The Future of Sim Racing Is Oculus Rift

We all have, at one time or another, wished we could be Michael Schumacher or Sebastian Loeb and drive absolutely bonkers cars at ridiculous speeds. Well, racing simulators are (probably) the closest you're going to get, so listen up.

Current simulators include iRacing, rFactor, RaceRoom, SimRaceway, and, depending on who you're talking to, Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. The PC games, namely iRacing and rFactor, have taken realism to a whole new level, with ridiculous amounts of detail in steering feel through force feedback and near-perfect car and track models. Some of the community-made mods for rFactor even include head movement and realistic motion blur, completely changing what you thought was a "game" into something a lot more serious. The steering wheel market has bloomed in the last few years, with high tech (and high priced) controllers that include Fanatec's ClubSport wheel andThrustMaster's Ferrari F1 wheel.

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Where do you go when the graphics are stunning and the physics are nearly perfect? Virtual reality.

The Oculus Rift is a "virtual reality headset for 3D gaming", meaning it connects to whatever game you're playing and makes the view mimic your head movements in real time. A.K.A. it's magic. Just take a look at this gameplay footage from F1 2012 to see for yourself how awesome this thing is going to be. (Skip to 0:45)

There are even tools and add-ons in development that will allow your hands to be used in-game, like opening/closing your visor or flipping someone off as you pass them.

The Oculus Rift is currently only a development tool, but anyone who wants to try it and help the devs with bugs can purchase it from them for $300. Seems expensive, but considering you're buying a small HD screen with motion-tracking technology, it seems relatively cheap.

Now to see if they'll send me one for testing...

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