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Hardware Hacking Input Devices Entertainment Games

Driver's-Seat Driving Game Controller 233

RichardX writes "The folks at Real Virtual Car have taken an old car, hooked up a projector to the windscreen, USB on the steering and pedals, connected it all up to a PC and ended up with what may be the single greatest homemade games controller ever." Even a force-feedback steering wheel!
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Driver's-Seat Driving Game Controller

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  • Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CypherXero ( 798440 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:52PM (#12502381) Homepage
    Screw that, drive a REAL car. There's nothing like a cool, crisp day, with the wind blowing in your hair, as you shift to 5th gear, going over 70 MPH.
    • Re:Heh (Score:5, Funny)

      by IsaacW ( 543020 ) <isaac@waldron.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:54PM (#12502411) Homepage
      Any real car should be able to do 70 MPH in 2nd gear...
      • by gatzke ( 2977 )
        You need a real car with six speeds (plus one for reverse). Usually they are geared lower so that you probably cannot go 70 in second, but you get more torque on the low end. But I can go 100 in fourth with two more gears to go...
      • hell, my old neon would do 60mph in _first_ gear. second was good to only 85mph though. topped out at 118mph. weird gearing.
      • Re:Heh (Score:3, Informative)

        by Migraineman ( 632203 )
        I believe you meant "1st gear". Here's a link to some SCCA [scca.org] Sports 2000s. [krauseandengland.com] They're wonderful to work on and drive. Hell, even the older Formula Fords have a first gear that'll do 70+.

        Seriously, if you want to "go fast" and not worry about breaking the law, come play with the SCCA folks. If you're limited on funds, try autocrossing. It's very affordable and there's probably an SCCA group running an evnet near you (presuming you're in the US.)
      • Gear?
        /drives a hybrid Civic.
      • "Hey bud-dy, how can-I-get-this car ... out - of - se-cond - gear?!?!"
    • Re:Heh (Score:4, Funny)

      by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:56PM (#12502436)
      lol just put a fan on the hood for effect haha...
    • by D3 ( 31029 )
      Screw that, drive a REAL car
      Yeah, like I did recently. http://www.onelapofamerica.com/ [onelapofamerica.com]

      Car #56, 1st in class SSGT2 SB.
    • Re:Heh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by temojen ( 678985 )
      Real cars don't reset after a crash. Going 200km/h in a game is no problem; going 150km/h on a real road makes me nervous.
      • 93mph isn't all that fast, though. I don't start getting nervous until I'm around 110mph. Of course, this depends on zero traffic and zero rainfall. Then I drive like an old grandma.

        I figure if I wreck going that fast, that's my fault and I'll pay for it. Big deal. But I'm not going to take someone else with me :|
    • Nothing like stoping and going 40 then stopping then going 40 mph then stoping (for no apparent reason), then coughing up 30$ to fill up. Then breithing diesel.

      Sounds like fun but.. I'd rather walk.
    • And the whirring sound of a siren as you realize Smokey busted you for doing 70 in a 35....

      You could always connect a space heater (for heat) and a fan to make it feel like a hot day.
    • Screw that, drive a REAL car.
      The only problem with this is that soon, if you want to drive a REAL car you will have to have a REAL ID [slashdot.org]
    • Other then some twat who pulls out infront of you and almost smashs your car up.

      Or the school time rush.

      Or some gimp in a lorry trying to overtake another lorry going the same speed.

      Or some cunt going 90 behind you trying to make you go faster.

      Or, Or, Or, Or..

      Driving on the road is fun 70% of the time, the other 30% is a drone or some wanker trying to put you in an ambulance.
    • Screw that, get a bike. There's nothing like flying down a channel less than a metre wide at 40km/h, while the commuters on either side inch forwards, never getting out of first gear...
  • Neat, but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Reignking ( 832642 )
    They probably could've purchased any arcade racing game for cheaper...
    • Re:Neat, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:57PM (#12502456)
      So? Don't you ever just want to MAKE something with your own two hands? That's what drives people like this. The whole "do it yourself" thing. It doesn't matter how much it costs. What matters is that you're enjoying doing it.
      • I thought the ideal around here was to live one's life in a way that John Maynard Keynes himself would approve of. As such, why work when you can buy pre-made?

        Not that I agree, but it seems like everyone here makes their decisions according to the laws of microeconomics rather than what they really want to do.
        • Not that I agree, but it seems like everyone here makes their decisions according to the laws of microeconomics rather than what they really want to do.

          I want to work as little as possible, make as much money as possible. I am pretty sure that most of the people here are of like mind. If they aren't then they are going against the natural order of things (which to the atomic level everything wants to be at rest).
        • by MarkGriz ( 520778 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:28PM (#12502803)
          Not that I agree, but it seems like everyone here makes their decisions according to the laws of microeconomics rather than what they really want to do.

          Not only that, but it seems everyone generalizes on the behavior of everyone else who posts here.
          • It has nothing to do with generalized individual behavior. There is a herd mentality here. It's the same shit that makes an entire pack of hyenas all decide at once that they'd rather eat this zebra than the one they were chasing. In terms of values and more's, herds, such as slashdot, are one organism.

            Inevitably someone like you pipes up at this point and claims that 'not everyone here is a slashbot' and then half a dozen other people join you. Nobody is exempt from the laws of human nature.
    • Re:Neat, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:20PM (#12502713) Homepage Journal
      "They probably could've purchased any arcade racing game for cheaper..."

      He also could have just read a book instead. There, I was insightful to those who are disturbingly practical in life, mod me up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:52PM (#12502387)
    "Look, a cyclist! 30 points!"

    "No, over there! On crutches! 100 points!"
  • Windscreen? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:53PM (#12502406) Homepage Journal
    Windshield sounds so much better, like it is some kind of protective device that makes you invincible, allowing you to run over pedestrians with gleeful abandon. Windscreen on the other hand sounds like something that could barely keep flies out of your automobile.
  • looks like (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:54PM (#12502414) Homepage Journal
    Seems like they took the idea from the Namco idea in London, UK. Where a few years ago they had a real mazda MX5 hooked up to a Ridge Racer game.

    The concept seems fun, but it's kind of taking realism half way. Also seems like the images are down on that website already
  • Bandwidth exceeded (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:55PM (#12502434)
    already?

    http://realvirtualcar.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

    Have a nice day =)
  • Delay Problems (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bunburyist ( 664958 )
    Back in university, we had a similar project except for aircraft simulation and they needed computer engineers to co-ordinate the output of MS flight sim to the various controls/acelerometers and actuators but a significant problem that was encountered was the delay of the actuators and controls to the output on the screen. When you're in such an immersive environment, even slight delays will make you crazily sick after a very short amount of time. Hopefully they have some sort of system to ensure the del
    • a significant problem that was encountered was the delay of the actuators and controls to the output on the screen.

      Saw the site earlier linked elsewhere, before it got slashdotted. For the controls, they had the steering column linked to a IIRC logitech steering wheel where the universal joint would have been, so there were no gears. Apparently the force feedback on it still works as well. If you could get the existing steering column to move fairly freely, it should work rather well.

  • For a mere $750, I've got a Mercury Mystique that is suitable for this type of modification. I take paypal, money order, and gold bullion.
  • by FuckTheModerators ( 883349 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:57PM (#12502455) Journal
    Here's [networkmirror.com] the networkmirror of it.
  • Sound options (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _Hiro_ ( 151911 ) <hiromasakiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:58PM (#12502467) Homepage Journal
    With an entire chassis, why did they opt for just one speaker behind the driver?

    There are small, decent sounding, and (relative to the cost of the car shell) inexpensive 5.1 setups. And you'd be able to mount most of the speakers in the existing speaker mounts.
    • Because they aren't finished yet... the point they're up to now is just 'Hey, it works!'... there's a lot more to do before they finish.
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @03:58PM (#12502469) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully this contraption will help one of them get laid.

    If that "5V/12V variable pulse speed gauge" doesn't cut it, I don't know what will.

  • If my kids hear about this, I'm screwed!
  • Something similar (Score:4, Informative)

    by slapout ( 93640 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:02PM (#12502509)
    If you live near one of these
    http://www.smsonline.com/centers/index.html [smsonline.com]
    you can ride a close to life size Nascar car that moves a little. About 10 are networked together and you race against each other. The race is projected onto a screen in front of you.
  • by anactofgod ( 68756 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:05PM (#12502536)
    ...until they capture the *real* essence of driving.

    Sucking exhaust fumes from a sight-blocking SUV. *That* is what I'm talking about.
  • Gentlemen, you may now start the jokes about crashing a car that doesn't even run.
  • Future of driving (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Personally, I think this is an awesome idea and can be expanded to have huge potential in our automotive society today.

    Just think, now student drivers can get into a virtual car for the first time and learn the basics of driving without actually putting anyone or anything at risk. Of course more features would have to be added such as pressure controll and methods to allow the car to move up and down as it would on a real road when it encounters pot holes and such. Eventually the student would have to prac
    • Now? Driving simulators have been around for years. Granted, the tech is getting better and better, but this is not a new idea.
    • In addition, you would be able to change the view so that you could see what a drunk or someone what is high would see when they drive.
      You mean everything is the exact same but the music sounds so much cooler?
    • Ah, spoken like somebody who's never been drunk or high. To be that young again.

      What you see isn't affected very much by alcohol or marijuana, only how you percieve it (except for in extremely drunk people who get a little "tunnel vision", but you'd need head-tracking software and a virtual car interior to duplicate that).

      It's pretty hard to make a program that would realistically show the effects of paying more attention to your spedometer than to the road, for instance (a common problem, since you don't
      • i've never been drunk or high (and its not due to youth ;) but i've spent a reasonable amount of time on race tracks in the triple digit club.

        My 'vision' is effected by being tired or upset. Yeah, my eyes still see the same "stuff" but my "vision" is definitely a lot worse.

        Driving safely requires looking ahead and "through" the objects ahead of you.. as you continue to go faster your gaze must continue to go further ahead of you, and your mind and body instinctively know how to interpret data in your for
  • Commendable DIY effort, but I've used a system like this at my local "Holiday Hypermarket" before, based on some model of Cadillac. I have no idea what it was doing in a travel agents in East Kilbride, UK, but it was running a funky driver training program and token-operated.

    BSM (UK group of driving schools) brought a mobile version based on a Vauxhall (Opel/GM) Corsa to my school a few months back as well.
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:09PM (#12502588) Homepage
    I saw Disney movie when I was a kid where there was a kid from the day he was born had nothing on his mind but cars. They had this one scene where he's behind the wheel of a vehicle desk in a classroom learning how to drive while watching a driving movie (the kid managed to crash his vehicle desk -- don't ask me how). I thought that was the coolest thing ever (this was long before computers became available for the home).

    So when I got to high school, I was expecting the same thing. Instead, they handed me a booklet to study and told me that my parents would teach me how to drive. WTF! My Dad had a one-ton truck and he would not teach how to drive that. So I never did learn how to drive as a teenager. I was so bitter...
    • oh! we had those! It was really ghetto- They called it the "simulator" - it was in a temporary shack beside the school. A screen at one end, an aisle down the middle, and on either side a row of car seats with little fake dashboards in front of them, complete with steering wheels, pedals, and column mounted turn signals and shifters. They projected these really shitty movies from the 70's (this was in 1996) on the screen, and you could basically do what you wanted with the wheel/brakes/whatever, because the
      • They projected these really shitty movies from the 70's (this was in 1996) on the screen, and you could basically do what you wanted with the wheel/brakes/whatever, because they didn't do anything.

        When I was in the third grade in the early 1970s, they showed us this movie about someone driving recklessly who crashed into fully loaded school bus, and the remainder of the movie was watching all these bloody kids being pulled out the bus. I had no idea what the adults were thinking when they showed us that,
    • I remember seeing that film on TV. Definately a Disney thing.

      In that scene everybody was at desks with steering wheels, and watching a film on the screen in the front showing a view while driving, while the film narrator talked about what you were and should be doing. The instructions kept getting sillier, at one point you got stopped behind a bank getaway car, where the robbers jumped in with bags of loot and sped off, and the narrator said "did you remember to get the license plate number of the getaway
  • by IronChefMorimoto ( 691038 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:12PM (#12502619)
    All cars have game controllers -- they're called steering wheels, brakes, and accelerators. With the appropriate combination of l33t combo moves, you can pretty much win the following games on your morning commute (in Atlanta):

    - Gran Turismo: I-285 Edition
    - Need For Speed: GA400 Gridlock
    - Project Middle Finger Racing
    - Grand Theft Auto: Midtown Street Parking Edition

    In Ohio, you have a car game unavailable in most parts of the country (although LA just introduced it, from what I hear):

    - Freeway Sniper Spy Hunter

    IronChefMorimoto
  • I've never liked force feedback stering wheels. Tried playing Gran Tourismo 2 with one and it was a pile of shite. Video games have other problems. No peripheral vision is my biggest problem with them. Add to that the lack of motion, the lack of FEEL, and I'd rather hop into my real car and race the unsuspecting dickweed in the Porsche downtown.
    • I agree. The real problem is with driving games that try to be driving "simulators". The "virtual" car in the game has all the correct physical responses to it's environment, but, as the driver, all you have is sight, or crappy force feedback. Which basically means you oversteer/understeer the whole time, until you learn how to visually gauge what the car is doing.

      Flight sims have the same problem, but to a much lesser degree, since much of flying is done with instruments anyway. The "feel" isn't as nec
    • I agree. Force-feedback steering wheel? What he really needs is a couple of friends to rock it back and forth. And another friend to randomly call his cellphone.
  • by c0l0 ( 826165 )
    ... sounds almost as much as an oxymoron to me as "Microsoft Works" does.
  • Comes with an toy uzi for drive bys.

    And an inflatable doll for parking.

  • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:15PM (#12502648) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't your Driver's Ed teacher (aka the basketball coach) be much happier if he could verify your skills in one of these, rather than from the passenger seat with nothing but a second brake pedal between him and being pwnx0rd by a bridge abutment?

    It's not such a crazy idea... check out the Truck Driver Simulation Mobile Classroom [tmta.com]. It's a full-sized full-motion multi-screen 18-wheeler simulator, designed to help train professional truck drivers. The unit -- which itself is housed in an 18-wheeler trailer -- claims to be "unlike any in the world," although the folks in the UK are trying to catch up [trucksim.co.uk].

    Myself, I'd like to see what it's really like to climb in the cab and say ... so we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight, I says let them truckers roll, 10-4, 'cause we got a mighty Convoy [guntheranderson.com] rockin' through the night...
    • Verify and assist in teaching, but just as with flight simulators, there is no real substitute for performing the actual task.
    • Wouldn't your Driver's Ed teacher (aka the basketball coach) be much happier if he could verify your skills in one of these, rather than from the passenger seat with nothing but a second brake pedal between him and being pwnx0rd by a bridge abutment?

      The driver's ed teacher at my high school didn't even have a second brake pedal- he used an ordinary car. I can't imagine the balls it must have taken to do that. Fortunately, I took driver's ed elsewhere.
  • And how about those beautiful babes that shower you with champagne and pose with you for pictures in the winners circle? Have they figured out how to emulate them?

  • ...is using actual car to surround you. I used to have a ColecoVision game system (early '80s) which had a steering wheel attachment and accelerator pedal. You would snap the joystick into a slot on the steering wheel console to use as a gearshift.

    True, the steering wheel didn't have force-feedback, but there are a number of real cars that don't give adequate feedback through the steering wheel, to my taste.
  • So, why is a car the greatest ever controller for a a flight simulator? Sheesh.

  • Missing feature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by huge colin ( 528073 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @04:32PM (#12502845) Journal
    All this, and it still can't simulate the feeling of accelerative forces which is the best part of driving.
  • NADS = National Advanced Driving Simulator
    www.nads-sc.uiowa.edu
    • That's exactly what I thought! I remember back in 1993-94 when my wife was at UIowa, hanging out at the IDS (Iowa Driving Simulator, as it was then called, back before it turned into NADS and got shiny new digs a few years later), watching her drive a Taurus around a simulated Iowa City (generated by an Evans and Sutherland [es.com] CT-6) and crash into a simulated Quick Trip convenience store. The big current facility looks even more fun.
  • We just started this project few weeks ago We're surprised it got this exposure. We are having lot's of FUN (and bleeding cuts) working on this project and we hope you'll enjoy checking it out. Come back again to our blog in the future - we hope we can find a better place to host the videos (so you can HEAR it also) Zvika
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Wednesday May 11, 2005 @08:16PM (#12504875)
    In my shop (I fix cars for a living), I have two of my own cars with the engine dismantled, just sitting on jackstands and waiting to be fixed. I'll probably never get around to it; by the time I finish working on other peoples' cars at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is fix my own cars.

    Incidentally, one car was there first, so when I realized it was going to be a while before I fix it, I bought a second car (used). After driving that for some 25,000 miles, it broke, too. When I finished dismantling it and realized that it would be a while, I bought a third car. This is getting ridiculous.

    The point of the above is this: Instead of reassembling these cars, maybe what I ought to do is sell the motor, trans, and anything else that will fetch some dough, and then convert them into a video game! That would be so freaking down!

    In fact, I could set it up like a race, so you've got two people in two separate cars playing against each other!

  • ...anyone has ever had in a Renault. :-P

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