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Old 10-24-2008, 03:41 AM   #1
BHawthorne
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Default Simpit Outside Visualization

I thought I'd start a thread about simpit outside visualization. Depending on your build there are many ways to go about it. I have been used to using a Matrox TripleHead2Go and 3 projectors.

Here is a pic of my current surround screen projection setup using 3 InFocus SP5000 projectors. I'm pondering just using 2 projectors and using XP's horizontal-span mode with Orbiter because of it's pixel width limitations. Is Orbiter capable of rendering 2560x720?

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Old 10-24-2008, 03:54 AM   #2
Arrowstar
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Out of curiosity, how does one mount the projectors such that they have a clear view of the screen without any hardware of the pit getting in the way? And how do you do so without distortion in the picture being projected? And, better question, can you use a curved screen ( since the display outside the windows is definately not flat in the DGIV or SpaceShip1) or is a flat screen a must?
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:07 AM   #3
BHawthorne
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You ceiling mount the projectors and can use first surface mirrors to shorten the throw distance. There are several simpit tricks that have been developed over time.

As far as curved screen, yes you can use a curved screen but it's a bit tricky to get the focus points on the projectors just right. Also a big issue with multi-projector is getting the edges lined up perfectly or using software to blend the edges between the projections. I won't have to be quite as picky about lining up the the projections though with the SS1 build I'm doing, because it has blind spots where I can hide the edges between the windows field of view.

There is a new app out in alpha testing for simpit building that can pre-warp directx output to the shape of your screen. It's called Sol7. They have a hobby simpit version of thier software that is targeted at people who use a TH2G or DH2G surround projection setup. It's pretty pricey at $430, but nothing compared to the commercial version that is $4000+. Right now I just do it the hard way and manually line up the projection edges.

My projectors I got on the cheap. I can't really drop $430 for Sol7 atm. I got my first projector as a factory refurb and the other 2 as "as-is" broken projectors on eBay. Being naturally curious, I was able to diagnose what was wrong with the 2 "broken" projectors from my original working one. One was merely a burnt-out bulb and the other had something jammed in a fan forcing an overheat error. Anymore you can get cheap 1000+ lumen projectors on eBay.

Also, don't worry too much about the "expensive" bulbs because there are cheap DIY replacements for those too. I know of a source that caters to AV forums where you can buy the projector bulb itself for $65. Just remove the old bulb and mount a new one. It's a small pain to tare down a projector bulb refactor cage and dig out the plaster holding the old bulb and putting in a new one, but $65 sure beats $350 every 2000 hours IMHO.

Frankly, a single projector would be well suited for 99% of the people wanting an immersive simpit build. I just went a bit further in my setup because I like to experiment with things.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:06 AM   #4
yagni01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHawthorne View Post
 Here is a pic of my current surround screen projection setup using 3 InFocus SP5000 projectors. I'm pondering just using 2 projectors and using XP's horizontal-span mode with Orbiter because of it's pixel width limitations. Is Orbiter capable of rendering 2560x720?
{image}
I think I read somewhere that DX7 could do 3072x1280, so three screens at 1280x1024 portrait should work. Check the M6 archive as I think someone tried it.

Also, if you want to go with only two monitors, you'll run into another feature of Orbiter. . . you can't shift the HUD. So if you're ever going to use that, you need an odd number so the HUD can be displayed on the center screen.
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Old 11-16-2008, 07:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHawthorne View Post
 Is Orbiter capable of rendering 2560x720?
I've been out of the Orbiter loop for quite a while, but just came back to this site today to see what's new.

I have been working on a simpit off and on for a little over a year now. I have the Matrox TH2G also, and I can say that the base Orbiter will NOT run in that resolution. Artlav's OpenGL module for the beta Orbiter Visualization project WILL, however. I haven't tried any of his most recent betas, but they seem to hold the most promise for my simpit completion
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:59 PM   #6
TSPenguin
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Does anyone here has experience with fresnel lenses?
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:29 PM   #7
yagni01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpops View Post
 I have been working on a simpit off and on for a little over a year now. I have the Matrox TH2G also, and I can say that the base Orbiter will NOT run in that resolution.
So what's the best that you have been able to get out of Orbiter 2006?
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TSPenguin View Post
 Does anyone here has experience with fresnel lenses?
What do you need to know?
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:47 PM   #9
BHawthorne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yagni01 View Post
 I think I read somewhere that DX7 could do 3072x1280, so three screens at 1280x1024 portrait should work. Check the M6 archive as I think someone tried it.
TH2G doesn't allow for display rotation. Plus, most projectors will overheat if turned sideways. 2560x720 using XP horizontal-span mode seems would the best solution.
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:12 PM   #10
Juanelm
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Originally Posted by TSPenguin View Post
 Does anyone here has experience with fresnel lenses?
I used a fresnel lens for my simpit. If you use a monitor, putting a fresnel lens between you and the monitor will basically make it seem like you are looking through a window, rather than just looking at a monitor. It is a really nice effect, and it's easy to produce. However, you should use a high quality lens. Fresnel lenses have circular concentric ridges, and in a low quality lens, bright things (such as planets in a black space backdrop) will create glare in the lens ridges, which are really annoying.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:44 PM   #11
Hielor
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Question regarding curved screens: I'm considering using a cylindrical curved screen. It seems to me that if you had the projector straight-on to the cylinder (as I probably will be able to do), the amount of distortion will be limited to pincushioning along the axis of the cylinder. Old-school CRT monitors had the ability to correct for pincushioning, and it looks like CRT projectors do as well.

However, i don't think a CRT projector would work for a curved screen since the focal length will be different across the screen, and with the images being sent from 3 different guns, focusing might be difficult. Plus, they're bulky, heavy, and expensive.

Basically, my question is: are there any normal LCD/DLP projectors which include the ability to adjust for pincushioning? Or, if not, is there some kind of (cheap) optical lens solution I could use?

After some looking of my own, I've found that the NEC WT600 and WT610 have pincushion adjustment, but they're also rather expensive and more geared towards presentations (with their ultra short throw) than permanent installation.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:22 AM   #12
Danny Ramone
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Ive been reading this simpit subthread and its got me really interested.
Im quite keen on building one soon, though this would have to be done in various stages:

1: Build a new computer with PCIe so I can use multiple cards. (I think its finally time to let go of socket 478)

2. Set up the display and circuitry on a desk to test that it all works.

3. Build the pit once I buy my own house and I can use an attic or garage or something.

I have a few burning questions that would ultimately determine the direction in which i would take this, but the most important is the visualization (hence why the question is being posted in here:

my question is this:

In normal orbiter on my normal TFT screen, when I push one of the "F" keys (I cant remember which) or use the toggle on top of my joystick, the view changes in a 360 degree direction allowing me to look out the side or to the rear, or back to the front.

I want to know if it is possible to re-create this using screens so that All I have to do is turn my head to the side to see the side view9and to the rear to see the rear view). I am aware that using a triple head to go(once orbiter will work with it) and some lenses may give me the spacial effect from the front, but I am keen on getting the side views as well.

Ive tried to draw a picture of what I mean but I can never remember my photo-bucket user name. Hopefully what I have described is good enough for people to understand.

The other question I have, what are the pro's and con's of projectors vs screens and lenses? are there any photos to show just how much of a differnence it makes?

Appologies for my long winded question I kind of tend to think as I type.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:01 AM   #13
TSPenguin
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Hielor...

Back in the Army, we had this shooting simulator that used negative pressure and a mirroring foil. Whilest this would be hard to make expensive and loud, the projection was the key.
Basicaly it crossed the projection beams, which cut down on distortions. Overall this system was really great and the demands for the beamer were also quite low, because the image was not reflected, but rather mirrored back.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:40 AM   #14
Hielor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSPenguin View Post
 Hielor...

Back in the Army, we had this shooting simulator that used negative pressure and a mirroring foil. Whilest this would be hard to make expensive and loud, the projection was the key.
Basicaly it crossed the projection beams, which cut down on distortions. Overall this system was really great and the demands for the beamer were also quite low, because the image was not reflected, but rather mirrored back.
I'm not really sure I understand how that would work. So like you have the projector shining onto a surface that is curved via negative pressure? Or it's reflecting off the curved mirror onto another surface?
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:08 AM   #15
TSPenguin
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The projectors are aimed on a curved mirror which you see through the big collimated negative pressure mirror. At least according to wikipedia. The result, however is really good and you can move your head around a lot.

I could not find any englisch source (or good technical data) but at least the latter is only a matter of getting the appropiate "Dienstvorschrift" from the german military.
I'll do some research if you think this might be a viable option.

In the meantime, the only halfway decent video I could find. Disregard the graphics, they are really ****ty. But you can see the border between the three projections, which is the result of the software and/or incorrect alignment.

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