Joe: Most TrackIR 4 users I know are pretty satisfied with its performance. Does the extra resolution really make that much of a difference? Game play is what really matters in the end.
Seth: I think that the difference in-game is significant. TrackIR 4 is still a nice piece of technology. It was our best offering at the time of its development, and it still outpaces similarly-minded devices. But, it’s 4 year old technology. Check out our demonstration of 4 and 5 in action in our resolution performance video. The difference in their fundamental tracking stability is plain to see.
This stability really comes into play in-game. With TrackIR 4, in order to minimize the jitter you see in the video, the necessary level of smoothing could reduce responsiveness. Really smooth motion with a TrackIR 4 resulted in motion that was a bit sluggish. TrackIR 5 allows you to have head tracking that is both super fast and very smooth. That combination has never been possible before to the degree that it is now.
|NaturalPoint® TrackIR 4™||NaturalPoint® TrackIR 5™|
Tactical shooters and combat flight games both utilize the increased stability and responsiveness relatively equally. In tactical shooters, snapping your view from target to flank and back again — all without breaking weapon target lock or giving your position away — is now a faster, cleaner, and more intuitive control. When you check your flanks, your view is steadier, even at extreme head angles. Similarly, in combat flight, you can track even the most skilled aerial adversaries though any maneuver they can throw at you.
Flight simmers will benefit from the increased stability. You can make full use of interactive 3D cockpits or naturally survey your vast virtual environment without straining to keep your head still. On the flip side, racing sims take full advantage of the increased responsiveness. When you have to make split second decisions, TrackIR 5 moves at the pace of your reflexes. Instinctive control of your view can make a tremendous difference when you’re racing around the track at 140 mph.
Any in-game maneuver or control that requires you to move your view away from center — which ultimately is what TrackIR is all about — will be significantly improved by TrackIR 5. I’ve experienced this first hand in a number of titles. We’ve seen the improvements in-house for a while now, but we were obviously hopeful it was something that the TrackIR community could appreciate as well. I have received lots of encouraging feedback already, some of which has come from some pretty highly regarded sources. They’re confirming what we intended — the TrackIR 5 experience is noticeably and strategically improved over TrackIR 4. In a recent conversation I had with Shack Tacticalleader Dslyecxi — who’s been helping us test TrackIR 5 for a while now — he noted some improvements, as well as a simple way to compare them yourself, if you happen to have a TrackIR 5 handy:
“One thing that stands out to me when trying to quantify it is that you can turn the processing mode from standard > precision and you can really see the difference right there, insofar as smoothness is concerned. The thing I notice most frequently about TIR5 compared to 4 is that I can get a more stable perspective when looking 90° (or more) left or right. The responsiveness of it is really fantastic, too — the tiniest, slightest movements of your head show up in the software, if you have your profile set that way. It definitely feels more precise than TIR4 to me.”
I received another neat message from Morten Gundersen, ArmA 2 Designer for Bohemia Interactive:
“Well, it didn’t take more than 5 minutes of flying the Knighthawk in Arma2 and the Blackhawk in Arma to experience the benefits of the TIR5 over the TIR4Pro. I used the default profile that comes with the v5.0, but I lowered the smoothing from 30 to 20. That’s all I did. With those settings I am seeing that the TIR5 is more responsive and more accurate than I ever managed to get the TIR4 to be.”