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Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

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  • Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

    I know that a bunch of people here use TrackIR 5. I know it's many uses and how immersive it can be, but I also know how much it costs. The price alone is exactly what has held me from buying one for the longest time, so a few months ago I did some googling and found an alternative "DIY" version - FreeTrack.

    When I first came across the software, I was skeptical at the quality (mostly because the website was giving me some serious issues, and I don't trust underdeveloped websites) but soon I said what-the-heck and took apart a few old remotes and built the system.

    I went to a techincal highschool for a few years for electronics, so that aspect was no issue. I already had a High Quality soldering iron, plenty of wire, and plenty of know-how.

    When I built the system, I had been using it for FSX, and wasn't using a microphone headset. I used cardboard to place the parts, and then used the battery compartment from one of the remotes I took apart to store my single AA battery.



    The first version was fairly poorly built, but it worked... so I set out to create a better version.




    I apologize for the photo, it has horrible light. But you can see basically what the final product was.

    Now I'm not sure how many people use freetrack with Arma, but I finally decided I would try it tonight, and I redesigned my layout to fit my headset. This time I used pen caps to hold the LEDs. You will notice that I grounded down the tips of the LEDs to increase the angle that the camera will pick them up. I have yet to test this ingame, and will mostly spend a good amount of time fiddling with the settings, but I'll let you know here after I make my tests. Here's the photos of the final product.









    And the work bench.



    So I wanted to share this with you guys to let you know that it really is pretty simple, and also very cheap. I personally spent nothing and the final product is awesome. All you need is a regular desktop webcam (no big deal for you laptop gamers) and then IR LEDs. (that you can pull out of old TV remotes, or even cheap toy night vision knock-offs)

    Anyway, let me know what you think. And if you decide to try it on your own, take plenty of pictures to post up. I'd love to see what everyone else can come up with!

    I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

  • #2
    That's cool dude, let us know how it works. I use TrackIR but that's a nice little project.
    sigpic

    Former Pathfinder
    Former ARMA Admin
    Former ARMA TGU instructor
    Former TGU Headmaster
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    Im also pretty bad at World of Tanks -

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    • #3
      Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

      I just played a game with it. In conclusion, it's incredible as far as immersion no doubt. I like the extra DOF's I get when leaning around corners a LOT. I need to play with the settings a bit more, as once I reach a certain point when looking left, the sensitivity seems to increase more than the right side does. Overall it's usability when flying is through the roof, and the usability while infantry is just enough to keep it around. I trust the Track IR works a lot better however. I'm going to upload some footage eventually, and maybe someone with Track IR can compare it and let me know how different it looks.

      I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

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      • #4
        Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

        I've used track ir 3 pro since it came out and it is still going strong, I wouldn't play fsx without it that's for sure and I fly a lot in that! also with arma it's very useful to just look around to check where squad mates are at all times I can't recommend it enough.

        As for freetrack I've suggested this to a friend for fsx and interested on how you have done it, nice work there.

        Dave.

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        • #5
          Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

          This looks pretty cool. Thanks for telling me. I've wanted to try Track IR for a long time now, but I'm not gonna pay $100+ just to see if I don't get all dizzy from it. I'll have to try this sometime soon.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

            Butler, I wouldn 't knock your DIY project's esthetics too much.

            I've owned the TrackIR since its release, now having upgraded to the latest version 5. I started with the TrackClip (hat visor reflective variant) and immediately upgraded to the Pro (LED variant) for it's higher performance return and have been vary please over the last 5+ years of use.

            /beginrant

            While the TrackClip Pro (@ $179) is pricey, I have to say it works extremely well. HOWEVER, it is a fragile piece of kit that Natural Point messed up on. I've doctored mine back to life too many times to tell -- bastardized from super glue, rubber bands, wire ties, and a couple aircraft spare parts. The manufacturing is akin to other cheap-o, breaks easily, made products -- shame really.

            It's an eye sore! I hate it -- but I love it.

            /endrant

            I would say to all others on the fence about it -- try the FreeTrack option if you're handy in hobby-work; at least until Natural Point "gets the message" and comes out with a more robust next version. Hopefully they will have received many other compliant emails along with the ones I've sent. WE WANT A QUALITY 2.0 VERSION!

            If you're not a hobbyist and are still considering the TrackIR system -- treat yourself -- you won't believe how long you went w/o it -- especially if you're an Arma fan. If you're the delicate, anal type and have the cash, get the TrackClip Pro version (even as I bash it) -- just be sure to be VERY careful how you treat it and your headphones.

            Here's a piccy of my Roccat Kave 5.1 headphones, hanging on their dedicated stand (sorry for the blur).

            sigpic
            I run my $#@! new school style with old school roots...

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            • #7
              Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

              Very interesting, keep us updated with how it works in game, I may have a look at making my own someday.

              My name: Adept a skilled or proficient person Abyss a deep, immeasurable space, gulf, or cavity
              So I'm a very skilled deep hole :D

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              • #8
                Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                I'm 3/4 done with my own LED hat for Freetrack. Unfortunately, real life came back to bite me in the butt, and its in a little box along with everything else. Have to move this Friday!
                "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
                -Einstein

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                • #9
                  Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                  Good thing btw 4 pilots, i use it in air sims usually. And as far as i know it takes not so much PC resources as TrackIR.

                  But rly i have problems with it in Arma. Hmmm, how explain... I dont feel my body, my weap. Im not sure that im runing directly where i look. If ahead enemy i cant kill him with round of bullets w/o aiming coz while he 12 of my view my weap can be +/-40 degrees left/right/up/down of it, thats make me angry :)

                  Sry 4 my Engl again

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                  • #10
                    Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                    I can understand you but you would not be able to understand my Russian, No need to be sorry. My Track IR gathers dust because I could not get used to moving with it in Arma, I am thinking about selling it.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                      Originally posted by ChiefBoatsRet View Post
                      I can understand you but you would not be able to understand my Russian, No need to be sorry. My Track IR gathers dust because I could not get used to moving with it in Arma, I am thinking about selling it.
                      Let me know if you do, I may be looking to purchase one.

                      Although the unconditional love for this device will always exist, I just don't think it reaches the quality that Track IR does, and it takes away from it a lot.

                      For instance, when turning to either side enough, I will start to lose the contact and it will lag or skip.

                      I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

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                      • #12
                        Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                        Originally posted by Toptonic - Butler View Post
                        Let me know if you do, I may be looking to purchase one.

                        ...

                        For instance, when turning to either side enough, I will start to lose the contact and it will lag or skip.
                        Same here -- let us know -- you'll be able to sell it easily. However I would suggest you give it another go. Check your setup -- alignment and messing with the degree settings are important to have a fluid movement feeling.

                        Also, BTW, Butler, the TrackIR will also "freak out" when you turn your head TOO much where the camera looses perspective on the dots (that's why they have them in that shallow horizontal < shape pattern). Playing with the centering and degree to match your distance and setup is key -- can't say that enough! LOL
                        sigpic
                        I run my $#@! new school style with old school roots...

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                        • #13
                          Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                          Idk about TrackIR, in FreeTrack there is settings of dots, min and max size. So when u move from center ur dot going to small, u just need to set correct min dot size in settings. 4 exmpl i have 5 and 18 and no problems.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                            Riyker, I have tried again and again. It just seems if I move my head even just ~25 degrees to either side (which it should be able to pickup) It is still lost. I lose the LED's if they aren't pointing almost directing at the camera.

                            I still have to mess with it a lot.

                            @Chichco, I did change those. Finding the balance between too much and too little on these settings is very important, but very difficult. Unfortunately for me, I move a lot when I game.

                            I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. -Albert Einstein

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                            • #15
                              Re: Track IR 5 Alternative - Freetrack

                              Lower your sensitivity and "dead zone." I found I still use the mouse key to for zooming, and the freetrack for smaller adjustments in viewing angle.
                              "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
                              -Einstein

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