Motion Simulation Solutions Are NOT Created Equal – a Technical Overview of Motion
Keep in Mind – Seats DO NOT MOVE in Real Life, the entire car/plane moves.
sim-u-la-tion noun \sim-yə-ˈlā-shən\
1: the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time.
2: something that is made to look, feel, or behave like something else especially so that it can be studied or used to train people.
SimCraft uniquely approaches simulating the motion of vehicles with a mechanical and software control system whereby the axes (or degrees of freedom) are all separated from one another and controlled independently from each other. The resulting simulation feels natural because the method of achieving the simulation mimics the way cars behave in the real world; with the center of mass as the rotation point of all axes.
Within both the APEX / VERTEX motion technology, the user’s entire cockpit moves within this “Center of Mass” motion system in up to 5 degrees of freedom; Roll, Pitch, Yaw, Surge (front to back) and Sway (Left to Right). It is important to understand that the entire cockpit moves within all SimCraft motion systems. The relative position (and connection) between the driver and their steering wheel, shifter and pedals remains constant in all SimCraft based motion systems. The entire cockpit moves to simulate weight transfer, track camber, surface features, terrain elevations, oversteer, understeer, etc. In a real car, the driver is one with their cockpit. They know where the steering wheel, shifter, pedals are at all times and the position between the driver and their controls never changes.
SimCraft motion simulators have an active visual system that moves with the cockpit and driver. The reason for this is to keep the relative position and orientation between the driver and the windshield constant. Drivers are always looking out the windshield on a relative plane with the car, in a constant, expected, relationship. If the car goes up a huge bank, like you would find at Daytona for instance, the relative plane between the driver’s eyes and the car itself, and thus the windshield, remains the same as the car travels up and around the 33 degree banking.
Seat Mover “Motion”
Seat mover type solutions are popular as an inexpensive solution to the same problem of simulating motion. The approach of a seat mover solution is to attempt to trick your brain into believing you are feeling G-Forces acting on your body, even though you are not experiencing any G-Force. The seat moves while the steering wheel, pedals and shifter remain fixed and motionless. The result is a constantly changing relationship of position/distance and orientation between the driver and his or her controls during an active simulation. This introduces an element that does not exist in the real world. Seats don’t move in cars and the relationship between a driver and his or her controls doesn’t change in a real car.
Since seats don’t move in real cars, a simulator with a moving seat introduces a key element that isn’t present in the real world. As the relationship between the driver and his or her controls varies by the second, a confused and frustrated driver can easily result. The visual system also does not move in a seat mover motion solution. As the seat moves around to try and create a sensation of G-Force the visuals stays fixed. This constantly changes the relationship between the driver and their view through the windshield into the driving environment. The result of this disconnect is the constant shifting of their eyes and head movements in an attempt to maintain their perspective out of the windshield. This element is also not present in the real world as the drivers relationship to the windshield in a real car doesn’t change while the car is being driven.
Seat mover solutions are also limited in their degrees of freedom, their range of motion, and do not have independent degrees of freedom.
Proper chassis and suspension dynamics moving around the center of mass, giving the driver a sense of Weight transfer and the ability to feel the limit of tire adhesion – enabling proper vehicle feedback and precise car control!