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Technology

Hot Seat Sim Cockpit

As mentioned in the Air Combat section, Joe got a chance to fly Black Shark in a Hot Seat cockpit. The Hot Seat is a modular platform comprising segments of pipes and pipe joins. You can use it to construct a cockpit tailored to your specific needs.

One of the best features that we saw is that the Hot Seat system allows for sliding elements. This means that adjustable seats can be built it, triple monitors can slide out of the way to enter/exit a cockpit, etc. The Hot Seat is available for about $1500 on the CH Products web site.

Hot Seat

Free Play

The Free Play Ultimate Game Pad is a battery-powered portable pad that straps to a seat. You can use it on a chair, on your couch, or even in your car. Input is via a 1/8” stereo jack (it also comes with an RCA adaptor) that connects to a small RF wireless pack powered by two AAA batteries. The wireless operates at 915 MHz, which is a frequency uncommon to other wireless devices; this should help to eliminate any interference.

The battery in the chair is rechargeable via AC adaptor, and the battery has a 4.5-hour lifetime. There are 5 vibration motors and two loudspeakers in the seat. The volume of the speakers and the sensitivity of the vibration to the input audio signal are adjusted via knobs on the seat’s control box. The control box also has a power switch, where the user can select between three operating levels: audio + vibration, music (audio only), and off. When the unit is in audio + vibration mode, you can plug headphones into the seat back that disable the loudspeaker output; this is a “quiet” use method, where the seat can still be used for tactile feedback but won’t disturb others.

Free Play Ultimate Game Pad

The Free Play Ultimate Game Pad retails for $100. Joe tested the product and felt that it had rather limited fidelity. Since there is no integration with games or movies, the device is limited to deriving all of its vibration from audio information. However, it’s not that expensive. In this sense it is probably fair to think of the Free Play seat as comparable to the ButtKicker Gamer, except that it is portable, wireless, and can be stored away when not needed.

Ultimate Game Chair

We also got to test the Free Play seat’s big brother, the Ultimate Game Chair. This is a device that is designed to sit on the floor, and retails for $500. The chair has loudspeakers and vibration transducers, and the vibration level can be quite strong. The chair has a heavy, solid feel and is comfortable, if not slightly ostentatious when seen in the middle of your living room. No one gave us the technical details on this device, so now you know everything we do.

Playseats

Playseat products have been available for a while, but this is the first time that guod, Chunx, and Joe were able to see them firsthand. There are a number of products available, ranging from office-style chairs with swivel and 5 casters, to floor-supported contoured racing seats with adjustable pedal mounting areas. The office chairs were quite interesting; they were shown with pivoting arms designed for side-mounted stick and throttle. A center post mount for a center stick or a racing wheel is also available. The Playseat office-style chairs could make great dual-use items for a home PC that has double-duty for sims and productivity.

Playseats

Playseats

Chunx also took a drive on what we believe to be GT5 for the PS3. The physics were arcade, making the provided G25 wheel little more than a car-aiming cursor, and there was still no damage modeling, but the eye candy was nice and the seat was comfortable. One thing that we noticed is that the floor-supported Playseats have lips about 2 inches tall on the left and right edges of the seat pan. If you are a large individual this could prove to be uncomfortable.

Naval Combat...?

The SimHQ team would like to apologize to our contingent of Naval Combat fans.

Although we looked high and low for 3 days, none of us found Akela’s PT Boats: Knights of the Seas title being displayed or discussed anywhere at this year’s E3. As far as we could tell, it didn’t make the show.

We planned to look at Paradox Interactive's East India Tea Company, but with other commitments and appointments we never got over to their display to see it and provide information about it. Our apologies.

 


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E3Expo 2009

Report 1: Arrival
Report 2: Day 1
Report 3: Day 2
Report 4: Day 3

 


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