It’s probably safe to say that most people these days have a webcam. All new notebook and laptop PCs these days seem to be equipped with them, PC companies give them away with new PCs… Even if they don’t, a reasonable quality unit can be picked up for under €20 from your nearest electronics store or supermarket.
The question is, were you aware that you can use one as a low-cost and less equipment-heavy alternative to head tracking tools such as TrackIR? FaceTrackNoIR is, as the name suggests, a head tracking tool that requires no hardware additional to your webcam, no hat or silver spots, no clip. Just your face and some software which, if you find it useful, you should probably consider donating to its development and upkeep. It’s easy to set up and free to download, supporting over 100 titles including most of the major flight sims. Take a look at the developers’ website and try it for yourself!
After posting this article, I have just tried to set this up for use with MS FSX, using my wife’s £17 Logitech webcam.
Although it will take some tweaking to get settings right, the basic functionality worked first time, with no problems whatsoever… I just need to tweak the curves rather, because tiny movements of my head had me looking all over the shop. Landing the microlight at Friday Harbour was “a challenge”! 😉
Definitely worth trying though, if you have a webcam available for use.
I’m using FTNoIR for some time now and this is a good replacement for the TrackIR but you need to have a very good webcam (cam that can capture around 60fps and the same at night).
I play Falcon with the FTNoIR and it’s cool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjVsZXYzai0
Yesterday, the new version v170 of FaceTrackNoIR was released. It offers some very large improvements, compared to v160:
– A new and much more stable filter, called Accela;
– An IR-based tracker (similar to FreeTrack), called PointTracker;
– A new game-protocol, which supports all FreeTrack and TrackIR-enabled games (even the 64-bit and ‘difficult’ ones).
All new features are listed on the website. You’re welcome to try it: it’s free!