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Thread: PC 'BeamNG' Controllers!!

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    Junior Member Ah-Those-Old-Days!'s Avatar
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    Default PC 'BeamNG' Controllers!!

    Hi. 1st time in this 'Gaming' section... I'm not normally into Games as such, but simulators are good! So just for myself on my
    birthday on Sunday,I downloaded 'BeamNG.drive' just for a laugh!! Works great, on my high-end laptop...

    Anyway, my biggest pet hate is using Keyboard Keys, and even a Logitech W710 Gaming pad that I have, which is too crude!
    Temporarily boxed up, is all my 'Saitek' Flight Sim hardware. I don't have actual Driving hardware, but was wondering if using
    my Saitek gear, (Flight Yoke for steering, & maybe pedals etc., (initially complex to set up), for pseudo proper steering etc...

    No use HERE, but am shortly re-setting up all my Flight-Sim hardware, as it was intended!! I have ALL the relevant hardware
    too for Comms, general Instrumentation, Auxiliary Controls/Annunciators & multi-prop/jet engine controls etc...
    But for NOW, I just want realistic Steering, arghhh... Don't know if others have tried this??

    P.S... The last time I set up my 'Flight' simulator, I was amazed with an add-on, that used the laptop's Camera to recognise
    your face, and move your views seamlessly to looking around the Cockpit etc, and even using your face to zoom in/out of
    what you were looking at!! Quite spectacular actually!!
    Last edited by Ah-Those-Old-Days!; 03-05-22 at 09:55 PM.
    One small step for man... (but it wasn't me!!)



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    wotnot's Avatar
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    Did this over a decade ago when I was a regular online player (LFS, rFactor)...but then the NBN came along and ping times rendered the gameplay to be more frustrating than fun ; interestingly back then, before I built the sim-seat, my choice of input was an xbox controller, just like Jacques Villeneuve...and I'm so glad he mentioned the arm-pump/tense muscles in this YT clip, as that used to plague me as well ; by the time you'd done 3 or 4 laps of Nurburgring Nordschleife, the arms were done =)

    As he says, it gets really intense when you've got all vehicle controls in your hands, doing the work of your feet at the same time (set the gearbox to dct/seq so clutch becomes unnecessary), and you really cannot look left/right/behind, use indicators, or anything else you'd like to do, because your hands were all busy controlling the car. I had tried various pedal/wheel sets, read: 'toys', even the expensive ones out there (logitech, thrustmaster), but they feel like crap, and nothing like real vehicle controls feel like IRL...and that might also be exaserpated by the fact of having 50+ years of real driving experience, and getting used to small nuances like the difference between recirculating ball/rack&pinion steering, power boosted brakes versus not..and then before the advent of ABS, TC and other 'driving aids'.

    Anyhoo...I got to thinking, the only real way to recreate the 'feel' accurately & easily, was to use the same mechanisms, and add the required input electronics to that. When you break-out the xbox controller board, you've got 2 x 10k pots on the triggers, 2 x 10k X/Y joysticks, and 14 on/off switches (..and if you get really industrious, you can make use of the 2 x rumble motor drive circuits by tapping their driver mosfet gates)..but point is, this is surplus to requirements as the USB I/O controller between driving setup <-> PC ...

    ...I tell you, by Gratis, that I wish I had a camera back then to take pictures, but sadly I'm not into photography and didn't get a smartphone with camera until about 5years after I sold it all...I might see if I can find the guy who bought it, but I'm not hopeful, we are talking a dozen of years ago now...(he was going to finish it off, add exterior panels to hide the mess I made, better speakers etc =)

    You could use anything similar, but a lot of donor parts came from a wrecked TX Gemini..this included driver's seat, steering column/wheel, pedal box including accelerator, clutch master cylinder, 1 front brake caliper, gearstick & knob ...the other donor parts were the defunct bottom end of a Yammy AG175...(I would rather had a 6speed box)...and throttle body and cables, and 10k TPS off some EFI nissan pulsar...(you gotta do some prep work on the bike engine to lock gearbox input/output shafts in the 'sweet' spot, so it reliable shifts up/down through the cogs, heavier spring tension on the clutch pressure plate, deliberately grind a notch in the clutch actuator pin so it 'feels' more like a diaphram pressureplate clutch..I removed the crank =)..steering rack from a rusted out polaris ATV buggy...some compression springs used in agricultural machinery (broken ones the local tractor place otherwise thrown away as scrap).

    ...you start with a frame something like this, make it, buy it, I've seen ppl do it with wood...



    ..but of course, the shelf/gearstick holder isn't there, instead the structure to hold the steering column in the correct position, and with what I did the seat was higher from the frame floor, to allow the bike engine to be mounted LHS under the seat. The polaris rack is very short, you leave the rack end-rods off and mount it in the frame so it aligns/couples with steering column shaft, and the ends of the rack itself push up against compression springs either end (held inside steel waterpipe with threaded end caps..it was theorectically possible to change the wheel centering/turning force, by removing the caps and changing spring rate)..

    ...the gearshift lever was mounted to the gearshift shaft on the bike engine -- you didn't have to do anything really, it felt like a 5speed constant mesh box, because it was..and there was no reverse..physically speaking, you use up 2 I/O lines with the up/down limit switches, so pulling back on the stick still finds neutral and reverse, but it 'feels' numb so to speak. Had a longer cable made up for the bike clutch 'lever'....so it can be connected to the clutch pedal, and once to fix your travel limits and return spring weights, it feels like a light, cable operated clutch, because that's what it is...you can take your positional measurement from either pedal or clutch arm on bike engine case...the clutch master cylinder got mounted up behind the brake pedal pusher rod, and I got a brake hose made to interconnect the clutch master and front brake caliper mounted in the frame..leave the brake pads in, and chock them with blocks of wood, because wood is good, in a way, you could change the feel of the brake pedal depending on what wood you used...ie; want to simulate the worst brake pedal feel ever, used balsa wood =)...it's best to use new brakepads to minimize gap needing to be filled versus caliper piston extension (ask me how I know 8)

    ...it dawned on me, that the xbox controller board really didn't care on the trigger circuits if it was seeing a voltage divider or just 0 to 5v input level, and latter is true, so drill out and tap the bleeder nipple hole enough to fit an adapter to suit a 0-5v pressure transducer, iirc that was a 500PSI...this, gives you your brake pedal feel back ; I mean...wood is good, but supplement that with other materials, the difference between rubber bushings and urethane bushings..and brake pedal position doesn't matter -- effective brake pressure (and hence pedal pressure) is the datapoint ..1 trigger I/O used...

    ...throttle body cabled connect to accelerator pedal 'just works' out of the box, feels like an efi throttle 'coz it is, having a TPS already there is low hanging fruit...assign this pot to either trigger or joystick axis, a 10k pot input gone..

    ..the steering sensing wrt steering weight and number of degrees/rotations the wheel would travel through, was a bit diabolical -- effectively I was limiting steering movement by the compression springs at the end of the steering rack...ie; once the spring fully depressed, the wheel would no longer turn...but then, notionally most of the usual steering controllers out there adhere to some 270degrees or such of wheel movement, and from a simulation standpoint that's nonsense ; more all car's steering wheels can be turned more than 270deg. So the question became, where/how to measure this, because all of a sudden you're in the real world of having to deal with the steering rack/pinion ratio, if you're going to measure this relative to something other than steering wheel position..

    ...what I did was grind a window in the rack casing, enough to MiG on a small actuator arm to the rack shaft, and this moved a 100mm travel 10k pot (log) slider pot actuator to track rack position...this works really well, but you need ensure you limit rack travel to within 100mm or you can exceed the pot's travel...(ask me how I know B^)...

    ..wiring up the steering column gobbles half a dozen inputs...horn, indicators, lights, highbeam flash, windscreen washer/wiper..different wheel or wheel mounted switches for look left/ringt (put these on the dpad inputs), handbrake you could do (I didn't), but it might be fun to play with with hydraulic bike rear brake setup & pressure transducer (like above) to give handbrake 'feel' and stick this on a joystick zaxis.

    I could go on, but you probably get the idea ~ the setup 'felt' like a real car, not a toy. Many have done this before, using cut up real cars etc...(search YT or google 'real car made into racing sim'.

    Mind you though, I wouldn't go to this sort of effort for Beam-NG or any other 'game type' driving/racing sim...but for 'serious' sims it makes for a better experience.

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    Junior Member Ah-Those-Old-Days!'s Avatar
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    I only just noticed your Reply, 'wotnot', (sorry), and I sincerely thank you for all that!!
    You said in closing that...
    I could go on, but you probably get the idea ~ the setup 'felt' like a real car, not a toy. Many have done this before, using cut up real cars etc...(search YT or google 'real car made into racing sim'.
    Mind you though, I wouldn't go to this sort of effort for Beam-NG or any other 'game type' driving/racing sim...but for 'serious' sims it makes for a better experience.

    It sounds like you have put a lot of thought/actions into your desires!! My 'dream' Flight-Sim is severely limited by Funds hahaha... I have a SH&T load of hardware/software though.
    Having a 'moveable/moving' seat in a blind surround, (and multiple screens), would be the ultimate though. REGARDING that issue, it's interesting to note that such systems can simulate
    such things as acceleration, by simply tilting back!, (weight in the seat), when/while the 'visual cue' on screen is staying 'level' etc etc...

    My main interest in 'Beam-NG' as opposed to other numerous 'driving' sims though, is the incredible realism of their 'Physics' Engines, and realistic damage physics!! Their very 'name' of
    'Beam-NG' comes from the way they program things. They have 'Nodes', (all the hidden 'points'), and 'Beams' that are deform-able between all those nodes. All controlled, and variable,
    by a massive array of interconnected physics properties/computations... I need to feel a real 'wheel' in front of me though, and maybe a 'Yoke' will suffice!!!!
    Thank you for you comments! Glenn...
    One small step for man... (but it wasn't me!!)

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