfortable). Also, the flashing always caused the EDtracker to loose
connection, which I could only solve by restarting the computer. But I
worked it out in the end, and I exitedly started my game session.
having to get used to a new control input distracted me a lot and
almost overtasked me. I felt and steered like a true newb again. Also,
to be honest, the added level of immersion underwhelmed me. This might
be because it still takes some getting used to, to make it feel a more
natural experienced. A colleague gamer told me, it does not feel very
"wow!"-ish, but after a while you would miss the feature to turn your
head in every game environment.
What I still cannot get
used to is that the tracking seems to have a certain "resistance" when
you want to look away from the center-frontal looking position. It feels
like having to overcome a kinf of a switch-barrier by moving your head a
bit more then you should, i.e. the view drags behind your movement,
before the view turns in sync with your head movement again; a kind of
irritating "head-snapping" effect. I wish I could find a setting which
makes the input translate into a truly linear movement (it is not the
dead zone, I have set it to zero). Also, I have to find a way to
position the standard position a bit higher, therby omitting the
instrument panel, so that I will have to look down a bit in order to
actually look at the instruments; like I do in my car. It feels a bit
irritating to always have the instrument panel obstructing your view and
I found that I instincively played with my nose raised a bit upwards,
which felt kind of awkward.
Also, who the hell had the
idea to put LEDs on that thing? You should have seen my wife´s look when
she saw me sitting there, in the convenient half-darkness of my computer room, "with a lightbulp on top of my head", as she
expressed it. Yes, it is hard to be cool as a geek!
it get any nerd´ier? Sure! Wait till the Oculus Rift consumer version is
out next year! Anyways, I am sure it will take a few more game session
to really get comfortable with this new type of input control.