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Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

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  • Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

    I've had a TrackIR for a year or so now but haven't really used much for Arma outside of flying (unbelievable improvement for flying - but that's another topic).

    For 'boots on the ground' gameplay I've never really had much success . The issue was being able to maintain a 'locked' down the barrel view (for example when viewing through a ACOG optic) without weird wandering of the view. The worst was when the view was not exactly centered going unnoticed until zoomed in a gunsight mode and found you were not looking down the gunsight but at the stalk. Got annoying.

    Recently I've been forced to find a solution to improve my situational awareness in Arma. For whatever reason I suck at maintaining my position to the squad. Many times a squad or fireteam will move and not announce it. Of Course tunnel vision can and does set in. And of course we are playing a video game with a limited FOV, dense vegetation etc... If you aren't looking directly at the squad (which you shouldn't be if you are covering 360 for example) you can get separated and disoriented easily. I think this is a big reason why mods like "STHUD" were implemented. To compensate for lack of peripheral 'awareness' in a virtual environment. Maybe too much so.. but whatever, that's a different discussion.

    Anyways... back to the point. I needed a remedy to improve my situational awareness 'naturally'. Not by holding a key and moving the mouse. And not with a mod. I decided TrackIR was the only solution since it is client side and is as close to the 'real thing' as possible. Move your head to move your head so to speak. The problem was how to maintain a 'down the barrel' centered view more robustly but still be able to 'scan' naturally.

    Long story short TrackIR seems to be working for me these days with some focused tuning. Basically I have solved centering issue by using a very aggressive 'detent' or 'deadzone' for the center position. By allowing a fair amount of head movement before the view will change it more robustly maintains a down the barrel view. The downside is you need a more 'determined' head movement to actually scan and this can feel unnatural if you are expecting a 'flowing' experience with TrackIR. The upside of this is that is no more 'determined' that pressing a key and moving a mouse.

    For sure there is a learning curve. But now that I am used to it basically it feels like I have another input device attached to my head (if that makes sense). Sure it's not as 'unconscious' like some my want a TrackIR experience to be. But with conscious action I can scan by moving my head in an analogue, smooth fashion that translates in game. And the views return to a solid center position when I want it to be centered. And I can do it without effecting other inputs to the game.

    For me the value 'test' for TrackIR is determined by how often it is used. I won't play DCS without firing up TrackIR. It is that big of a difference. For ARMA the flying experience is as significant but for me ARMA is 90% infantry so I never bothered. Now that I have a real reason (fed up with my situational awareness limitations) and a tuning solution (heavy deadzone) I am finding a similar value proposition to DCS. I am finding myself firing up TrackIR right along with ARMA like they go together. If I forget and play ARMA without TrackIR I find I really miss the functionality ("... damn I have to press ALT and MOUSE LOOK??? Hold Q and E to tilt?? uggh... restart").


    Who else uses TrackIR for Infantry play? How do you set it up? Do you use a heavy deadzone? I'd like to see/try other profiles from anyone willing to share.


  • #2
    Re: Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

    I have it and my lighting makes it unusable until I modify that. I like that your getting used to it. Once its dialed in its amazing.

    Also have to say, communication must be used so you dont have to take your eyes off your sector. That has something to do with some leadership courses that our group is ripe for. Hmmmm I feel another project knocking.
    |TG-189th| Unkl
    ArmA 3 Game Officer
    Dean of Tactical Gamer University
    189th Infantry Brigade Member
    "We quickly advance in the opposite direction and take cover in a house on the SW side of town." - BadStache


    • #3
      Re: Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

      I bought it and tried it with Arma but just could not get used to it. It took a lot of time trying to get it tuned in and keeping it tracking accurately to where it never seemed natural and not gimmicky. I just could not get comfortable with it and ended up selling mine, at a loss of course. I can see where it would be great with a flight or racing game with multiple monitors though.


      • #4
        Re: Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

        Prepare to move, ... move.

        Move, ... moving ... Set.

        Give clear, concise commands to your team. BEFORE execution. Likely reason this happens often in ARMA.
        Leaders move first, then give commands while on the move. By the time your command is trickled down to the last man. The distance covered by you, will be outside of the Direct chat range. Which isn't ideal.

        If instructions must be given during the move, use Group chat if allowed, due to the limited range of DirectChat.

        Communication is the key.

        You're right CanaDave, your situational awareness goes way down or limited through a screen.

        Don't mean to hijack the thread off topic.

        TGU Instructor TG Pathfinder

        Former TGU Dean Former ARMA Admin Former Irregulars Officer

        "Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment." - Dag Hammarskjold


        • #5
          Re: Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

          Comms = Super important, like HUGE, key, critical what we ALL need to do well – and we all know how I can spend a whole post on THAT topic . . . . so, staying on topic, TrackIR and ArmA go together like Ying and Yang in my mind. Situational awareness with it is amazing. Flying is amazing with it. Maintaining fireteam position and management is amazing. And now with sling loading I think (so far) that it will help immensely. Yes, it does take some time to get comfortable with using it (like walking sideways because you’re looking that way) but once you get the hang of it you can be pointing one way and look around to make sure your squad mates are nearby, the enemy isn’t sneaking up, you’re keeping track of “other” assets or contacts, and then come right back to where your service weapon is pointing. I find it amazing.

          As for my equipment setup I dove in with two feet with TrackIR+ or whatever it is called. Got the USB plug in headset unit and with the two I find it works pretty flawlessly all the time. Yes back lighting needs to be limited, but I play in a “lights out” room when I do so there isn’t glare on the screen as well so that’s not an issue.

          Setup of the system is “default” in my world and has served me well. “Dead zone” is small-ish but then reaction to contact (moving ones head in times of crisis) is quicker and you don’t have to move as far to get turned around or even “half left or right”. Aiming has not proven an issue for me, but I will test further and report back on the topic. I have used it a great deal with long rifles and don’t have issues with parallax (at least it doesn’t seem so) so I’m not sure what the issue is there. If you could define the particular setup or situation I’d love to try it and see what the result is.

          In the end I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to “enhance” their ArmA experience and have found it amazing for flight as well. Nothing as nice as pulling back in a heilo to slow and not looking directly at the sky while doing that maneuver. Helps with landings as well and I’ve used it just a few times with sling loading (the center console camera in the Huron) is easily "looked at" without yet another key press.

          More ArmA, More ArmA!!!!!!!



          • #6
            Re: Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

            Try binding the 'center view button' to a spare mouse button and lowering your dead zone a bit. I find a large dead zone hard work, feel like you are breaking your neck to turn.

            A smaller dead zone is more natural and less strain and a flick of the mouse brings you back to dead center with ease.

            One thing I really like is that it allows you to bring the weapon up to 'sighted' but you can still look over the optics rather than through them. If you inch your vertical mouse sensitivity up a bit this allows for a far more natural and realistic method of shooting in cqb. I hope I've explained that well enough. You are scoped in but with your weapon slightly lowered, its only really possible to do this with Track IR. Its quicker and more accurate than transitioning from the default 'shoulered' position to 'scoped'. Its pretty cool once you get good at it.


            • #7
              Re: Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

              Originally posted by LowSpeedHighDrag View Post
              Prepare to move, ... move.

              Move, ... moving ... Set.

              Give clear, concise commands to your team. BEFORE execution.
              Great advice, and it is always what I try and do when leading a squad. Been left behind too many times not to do it.

              TrackIR sounds great, especially for ArmA. Is there any particular brand or TrackIR set that you guys would recommend?
              "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." -Abraham Lincoln
              ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ


              • #8
                Re: Track -IR - Infantry & Situational Awareness

                Just in case someone wants to get an idea of what TrackIR is like without shelling out any cash, you can probably use Face Track Noir with an existing webcam for free. I havn't made the investment in TrackIR yet, but i've used this system on and off. If your room is light consistently it works fairly well. I really like to use it if I know i'm going to be operating vehicles frequently. Its so nice when driving Hunters to be able to look around naturally and improve your SA. Even on Quadbikes your not stuck with that default "head-down" view that Arma 3 uses.

                I would agree that no devices are a solution to proper communication. After having a couple of experiences leading at the squad level my appreciation for comms discipline is MILES ahead of where it was. When a leadership course gets underway I definitely want to participate.




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